All in all, it’s not hard to see why owning one such machine is a tantalizing prospect for collectors and regular Ducatistas alike. This is especially true when the specimen has either been kept in excellent condition or restored back to its former glory. Now, the 1981 Pantah 500 pictured above is more of a restomod rather than the product of a traditional restoration, but it looks absolutely delicious, nonetheless.
The motorcycle is owned by a guy named Bryan, and it looks as clean as ever thanks to Purpose Built Moto (PBM) of Gold Coast, Australia. Tom Gilroy and his crew didn’t have it easy on this project, though, because the classic Duc was in a sorry state when it first crossed their doorstep. Its twin-cylinder powerplant hadn’t been fired up in over a decade, during which the Pantah was stored rather precariously to say the least.
Despite its pitiful condition, the Aussies were more than happy to take the commission, but nothing could’ve prepared them for how much work was actually involved. For starters, they took the bike apart and stripped the chipping paint off its six-spoke wheels. The hoops were rebuilt with fresh bearings and seals, then painted in the same iconic gold hue they’d worn before.
They wanted to delete a good chunk of visual mass at the back, and Bryan agreed that the Pantah’s massive rear fender had to go. A compact license plate bracket was fitted in its stead, while the factory lighting components made way for much smaller LEDs. These were neatly integrated into the tail section, further enforcing the clutter-free appearance Purpose Built Moto was after.
Flush-mounted turn signals can be seen on the front fairing, as well, flanking a yellow-tinted headlight lens that looks absolutely terrific. In addition, Tom's bike-modding connoisseurs also added a low-profile windshield and it, too, is tinted yellow like the headlamp. Moving on to the cockpit, they refurbished both gauges to perfection and installed a pair of Accosato control levers, as well as new switches from PBM’s proprietary aftermarket catalog.
A complete makeover was also experienced by the gearbox, which is now sending power to the rear wheel via a fresh drive chain. The engine’s covers have been polished by a local collaborator, its cylinder heads were ported in-house, and every bearing or gasket was replaced for good measure. Bryan’s Pantah came with an old Staintune exhaust system – not the original plumbing from Ducati, but a period-correct substitute worth keeping.
Purpose Built Moto repaired the corroded pipes and had them polished to a mirror finish, while the paint job was outsourced to Justin Holmes of Popbang Classics. The color scheme uses a red base topped with silver highlights, and some of you will point out that it’s a far cry from the motorcycle’s standard livery.
Indeed; this particular exemplar had been painted red by one of its previous owners during the eighties, which is what Justin’s colorway seeks to reflect. Last but not least, the creature’s factory saddle was damaged beyond repair, so PBM got the leather experts over at Timeless Auto Trim to upholster a custom alternative from scratch. With the new seat in place, Bryan’s vintage gemstone was ready to hit the streets and turn heads for many years to come.