South Florida's Vintage Scene | Mods vs. Rockers vs. the Sun

South Beach Burn-Up!

By Rafael Tassitano, Photography by Rafael Tassitano

Fellow Euro-bike enthusiast and world-renowned Ducati restorer Rich Lambrechts is also a rally sponsor. His shop, DesmoPro, is just across town from Scott’s. Although DesmoPro started in Ohio 15 years ago, Lambrechts moved to Fort Lauderdale a few years ago when he met Vicki Smith, founder of the Ducati.net group and the Ducati Club of South Florida. A former car racer, Smith is also the Ducati Owners Club Liaison for North America, and met Lambrechts while organizing the 2005 Vintage Motorcycle Days event at Mid-Ohio. They bonded over their mutual passion for Italian bikes, so much so that the front room of their shared office/workspace resembles a mini-museum. Official factory prints from the Mid-Ohio Vintage Days Ducati exhibit line the walls, while display cases hold a plethora of Ducati collectibles including a Manens condenser from 1926—Ducati’s first part. “I would venture that our total collection of Ducati factory electronics is more complete than the factory’s,” says Smith.

The shop itself consists of various rooms piled with Ducati bikes and parts including two SL1s—50cc two-stroke café racers built in the ’60s. “There are three of them in the country and two of them are here,” boasts Lambrechts. “Ducati doesn’t have one, and we got both of those within 10 kilometers of the factory. Their eyes weren’t open!”

Most of Lambrechts’ work comes from museums and high-end collectors. In fact, his best-known bike is Déjà Blue, a bolt-for-bolt replica of Old Blue, the 1977 Daytona Superbike winner commissioned by the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Alabama. Smith explains that DesmoPro’s customers appreciate “the absolute authenticity of not just the correct rubber piece, but the correct rubber piece with the correct OEM stamp on it!” Most of his restorations are exact, down to the wire-ties.

The detailed nature of the work can be grueling, though. “Sometimes, as a break, I’ll fix an engine or re-do a carburetor,” Lambrechts says. “It keeps me out there socializing with the general public instead of being a guy stuck in a cave.” This is the beauty of DesmoPro: the shop’s real connection to the community. Work on the bikes is often done by the people who own them. “Guys will come in and I’ll stick them in a corner so that I can work and they can ask questions, use my tools and get their hands dirty. We get guys regularly on weekends and evenings.”

Lambrechts has also helped grow the local scene by assisting customers in their purchasing decisions. “Most people don’t feel comfortable collecting the old stuff because they don’t know what they’re buying. You can pay a lot of money for a bad bike,” explains Smith. “Rich will tell them, ‘Yeah, that’s a good one.’ Or that it’s not. It’s a good thing to have some sort of cohesiveness that results in a more thriving motorcycle community.”

Collecting Ducatis, admittedly, can be a tough way to foster a vintage interest. They’re beautiful, but expensive and temperamental. “The real young guys don’t have $20,000 to buy a classic Ducati, unless dad’s buying it for them,” says Lambrechts. Even the parts are pricey. “We just sold a rim for a ’74 Super Sport for $3800 at auction.” They can also be mechanically complicated. “Some of the engineering is clunky, but the engines are like a Swiss watch inside.”

By Rafael Tassitano
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