The Cucciolo stands out as Ducati’s first attempt at marketing a motorized two-wheeler, but it’s light-years away from a high-performance motorcycle. Instead, it’s essentially a bicycle fitted with a four-stroke 48cc single-cylinder engine that made just 1.5 horsepower at 5,500 rpm. That’s not much, but it was enough to send the Cucciolo (a name that literally means puppy in Italian) to a top speed of 30 mph (50 km/h).
The engine was actually designed by SIATA, but Ducati bought the exclusive rights to it shortly after its introduction in 1946. Various evolutions of the Cucciolo engine remained in production until 1958, and Ducati even bolted it to a three-speed gearbox to power a moped called Model 48 that was built from 1952 to 1954.