Few bikes are as famous as Mike Hailwood's 1978 TT-winning Ducati NCR 900F1 and now, 40 years on, 12 replicas, to be made as close as possible to the historic racer, are finally to be built, each with a whopping price tag of £110,000!
The bikes are to be built by Vee Two USA, a new collaboration between Australian bevel-drive Ducati specialists Vee Two (headed by Brook Henry) and race fabricators Taylor Made Racing of Los Angeles (headed by Paul Taylor).
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The key to the project is the Ritorno engine; an externally faithful reproduction of the factory NCR race motor used by Hailwood, but now made by Vee Two with Ducati's permission to an updated spec. Vee Two will supply the engines while Vee Two USA will assemble the machines. Ducati, meanwhile, have given permission for 12 bikes to be built.
"It has always been my dream to build this bike but it has not been possible without the Ritorno," Henry told MCN. "I have worked hard to make it identical externally to the 1978 engine but it is thoroughly modern inside."
The Ritorno features Nikasil chrome coated one-piece cylinders, strengthened crankcases and a one-piece crankshaft.
But the engine’s not the only part of the replica that’s received fastidious attention.
"The look of the bike is exactly as raced on June 3, 1978, a true Hailwood replica. But it has been very difficult to get to this stage because of the lack of detailed information," Taylor told MCN.
"Getting the paint correct was incredibly difficult as the original changed due to racing incidents. We found a chap who lived above the old NCR workshop whose father was a painter for Ducati.
"He told us the paint was actually Lancia Rosso Corsa, however you can’t buy it anymore. We then got put onto a paint specialist at Moto Guzzi who managed to make a paint sample that is an exact replica of the original."
The first bike (pictured here) made its debut at the Classic TT where John McGuinness rode a parade lap accompanied by Mike's son David, who along with Mike's wife Pauline and the Hailwood foundation, have also endorsed the project.
Each buyer will also receive a letter from Pauline as well as a souvenir book detailing the making of the bike and Hailwood’s epic 1978 TT win. Time to buy some lottery tickets!
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