Cucciolo – the little puppy that could

Today, Ducati is one of the first names a person might think of when asked to name a major motorcycle manufacturer. It wasn’t always that way, with Ducati starting out as an electronics and appliance firm. Oh how far they have come.


In the mid 1940s, a Turin lawyer and a self taught engineer had an idea to build a clip on engine, that could be fitted to bicycles. By 1946, the prototype had been manufactured, the short muffler giving a yipping sound as it kicked over, the nickname given to the power unit was Cucciolo, Italian for ‘puppy’. The engine was a success, with demand far outstripping supply, the lawyer and engineer turning to the Ducati company, to attempt to mass produce the little engine. The ploy was a success, with Ducati making their way into the motorcycle market, where they have existed since. Ask anyone what they think of when they hear the word Ducati, and I can guarantee it won’t be electrical appliances.

Cucciolo picture courtesy of Neill Green.

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