It took about a year, but I completely rebuilt a junked barn-find 1964 Lambretta into a tuxedo-colored beauty. This was my very first ground-up restoration, and I spared no expense. The day I sold it was tramatic, but it went to a good home, and now is a show piece in a scooter-themed Italian restaurant. I spared no expense, and had a lot of fun riding it around the Indy 500 track at nearly 90 miles an hour on 10″ wheels, but more than anything else, I learned all of the little tricks that it takes to rebuild a vintage bike the right way.
This was the bike when I bought it. Awful. I had put feelers out in the scooter community that I really wanted to find an old Lambretta to turn into a project bike, and they responded in kind. A friend of a friend of a friend called me up at 10pm on a Sunday night with a scoop. Apparently somebody had an uncle who lived outside of Cincinnati who was in need of quick cash. He mentioned that he was looking to unload an old scooter, and it was “one of those rare ones.”
I grabbed a buddy last minute and we jumped in the truck and headed east. We got to the farm around midnight, just as the owner finished putting air in the tires. Now, I had seen the aforementioned photo, and I wasn’t incredibly hopeful, and I found exactly what I expected. A beat-up, spray-painted monstrosity that used to be something awesome. I asked, “does it run?”
To my everlasting surprise, it ran quite well! A few dollars changed hands, and I was on my way home with a new project. The next day, I called in sick to work and started tearing down parts and bagging them for refurbishing. It took a long year of rebuilding – six months of which, the bike hung out in my dining room, but in the end, it went together beautifully.