Found: 6 Stunning Italian Motorcycles from the ’60s
Welcome to Found, a series where classic goods are handpicked by Gear Patrol‘s writers and editors and ready are for a good home.
Between the magnificent machines produced by England, Japan and Italy, you could feasibly spend an an entire afternoon arguing over what country has produced the best motorcycles. All we’ll say is that if aesthetics and the sensory experience are important to you, we’d suggest going with the country that gave us Da Vinci, Ferrari and gnocchi. Italian bikes exude a certain style, grace and sound that are hard to beat. For that reason, we went and found our favorite classic Italian two-wheelers that you can find for sale, right now.
1969 Ducati Scrambler 450
What we like: The inspiration behind Ducati’s latest hit, and proof that impeccable design is not exclusive to cafe racers and sport bikes. The original Scrambler was a single-cylinder motorcycle made from 1962 to 1976, and was designed as a go-anywhere bike that would appeal to young riders in America and Europe. Unsurprisingly, it was a complete success.
From the seller: “This particular Scrambler was a barn find discovered in Oregon, restored locally and retrieved by Ducati of Bellevue who we subsequently purchased it from.”
Location: Redmond, Washington
1973 Moto Guzzi 850 Eldorado
What we like: Moto Guzzi’s 850 platform was the brand’s jack of all trades during the ’70s — from the sport-oriented LeMans to the cruising-oriented Eldorado — it could seemingly do it all. The latter was Guzzi’s Harley-fighter and offered a more refined alternative with a torquey engine, a front-wheel disc brake and outstanding reliability. It was so good it became a stalwart in the LAPD and California Highway Patrol at the time.
From the seller: “Old-school Italian big-twin in very good condition. Rebuilt engine with new cylinder liners and rings, new gaskets, new clutch friction plates, new mufflers, fenders and tool boxes.”
Location: Dundas, Ontario
1974 Ducati 750 Sport
What we like: The Ducati 750s of the early 1970s were, in some ways, the genesis of “Modern Ducati.” They were among the first to use the brand’s “L-Twin” engine design and would form the basis for the bike Paul Smart rode to victory in the Imola 200 in 1972. Aside from the 750’s historical significance, it is exemplary of the exquisite motorcycle design language of the ’60s and ’70s.
From the seller: “A 1974 Ducati 750 GT, converted to a Sport model in excellent condition from the famed bevel drive era…was in a private collection in Tuscany, Italy for the last 20 years and is now for sale in SoCal.”
Location: Escondido, California
1978 MV Agusta Magni 861
What we like: From the early-’50s to the mid-’70s, Arturo Magni worked for MV Agusta as the company’s lead racing mechanic and played a hand in creating one of the most dominant forces in two-wheeled racing during the era. After MV Agusta pulled out of racing in 1976, Magni began developing his own custom motorcycles based on MV Agusta’s production bikes. Examples like this altered 750S America are not only beautiful, but they’re also incredibly hard to come by.
From the seller: “Sold by Bol D’or Motorcycles in the UK to Nick Mason of Pink Floyd in the mid 1980s, it subsequently resided in Southern Spain, at the Ascari Race Resort where it was owned by Klaas Zwart from 1988 to 2014, where the bike was maintained by his team of mechanics.”
Location: Weybridge, United Kingdom
1983 Laverda RGS1000
What we like: Like another great Italian company, Laverda got its start making farm machinery, but after WWII it got into the Motorcycle game. A couple decades later the company began churning out some incredibly fast and desirable sport bikes. This particular RGS1000 was Laverda’s top-tier sport bike from the early ’80s, and married touring comfort with a big engine and nimble handling. Grand Prix-inspired fairings and a red-and-gold color scheme don’t hurt, either.
From the seller: “A very good example of a well looked after daily rider. Has no mechanical issues. Recently gone through by noted Laverda experts Wolfgang and Chris Haerter.”
Location: Rossland, British Colombia
Bonus: 1975 Vespa 50
What we like: Okay, so it’s technically a scooter and not a motorcycle. But as far as city runabouts go, how could you deny the adorably classic looks of a vintage Vespa? It’s like a kitten with a motor.
From the seller: “Imported from Italy. Fully restored and drives like new.”