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1969 Ducati 450 Mark 3 Desmo
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

First poster here. Long-term Ducati fan but mostly for practical reasons never owned one. This is about to change!

A bit of background: as a kid I spent a lot of time at my grandma's place, where also my uncle (who was single) was living. He was a bit of a free spirit and actually an icon in the family. And the thing that was symbolic for him was the 1969 Ducati 450 Desmo that he had. He was very proud of it, and never wanted to sell it even though people were interested in it.

When he passed away about 15 years ago (my grandma died about ten years earlier) it was clear that bike had to stay in the family although significant effort (and money) had to be spent on it, to bring it back to its former glory. In the end I didn't get it, and I didn't want to make a fuss out of it. After all, I figured the main thing was that it was retained as a family icon, and only one of us could get it.

However, in short bringing back to former glory turned out to be more difficult and costly than anticipated, and actually the bike ended up sold to, and at the attic of a ducati dealer who had a keen eye for such classics.

It was only recently that I found out the fate of this little bike, and contacted the dealer to see if there was any change to buy it back. Even though he was reluctant at first (he just started working on restoring it a few weeks back and was planning to put it in the show room) he appreciated the emotional value of the bike and we (verbally) agreed to buy it back, and that he also would restore it.

However, now the question is: what would that former glory looks like, and I have a few things that I hope you guys can help me with. As a disclaimer I am by no means an expert in this field, and to be honest I would drool at the modern Ducati's if it was not for the emotional value of this little sports bike.

First, the color, I have always known it with this slightly mint green colour (I'll try to add a picture) but a cousin of mine told me that my uncle painted it himself like that. I can't remember that though. Question: is there any way to find out what the original colour is?

Then the fairing: from what I can find on the internet, there was no fairing whatsoever, although my uncle's bike had a fairing a bit similar like this: Question: do you guys guess this was an aftermarket accessory or could it be an original item?

Also, my uncle had this additional sport seat and tank which was a bit slimmer than the one fitted (which was definitely an original). From my memory it looks most like a tank and seat from a corsa racer: https://images.postwarclassic.com/p...54855/457_1335538921_resized_MC12_r592_01.jpg

My guess is now that he picked it up somewhere and was thinking about fitting it (but never did), and that even though it might be original Ducati, it was not something that was original for the street bike. Or do you guys know more than I do?

Even though I really like the looks of such corsa bikes, I'll resist that and my intention is to keep it as close as possible to original (although also as sporty as possible). As long as they are original I would like to keep aspects such as the colour (the mint green, even though I prefer red) and fairings of the bike as I remember it from my childhood.

Any inputs are appreciated, have a nice day!

Cheers,
Gerco

Automotive lighting Hood Automotive tire Grille Motor vehicle
 

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Or it will be :). I see that's a pic from the net.
 

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1969 Ducati 450 Mark 3 Desmo
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Haha, it definitely is a pic from the net. 🙃

The picture of the tank is representative of its current state, so it will take quite some effort and money to bring it back where it should be.

This is a picture (actually a rather poor picture of a picture) of my uncle and his bike, probably about 25 years ago.
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Great story, glad you got the bike finally!
I wonder if reaching out to Ducati Nederland would be of any benefit? They may be able to assist with helping you understand what the original bike should look like, I'm guessing here.

Best of luck with your restoration, I hope you can share pics along the way. That will be an amazing bike if you can pull it off!
 

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Bon Vivant
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OK I've recently restored one of these bikes and you can read the whole restoration story here: https://vintagedesmo.com/f/1970-ducati-mark-3-desmo
They were never painted green so your cousin was right, it has been repainted - the fairing is an aftermarket item. The seat in the picture is the original although I'm not sure what's going on with the tail light.

The bike would look very much like this from the factory:



How you restore it or preserve it is up to you. The fact that its a family heirloom may mean that you put it into a better state and running but looking much like it would have when your uncle had it. When I got mine it was really rough. It had a lot of sentimental value to the previous owner but I'm sure he would have loved it restored back to original. I brought mine back to day one and that's how I love them. - its such a beautiful bike. It's a long and very expensive undertaking - I have as much into this bike as it would cost to buy a new panigale...
 

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That is a stunning bike, Flynbulldog! Really classy looking.

Were you a Marine Corps aviator?
 

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1969 Ducati 450 Mark 3 Desmo
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great story, glad you got the bike finally!
I wonder if reaching out to Ducati Nederland would be of any benefit? They may be able to assist with helping you understand what the original bike should look like, I'm guessing here.

Best of luck with your restoration, I hope you can share pics along the way. That will be an amazing bike if you can pull it off!
That's a good suggestion, I'll reach out to them! And thanks, I'll definitely share some pics when there is progress to speak of.
 

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1969 Ducati 450 Mark 3 Desmo
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That indeed is a stunning bike @flynbulldog, and most likely I'll be aiming to get it in a similar state like yours (you've got to have ambitions right 😀).

Don't mention the panigale thing though, my wife is reading along 🙄
 

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1969 Ducati 450 Mark 3 Desmo
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Had a look at your story of your bike. Man, you set the bar high!
 

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Hi Gerco

bike in the picture is pretty much original . the small fairing and front fender are not original

mooi restoratie project . wat wil je weten

Groeten Eldert
 

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I'm not sure if they did come in white. The white appearance is really silver. The Desmos were like Bulldog's beautiful bike ie., chrome and deep red. The MK3s came with red and silver like this:-
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1969 Ducati 450 Mark 3 Desmo
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That is a great looking bike as well.

The picture is clear, this is how they were originally, and it makes sense to aim for that.

If they would have come with a sport seat and/or fairing back back then, I'd probably would try to retain that. But it seems that this was aftermarket stuff, and makes not a lot of sense to try to restore that.

And I'm not gonna do a Corsa replica, regardless how beautiful they are.
 

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I'm not sure if they did come in white. The white appearance is really silver.
True, the 450 didn't, it would seem. But both the 250 and 350 Desmos are featured in publicity material of the time in an off-white. Here's the 250.

Ref (for example): pages 182-183, Falloon's 'Book of the Ducat Overhead Camshaft Singles' .
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1969 Ducati 450 Mark 3 Desmo
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
True, the 450 didn't, it would seem. But both the 250 and 350 Desmos are featured in publicity material of the time in an off-white. Here's the 250.

Ref (for example): pages 182-183, Falloon's 'Book of the Ducat Overhead Camshaft Singles' .
View attachment 1021934
So if I understand it correctly there was only one colour of the 450, and that was that chrome with (deep) red.

Anyone knows by any change the actual code of that colour?
 

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1969 Ducati 450 Mark 3 Desmo
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
They were never painted green so your cousin was right, it has been repainted - the fairing is an aftermarket item. The seat in the picture is the original although I'm not sure what's going on with the tail light.
@flynbulldog re. that seat in the picture: I assume you refer to the single sport seat of the red bike (which I found on the internet), correct?

I do like the seat (also because I have some (vague) memories of my uncle having something similar - never got installed on the bike, and has got lost along the way), but I'm still a bit surprised it is original.

Also because it seems to me that tank on that bike is different from the original, seems a bit more bulky to me. That might be the perspective of the picture though.
 
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