All-Original 1978 Ducati 900 NCR TT1 Is the Stuff of Collectors’ Wildest Fantasies

Peter Boggia has been calling New York City his home ever since birth, and he currently goes about his business in Brooklyn. With more than two decades’ experience as a professional motorcycle mechanic, Peter is a genuine expert when it comes to bikes and all their intricacies. He’s got a self-confessed affinity for European classics, with those made in Italy being of particular interest to him.
1978 Ducati 900 NCR TT1 28 photos
Photo: Glen Allsop
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Back in 2008, the man decided to get up close and personal with this little passion of his, founding Moto Borgotaro in the hopes of one day becoming a household name among collectors. And the rest, as they so often say, is history. Peter’s doorstep was crossed by some of the swankiest rarities that the Italian motorcycling industry of yore had to offer, be they from Moto Guzzi, Ducati, MV Agusta, or even Laverda.

As for Moto Borgotaro’s business model, it’s all about taking a vintage icon, meticulously restoring it wherever needed, and selling it on to folks with much fatter bank accounts than you or I. Now, although Peter deals with cult classics of the highest order on a daily basis, what you’re seeing here may just be the crown jewel of all the bikes he ever had in his shop!

It’s a 1978 Ducati 900 NCR TT1 race bike, just like the one Mike Hailwood rode to victory at the Isle of Man TT that year – yes, seriously. Only 18 such specimens are known to have been built by NCR’s engineers at the time, though some sources place that number at a whopping 25. Either way, these things are extremely difficult to come by, and their price tags can almost make some luxury sports cars seem rather cheap by comparison.

This particular machine comes with engine identification number 088250, so Peter believes it was among the very first of its kind. NCR made the TT1s specifically for the Tourist Trophy Formula One race which later marked Hailwood’s comeback and legendary win. They had the same 864cc engine capacity as a road-going 900SS, but that’s pretty much where the similarities ended.

1978 Ducati 900 NCR TT1
Photo: Glen Allsop
Lighter pistons pushing 10:1 compression, a bevel gear setup like the 750SS, and Nimonic (a nickel-based superalloy) valves were a few of the upgrades. NCR fabricated special crankcases to improve oil circulation, but the connecting rods, cams, and crankshaft have also been swapped with lightweight alternatives. The intake and exhaust ports were enlarged for better airflow, all contributing to a peak power output of 92 ponies at 8,500 rpm.

A close-ratio, six-speed transmission accompanies the L-twin mill, and the whole shebang is housed inside a chromoly skeleton weighing 12 kilograms (26.5 pounds). Race-worthy handling comes by way of Brembo brakes and Marzocchi suspension, with 18-inch Campagnolo wheels carrying these goodies down the track. Specifications aside, you can probably imagine how thrilled Peter Boggia was to have come in possession of this TT-bred gemstone.

The bike – one of just three imported to the United States – has never been ridden by any of its owners, and it still wears the original Michelin tires from 1978. Its ownership history is very well documented, starting with one Stanley Chan right after Hailwood’s historic moment at the TT. Chan was a collaborator of Italian motorcycle wheel manufacturer EPM and had decided to check out the NCR bikes while he was on a business trip in Bologna.

1978 Ducati 900 NCR TT1
Photo: Glen Allsop
Negotiating with Ducati’s U.S. importer Michael Berliner, he managed to score one for himself and get it delivered to his home in Brooklyn. The motorcycle was subsequently uncrated and put on display in Chan’s living room for around 12 years, over the course of which it’s been started twice. Come April 1990, it was bought by a guy named Greg Rammel and taken to Northville, Michigan for the next decade or so.

Greg fired the engine up twice during his ownership, as well, keeping hold of the precious Duc until the year 2000. He then sold it to Jack Silverman, a renowned collector from Colorado who would only sell it on – or auction it, rather – 14 years later. Silverman sadly passed away in 2017, three years after the 900 NCR went under the hammer at The Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction hosted by Bonhams.

The machine fetched a nauseating $175,500 at that event, taken home by a gentleman from Ridgefield, Connecticut. It made a few public appearances and won multiple awards since then, finally making its way to Moto Borgotaro earlier in 2023. Still in near-perfect condition and unridden, the Italian artifact was thus entering the last stage of its journey so far.

Sir Boggia helped this 900 NCR TT1 find a new home, having recently sold it to an interested buyer for an undisclosed amount. You can be certain that some serious cash was involved given the price of the Bonhams listing, though, and don’t forget to also take a little thing called inflation into account. Still, just imagine how much it’ll be worth in a decade or two.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
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A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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