The second water-cooled Ducati desmoquattro, the 888 did well with Doug Polen aboard, winning the SuperBike World Championships in 1991 and 1992. The venerable 916 was in development and except for 1997 would take the crown annually until Y2K. Imported to Oz four years ago, this 888 SP4 was treated to a surprisingly high-level restoration, and looks every bit the ground-breaking SuperBike it is.
Very exotic for a production bike, the 888 SP4 has 116 hp on tap, and over 62 ft.lbs. torque. It has an open loop fuel injection system, no sensor in the exhaust to mixture control, and won't require an auxiliary fuel nannie. The steel trestle frame is bright white on the 888, and carries 42mm Ohlins forks and rear Ohlins monoshock which has progressive linkage. Seat console is beautiful brushed stainless. Brakes are standard ( and excellent ) Bremo Gold Lines, 4-pot calipers in front with 320mm discs, 245mm rear. Wheels are 17 inch lightweight alloys, for tires with with 120 and 180 mm widths.
After bringing the bike from England to the opposite corner of the globe, the owner commissioned a museum-quality restoration, and the bike looks amazing. The auction shows detailed photos of the restoration in progress. As the owner says in the eBay auction:
Very rare genuine 888 SP4. Nut and bolt restoration done three years ago. Every part was either refurbished, repainted or replaced by Metro Ducati. I imported the bike from the UK four years ago in good condition but wanted it perfect, hence the restoration. It has full Australian compliance and is currently on club registration with the Ducati Owners Club. Total restoration cost was $23,000 (on top of the purchase price of the bike). Included are factory books, documented service history and detailed invoices and receipts for the restoration. Bike is absolutely perfect in every way.
Melbourne is not exactly around the corner, though a party interested in a perfect 888 SP4 will have connections to appraise and verify. If it was to hit the tarmac, the rider would find it's a bike with a learning curve, but quick once mastered. Raring to go but unlikely to be seen outdoors again, it's a sad fate for this 888. Maybe ( for each new owner ) one nice ride on the way to the shop, where the engine will be fogged and the fluids drained before wheeling it into the gallery...