The Ducati 851 is literally the bike that saved Ducati from the scrapheap. Prior to the 851 Ducati was in serious financial difficulty and was producing odd bikes like the Paso. In 1985, Ducati was purchased by Claudio Castiglioni’s Cagiva group and shortly thereafter began making world class performance bikes, including the 851 and then the 888. That plus racing success re-established the brand as a top manufacturer and opened the door for injections of capital by investment group TPG which set Ducati up for growth into the 21st century. Most recently Ducati was sold to the Audi group for slightly over 1 Billion dollars, so to say the 851 was a significant bike in the success, growth and continuation of the Ducati brand is putting it mildly.
This particular 851 is listed as having an astonishingly low 590 miles since new. The seller states that the bike has been in two collections for its entire life and has been kept in a conditioned environment the entire time. While this statement is usually taken with a grain of salt, from the numerous hi-res pictures on the auction, it does appear to be owned by a serious collector (check out some of the other bikes and cars in the pics!) so this time the statement may be true.
Here are the pluses (+) and minuses (-) according to the auction.
+ Still has the delivery stickers in place and they are on great condition.
+ Outside of the Pipes and the brake lines are 100% stock and original condition.
+ The bike has never been buffed, paint looks great and is in excellent original condition.
- The tires are original, hence they are 25 years old.
- The tank has a small 10mm surface scuff above the Ducati sticker.
- The front faring at the bottom leading edge behind the front tire has a very small crack.
- Both aluminum Termignoni cans have small scuffs and scratches.
- The triangular plate at the rear axle bolt is the only part that has picked up a little patina.
Interestingly, the seller indicates this particular bike is the 851 Ducati was on displayed as part of the "History of the Superbike" at the 2012 Red Bull Indianapolis Moto GP
So essentially you are biding on a time capsule bike. While its not a zero miles bike its about as perfect an 851 you are likely to find. This bike would appear to be fairly valued at 9000 USD, especially if you are a collector looking to add one of the most important Ducati models to your collection.