Ducati TT 1 Dual-Purpose Racer by Italian Iron Classics, LLC

Posted by Scot Wilson on


One of my favourite builds has been this TT 1 with race prepped 750 cc Ducati engine and purpose-built for either spirited track or road riding. I have always been a fan of the twin cylinder, Ducati 750 cc displacement racers from my 1973 Spaggiari Scuderia inspired 750 cc bevel drive desmo racer through to my 2001 Ducati 748 rs racer. These 750 cc engines in the Taglioni "L" twin configuration exhibit that quintessential balance between light weight, torquey and high-revving power delivery. At the track, on the dyno or up our mountain roads, this engine has that exotic "Ferrari of Motorcycles" race finesse in its exhaust note and loads of "grunt" while pulling hard through the gears. Additionally impressive is the fact that we are using a "vintage" Ducati belt-driven twin cylinder engine that is actually decades old! Many of the step by step photos of this build can be found in my TT 1 album on my Scot P Wilson/Italianiron FB page. 

Our belt driven Ducati 750 cc engine started life in an Elephant frame. It was rescued and the bottom-end was rebuilt by Biggelaar Performance in The Netherlands before I bought the engine. I already had a set of Dual-Plugged Supersport race heads for this Paso based engine where the carburetors face each other between the engine heads. Jan Biggelaar worked his magic taking these race heads to his flow bench and deriving the best balance of flow for these 750 cc heads. Now this engine flows the fuel mixture very efficiently in conjunction with our 13:1 high compression pistons. 36 mm SmartCarb billet flat-slide carbs maintain the velocity that we need in this spirited race engine as it builds extremely impressive power up and down through the rev range. We found 11% more HP on the dyno using our 36 mm SmartCarbs over other larger, carburetor options! As a dealer for SmartCarbs, I have written 10 blog posts to date on the successes that we have had using our SmartCarbs and available for review on my Italianiron.com website. Feel free to contact me at Italianiron@msn.com with any specific questions as to the products that we offer or with regard to technical questions about our builds. 

I also love the "Blue on Red" livery that Tony Rutter & Pat Slinn made famous on their world famous TT 1 racers. Through Molnar Precision LTD owners of Two Wheel Classics, we have everything that you may need to build your own TT 1, TT2 or TT 1000 racer for the road or track. We make our chrome-moly frames that are faithful copies of Tony Rutter's world famous race frames. Further, we offer complete bodywork kits and thanks to Andy Molnar, we are back to offering aluminum TT 900 "shallow sump" fuel tanks for modern Ducati engines and aluminum TT 2 "deep sump" fuel tanks for Pantah based engines where the carbs attach at the rear of each cylinder. The new builder of our aluminum fuel tanks makes each fuel tank by Hand using a mallet, sandbag and an English Wheel. Apart from the raised "eyebrow" on the top of the tank, these tanks are NOT pressed. To quote Andy, "all that is used to turn them from a flat sheet of aluminum is skill, experience & the rack of the eye!" Shown below is this hand-made aluminum TT 900 fuel tank with its smooth, rounded shape that seems also to "flow" consistently and evenly along the frame rails.

