Ducati Motor Holding, the Italian maker of screamingly fast, decadently pricey, and gracefully curvy designs, is about to be sold to Audi, part of the Volkswagen (VOW:GR) empire, for $1.1 billion, Bloomberg News reported on April 17. Audi has additional boutique brands in its stable, including Bugatti and Lamborghini. Ducati sold about 42,000 bikes in 2011 and the acquisition would allow Audi to boost its competitive presence against Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW:GR), which competes with Ducati. On this niche section of the transport business, the marketers at Mazda called it right: “Zoom, zoom.”

Photograph by Armin Zogbaum/Gallery Stock

Ducati Motor Holding, the Italian maker of screamingly fast, decadently pricey, and gracefully curvy designs, is about to be sold to Audi, part of the Volkswagen (VOW:GR) empire, for $1.1 billion, Bloomberg News reported on April 17. Audi has additional boutique brands in its stable, including Bugatti and Lamborghini. Ducati sold about 42,000 bikes in 2011 and the acquisition would allow Audi to boost its competitive presence against Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW:GR), which competes with Ducati. On this niche section of the transport business, the marketers at Mazda called it right: “Zoom, zoom.”

Photograph by Armin Zogbaum/Gallery Stock

Ducati's Motorbikes, Racing Through the Years

Around the Bend
Around the Bend

Ducati Motor Holding, the Italian maker of screamingly fast, decadently pricey, and gracefully curvy designs, is about to be sold to Audi, part of the Volkswagen (VOW:GR) empire, for $1.1 billion, Bloomberg News reported on April 17. Audi has additional boutique brands in its stable, including Bugatti and Lamborghini. Ducati sold about 42,000 bikes in 2011 and the acquisition would allow Audi to boost its competitive presence against Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW:GR), which competes with Ducati. On this niche section of the transport business, the marketers at Mazda called it right: “Zoom, zoom.”

Photograph by Armin Zogbaum/Gallery Stock
Cucciolo (1945)
Cucciolo (1945)

In the middle of World War II, a designer named Aldo Farinelli developed the prototype of an auxiliary motor to be mounted on a bicycle: the Cucciolo.

Courtesy Ducati
The Ducati 98 (1952)
The Ducati 98 (1952)

The company says the 98 was designed to be a “bare-bones, low-performance” model.

The Desmo (1956)
The Desmo (1956)

With Ducati’s Desmodromic valve system in 1956, Ducati single cylinders reached a new level of technical advancement.

Courtesy Ducati
The Scrambler (1962)
The Scrambler (1962)

The Scrambler, sold from 1962 to 1978, was aimed mainly at the U.S. market but was also sold in Europe, beginning in 1968.

Courtesy Ducati
500 GP (1971)
500 GP (1971)

The appearance of the 500 GP in 1971 came as a bit of an engineering marvel: The bike was developed in only six months.

750 SS (1973)
750 SS (1973)

The 750 Super Sport Desmo was unveiled in late 1973.

Courtesy Ducati
Pantah (1979)
Pantah (1979)

In 1979, Ducati introduced a new twin-cylinder engine, called Pantah. The public reaction was less than enthusiastic, according to Ducati.

Courtesy Ducati
TT2 (1981)
TT2 (1981)

In 1981, Ducati showed a model called the TT2, with a light frame weighing less than 16 pounds.

Paso 906 (1989)
Paso 906 (1989)

The Paso 906 was introduced in 1989.

Courtesy Ducati
Monster (1992)
Monster (1992)

In 1992, Ducati unveiled a new design, from Miguel Galluzzi, that was to become an icon. "All you need is: a saddle, tank, engine, two wheels, and handlebars," Galluzzi said, according to the company.

Courtesy Ducati
996 (1998)
996 (1998)

The 996 was introduced in 1998. It won the World Superbike Championship three consecutive times.

Courtesy Ducati
1199 Panigale
1199 Panigale

Ducati says it gave the designers and engineers a “blank canvas” to create the new 1199 Panigale, which sports 195 horsepower. The bike retails for $28,000—and up.

Courtesy Ducati
Ducati
Ducati

An Italian icon, now valued at more than $1 billion.

Photograph by Armin Zogbaum/Gallery Stock