Passing the Torch
From Grandfather to Grandson: Ducati
750 GT to GT1000
Special Report by Joe in Dallas for webBikeWorld.com
Part 2 -
Joe's 750 GT Custovation Diary
It was Fall of 2003 at the Tokyo Motor Show and Ducati
announced its plans to introduce the
SportClassic line of
“Motorcycles that capture the essential beauty,
timeless style and emotion of the original Ducati sport
bikes of the 1970's." read the press release.
"Even though they reflect the best
of the past, they incorporate the latest Ducati
technology and engineering, creating a thoroughly modern
motorcycle that lives up to today's standards of
road-going performance.” I was mentally knocked off my feet.
At the time of the SportClassic announcement, I was deep in the
process of "custovating" a 1974 Ducati 750 GT bevel head.
What's custovation, you ask? It's a term I use to describe my work
combination of customizing and renovation.
We're not talking about a restoration, which means to bring back to an original
condition. Custovation has a more specific meaning:
customize - to make or alter to individual or personal
specifications, combined with renovation - which is to
restore to an earlier condition, by repairing or
For example, the 750 GT shown here is a blend of the
old and the modern, with the modern improvements
including the ignition, an upgraded front brake and charging,
noticeable is the retro 750 Super Sport green and silver paint
Reading about the proposed SportClassic models did
two things for me. First, it confirmed what I believed
all along, that the fundamental design and appearance of
the SS, Sport and GT had a permanent place in motorcycle
design history, and I had my little sliver of that.
Second, it launched a personal odyssey that led me to
owning a 2006 Ducati GT1000.
In 2003, the SportClassic follow-up articles mentioned how the
Paul Smart 1000 was inspired by the 750 Imola Racer; the
Sport 1000 was designed in the café’ style and the GT1000
would be following in the footsteps of the classic 750
Ducati also went on
about the limited production numbers for these bikes and
how the cost would be out-of-sight for the average guy. That did it for
me. Any fantasies about owning a modern mate to my
classic 750 GT went up in mental smoke.
Four years passed and the 750 GT and I
enjoyed leisurely outings, with compliments from everyone
that took the time to look. Then a funny thing happened
one Saturday afternoon. I happened by the local
BMW dealer and there -- sitting by
the shop door -- was a Ducati Red GT1000, two months old, with 350
miles on the clock and a soft asking price.
But I didn’t see the red color; instead I saw green and silver,
with a trimmed tail light, bar-end mirrors and muted
I imagined a custovation, with the GT1000
looking similar to but not exactly like my 750 GT, since the
GT1000 is made in the image of the 750 GT but some 33 years
later. On the other hand, I wanted to show the strong
connection that confirmed they are from the same gene pool.
The tail light modifications were first. The turn signal
stalks were removed, holes filled with ABS epoxy and
Amber LED signals replaced the front signals
and the rear units were installed under the seat to make
them less conspicuous when off. The GT1000 uses an
electronic control circuit located in the instrument
cluster to manage the blinking, so there was no problem
with erratic blinking usually experienced by thermal
License Plate Light
The reflectors and license light were removed from the
stock assembly and excess plastic trimmed. The new
license light is a die-cast chrome frame with integral
white LED’s from Custom Dynamics. At night, the white
glow is a real eye-catcher.
The mirrors are 3 inch machined aluminum with a slight
fish-eye design, exactly like CRG Hindsight mirrors but
one-third the price from Cycle Gear. I have a pair of
Hindsight’s on my Centauro, and they look identical.
I usually do my own painting but I went back to the
expert who had painted the 750 GT. Ed Terrell does excellent
work but re-assured me that cars are where he makes his
The stock sound of the GT1000 is subdued compared to the
750 GT’s Conti replicas. After 3 months of tracking down
local GT1000 owners with Termignoni’s and Staintune
reverse megaphones, my ears told me it was Staintune (Editor's
Note: See our
GT1000 Blog for more info on the Staintunes).
The silencers have a hefty low rumble at idle with a bit
of a British twitter. On acceleration, they sound off
with authority. It’s a different sound than Termi’s,
more like a Norton Commando on steroids, but a sound I
prefer for the money.
And maybe a Snider’s removable clear plastic Paintgard will
cover the critical chafe areas where the rear of the
tank meets the seat front. My paunch doesn’t help
Modifications and Sources
- MOTRAX LED Arrows Short BLACK (#54544, $27.00 pair)
and MOTRAX Mini Billet Bar End Mirrors (#54114, $50.00).
Custom Dynamics Chrome Die-Cast
LED license plate holder (# 8201-52, $35.00)
- 3M Automix #5883 plastic repair available at auto body
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From "J.J.": "Joe in Dallas has 2
beautiful machines. The term "restovation" equates
to resto-mod in the car world. I love the
green/silver paint on both bikes, it being a very
inspired choice. The fact that the GT1000 sounds
like a Norton brought a smile to my face. I have a
72 Combat Roadster that was restovated (?) by Colorado
Norton Works. Gotta love the sound."