Mike Hailwood accomplished much before the auto accident that ended his life at age 40 in 1981, winning nine world championships on motorcycles and having a serious go in Formula 1. But to his legions of fans, his greatest achievement was when he returned to bike racing at age 38 to win the 1978 Isle of Man TT on a Ducati.
That significance was not lost on NCR of Italy, which fielded the bike Hailwood raced at the Island. Building on the success of their New Blue replica-patterned after Old Blue, which Cook Nielson rode to victory at Daytona in 1977-NCR constructed this Mike Hailwood TT, which likewise celebrates the 30th anniversary of its namesake's defining moment. Says NCR's Joe Ipoloti, "We got together with the Hailwood Estate and asked, 'What kind of motorcycle do we want to do for the 30th anniversary?' They agreed that we should try to build a bike for Mike if he were alive today. A little bit of nostalgia, but with today's technology."
The result is certainly all that. Start with the weight: Where a standard SportClassic weighs around 410 pounds dry, the NCR bike is said to tip the scales at a phenomenal 295 lbs!
Backbone of the project is the titanium frame, said to weigh just 11 pounds-18 less than the steel original. The Ti swingarm likewise saves 5.5 lbs. If that's not enough, every single fastener and both axles are Ti, and the wheels are carbon-fiber. The engine was also put on a diet, to the tune of a 22-lb. weight loss. Valves and conrods are Ti, and the crank was machined from unobtanium by an unspecified F1 supplier. Bored and stroked to displace 1194cc, and with the ported heads fitted with NCR's Corsa cams, it's said to churn out an impressive 125 horsepower and 94 lb.-ft. of torque at the rear wheel.
NCR is offering the Hailwood replica in a limited run of no more than 12, symbolically the number Mike the Bike wore at the TT. And the price? That's the most impressive figure of all: $130,000.