Restoration project: introducing Alan’s 1978 Ducati 860 GTS

Introduced by a friend, Alan is restoring his first ever bike and of course, he went with a Ducati. A classic Cafe Racer, a 1978 GTS 860. We start the journey, now…


Welcome aboard, what’s your name, where do you live, how did you get into bikes that kind of thing… and what Ducati you ride?

Alan, or ‘Packy Mc G’ as some like to call me, long story but I seem to have a bit of McGyver in me.

Alan Pace and his GTS 860

It all started as a youngster, tinkering and exploring all types of objects of intrigue to my sponge of a brain. I live in St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia and have always enjoyed the thrill and excitement of riding motorbikes since I can remember.

Retorted Datsun 260Z 1975

After restoring and modifying many cars in my lifetime, last being a 1975 Datsun 260Z to which I still own, the urge to restore an old motorbike grew stronger everyday, after a long search for my next project, I came across a 1978 Ducati 860 GTS (900SS lookalike) that had been garaged for the past ten years in a country workshop.

Where it all began… Ducati 1978 860 GTS

I instantly fell in love with my new found two wheeled friend, great shape and a whole lotta style. This is the first Cat that I have owned and doubt if it I’ll be the last..

That is a sweet ride for sure, seems Ducati lovers also dig the Datto (you’re not alone). What’s your biker history and how did you get the Ducati bug?

I started riding at the age of twelve on a Honda 125, can’t remember the model, but I always a bit embarrassed cause it looked like a postie bike and every one else had the new wiz bang YZ 80, even though the Honda was a road bike I would be out in the paddocks every afternoon after school putting it through its paces. Heaps of fun indeed. Finally got myself a YZ 80 at around 16yrs old, and continued paddock bashing for the next few years.

Dismantling begins

Got stuck into a musical career and that was my focus for many years to come so the bikes and cars took a backseat for a while, a long while!!!

More dismantling

In 2005 my partner bought a 125 scooter (editor *waves* at Mirella) and, after a few rides I was totally hooked all over again, so getting a bike to restore was always in the back of my mind, but unfortunately I was in the same boat as everyone else financially mortgages etc etc..

Blasting the frame

The bug got me recently when I began my research into what I actually wanted to restore, looked at Triumph’s (cause my father used to own a Tiger years ago) Norton’s, BSA’s and finally Ducati, all I knew is that I wanted an old bike with a Cafe Racer look and I wanted something with a bit of grunt.

Engine, before

I always have loved the styling of the old Ducati’s especially that amazing exhaust tone that they have, it always turns my head. After all my Ducati research I immediately fell in love with the 900SS look, its style, sportiness and it’s tone.

And after….mmm shiny!

So what is the plan with the GTS? Where are you at, and what happens next?

The plan is to restore it back to a very clean, shiny and mechanically sound, version of what it originally was. Over the last 4months the bike has been fully stripped apart, and slowly reassembled with new or fully reconditioned parts.

Newly painted frame and engine

This has included things like, fully replacing gaskets ( carbs, side covers etc.) reconditioning front forks, re hard chroming stanchion tubes, resealing rear shocks, chroming all the bits and pieces, stripping and painting frame, re-wiring and a exhaustive amount of time polishing alloy. I could go into pages of detail, but I don’t want bore anyone, if anyone would like any info I would be more than happy to help, after all, research is half the fun when attempting projects like this.

Reconditioned forks back on frame

I am currently at the stage of fully restoring front and back spoked wheels..this is also very exhaustive work, but very worth while, I have just installed new stainless steel spokes purchased from Bruce at Fastline in Broadford Victoria. Great guy and great product…

Got heaps left to do but I’m not rushing anything.

Where it’s at… lots to go!

That is a mad project Alan, thanks heaps for sharing your passion for the restoration job we all dream of doing one day. She is going to be one sweet looking machine.

Can’t wait until it is all done and we can go grab coffee somewhere on em and take some new bike-porn pics.