Back in the late 1980's/early 1990's, Ducati was turning things around. The bologna-based company had developed its 851 engine back in 1987 and the fuel injected L-twin engine was powerful, reliable and had brought Ducati something it had not had for many years; racing success. But the Ducati bosses recognized that even though their 851 machines were doing well on the track, something more powerful was needed to keep pace with the competition, especially since the big Japanese firms had decided to focus development on not only power but also improved handling and light weight. The simplest solution for Ducati was to increase the bore size to 888 while working on their next gen bike, the epic 916, hence the Ducati 888 series was born. This post is for a SPO version, which was the 1993 edition (the 1994 edition was designed as the 888 Limited Edition).
The 888SPO was a bit of a band-aid bike for Ducati. The company originally intended to bring its race replica SP5 bike into the US but couldn't get them past D.O.T requirements. So for the US market Ducati took their European 888 Strada which was basically just an 851 with an 888cc engine in it and added some top shelf SP5 components such as a single seat, up-swept exhaust system and upgraded Ohlins shock system to create the 888 SPO for 1993. According to the Ducatiforums, approximately 290 were built for the US market
NOTE: For 1994 the 888 got even more top shelf goodies and was named the 888 Limited. According to the Ducati forums, only 100 888 Limited editions were imported for the US market.
What was the 888 like to own/ride? Here is a review by Visordown
"By far the best were the Öhlins-kitted SPs, culminating with the best-of-the-bunch SP5 in 1993. But like anything exotic and Italian, getting the best out of an 888 requires experience, knowledge, patience and money. The factory's base suspension settings were all over the shop making a good 888 class-leadingly stunning and a bad one worse than a poorly rebuilt write-off with flat tyres, square wheels and a chocolate frame.
But the key to the 888s celebrity status isn't the fact that it's drop-dead gorgeous, vastly fast, or rewarding to ride. It can indeed be all of those things, granted, but because the factory produced so few by today's mass-manufacturing standards, it's the 888's scarcity that adds volumes to its value and appeal. The 888 is the biking equivalent of a Ferrari 250GTO, and that dear reader, is why you want one."
This particular 888 looks to be in great shape with the only non-OEM item I am seeing being the tank scratch/bump pad. Also I think the rear license plate mount might have been cut down a bit/"profiled".
The seller includes good information regarding maintenance in the ebay listing, which is always a good sign. Here are the highlights of what the seller has to say:
- For sale is my beloved 1993 Ducati 888 Sport Production (h)Omologation (SPO). Maintained to be a daily driver but only used when sunny and dry.
- Factory original bodywork and never been dropped or repaired, every switch and lever works as intended from the factory.
- Belts, timing and all fluids serviced within the last 1000 miles.
- I believe I am the third owner after purchasing from a close friend who cared for her similarly. All original with the exception of the following:
- Fast by Ferracci carbon fiber exhaust
- Fast by Ferracci power chip
- Fast by Ferracci carbon fiber front fender (identical to 1994 888 SPO LTD)
- Fast by Ferracci fuel cap
- Fuel tank lined and sealed
- Fuel tank pad
- Lithium battery (Feb2016)
- Performance silicone blue brake and clutch lines
- Profiled rear fender
- European high power headlight
- Battery tender quick release plug
So what is this lovely redhead worth? The entire 888 series is pretty rare, with slightly less than 400 brought into the USA over the two year run, so its going to be of interest to both investment-oriented collectors and fans of the period. The near OEM condition of this will also likely impact the price. The only concern would be that mileage is about 16,000 which can be an issue if the bike hasn't had proper maintenance but the info provided by the seller should make this one has been taken care of.
Prices for the Ducati 888 SPO's and Limiteds we have posted previously on RSBFS seem to show a current market value of about $10,000 USD, more for bikes that have had some upgrades. The current bid price on this one is at $7,300 USD and the reserve has been met so this one will definitely be moving on to a new owner after the auction ends. Overall, this seems to be an opportunity for a relatively safe acquisition of a limited edition Ducati that will probably appreciate over time.