Iconic modern Ducati Rare SP3 variant Registered in Germany
Although Ducati's water-cooled 8-valve v-twin had been around in its original 851 and 888 incarnations for six years, and indeed, had already won three World Superbike Riders' Championships, it was the arrival of the iconic 916 in 1994 that really captured the public's imagination. Styled by Massimo Tamburini, the 916 and its subsequent evolutions established Ducati as one of the world's foremost brands. Universally recognised as icons of automotive art, Ducati motorcycles have been exhibited in some of the world's foremost museums, including the Guggenheim in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco.
In developing the original 851, engineer Massimo Bordi created one of the finest motorcycle power plants ever. By the mid-1980s, Ducati's existing air-cooled 4-valve twins were approaching the end of the development, so Bordi started with a clean sheet in creating their water-cooled, 8-valve, fuel-injected successor. Ducati's trademark desmodromic valve actuation system, which closes the valves mechanically rather than relying on springs, was retained, as was the 90-degree angle between the cylinders. Wrapped around this outstanding engine was a frame, consisting of an intricate trellis of straight tubes, whose design has since become standardised throughout the Ducati range. The integration of all these elements was the key to the 916's success; that and a brilliant on-road performance that eclipsed just about everything else around at the time. The Ducati 916 won the World Superbike Championship in its 1994 debut season and its evolutions five times after that. Enough said.
Within a short time the original 916 Strada was superseded by the Biposto (two-seat) version and the higher specification SP (Sport Production). The latter's engine remained at 916cc but added twin fuel injectors, Pankl titanium con-rods and bigger valves to the package for increased power and torque. The SP reverted to a single seat unit (with white number boards) while gaining superior Öhlins rear suspension. Next came the broadly similar SP3 featuring revised crankcases, approximately 500 of which were made, followed by the 916 SPS ('Sport Production Special') derivative: 1,462 examples plus 202 of the UK-only 'Fogarty Replica' version. Despite the name, the 916 SPS enjoyed the advantages of an over-bored engine displacing 996cc. Of all the members of the 916 family, the SP, SPS and closely related 'Fogarty Replica' are considered the most collectible.
This rare Ducati 916 SP3 was sold new to Karl-Heinz Kalbfell in July 1996 and comes with all its original purchase paperwork, service booklet, owner's manual, etc. Additional documentation consists of sundry service invoices and German registration papers.