News 1946-1958 Ducati Cucciolo | Motorcycle History

1946-1958 Ducati Cucciolo | Motorcycle History

Ducati Cucciolo Era

In 1946, with the end of World War II (WWII), Italy had little money and a desperate need for transportation – a combination of circumstances that made the Ducati "Cucciolo" (little puppy) just the right invention at the just the right time. Advertised with a catchy jingle heard on radios throughout Italy – the Ducati Cucciolo was a major success that contributed to the advent of mass motorcycling in Italy.

The Ducati Cucciolo, with its two-speed gearbox, was able to carry two passengers and tackle the steep hills so common in Italy. Moreover, being a four-stroke (with overhead valves!) it could deliver 225 miles per gallon without dirtying the spark plugs. Other mopeds, almost all two-strokes, consumed greater amounts of fuel and had spark plugs that frequently needed cleaning.

The Ducati Cucciolo was manufactured between 1946 and 1958. According to Bruno Ducati, one of the three founding brothers of the company, almost a million units – a record amount – were made, including those built under license abroad. The Cucciolo was not simply a popular vehicle for use around town. It also won in tourism and sport competitions, including the 11,185 mile Paris-Tokyo ride in 1949 and world speed records at Monza in 1950.

Finally, there is the Ducati Cucciolo’s other considerable achievement – that of launching Ducati into it’s motorcycling future.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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