Ducati, an Italian dream maker – Coffee Table Book Review n° 3
By Annick Dournes & Frederic de Poligny
“Stile Ducati, a visual history of Ducati design” is a book edited this year to celebrate the 90th anniversary of this iconic Italian motorcycles brand. Made to seduce all Ducati’s lovers it will also appeal to those who enjoy speed and design.
The Ducati company was created in 1926 by three brothers and although they didn’t own it for long their name and company outlived them. It was not until the immediate post-war period that the production of motorcycles began. In those difficult times when almost everything was lacking Ducati created a mini-motorcycle, the Cucciolo. The Cucciolo, meaning “puppy”, was designed by Aldo Farinelli and looked more like a regular bike to which a small cc four-stroke engine was attached than to a “real” bike.
Fabio Taglioni undoubtedly is the iconic designer of Ducati. He joined the company in 1954 and for 40 years breathed true racing soul into his creations leading Ducati into a totally new era. His first bike was the Marianna that went down in history as the undisputed king of long distance races such as the Milan-Taranto or the Moto Giro of Italy. Throughout the years he not only created great frames and aerodynamic lines, he also knew how to put innovative ideas to good use.
One of his greatest innovations is the desmodromic timing that avoids the over rev engine “panic” feared by all motorcycles’ constructors. In 1956 this new system allowed the Desmo 125 to be an immediate success both on tracks and on roads. The desmodromic timing is on all Ducati bikes ever since. In the early 70’s he invented the first L-twin-cylinder. This was a glorious time for Ducati on tracks with the “Imola 200” or the “Ducati 900” driven by the iconic race drivers, Mike “The Bike ”Hailwood, and Paul Smarts. Ever since designers, engineers and drivers make the legend live on in all Ducati’s fans as the symbol of innovation and design.
Obviously red is the unmistakable Ducati colour. Red is also the colour of “Stile Ducati, a visual history of Ducati design” this magnificent hard cover book. It’s red, large and heavy! It’s an evocative story told through sophisticated photos of 19 different models, from the Cucciolo to the latest 1299 Panigale S Anniversario, a special limited edition with only 500 numbered bikes produced. There are few and short texts the focus being placed on the evocative force of the photos. Posing like stars under the spotlight of a photo studio, the 19 bikes look amazing. Tiny details, flowing, expressive and sleek design are enhanced by the feeling of power and beauty.
To complete your Ducati experience you can visit the Ducati Museum. It is located in Bologna in northeast Italy and has been fully renovated in 2016. Of course the different iconic models are on display in the immaculate white rooms of the museum. The exhibition tells the history of the production of bikes, the brand’s racing heritage and the main events of the company’s history. More at: www.ducati.com
The book “Stile Ducati, a visual history of Ducati design” is edited by Skira. It is available in on-line bookshops (40£ at Amazon). ISBN: 978-88-572-3277-5
Text ©Annick Dournes & Frederic de Poligny