At one point in history, it could have been a thing

Looking at history from the lens of today, you can sometimes find some truly unbelievable things. For instance, I recently found out that Mitsubishi once produced a scooter (funny story, check out our Putin on a bike piece). The opposite has also happened where well-established motorcycle manufacturers dabble in the realm of four-wheels—I mean, besides Honda and Suzuki that have a wheel in both industries to this day. Could you picture driving a Ducati car? Well, that almost happened.

It's no secret, the famed Italian maker has a long history of building motorcycles, some of which have become icons. Ages before developing the desmodromic engine, Ducati got humble beginnings as a radio-equipment company. Imagine listening to your music on a Ducati wireless speaker. Weird right?

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Thankfully, Ducati eventually switched over to engines and bikes. The post-war years, however, were not kind to the manufacturer whose plant had been destroyed in bombings. Despite resuming production only a year following the end of the war, the pressure was on to produce a car.

The company obliged and in 1946, designed (on paper), a four-wheel concept. The design featured a trellis tube frame, a technology Ducati would eventually use on its motorcycles, and a 250cc, 90° L-Twin engine with a four-gear transmission. The concept was meant to be a two-seater. Named the DU4, the concept became a prototype of which only one was built. The project was dropped as quickly as it had been picked up and the Ducati car never actually saw the light of day.

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In the years following the first failed attempt at building a car, Ducati tapped into four-wheel racing before finally assembling its very first car in 1965 thanks to a partnership with British company Leyland, maker of the Triumph Herald and Spitfire. The models assembled in Italy sport a cursive "Ducati Mechanica" logo on top of the Triumph one. It is unknown how many were produced, which makes the Ducati-built Triumphs rare and expensive.

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Some Alfa Romeos and Lancia have also historically received Ducati engines. The brand, however, never designed a car of its own after the failed DU4 attempt. We're glad the company refocused its energy on motorcycles to come up with beauties such as the 916 or the Monster. I can't help but wonder what driving a Ducati car would be like today.


Sources: Ducati, Motorcycle News



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