Acclaimed motorcycle designer steps down as Director of Design for Ducati Motor Holding, Bologna, Italy. December 2007.
* Tribute to Pierre Terblanche *
By John M. Rossi
Our sincere thanks to a friend and respected colleague, Pierre Terblanche for shaping Ducati motorcycles praised around the world for nearly two-decades. Terblanche is one of the most influential motorcycle designers of our time. Terblanche stepped down as Director of DUCATI Design to pursue a world of new opportunity that awaits him. We applaud the design talent you bring to the profession and all of your work - completed and much anticipated.
*Time Well Spent.*
First, learn how to think, build, and communicate. Though now famed for his motorcycle design, Pierre Terblanche was born in South Africa in 1956 and exposed to building in his father's wood working shop at an early age. He began his career in advertising working on the Ford Motor Account with Young Rubicam in Cape Town.
*Wheeled Design Moves the Body and Soul.*
His passion for automotive design soon led him to enroll in the masters program in transport at the Royal College of Art in London. Upon graduation in 1986, he worked in the Volkswagen Advance Design Studio in Dusseldorf, Germany developing VW Golf interiors and the Polo automobile project.
*The Soul and Passion found in Motorcycles. *
In 1989 Terblanche joined DUCATI Rimini, where he worked for two years with Massimo Tamburini on the Paso restyling and the Ducati 888.
At the Cagiva Design Center, in Morazzone Varese, Italy, he created the Cagiva 600 Canyon Enduro and landmark DUCATI SuperMono in 1994. The lightweight single was a formidable race bike in its own right and served as inspiration for the renaissance on wheels, the 916. In the Cagivia Research Center (CRC) San Marino, as design director under Tamburini, Terblanche designed the bigger capacity Canyon 900 in 1994.
Once DUCATI Motor Holding became an independent company in 1997, Terblanche was named director of design for the motorcycle manufacturer based in Bologna, Italy. His first charge was the redesigning the 900 Super Sport.
The Power of the Internet and Collectable Design - the MHe900. The neo-classic MHe900Evoluzone appeared at the 1998 Munich Show and was the first motorcycle successfully sold in advance on the internet as a limited edition motorcycle.
In 2001, the Multistrada was created by Terblanche. It was a new practical sporting motorcycle and the best selling DUCATI model after the timeless Monster model.
The one of the bigger challenges of his career was creating the successor to the 916-998 model series. This model series stood as the benchmark of modern sport performance motorcycles for a decade winning multiple world championship titles by renowned racers such as Carl Fogarty.
*The Red Bullet from the Blue Sky - the DUCATI 999.*
His answer was a motorcycle ahead of its time. Transforming common design elements such as parallel headlights and paired, round exhaust cans, the 999 was the red bullet from the blue sky. The design brief for the new 999 Super Bike was simple, "Make it fast red and sexy." All the rest was up to Terblanche. The 999, was released in 2002, maintained similar race successes as the acclaimed 916-998 with capable pilots Troy Bayllis and Daytona Super Bike record winner, Eric Bostrom.
The race wins and prestigious design awards bestowed to the DUCATI 999 was met with opposition of arm chair design critics and consumer voting. When combined with high ticket price tag, poisoned press, and negative web-chatter, the 999 was ultimately measured by its sluggish sales and deemed to be an operational shortfall while at the same time being a testament to motorcycle design excellence.
Enzo Ferrari once said, "The client isn't always right."
*Heritage Inspired Design Redefined.*
At the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show, the Terblanche designed DUCATI Sport Classic was presented as a 3-model series with no plans for production. Public opinion swung to overwhelming popularity for the heritage inspired motorcycles leading to their full scale commercial production. A fitting tribute to Terblanche.
The most recent authored motorcycle design by Terblanche in commercial production is the DUCATI Hypermotard released in 2007. The 1100S version (standard 11000 also offered) of this fantastic hybrid motorcycle has 100hp for pure urban and track performance, upright stance, and the profile of a big single dirt-bike. The design thread of the Hypermotard traces back to the Canyon models of 1994 yet, incorporates the main trellis frame geometry of the Multistrada, and defines an entirely new genre of a street performer, track capable motorcycle. Terblanche has again advanced the motorcycle industry with the Hypermotard within newly defined territory of motorcycle classification and design innovation. After a week-long test ride I did on this motorcycle in 2007, I can assure any motorcyclist this machine will hold its place against any motorcycle and its design will begin to transform one's thinking and the way you look at what is parked in your garage.
-credit: John M. Rossi - Founder Viva/DUCATI/.com