• Italdesign Concept Retro-Modernize Iconic Ducati 860 With A Twist

  • The Original Designed by Italdesign of Italy, it had none of the rounded beauty of other Ducatis
  • Design Borrows Heavily From the 860GT of the 1970s
  • Familiar Typeface Classic '70's logo
  • Too Modern Then, Nicely Retro Now
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Is this a taste of the future for Ducati?

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Back in the 1970s, Italdesign of Italy designed the VW Golf and the Lotus Esprit. Ducati then asked them to design a new model, to be called the 860GT. When it arrived, it had none of the rounded beauty of previous Ducatis and was squarer than a matchbox. Time has softened the design and Italdesign has resurrected it for an electric bike concept, dubbed the 860-E. it’s not clear whether Ducati commissioned the concept but could it point to an electric future for the brand?

Ducati 860-E Concept

The lines between past and present, in terms of motorcycle design, are becoming ever-more blurred. Increasingly, manufacturers are looking to the past to inform the future. Given that the future will look very different to what we have now, perhaps manufacturers need to recall style from the past to lessen the shock of the new?

Italdesign Concept Retro-Modernize Iconic Ducati 860 With A Twist
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The Original
Designed by Italdesign of Italy, it had none of the rounded beauty of other Ducatis
Italdesign Concept Retro-Modernize Iconic Ducati 860 With A Twist
- image 1006920
Design Borrows Heavily From the 860GT of the 1970s

Back in the mid-to-late 1970s, Ducati asked Giorgetto Guigiaro of Italdesign, the Italian automotive design house better known for the VW Golf and the Lotus Esprit, to design a new look for their 860cc sports bike. The result was typically - for Italdesign - square-edged and not what the purist Ducatisti expected.

Italdesign Concept Retro-Modernize Iconic Ducati 860 With A Twist
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Familiar Typeface
Classic ’70’s logo

Time, however, has a knack of softening sharp edges. What was once seen as too futuristic is now seen as charmingly retro and Italdesign has dusted off the 860 GT design for a new electric bike concept, suitably and subtly brought up to date, of course, and incorporating the large battery pack. One element that is immediately familiar and instantly retro is the use of the 1970s Ducati logo typeface and the colour scheme, which is a particular shade of scarlet as seen on the original 860 GT and the Darmah SD model.

Italdesign Concept Retro-Modernize Iconic Ducati 860 With A Twist
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Too Modern Then, Nicely Retro Now

Whether Ducati itself commissioned the concept is not entirely clear but it is significant that Italdesign chose to brand the styling and technological exercise as a Ducati.

Does the thought of an electric Ducati send shivers of fear down your back? While other manufacturers can get away with it, is it sacrilege to think of an electric Ducati? Can the boom of a v-twin ever be passed up in favour of the buzz of electricity?

Is Electricity in Ducati’s Future?

How likely is it that Ducati will jump on the electricity bandwagon? Ducati VP of Sales Francesco Milicia isn’t sold on electric just yet, preferring to look at synthetic liquid fuels first.

Italdesign Concept Retro-Modernize Iconic Ducati 860 With A Twist
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"Will we produce an electric Ducati soon? No,” she said. “We think that for the kind of machine we produce now, an electric motorcycle cannot guarantee the pleasure, the range, the weight etc. that Ducati riders expect.

"We are also looking carefully at other solutions for zero or minimal emissions, such as synthetic fuel. Other brands in our (Volkswagen) group such as Porsche are looking at it and it’s something we are looking at in the medium term."

So, breathe a sigh of relief for the moment, but maybe get your petrol-powered Ducati fix sooner rather than later!

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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