When Ducati introduced the Ducati 916 in 1994, the motorcycling world was awestruck. After the functional styling of the 851 / 888 range the feminine swoops of the diminutive 916 instantly made every other motorcycle ugly. The Ducati 916 was simply gorgeous. Except for every single one they sold in Australia.
The new Ducati combined some features which went on to become signature elements of the brand, most notably the single sided swing arm, under-seat mounted mufflers and twin, side by side headlights that looked like the 916 had eyes.
Which was a problem for the Australians. The Australian market has its own Australian Design Rules that regulate cars and motorcycles and one of them stipulated symmetrical beams in bikes that had two headlights.
In English this means that both of the lights had to have both a high and a low beam. The problem was that the Ducati 916 (and the 748 too) had the low beam in one light with the high beam in the other. To be legally sold, the local importer had to convert the bikes to a single, square, butt ugly light that pretty much perfectly ruined the looks of the entire bike.
New owners could also purchase the original light assembly and refit it at their own risk. Almost everyone did. When I lived in Australia, I never saw one of these eyesores. The problem persisted for years and was resolved only when for the 996 model, Ducati deigned to fit symmetrical beams as standard. That looked so much better as you can see below.
Photographer Phil Aynsley shot these photos back in the day when the bikes were new. We wouldn’t be surprised if he cracked a lens or three. You can check out the full damage over at his site.