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Old 11-22-2004, 05:45 PM   #1
Team Dennis OP
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A 33 year love affair. Part One

It seemed like just yesterday when my twin brother announced he had bought a Ducati. 1973 was the glory years of Japanese bikes and we were just getting over the radical change from the venerable Honda 305's to the ugly 350's after breaking in with CL-90's. There was a veritable war of cool, high performance (or so we thought) Japanese bikes and the Italian's were just trying to stay in the market.And why have a single cylinder when more could be had for less.

But I guess the Ad's of the cool Italian guy with the leather coat thrown over his shoulder as he mounted his stallion made an impression on at least one mid-west boy. So he promptly went down to Racine, Wisconsin to Sunset Motors and brought home this.



Note the signature of the dealer,, Yep,, that's T.C. Christenson, the famous drag racer with the twin engine Norton Racer. He became a GOD to us poor Wisconsin hicks after winning all those races and his dealership was "kinda" like a temple. He finally saved my ass when I owned this,,,



because I was going through head-gaskets weekly.He apparently was too as he finally came up with a compression-ringed head gasket that worked even better in the Dunstall than his drag bike.


But I am getting off-track and that is another story.

Please note the tax-rate in the contract,, 3%,, Wow. The good old days. While the date shows 1973 on the contract, I believe the Ducati was a 1971 and the state of Wisconsin title tends to back that up. I just remember a lot of orange and chrome and some very cool engine art.




part 1 cont.
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Old 11-22-2004, 06:08 PM   #2
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So the die was cast. The thumper vs everything else. Those chrome panels on the tank really set it off and it was quite sleek.




But the weakness was starting to show. Those damn tool boxes constantly were falling off due to "thumper" vibration and either LocTite was not invented yet or we did not know about it. Note the now naked air filter which was normally housed in the RH tool box.





part 1 cont.
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Old 11-22-2004, 06:29 PM   #3
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Old 11-22-2004, 07:15 PM   #4
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So the love affair, while not torrid , was still hot. Because while the pieces kept falling off and the muffler had a monthly appointment with the welder,







because of fracture issues, for some reason, this bike carved tracks. Like a damn slot car. The Pirelli tires held firm despite our indifference and the poor footpeg rubbers showed the abuse. A perfect angle on the ends.







But the Japanese were gaining ground and the 350 thumper was showing it's age. Buy new or re-decorate? So it was in-evitable that the DUC had to have a new look. Sadly it was the start of the ugly years. While the Candy root beer paint looked promising on color swatches, it never made a statement on the bike. And the saddest part was covering up those chrome panels on the gas tank. By now the tool boxes were still history, the air filter was replaced with a velocity stack, the gauges with the constantly broken speedometer was replaced with a Veglia tach and the gas cap was put on wrong, perhaps to protect a valuable part of the anatomy.





part 1 cont.

Team Dennis screwed with this post 11-27-2004 at 12:28 PM
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Old 11-22-2004, 07:35 PM   #5
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But the lure of new technology kept pulling "bubba" away. He finally sold the bike to my older brother Greg, who promptly tore it all apart for "restoration"
Between them they managed to pull apart the motor apart and replace all the bearing with genuine American Timken bearing before putting it together to await the rest of the restore. Greg managed to strip and repaint the frame and swing arm, refurbish the ceriani front forks and install those pieces along with that fabulous engine.




Then life got in the way. The now assembled frame/engine/swing arm/forks was put under the stairwell in the basement of a north Milwaukee basement to age for 25 years.




To be continued.
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Old 11-22-2004, 07:36 PM   #6
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Looks Familiar

Mine, since, uh, about 1975:



Yes, it's pathetic. But I will have more free time soon, and then... oh my, I do remember how that thing corners.

