As a long-time motorcyclist and classic bike enthusiast, I love all classic bikes, but if I had to pick one to look at for the rest of my life, it would probably be the Ducati Paul Smart 1000 LE.
This beautiful bike was unveiled to commemorate Smart’s famous victory in the 1972 Imola 200 event, riding a 750 Desmo that would go on to become the 750SS. Before the event, Smart admitted to being dismissive of Ducati, regarding the brand as a manufacturer of out of date single-cylinder machines. All that would change.
At the time of the Imola 200, he was racing in the US but not earning enough to live on. When his wife called and said Ducati wanted him to ride for the factory in the Imola 200, it was a no brainer to jump on a plane to Italy. The story of the weekend is excellent and well worth reading: Smart eventually won the race and got to keep his bike. The victory was a key moment in Ducati’s transformation into a high performance brand for the modern era and kicked off a long association between Smart and Ducati.
About the Ducati Paul Smart 1000 LE
First offered to the market in 2005, the Paul Smart LE was based on Ducati’s trusty air-cooled 1000DS twin. Designed by the famous Pierre Terblanche, the bikes were incredibly stylish and completely unique. However, the styling was not for everyone and the bikes lasted for just a few years until production ceased in 2010.
Just 2000 Paul Smart Ducatis were built and they are now highly desirable. My friend Chris had one, which I coveted deeply. He rode all over Europe and back to Ducati factory. He describes it as a physically painful but emotionally rewarding experience! Good examples currently fetch up to twenty thousand pounds and have therefore sailed beyond my financial reach, but if prices ever begin to fall again, I will have to find a way to get one.
Bonhams offered this 2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000 LE at its Las Vegas sale in January 2020. Frame no. ZDM1WABP16B001646 was offered in its original crate as an unused and highly desirable Limited Edition model. The wide estimate of £19-25,000 suggests some uncertainty on behalf of the vendors but no doubt this was always going to sell for over £20k. In the end, the unused Paul Smart sold for £21,256 including the buyer’s premium, closer to the low estimate than the high.
The value of this bike could be said to be in its unused condition, but if we think of it as buying a highly desirable brand-new Ducati Limited Edition ready to be used and enjoyed for just £21,000, that is a very good buy. Whether one uses it or keeps it in the crate, it will remain a joy to behold. I think I would use it and keep it in the living room.