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Discussion Starter #22
On the last registration, they used engine number 450882 as the vehicle identification number. The plot thickens! I had heard that some Ducati frames don’t have ID numbers, maybe this is one of them?
 

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<snip> I had heard that some Ducati frames don’t have ID numbers ...?
True. Applies to many/most Ducatis imported into the USA in the '50s and '60s. All to do with registration requirements, state-by-state. Full explanation given in Tom Bailey's "Ducati Singles First Person", page 163.

As regards your bike, what he says there would seem to apply. "In 1969, apparently anticipating international conventions dealing with such matters, they (I guess he means 'Ducati') began stamping the frame number on the right hand side of the headstock. Initially only the 450s were so stamped"

I guess yours was one that got in before the change ... :)
 

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Looks like a 450 Mk 3 to me.
+1. Apart from the visual pointers, your number also checks out with the engine numbers that Ian Falloon gives for 450 Mark 3 and Mark 3D production for 1969-1970.

And ...

Again according to Ian, your bike is one of only 13 (yes, 13!) 1969 450 Mark 3s imported into the USA! So don't expect to meet a fellow owner around the corner!
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Thanks again, guys! Yes I’ll definitely check outthe blog, Flynbulldog. I’m assuming the tank is from a later year or from a 250 or 350. I don’t know whether I’m lusting after the chromed tank or not. I’ll measure the bore to verify size of the Desmo engine. Anyone you all would suggest for the crank work to use the broken engine?

I got some spares out of the whole deal, so those will definitely be on the block depending on what I need for my restoration. How do I check out the Indian tanks in case I want to go chrome? The white and chrome is a nice look and as someone pointed out, distinctive.
 

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Bon Vivant
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Thanks again, guys! Yes I’ll definitely check outthe blog, Flynbulldog. I’m assuming the tank is from a later year or from a 250 or 350. I don’t know whether I’m lusting after the chromed tank or not. I’ll measure the bore to verify size of the Desmo engine. Anyone you all would suggest for the crank work to use the broken engine?

I got some spares out of the whole deal, so those will definitely be on the block depending on what I need for my restoration. How do I check out the Indian tanks in case I want to go chrome? The white and chrome is a nice look and as someone pointed out, distinctive.
On the tank - No, that tank would be on any bike from 69 on so that would be the correct tank for your bike. I dont think the guys in india are making a Mark 3 tank and I wouldnt use one of their aluminum tanks anyway. That bike is very rare and should be restored properly and to original spec, anything else is going backwards. If you aren't up to the task you might want to move it to someone who can and will do it right and you might make a few bucks in the process. Please dont start the job unless you really know what you are doing, you will cause more damage than good. Your tank can be restored properly with the correct chrome with the right craftsmen.

And again since you have a title and the original 450 engine it would be best to try to save that engine. I use Vince at Mister crankshaft for any crank that needs some TLC. You can get a good rod kit at Lacey Ducati. But that engine isn't something most folks can tackle at home. Get it done right.

I've seen correct examples of that bike going for $20 to $25K US and the values are rising.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Wow, I had no idea! I was just hoping to get an interesting local rider out of the bike. And yes, I was considering, at least at first, to throw it together and see how it runs. I mean, I am a fairly competent mechanic, and I know how to do chassis and brakes, change bearings and seals etc. on the frame and running gear and basic engine work. But I was hoping either that the one engine would run or it was in a condition that I could have somebody do a ”freshen up” on it (hone, rings, lap valves).

I’m in no hurry, I have bikes to ride on a daily basis. And 1975 Norton that’s nearly a runner, for fun around the North Fork, it will be nice but not restored in any sense. But i am a bit short on space and have no blasting paint or polishing experienc. I’m willing to invest and learn, within the space constraints.

Deep breath. So I should be looking for someone to chrome this tank or to purchase a proper tank.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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Bon Vivant
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Reed, you are one of the lucky ones. Most of the guys who drop in here with an old bike they found in a barn or bought for way too much on craigslist (because all ducatis are collectable - right?) have bikes that are basically worthless or worse. The collectable bikes are very few and far between and most old ducs are not really desirable to people who know what they are looking at. Its kinda like showing up in a Shelby Cobra forum with a 73 Pinto. You just happened to come up with a Cobra.

My advice to you is please do not cobble it together to get it running and lose track of the original parts. A lot of damage is already done, this is the chance to minimize further degradation. Do it right, restore it back to original or sell it to someone who has the means or ability to do it. You can probably do it if you come at it with the right outcome in mind so get that daily runner out of your head and start thinking about a perfect factory restoration. There are a lot of guys here and on other online venues who can help guide you along the way if you'll keep an open mind and take good advice.

You can start by taking photos of everything you have and letting us help you sort out the correct parts from the junk - that will get you going in the right direction.
 

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FWIW, I'm 100% with flynbulldog. You have a bike that deserves to be restored by someone who knows what they're doing. If it's a daily run-about you're after, there are plenty of other bikes to chose from and which - frankly - will do the job much better in any case.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Okay, Flynbulldog and Ventodue, message received. I’d still like to restore thi, with appropriate help from vendors. I’m going to study the blog and look into parts washer and vapor hone machine either in the way back or loft of my smallish garage or maybe in my son-in-law’s barn.

Thanks again, all!
 

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Bon Vivant
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Okay, Flynbulldog and Ventodue, message received. I’d still like to restore thi, with appropriate help from vendors. I’m going to study the blog and look into parts washer and vapor hone machine either in the way back or loft of my smallish garage or maybe in my son-in-law’s barn.

Thanks again, all!
I do vapor blasting and I promise it would be much cheaper than buying a machine ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Hey everyone to kind of close out this thread, it looks to me like the only color that I can be sure is original for a 1969 450 Mark 3 Desmo is the red and chrome look. So that is what I’m pursuing. As soon as I locate a vendor I’ll have the coffin tank chromed.

Thanks all!!
 
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