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Since I bought Hanoi Jane, she's been great fun, if frustrating and bloody hard to upgrade.

I can't help myself, so I've been looking for a project bike to restore from scratch (ish).  A couple have come up, but they disappear waaay fast.

This week a 50s came up in horrible nick on ebay.  It's completely rooted, and not worth restoring.









Of course, I had bought it.

Fair to say, it pretty much fucked.  It was more than I wanted to pay, but, well, why not.  I felt like it needed a safe home.

So another project has moved into my cramped garage.



Ahh well...

(Feel like I'm finally gonna have to tackle "decent" rust.)

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Why has Buffy not progressed?  Well, I screwed up. This,  Quite simply, was shoddy work.  It's crooked.   And it remained crooked when it was welded in. And because I didn't th

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Lordy....... don't you have enough trouble already :blink:

Rusty enough and apparently incomplete - or is there a box with the rest of it in it?  Does this mean you've won with the other one - have I missed something?


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  • 3 weeks later...

Going to be replacing the spine, outer engine covers and leg shield/floor, leaving the inner guards and mounts at the rear, and re-cutting in the steering.  Lots of little braces and bits inside the spine need swapping over, so it all needed opening up.

Going to build a jig tomorrow to positively locate the outer steering tube, so I wandered the racks today looking for some tube or rod that’s a perfect fit


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So out came the laser


which showed all was good.

so the lightweight frame got welded up and hot glued to a heavier base


which did bad things to the alignment marks


and led to a few more hours of tweaking, tapping, belting, and not a little swearing.

till all was aligned.



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Yep.  It was fun getting the marks where I needed them.

A rather beefy cylinder arrived from Italy (via Devon,  thanks Nick!), so the engine cases had to be machined for it and the matching crank.

No easy task to fix it in the mill, so Mat and I knocked up a jig


That hit Alan’s mill today, then the case got split,and milled out for the matching crank


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Buffy looks forlorn as her surgery continues


Main focus a.t.m. is to extract as much of the reinforcement as possible.  It's not bad when you can see the spot welds, but when they're hidden, it takes a little more work.

Need to mark it out roughly, then use a cutting blade to grind a patch till coliour changes appear to let you know you're getting close


Go really slow till the outline appears


Gently work the edges till they start to spring away


Keep going, just kissing the edges with the blade till it springs free


This is this afternoons eventual haul 






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Looking forward to building the engine, but I'm actually enjoying the bodywork fo once.

The old story about a bacon and egg sanger is that the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.

The Ginsu knives came out in earnest on Friday, and Buffy moved from involved to from genuinely comitted.

Radical liposuction first, as she lost the weight off her hips.47CB5083-5E88-4518-8144-57336A00D585.jpeg

Then it was time for some speed holes


lots of them


Not all the work was neat, some was very much meatball surgery...


But finally, after a fight, I got her last cancer free section out in one reasonably tidy and intact piece.


By beer o'clock, I had collected everything Buffy's body had to give (her steering tube was elsewhere having the steering lock boss tig'd up after someone in the past tried to get a lock out with what looks on evidence as a chainsaw).


and poor Buffy's diseased panels lay discarded and disconsolate on the floor.




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Cleaning up the steering tube was a chore,


but nothing compared to getting the remains of the old spine out of the inside of the top bracket.  That’s two hours I’ll never get back


But, after lot of head scratching, an hour or two of swearing, out it came.

Suddenly, the tear down was totally complete.

Time for Buffy’s renaissance to begin.

So after a good soak of weld through primer, and a few deep breaths, the steering tube got lined up on the laser and tacked into the new spine.


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Not a lot finished today - some of this seems to take forever, but eventually the bracing was ready for install and plug welding


Fair to say that the tig is running hot...


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Column lock cutout on the new spine was in the wrong spot, so I made up a patch



Which got welded in. 


That's gonna be fun to grind back.

Meanwhile, the stock bracing is all welded in, with considerably more weld than the spotting the factory used.


Again, it'll be fun to clean up.  Currently deciding if I put in more bracing - leading towards bending up some 10mm rod and running it from front to back in the top corners of the spine.

Now that the spine is solid, I test fitted the new rear cowl pieces.


They're going to take some work, but they'll do.


Beer O'clock.

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Coming on well......  Serious effort involved though.  You really can say you built this one from scratch! As the pressings are available I guess you are not the only extreme Vespa nutter out there  :tongue: :biggrin:


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Yep.  I've been told that using pressings is cheating, and I should have rescued the originals.  I offered to send them to the critic - reckon they're rusty enough that I can crumble em up into a manilla envelope and send them...


Basically, it's just an excuse to have a beer or two with Mat.





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Given the 2 (ish) hp the original engine had, and the potential 20ish the new should have, I decided to reinforce the spine.

I bent up some 10mm rod to fit the curve from steering tube to base, and pierced it through the mid point brace.


Then we welded it in, and laddered it for strength.


 Negligible weight penalty for plenty o'strong.



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Said it before, and I'll say it again, everything take longer than I expect.

Unmasked the flanges, then spent a couple of hours wire wheeling the panel join area metal.

Then hit those bits with some cold gal weld through.




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Time to start adding back her curves.  I snuck up to my buddy Alan's workshop and hit the lathe


Turned up these locating pins to go into the jig so I could positively locate the fenders with the spine.  16mm on the outer, 10mm inners, with an 8mm centre.


Offered up the spine to the jig.  Adding the strengthening ladder had tweaked it ever so slightly, and it did _not_ want to be moved back easily to line up that last couple of mm.


That one, and the one on the other side took over an hour and a half of F-clamps, F-words, and then a F-ing big lever before I convinced them to play fair. 

Once the spine was over the locating pins, it took much less persuasion for the fenders to go over them as well,


And the clamp fest began



I've mocked these up before, but it's nice to be putting her curves back.


These two however, are going to need some convincing before they're happy to marry up level with each other.



The battle continues.

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Some days it's one step forward, two steps back, no steps forward..

I could put on as many clamps as I liked, but these two fenders really didn't want to line up.



And when I slid in the inner wheelarch/shockmount, it was obvious I was on the wrong track trying to do it this way.


So I went back to the photos and datums I'd taken, and realised that I needed to set the inner section first, than look at the fenders.  So off they came, and out it came.  Two steps back.


I set the inner section up, and we tacked it in.

Setting up the laser showed it's pretty close. 


Not perfect, not right, but getting there.  No steps forward...







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