Ducati 888 SP3
Ducati 888 SP3
The Ducati 888 is in essence an enlarged 851 so it is there that the story starts. The 851 was launched in 1987 replacing the 900SS. It had the signature Ducati vee-twin engine but this time it was liquid cooled and had 4-valve desmodromic heads and computerized fuel injection. The chassis was again a Ducati trellis frame fitted with Brembo brakes, Marzocchi suspension and Marvic wheels (initially a 16 inch front but changed to a 17 inch to improve handling).
The Ducati 888 was the result of evolving the 851 superbike in the fiercely competitive World Superbike series (the 851/888 won 3 WSB titles!) but it took a couple of years after the racing machines went up to 888cc before the road bikes followed suit. This happened in 1992 when Ducati launched the 888 as a factory model, the bore being increased to enlarge the capacity. Several variants of the models were produced, the first 888 being an 851 chassis with a SP3 (888) engine, through to the 888 SP5 that came out in 1993.
Only 11, 888 Ducatis of all variants were licensed in the UK in 2016. Although there are surely more tucked away in sheds around the country I think this shows clearly the rarity of these bench-mark bikes. The 851/888 was the turning point of Ducati's fortunes and put them back on the map as a racing company and as manufacture of top flight road machines. Prices of these bikes have already seen a significant rise and it is easy to see why.
The 888 we offer here is a SP3 Strada example finished in tradition red. It is still with the original owner and has covered 35,000 miles from new. The body work is a little scruffy and with numerous scratches and scrapes but there are no major dents. It is useable as it is but it would make a great restoration starting point as you could return it to its former glory for very little effort.
Given the extreme rarity of this model is it no coincidence that they are in the sights of many collectors.