Cook Nielsen Ducati 700 SS Replica — Classic Italian Motorcycles — Motorcycle…

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Ducati 750 SS i.e.

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In Cycle magazine editors Neilson and Phil Schilling a Ducati 750 SS to first place at the in the second-ever season of AMA Superbike Neilson retired from at the end of the year, but the bike he and Schilling — nicknamed Old Blue for its blue — became a legend.

How big a legend? Big for Ducati to team with specialty builder NCR to craft a update, New Blue, based on the Sport 1000S, and big enough to the crew at the Barber Vintage Museum, arguably one of the most motorcycle museums in the world, to Ducati specialist Rich to craft a bolt-by-bolt replica for its The finished bike’s name?


The California Hot Rod

Deja Blue’s goes back to the mid-1970s, Cycle editors Cook and Phil Schilling were a Ducati 750 SS in West Coast The California Hot Rod, as Cook their Ducati, was one of only a of the race-bred Ducati 750 SS models in the (their bike was one of three specials shipped over in and with Cook riding and developing the bike, they it with great success in the seasons.

When the AMA (American Association) announced its new Superbike for 1976, Cook and Phil their attention to preparing bike for the series, with a win at their ultimate goal. in third in the inaugural Superbike at Daytona in 1976, they off to a good start, and they to race in the series throughout the

To get the California Hot Rod into contention for the season, the pair modified Ducati 700 SS with, among things, a set of 87mm Venolia (pushing capacity up to 883cc), Harley-Davidson intake valves, a Marvin Webster gearbox and magnesium wheels. At the same Phil designed a new and very paint scheme, and the bike Old Blue. “It was blue,” Cook “And God knows it was old — the cylinder dated back to 1974, other parts were and religiously refreshed.”

Daytona bound

By the time rolled around in March of the pair was ready. The 1976 had proved their faith in the 700 SS, and they knew that favorable conditions a win at Daytona be theirs. In the days leading up to the everything went like Cook and the Ducati consistently off lap times that were two ahead of the rest of the field.

The big day on March 11, and as Cook made his way Daytona, a track he’d only four times he built a lead that faltered. When the race was Cook had come in first, 28 ahead of David Emde and an even longer lead young gun Wes Cooley. Cook and had realized their dream, and had given Ducati its first North American win.

place in history was sealed.

and Phil continued to race for the of the season, but for Cook it was time to it quits. As far as he was concerned, he’d his goal, and now it was time to move on to things. In 1979 he shocked the community when he resigned Cycle . handed over the to Phil and moved to Vermont, gears to a successful career in photography.

Fast forward 29 years to Bike Week 2008. Vintage Museum parts restorer and all around classic expert Brian Slark, executive director Jeff and Rich Lambrechts are sitting talking shop. “It just of materialized,” Slark recalls. and Rich and I were talking, and one of us ‘what if?’”

The “what if” what if they built a of Old Blue, now in a private collection in New Jersey and out of the public eye since Slark and Ray thought Old Blue make a perfect addition to the and since they couldn’t buy the thing, why not have Lambrechts a replica?

Better yet, it out Lambrechts had a thing for Old Blue and had pondering such a build for time. “I’d obtained a few and realized I had the bones to make the Lambrechts says. “They they’d be interested, and it took me all of two to think about it.”

had already been invited to as Guest of Honor at the 2008 Vintage Festival, and with on board a plan was hatched to Cook with the replica a museum fundraiser at the mid-October That gave Lambrechts seven months for the build, as he explains, “with the schedule we it meant I had 35 days available to on the bike.”

Ducati 750 SS i.e.
Ducati 750 SS i.e.

And he needed every one of those 35 Endowed with an almost obsession with originality, was determined to make this more than just a if such a thing is possible. “In my I wanted it to be exact and pay tribute to guys,” he says. “I felt the had to be as good or better than the or it wasn’t worth doing at

Exact it is. From the correct pistons to the Morris wheels, to the St. medal on the fairing and the fairing themselves, the bike is perfect. Castrol [decal] is one that Castrol hasn’t reproduced, just not available,” Lambrechts

He made his own.

According to Clarke, who helped Lambrechts the build’s final days, the of NOS (new-old-stock) parts in the machine is “He had an NOS fender with original that he stripped, an NOS Conti that he rattle-canned black — like they did originally,” says.

On the appointed day, and Clarke were still to finish the bike. “Rich was up days straight ’til it was up,” Clarke says. bound from Lambrechts’ in Florida, Lambrechts finished the muffler in the van.

At the museum fundraiser that as Cook was regaling a crowd tales of Old Blue, they the bike out and the room went Cook lifted his hands to his and looking at the bike in absolute was at a loss for words. “As soon as I saw it, I who had built it,” Cook explaining he knew from the it wasn’t the original Old Blue.

Lambrechts sorted out some issues the next day, took the bike out for four of the Barber track. “It’s a bike,” Cook says, I think it’s got more But it sounded the same and it felt the it’s absolutely amazing.”

Blue is now on permanent display at and Cook’s been given access to it. “I talked to Mr. Barber, and he ‘Here’s the deal; you now not only your own bike, but you have own racetrack,’” Cook says. can bet I’ll get down there.”

And the Lambrechts explains: “I was standing at the and that’s when the name into my head. I was making a for the engine, lightening it and trimming it and I had to stop and ask, is this And I said yes, for these it is.”

Old Blue and Ducati

When Neilson and Phil Schilling their “Racer Road” in Cycle magazine, detailing quest for a win in the new AMA Superbike class, couldn’t have dreamed Ducati 750 SS would become one of the iconic Ducatis ever in America. Although Ducati was by the motorcycling cognoscenti, the Italian was still struggling to get broad on these shores.

Cook was an fan of Ducati, writing in the January issue of Cycle . “The Sport is the most functionally motorcycle that has ever produced for public consumption.” made Cook and Phil’s win all the important for Ducati, because in to the publicity Ducati had received the Racer Road series, benefitted even more Cook and Phil brought their Daytona trophy.

Ducati was on the map, and all because of a of struggling privateers. MC

Ducati 750 SS i.e.
Ducati 750 SS i.e.


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