1971 Ducati Silver Shotgun

Big blasts from the small Ducati Silver Shotgun

| March/April 2006

  • Ducati Silver Shotgun
    The Ducati Silver Shotgun.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • The large tachometer overshadows small speedometer housed in the headlamp shell
    In keeping with the Silver Shotgun's sporting nature, large tachometer overshadows small speedometer housed in the headlamp shell. The black knob below the tach is the steering friction damper.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • Nearly stock, the bike maintains its factory tire pump
    Nearly stock, the bike maintains its factory tire pump.
    Robert Smith
  • A single 29mm Dell'Orto VHB with an aluminum trumpet feeds the Ducati's fuel/air charge
    A single 29mm Dell'Orto VHB with an aluminum trumpet feeds the Ducati's fuel/air charge.
    Robert Smith
  • The bevel drive cover on top of the cylinder head is a Ducati signature
    The bevel drive cover on top of the cylinder head is a Ducati signature.
    Robert Smith
  • The bike maintains its factory rearsets
    This Silver Shotgun was painstakingly disassembled and its frame painted a distinct-yet-familiar hue of green (the same as used on Ducati's famous 750SS). Nearly stock, the bike maintains its factory rearsets.
    Robert Smith
  • Ducati Silver Shotgun
    Ducati Silver Shotgun.
    Robert Smith

  • Ducati Silver Shotgun
  • The large tachometer overshadows small speedometer housed in the headlamp shell
  • Nearly stock, the bike maintains its factory tire pump
  • A single 29mm Dell'Orto VHB with an aluminum trumpet feeds the Ducati's fuel/air charge
  • The bevel drive cover on top of the cylinder head is a Ducati signature
  • The bike maintains its factory rearsets
  • Ducati Silver Shotgun

Ducati Silver Shotgun

Years produced: 1971-72
Total production: N/A
Claimed power: 27hp @ 6,700rpm
Top speed: 98mph
Engine type: Overhead cam, air-cooled single
Weight (dry): 130kg (286lb)
Price then: $1,300 (1972, est.)
Price now: $3,500-$5,500
MPG: 40-60

The story of this particular Ducati Silver Shotgun begins on a quiet street in the foothills of the North Shore Mountains in Vancouver, British Columbia, where I meet Fritz Doernberger pulling up to his house after a bike ride — an unpowered ride, that is. The bicycle, of course, is Italian.

Why "of course?" Fritz is the organizer and mainstay of North Vancouver’s annual Italian Day at Waterfront Park, which typically hosts a couple hundred of Italy’s sweetest vehicular creations. He’s the omnipresent anchor of Vancouver’s monthly Italian night at Caffe Calabria on Commercial Drive, and except in the very direst weather, he’ll arrive on one of his gleaming classic Italian motorcycles. If Italian vehicles are drugs (like many Italophiles’ wives and girlfriends suspect), then Fritz is the "pusher man."

He leads me through his basement, past his Alfa Romeo car flanked by a pair of "matching" orange Ducatis (a 1973 750 Sport and a 350 Desmo); a pack of Parillas; more Ducati singles; and finally a room full of racing bicycles. In the workshop, however, is the bike I’ve come to see: the penultimate version of the Ducati Desmo Mk3D with its unique fiberglass bodywork in silver metalflake. It’s the motorcycle Australia’s Two Wheels magazine nicknamed the "Silver Shotgun."



Read about Fritz Doernberger's experience of owning and riding a Ducati Silver Shotgun 

Even in the dim light of Fritz’s basement, the paint is eye-popping. Chips of aluminum in the heavy clearcoat gleam like diamonds, and when we push the bike out into the daylight, the coarse metalflake sparkles like the spinning mirror globe in a Seventies disco. Built for just two seasons (until a bodywork overhaul by Leopoldo Tartarini of Italjet in 1973), the Silver Shotgun has become one of the rarest Ducati Desmo single motorcycles.



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