Wow! Thanks to Dudel in Seattle for filling us in on this little known fact. Ducati had at one time created a SWEEET scooter called the Cruiser. Looks great, burns clean and even pushed along at 12 HP! Imagine what could have been if they went into full production with her. The only improvement I could see is a flat floorboard. NOT to say that I’d kick her outta my garage or anything. I wonder if someone actually owns one of these rarities since they did actually make 1,000 of them. Here’s the sad, short story from the Ducati site.
In the 1950s, Ducati entered the market of scooters with a technically innovative project: the Ducati Cruiser. The scooter was first released at the Milan Show in January 1952.
The Cruiser had a lot of firsts: it was the first Italian four-stroke scooter, the first scooter in Italy with an automatic transmission and the first scooter produced by Ducati. Initially the Cruiser was designed to have 12 horsepower but the engine was later reduced to 7.5 hp because of a governmental regulation limiting the scooters speed limit to 50 km/h.
This model was Ducati’s response to the ever-increasing invasion of scooters in the motorcycle market. The Cruiser was an elegant luxury scooter, superior to the standards of the time and made for a mid-to high portion of the market. Ducati spared no expenses in the development of the Cruiser: Giovanni Fiorio was responsible for the development of the engine and the style was designed in cooperation with Ghia, a company famous for designing luxury cars. The resulting style was unmistakable.
Without a reputation in the market for scooters, the Cruiser was unable to compete with already successful models such as the Vespa or the Lambretta. After only 2 years and approximately a thousand Cruisers made, production was put to a stop.