The 'Il Furicone' started its life as a 1983 version of Ducati's Pantah 350 XL. With its angular, 80's styling, door wedge bikini fairing and rather uninspired rear end the Pantah XL wasn't one of the Italians most memorable design efforts. Add to that a 350cc incarnation of Ducati's 90 degree L-twin, chosen for its tax benefits (in Italy) rather than superb performance, and you're left with...well, nothing special really. So when Italian workshop Officine 08 was tasked with transforming the Pantah into something special Simone Spina and his team knew some drastic measures were in order.
The project began after a client approached Officine 08 and, rather surprisingly, requested the bike be customised for their newborn baby girl. Due to the lack of a baby seat I can only assume that it's planned to be a future birthday gift, but I'm sure that resisting the urge to ride the completed bike for the next 18 years is going to be a challenge.
The bikes name 'Il Furicone' roughly translates to "the teaser" and refers to a tool used to keep a bonfire going. With such a sedate starting point the main objective of the build was to breathe some fire into the bike and it was decided the best way to achieve that goal was to crossbreed it with a monster.
I am of course referring to Ducati's very own naked sports bike and it was a 1994 900cc Monster that was tasked with the job. With the 350cc unit gone and the plastic bodywork in the scrap, work began on the trellis frame. With so much extra weight and power to deal with it was important that the frame could withstand the pressure along with accomodating the engines bulkier geometry. In the rear a new subframe was constructed to accept a different tail and modifications were made to allow the fitment of a revised rear suspension configuration. With the engine in place new carburettor manifolds were then designed and constructed from aluminium to accept a pair of Dell' Orto PHM 40 SD 4T carbs.
With the power upgrade taken care of handling modifications followed suit. Once again the Monster was utilised for its USD front end while in the back they fit a 750 Supersport swing arm with its cantilever suspension and Ohlins monoshock. For the wheels a set Ducati 749 Marchesini rims were machined to fit and installed along with a full Brembo brake assembly and Pirelli Corsa rubber.
Once the bike was rolling again the Ducati's new exhaust system was constructed. To optimise the engines performance special attention was paid to getting the header lengths identical. From the rear cylinder the exhaust piping runs down toward the ground before making a 180° turn up between the swing arm and the engine. It then curves over to the right side of the bike to merge with its partner before venting via the blacked out megaphone muffler.
Work then began on improving the Pantah's styling, starting with its new bodywork. To help keep the weight down fiberglass reproduction parts were sourced for the front and rear end. The front half fairing is a replica Ducati 350 Mark 3 unit while at the rear is a MV Agusta 500 GP tail with its classic upswept 'duck bill' tip. The fuel tank is the original unit, but the lower rear section has been cut away to expose the top cylinder and match the line of the tail unit. This helps to make the engine a key design feature and ensures their hard work fitting it in doesn't go unnoticed.
The work of course didn't finish there. On the tank there's also a frenched vent valve. There's a pair of custom mounted rear set footpegs and LSL clip on bars wearing a Tomaselli GP throttle assembly. The exhaust is held by a custom made bracket designed to mimic the trellis construction of the frame and the battery's been mounted out of sight under the tank. The fenders were hand beaten from alloy sheet and the custom alloy dash holds a single tachometer and the fuse box. A candy blue and silver paint scheme inspired by Ducati's original Super Sport, the 900SS bevel twin of 1975/76 finishes it all off beautifully.
As far as gifts from parents go I'd bet this tops the list as the coolest of cool and I can only hope that when the bub grows up she appreciates the work that's gone into Il Furicone. If not, I'd happily accept it as a regift.
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