I'll have a few more things to say later on. Meanwhile, back to the story.
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Old 11-23-2004, 06:17 AM   #7
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SWEET! That's thumptastic! Keep us posted.
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Old 11-23-2004, 06:37 AM   #8
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Cool

My first street bike was a '72 350 Duc, just like yours but in black. I rode the hell out of it, got more tickets on that bike than any other. Converted it to a cafe racer, solo seat, clip ons, and homemade rear sets. During one of my License loses, I put the stock bars and footpegs on, and rode it in the woods.
Traded it in about 1977 for a Honda XL350. Not sure if I regret that, other than I wish I still had a Duc single. Had my first Norton at the time, so didn't need two cafe racers.
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Old 11-23-2004, 08:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Dennis

The now assembled frame/engine/swing arm/forks was put under the stairwell in the basement of a north Milwaukee basement to age for 25 years.




To be continued.

After 25 years, it's a resurrection, not a restoration. Keep it coming....
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Old 11-23-2004, 08:37 AM   #10
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Rather than start another thread for parts 2 and 3, I will just build on this one.
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Old 11-23-2004, 08:45 AM   #11
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So one day I was on Ebay and noted this Ducati 350 for sale. Figuring it was going to be a resto project, I clicked on it and this came up.




Wow, that's how I remembered the bike. A proper color for the scrambler (orange for 350's and yellow for 450's) and some how the tool boxes survived.
Imagine my suprise when the reserve was never met and bidding stopped around $1K. So I gathered there was not much collectability for it, and promptly gave up on that idea.
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Old 11-23-2004, 08:58 AM   #12
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And life continued to get in the way. A family funeral finally got me back to Milwaukee and a visit to TeamGreg's house. The talk of bike's came up as it usually does with the 4 boys and we were talking about Greg's habit of always tearing down a bike and never finishing it. Like his 1st bike, a 1966
H-D XLCH sportster.




He rode it 1 year took it down to the basement for the winter tear-down where it remained. Because my parents co-signed for the loan, they were in panic mode when spring came around and the bike still lay in pieces. I was saving all my pennies for the latest Honda CL-90 when they asked me if I was interested in taking over payments. They sent it over to West Side Cycle for re-assembly and I became the proud owner of a monster that I was sometimes in-capable of starting. I painted it metal-flake blue over the next winter, yet that did not make it any easier to start. Here is a photo of it with Greg trying to start the damn thing.

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Old 11-23-2004, 09:13 AM   #13
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But that is yet another story. So while we were admiring the BMW 650 that Greg had partially taken apart ( a trend that still lives with him) talk of the Ducati came up. A quick visit to the basement revealed the engine/frame assembly under the stairwell covered with a sheet in very good shape. We finally located all the other pieces in various boxes in an outdoor storage shed where the humidity was not as kind to the alloy pieces as the de-humidified basement. And the worst travesty was the color, a "candy black/purple" from you guessed it, a H-D sportster. A deal was struck for $700 even thought TeamDonnie was telling me I was paying too much. Greg was going through a divorce and needed the $$$$ so I paid up and told Don to "put up or shut up"

The Ducati came out to Arizona a month later on a truck and I had my winter project. Many parts were carefully organized and marked for easy identification.



















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Old 11-23-2004, 09:23 AM   #14
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Damit, you taking posting lessons from Flug

How many days is this going to take?
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Old 11-23-2004, 09:29 AM   #15
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Fortunately the manuals were plentiful,,



and the electrical schematic seemed easy enough.







So I concentrated only on assembly to see if all the pieces were there and if I could sort what I would need later. It only took approx. 2 weeks to assemble and the end result was only OK but lacking in many area's.
Remarkably, after tickling the Amal carg the bike started on the FIRST kick after 25 years of vacation. I re-set the ignition timing to get some power and tooled around the neighborhood realizing that the Ducati now reminded me of my Norton. An obsolete relic. Technology can shatter old dreams sometimes.







The toolbox's remained missing, so some temporary cover were made to fill the void. The velocity stack remained as did the Veglia tach.




But that purple was UGLY. Through the half-assed resto, one fact remained.
I had to correct it to look original and that engine still was one of the best looking motors around.







To be continued.

Team Dennis screwed with this post 11-27-2004 at 12:33 PM
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