Sometimes it seems like the coveted 888 gets more attention than the 851; especially on this blog! But it's important to remember that the 851 itself was still a big step up from the 900SS in terms of technology and performance, and that the 888 is an evolution of this series. The SP3 version fits somewhere in between being a special edition 851, but having never been imported to this country, it's a rare sight, replica or not! Check out this cool Ducati 851 SP3 replica on eBay ($6100/reserve not met currently, 5 days remain):
quote from seller's eBay listing:
I am offering my 1991 Ducati 851 built as an SP3 Replica in hopes that it goes to another loving home. I bought this bike three years ago and put only 2.8 miles on it since then and have decided to sell it to fund my next Porsche street car. I bought this 851 from an authorized Ducati dealer and this was his personal bike. Before I picked it up he did a full service on it including valve adjustment, timing belts, fuel & oil filters, throttle body sync & Co EFI adjustment, fluids & coolant. I just put a new battery and fresh gas in it last week and took it for a ride around our neighboorhood. The sound of the (very expensive) Termignioni "Spaghetti" exhaust brought about every neighboor kid & teen waiting for me to get back in the garage with this bike.
In addition to the rare and expensive exhaust it also has full floating cast iron rotors on billet aluminum carriers, Ohlins shock, Ducati SP3 fiberglass solo race tail section, Billet Brembo brake calipers, Front matching white # plate with painted silver & black clearcoated pinstripes (to match period correct Ducati logo), Period correct Ducati vented clutch cover, Black Brembo 5.5 & 3.5" wheels and probably some other things I have forgot. The 1991 851 has a lightweight aluminum fuel tank which also makes this a desireable year.
As I proofread my opening paragraph writing this post, I had to laugh out loud at myself because I'm actually trying to suggest there's enough difference in the 851/888 series of models such that it requires some debate. I have no doubt the 888 SPO is the tops and 'the one to have'. But as they say, I wouldn't kick an 851 out of bed either. And this one in particular is loaded and good miles.
A couple questions for the readers: How big a difference is the 851 compared to the 888 to you? And is all out rarity and top spec the most important thing to you, or is all out performance -- like if we introduced 748/916 variants in the mix for similar money?