The story behind Ferrari's only motorcycle: a hometown for 'Il Commendatore'

Ferrari is one of the most iconic firms in the automotive world.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2023 Saturday 00:13
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The story behind Ferrari's only motorcycle: a hometown for 'Il Commendatore'

Ferrari is one of the most iconic firms in the automotive world. However, many are unaware that, on one occasion, the firm was seduced by the universe of two wheels and agreed to place its logo on a motorcycle, the only one of all time to officially display the "Prancing Horse".

The history of this motorcycle goes back to the 90s, when the British David Kay, a popular engineer and designer of the MV Augusta, insisted on paying homage to the legendary Enzo Ferrari. Two years after the death of "Il Commendatore", Kay contacted Piero Ferrari and proposed creating a motorcycle in homage to his father.

In a historic decision, Piero expressed in a letter, on May 23, 1990, his authorization to place the "Prancing Horse" on the body of that future motorcycle, of which only one unit would be produced. In addition, he took advantage of the letter to encourage Kay in her ambitious project and wish her luck.

That was the starting point so that, in 1995, the first and only motorcycle that has ever been produced with the Ferrari logo was born. In between, more than four years and 3,000 hours of painstaking work dedicated to the handcrafted construction of an exclusive piece of engineering.

After receiving surprising approval from Piero Ferrari, Kay got down to business. He had to start from scratch, so the first thing he did was carefully analyze the past of the prestigious Italian firm and try to guess where the future of the brand would go. What would a motorcycle made by Ferrari in Maranello have been like?

A question without an answer that, nevertheless, the designer tried to solve. Kay imagined what that racing or endurance bike would have been like if "Il Commendatore" continued to run the Bolognese company. Sporty, daring and, obviously, fast. She also helped him discover that Enzo had raced a Scott two-stroke as a youngster.

In 1995, he presented his extraordinary motorcycle, the Ferrari 900, equipped with cutting-edge elements of its time. The light “rosso” colored aluminum body is combined with a Reynolds 531 tubular chassis. At the front it mounts a Forcelle Italia inverted fork, while at the rear it incorporates WPS double shock absorbers. All this, accompanied by spectacular 17-inch Astralite wheels and Brembo disc brakes on both wheels.

Its design is reminiscent of old competition motorcycles, with a huge windshield. On the front it shows off an iconic round double headlight of its time. In addition, the saddle has an elongated shape that gives it a retro look, just like the fuel tank. Even the side gills on its fairing are a clear nod to the Testarossa.

As for the engine, Kay handcrafted a 900 cc four-cylinder transverse block in his workshop, associated with a five-speed gearbox. The 105 horsepower at 8,800 rpm allows the 172 kg machine to reach a top speed of 265 km/h. It can also go from 0 to 100 km/h in three seconds.

In 2008, David Kay decided that the time was right for his jewel to find a new owner, so he decided to auction it off at the renowned Bonhams house. The price, 300,000 euros, did not find a buyer. However, in 2012 it was successful and it ended up being sold for a figure close to 100.00 euros.