The iconic Gulf Oil orange and blue livery first appeared in motorsport on a Ford GT40 in the 1960s. Since then it’s made many more appearances on the track and has become a hot favourite colour scheme amongst custom car and motorcycle enthusiasts. We’ve featured our fair share of Gulf Racing themed builds here on the website, but there’s always room for one more, especially when it looks this good.
The Gulf Racing themed Ducati 750SS is the work of Armano Filipovic. Based in Marinići in Croatia, Armano is an avid racer and photographer who has a penchant for building his own motorcycles. Prior to this, he built a tidy Honda CX500 cafe racer but the Ducati is his most ambitious build to date.
Armano’s has coined the bike the ‘Spirit of Preluk’ after a local circuit where he regularly takes part in racing events. Preluk also happens to be located in the Kvarner Gulf which is where Amrmano’s inspiration for the Gulf scheme originated.
The project began with the purchase of an ST Full Fairing Cafe-Racer body kit from Ducati Tifoso in Greece. “The rear of the frame was modified and cut where needed to make the bike lighter and to look lighter as well,” says Armano. “The front fairing has been trimmed near the tank to adjust the angle forward for an aggressive look.”
In the rear similar adjustments have been made to the composite cowl. The result is a snug mating of the OEM 750SS fuel tank and the aftermarket tail unit. To give the rear end a unique twist he has also drilled a hole in the centre of the tail to allow a muffler to pass through it. With no space left on the tail, lighting has integrated into the frame loop using a dual function LED strip.
Next, Armano turned his attention to improving the engine’s performance. Rather than a 2-into-1 system he’s opted for a bespoke 2 into 2 setup similar to those seen on Moto GP bikes. The header from the front cylinder flows under the engine to a muffler beside the rear wheel. The rear, which is styled off a Panigale system, snakes its way up under the seat to achieve a matching length. Another unique twist you’ll find here is the trellis-style exhaust bracket that was modelled off the chassis of the bike.
To help the v-twin inhale freely Armano also fabricated a custom intake that extends outside of the frame and wears a single hi-flow pod filter.
“On the left handlebar are switches for race bikes but they’re wired to road-legal components (horn, high beam, turn signals). On the right, I have removed all switches and relocated them to the fairing. There is a toggle switch for turning on and off the lights, another one for fog lights, one for the kill switch and one push-button for the starter.”
For improved cornering clearance, Armano has also fit the 750SS with race-spec rear-set footpegs (You’ll note in these photos he puts that clearance to good use!) To keep things comfortable Armano has also raised the seating position using a custom foam pad which was upholstered by a local expert. Scanning over the bike you’ll also note a plethora of aftermarket bit and bobs such as levers, grips, custom lines and hoses all chosen to compliment the Gulf Oil paintscheme.
As for the paintwork itself, the Gulf scheme uses accurate colour codes and its application mimics the style used on the Porsche 917 Le Man’s race car. To tie everything together Armano created his own colour-matched gauge faces and mounted them in a 3D printed frame.
Armano’s shining glory on the project however is sitting atop the stock 750SS fuel tank. “The tank fuel cap was designed by me and then made on a CNC machine. Because the livery is inspired by a 24h race car I wanted to make a cap to match and it’s 100% functional.”
With its radical lines, iconic livery and lightweight construction Armano’s 750SS is a potent street bike. But the knowledge that this Gulf themed Ducati is being put to use on the track is what excites us the most.
Photography by Armano Filipovic