At Italianiron.com we love working with craftsman in an age where everything seems to be mass produced in a "cookie cutter" manner and without the skill and attention-to-detail that only the human touch and skill can impart. One must really take a step back to understand what level of skill and artistry is being achieved here!! These aluminum TT fuel tanks after being formed, are gas-welded which is arguably an artform in itself. As anyone who has worked with aluminum knows, as soon as you touch a thin piece of aluminum with a torch, it instantly distorts like a crinkle potato chip or crisp! Most tank makers TIG weld their tanks but TIG welding aluminum often leads to Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) next to the weld which leads to premature failure. Shown below is my Ducati 750 ss that I had purchased from Domi Racer in Cincinnati, Ohio and sporting that brand new aluminum Imola tank that I had purchase from a supplier in the UK back in the day.
I can attest to the real world experience of premature aluminum failure from the weakening of the aluminum in the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) where TIG welding was applied. Whereas the welds on the underside of the Imola tank looked very good, it was, therefore, so surprising when this newly purchased aluminum fuel tank for my Ducati 750 ss Domi Racer cracked at the frame mount as I was pulling into the pit garage after the race. This was the first race event with this new tank. What a mess was created when all of the residual fuel out of this large capacity fuel tank flowed down from the tank and all over the floor. I was lucky that the break had not taken place during that BOTT race at the Mid-Ohio race track as there could have been some real fireworks!! I have used a fiberglass Imola tank that I bought in the 1990's and have used it with only race fuel without issue on my Spaggiari Scuderia Ducati 750 ss Corse race bike since I built this latest bevel racer. Additionally, friend and mentor, Malcolme Tunstall has also had good success using good quality fiberglass fuel tanks safely with his different Ducati bevel drive racers and with good effect. However, in today's world of improved technology and metallurgy, I hope that our new tank builder can build an Imola tank for me but in aluminum!!
Shown above is the "crinkle" effect of the gas welding on the underside of our TT 900 aluminum fuel tank. However, I will accept a little bit of "crinkle" visible only under the tank where it can not be seen if I am benefiting from avoiding the risk of developing cracks in the welds of the tank like I experienced racing in BOTT!! Our new aluminum TT 900 "shallow sump" fuel tanks can claim a capacity of 3.5 gallons. As I use this TT 1 on the street as well, it was important to determine the capacity of this fuel tank for use on our local Ducati Desmo Southwest club rides. Additionally, since I use 36 mm SmartCarb flat slide carbs on this TT 1 racer, I can safely go on longer rides as we have experienced the claimed  30% savings in fuel economy stated by the engineers at Technology Elevated, manufacturer of the SmartCarb!! There are many significant benefits of using our SmartCarbs in addition to significantly more HP and ease of use! For more information on the technological advantages of the SmartCarb flat-slides carbs, I recommend going to the Technology Elevated website. 
Shown above is a photo of our TT 1 Fairing with recesses that are made for using modern LED headlamps. We do continue to manufacture this front fairing with the recesses for an additional charge through Two Wheel Classics and it is available unpainted or painted in our Yellow on Red or Silver on Red TT 2 livery as well. We also like using modern 3 spoke Brembo wheels on our racers that will spend time on the road as they mount well with just a bearing change with our 41.7 mm Marzocchi M1R fork set-up. Many companies continue to manufacture 300 mm front rotors which makes putting together the front end of this racer less traumatic. If you are looking for Marzocchi 41.7 M1R's and 35 mm forks, we have numerous sets in stock. Also worthy of note is that we manufacture aluminum standard or adjustable sets of yokes/triple clamps to work with different sizes of forks as well as matching in size, clip-on's. 
We remain committed to supporting the world of Vintage Motorcycle Racing as well as to supporting those specialty bike builders as a supplier of quality chassis, bodywork and specialty racing spare parts. At Italianiron, let us "Fuel Your Race Passions" is not just a slogan but a commitment whether you are building a vintage TT racer for competition or a Ducati F1 vintage street bike. Please contact me at Italianiron@msn.com with any additional questions. We are also excited to support enthusiasts for Norton Manx and Norton Commando racers through Molnar Manx and BritIron Classics Norton
As this blog post began with a photo of Tony Rutter on his Ducati powered TT racer at the Isle of Mann, it is appropriate to share another photo above provided by Michael Arnott and Athletic Roman of Tony Rutter teamed up with another hero of mine, Peter Williams and both mounted on their respective John Player Norton racers!! At Italianiron and BritIron Classics, we celebrate the skills of two of the world's finest racers and representing two of the most significant marques, Ducati and Norton from the early days of the sport of motorcycle racing. It is our hope that you get immersed into the history, the passion and the early technology of these amazing machines. Let us "Fuel Your Race Passions" to keep the sport of vintage motorcycle racing alive and well!!

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