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Why The Vee Two Hailwood Ducati Replica Will Make You Love Motorcycling More

Motorcyclist logo Motorcyclist 9/21/2018 Seth Richards
The level of detail VeeTwo captured is evident.© Harry Holtze The level of detail VeeTwo captured is evident.

Metal and fiberglass that tells a human story

Vee Two’s Hailwood replica has been making the rounds online, and it’s certainly a beautiful thing to behold. But it’s more than just a jaw-dropping re-creation of the bike Mike Hailwood raced to an incredible victory at the 1978 Isle of Man TT (11 years after he retired from motorcycle racing). The Hailwood replica deepens the affections of motorcyclists and makes them fall more and more in love with the sport.

Motorsport is rife with unbelievable stories about men and machines of legend. Narrative is of singular importance in forming identity. Stories form a brand’s identity by expressing its values and delineating the ways it’s changed over the years. Every motorcycle brand has figures in its history that are heroes and villains; it has relatable defeats and victories; it has moments where it’s teetering on the edge of ruin or flirting with glory.

When we fall in love with a machine, it’s more than just the metal. We fall in love with its story. That’s why Hailwood’s victory in ’78 isn’t ancient history, it’s legend. And it’s intertwined with the Hailwood story, the Ducati story, and the Isle of Man TT story.

Men and machine make the stories, and the stories make the men and the machine. Racing is an open book of fights and finish lines. To even begin to comprehend the struggle and effort it takes to get to the checkered flag, however, requires dusting off the book and starting the story from page one.

The more there is to know, the more there is to love.

About as beautiful as metal and fiberglass gets.© Harry Holtze About as beautiful as metal and fiberglass gets.

A bike maker’s story can be its most powerful tool of creating brand loyalty. It’s not like we have to be scholars of motorcycling history to enjoy riding, but engaging with the stories of the sport serves to deepen one’s affinity. Car makers have long known that re-creating a machine from the past is a great way to involve people with their stories. Enthusiasts revel in the resurrection of a machine and fall in love with a marque all over again. New-to-the-sport folks get the chance to fall in love for the first time.

Jaguar built the Missing Six. Porsche is building the Classic Project Gold 993 Turbo S. Vee Two is building 12 Hailwood Ducati NCR 900F1 replicas. I’d like to see motorcycle manufacturers take a page from car makers, follow Vee Two’s lead, and build special historic models that say, “This is us.” Is there any better type of marketing?

Halo models, like the Ducati Superleggera, BMW HP4 Race, and Honda RC213V-S, fulfill a similar function, but rebuilding old models tells a backstory. New machines may add to a saga or even be a plot twist, but old machines are what made the saga in the first place.

Vee Two’s Hailwood replica says, “this is why we love motorcycling.” And it’s why you should too.

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