1955 Ducati 125 Formula 3

The Ducati 125 Formula 3 bikes were born from Fabio Taglioni’s iconic 100-cc Gran Sport, a model that set the pattern for Ducati singles for the next 20 years. With its 100 cc SOHC bevel-drive single generated engine that produced 9 horsepower at 9,000 rpm with a top speed of 80 mph, the Gran Sport became the barometer for all other Ducati single bikes built in the 50’s.

One of the bikes that was born from this lineage is the Formula 3, or F3 for short. Whereas the Gran Sport carried 100 cc at its disposal, the F3’s powertrain was increased to a 125 cc SOHC Desmo single engine, a move that also resulted in a bump in horsepower to 12 ponies at 9,800 rpm and an increased top speed of 93 mph. The Desmodromic valve gear, which mechanically opened and closed the valves, was developed from the Mercedes-Benz technology they used on their straight-eight W196 Grand Prix cars. While Mercedes never used it in on its production cars at that time, Taglioni saw the opportunity to develop it for racing purposes.

Eventually, the Ducati F3 became available in different powertrain trims, including the 125 cc, the 175 cc, and the 250 cc. All these later models gained enclosed valve springs, with the larger bikes also carrying an improved twin-leading shoe Amadoro brake. Steering head angles and rear suspensions were also altered to improve handling while larger megaphone exhausts were fitted into the bike’s overall set-up.

The Ducati Formula 3 is a model that was developed exclusively for racing purposes with Ducati preparing them for private racers. The model that will be auctioned off is one of these examples: an original, unrestored F3 with a factory number plate fly screen, alloy wheel rims, Dell’Orto SS1 250 carburettor, Veglia competition tachometer, and an Aprilia headlight. Characteristic of its authenticity can be seen on the present patina on the bike, an irreplaceable quality that not only shows its age, but also its condition.

Expected auction price for the 125 F3 is around €20,000 - €30,000, which is around $26,000 - $39,000 based on current exchange rates. Rm Auctions will be taking the highest bid on May 11, 2012 in Monaco, so get those check books ready!


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