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Ducati 750ss green frame

Building the Ultimate Collection

(Editor's note: Motorcycle author and classic consultant Ian Falloon has recently been in the unusual position of advising a collector/investor on how to spend a substantial amount of money – starting at half a mil, US. Here he shares the discussion and his advice so far...)

How to Invest US$500k in Vintage Motorcycles or Five Bikes to Buy with US$500k.  Or Teaching a Texas Millionaire How to Collect Motorcycles. By Ian Falloon

This story started with a one line initial email to me a few weeks ago; “I am looking at two 1974 green frame Ducatis and I need some expert help.” So it developed from there and within a short space of time and several hours of zoom meetings this is a summary of how it panned out.

FALLOON: What is your budget?


FALLOON: Do you want to bike bikes that appeal to you or so you want to buy bikes that appreciate? 

COLLECTOR: I want to choose among the bikes that appreciate and the ones that appeal to me. 

Falloon: If you want to make money, you should spend all your money buying green frame Ducatis. They have shown the highest appreciation of all modern-ish motorcycles. The best investments are rare motorcycles that aren’t ridden, are very original and have low miles. As they like to ride, motorcyclists generally don’t agree with this hypothesis but it’s evident when you study sales results.

COLLECTOR: What do you think of my one owner 92 Ducati 900 SS?  

FALLOON: It’s a nice bike but I don’t think it will appreciate much. It’s mass produced and not iconic. For a mass-produced bike to appreciate it has to be iconic; like a Honda ‘sand-cast’ CB750. 

COLLECTOR: Should I buy a museum quality restored green frame for $200k or pay $250k for an all-original example?

FALLOON: The original bikes will always appreciate more.  I suggest paying the premium to get the best original example available.  

COLLECTOR: After the 1974 Ducati 750 SS, what bikes should we target?

FALLOON: I like the zero-mile 1974 Laverda SFC owned by a Chicago businessman and the 40-mile 1977 MV Agusta 850 SS owned by a well-known New York City collector.  Both of these bikes were featured in my books and I know them to be the finest examples available. 

COLLECTOR: After the Laverda, MV AugustFalloon: and the 74 Ducati 750SS we have $442,000 invested. Where do we go from here?

FALLOON: I think you should reconsider your budget, if possible, otherwise the Honda RC30 and the Ducati 998 R are both bikes to consider.

COLLECTOR: After adding the 1990 Honda C30 and the 2002 Ducati 998 R we have exceeded the initial budget by $16,000, now what?

FALLOON: I suggest you focus on very rare and highly desirable bikes. Over time, I would like to see you add a Ducati 2008 Desmosedici, a 1976/77 900 SS, a 1979/80 900 SS, and 750 GT and Sport from the mid-70s.

It is also worth considering some more modern extremely limited edition Ducatis like an 1198R or the series of SuperleggerFalloon: As brand perception is such an important factor in collecting I see Ducati as the strongest modern brand, primarily due to their success in MotoGP and World Superbike racing.

There are other expensive exotic motorcycles available, notably the BMW HP4 Race, but modern BMWs haven’t proved to be highly collectable. Most modern bikes are produced in large quantities and this isn’t a recipe for future collectability.

MV agusta 750ss 850

The collection so far (US$)

1. 1974 Ducati 750 SS - $250,000 (top pic – via Mecum)
2. 1977 MV Agusta 850 SS - $110,000 (above – via Ebay)
3. 1974 Laverda 750 SFC - $82,500 (below – via Ebay)
4. 1990 Honda RC30 - $39,000 (via Classic Avenue)
5. 2002 Ducati 998 R - $35,000 (via Bring a Trailer)
6. 1985 Ducati Mille MHR - $22,000 (via Ebay)
7.  1992 Ducati 900 SS - $8750 
8. 2008 Ducati D16RR $46,000

(Note: several purchases were negiotiated after the completion of the auction.)

Laverda sfc


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