'Museo Ducati' by Jonnum and Harholdt

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Nolan Woodbury meets 25 classics from the Ducati Museum, immortalised in this high-class publication…

Comparatively small measured against its competition, Ducati has forged an astonishing record on the global road racing stage. Shunning trend (while establishing it) in favour of its 90-degree L-layout, Ducati combined hi-torque, high-horsepower desmodromics with precise handling to win against heavily-funded Asian rivals.

Creating artful shapes and watershed styling in the process, Ducati joins historic MV Agusta as one of the few motorcycle factories to base production on
racing design.

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In ‘Museo Ducati: Six Decades of Classic Motorcycles of the Official Ducati Museum’ pressman Chris Jonnum, photographer Peter Harholdt and publisher David Bull team to provide a personalised look at some of the most important machines in Ducati history. Located not quite halfway between seaside Rimini and cultured Milano, the Bologna museum is a mecca for Ducatisti; its expanse showcasing the firm’s technical and commercial achievements chronologically. Softly illuminated in spots and dotted with large period murals, Harholdt aptly meets the challenge of capturing the museum’s interior mood.

Following the theme established in past Bull offerings, Museo Ducati is polished, proper, but not overly embellished. Printed on heavy stock, there’s plenty of full page photography and pattern boxes for data. Not all of the featured machines are Works bikes, evidenced by Ducati’s first production motorcycle; the 48cc, pedal-start Cocciolo. The racers follow, progressing through the decades with a variety of familiar and unfamiliar (to this writer) 1950s era Desmo singles, 60s spec kit like the Hailwood 250 parallel twin, then onto the L-twins with the 500 GP racer.

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Classic Ducatis on Now…

As you’d expect, Paul Smart’s Imola winning 750 is shown predominance, as is Hailwood’s equally-epic 1978 TT winner. The inclusion of both seems critical to any work regarding Ducati history, leaving Jonnum to explain that while Smart’s (on loan) racer is authentic, the featured Hailwood 900SS served trackside as Mike The Bike’s back-up ride. The Neilson / Shilling 1977 Daytona winning 750SS is not displayed in Bologna, but should be.

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Moving into the modern era, lavish coverage is given to Ducati’s Pantah, the iconic single-cylinder Supermono, the muscular 851/888 twins then into superstardom with a succession of rider-themed, championship racers from the 916 family. Jonnum and Harholdt carry through to the end, splashing with pages with colour and information devoted to the 999 and finally, the Desmosedici RR V4.

A quality hardbound volume wrapped in a glossy sleeve, Museo Ducati fulfils its promise of featuring Ducati’s brightest and best with a sophisticated, elegant approach. Author Jonnum’s text is written and compiled using a historical, rather than a technical slant, but it’s Harholdt’s inspired photography that makes this book a must have. Nearly 20 inches wide and 11 inches tall fully opened, 25 Ducati motorcycles are featured through 116 pages; an average of five pages per machine. Totalling 142 pages overall, eighteen of these are used in the foreword and introduction. That’s an unusually large number, but understandable considering the text is written in both English and Italian.


‘Museo Ducati: Six Decades of Classic Motorcycles of the Official Ducati Museum’ by Chris Jonnum and Peter Harholdt is published by David Bull Publishing, ISBN: 978 1 935007 16 6.

List price in the UK is £25.99, but at a discounted price.

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