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“Barn Find Condition”: 1968 Ducati 250 Scrambler

061916 Barn Finds - 1968 Ducati Scrambler 250 - 1

This is a rare one: a 1968 Ducati 250 Scrambler. It’s located in Middletown, New York and is listed on eBay with a current bid price of just over $1,500, but the reserve isn’t met. The seller doesn’t say that it was actually found in a barn, although it looks like it was. They say that it’s in “Barn Find Condition”.

061916 Barn Finds - 1968 Ducati Scrambler 250 - 2

The seller says that they “bought it not running. The engine turns.” Speaking of engines, this is the second series of Ducati Scramblers. They were made from 1968 through 1976 in several sizes: first was the 350, then this little 250 was born. They also made a 450 and on the other end of the scale, a 125 for the European market. The second series had the “wide case” engines, which, well, they were a little wider than the “narrow case” engines were. If you haven’t noticed, this is a 250 single-cylinder. The 350s had a high enough compression ratio, 10:1, that they required a decompression lever on the left handlebar. The 250s, with a 9.2:1 compression ratio, didn’t need that feature.

061916 Barn Finds - 1968 Ducati Scrambler 250 - 3

Ducatis have a wide network of clubs, websites, and forums available to help with the restoration. These were overhead cam engines and they had around 18 hp. These Scramblers weren’t really made for strict off-road-duty like the early Scramblers were, but I’m sure it would handle 90% of anything that a person could throw at them, sort of like the person who drives a new Jeep or other SUV and never takes it off-road, yet they could if they wanted to. This bike in restored condition will most likely be parked in front of any number of quaint coffee shops and be right at home.

061916 Barn Finds - 1968 Ducati Scrambler 250 - 4

You’ll want to delicately polish this engine, you don’t want to lose that super cool detail. This bike is being “sold with a bill of sale”, and for anyone who has ever gone through that before, which I am now, it’s an absolute nightmare. Or, it can be; not always, of course. But, sometimes it can’t be helped that there isn’t a title with decades-old motorcycles, or cars. These bikes are rare with less than 1,000 of them being sold in the US. I’ve never seen one in person but I think this would be a great restoration project. Is anyone else out there a Ducati fan? If so, would you restore this bike to like-new condition or just get it working and ride the wheels off of it?


  1. cyclemikey

    I don’t know what a ‘derelict restoration’ is, but if he means get the mechanical bits into good condition and all serviced up, and then ride it as-is, I agree 100%. This should be left in its original condition, wearing its rust and scars proudly.

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  2. Steven C

    This bike is way cool! I would put lights on it and ride it around town.

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  3. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Great bike. These were wonderful…not as “hoppy” as a 2 stroke Yammer or Suzuki dirt ride but there’s nothing like a 4-stroke bevel! Rode many, from a Scrambler to a Monza to a 900 SuperSport …Ducatis were attention grabbers no matter which one you rode

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  4. Alan Brase

    This is one whose bite might be worse than the bark. I had a friend had one that BROKE HIS LEG kicking it over. Don’t remember the year or size, but it musta been the one without the compression release?
    I had one, too. 1966, I think. A bit ratty but it ran good. Only rode it a couple times. Traded the Ducati and a 1941 Buick Century (driver- put the Duke in the trunk) for a 1956 Jag XK140 roadster project. Those were the days.

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  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    It seems to me that these bikes came out (here) in 1966. I remember the 160 Monza(?), the 250 Monza (or was it Sebring?), and the 350 Sebring. The 250 scrambler was there in the mix too. They all had a shaft-driven overhead cam just like the Manx Norton and the Excelsior Manxman. There was a small group of guys consisting of Customs officers and brokers who were off-road enthusiasts and rode a mixture of Bultaco, a Yamaha DT1 and a Ducati 250 scrambler. I remember the ‘Duke’ kept breaking piston rings. This was frustrating because they couldn’t really see what was causing the failure; new rings were costly and took some time to bring in. Out of frustration the owner started checking around for something else and discovered that a set from a Volkswagen fit the grooves, and with a tiny bit of filing, were sized to fit the cylinder. The VW rings almost lasted an entire riding season before the piston itself gave up the ghost. The owner then rebored it and fit an O/S piston. I don’t think he kept the bike long enough to see if the new piston was any better than the original. I do remember that 250 single had the loudest bark I ever heard; it was truly the mouse that roared. I had a BSA 500 Sportsman about that time and it wasn’t nearly as loud.

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  6. Alan Brase

    Yes, the original scrambler had no silly muffler at the end of that crooked pipe. But the 9:1 compression would make it a lot sharper.
    There were several other Brit singles had overhead camshafts:
    Norton International (A Manx in street clothing)
    Velo KSS
    and Okay- Supreme (These really looked nice- don’t know how they performed.)

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  7. Howard A Member

    Looking at this makes my old MX injuries ache once again. I always thought this was a good design for a motor, although I don’t have any experience with it. Good luck with the shift and starter and rear brake reversed. I had a Bultaco 200 Pursang that had that. Many times I went for the rear brake and downshifted instead. And starting it required a little dance, as I just couldn’t get the hang of “left leg” starting, and always got off the bike, and kicked it with my right leg, then got back on. Didn’t see many of these in Wis., as my Bultaco was an oddball at the time. Personally, I’d go for the 450 ( that 1/2 a bike thing again), where I’ve driven underpowered dirt bikes and ran out of steam sometimes, ( foot assist on some steep hills) and to me, on the trail, more hp is better. Cool find, and yeah, this thing is gonna be loud. ( and might burn down the forest behind you)

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  8. Chuck G

    I have one of these in my barn! From what I was told it is a 1966 250. I have had the bike for over 20 years. It does have a headlight and speed-o. The engine was stuck. It will require boring and an oversized piston.

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