Sunday, March 30, 2008

Newbie restorers PAY ATTENTION

It all starts before the pen hits the paper.

I am a 9th grade English teacher. I teach my kids to research, brainstorm, and outline before even beginning to write their essays. (Note: please don't judge my writing based on this blog. It is full of errors. The only time I dedicate to it is to get information to you or to collect information for myself. And I must have 100 plus hours invested in this blog by now.)

I have grown more detailed oriented throughout this restoration process and catch a lot of small things that need to happen, but disappointingly I miss some too and therefore have to live with the results.

For example, I have three holes in my wife's SS180 that should have been sealed up and prepped before painting. The cost to go back and fix them now is not worth it for my wife. I have one hole in the gas tank and two holes in the legshield. And don't forget how I butchered my wife's seat, which I had re-upholstered, but did not give the photos to work from. Luckily, for under $200 I can have that repaired in the future.

People do your homework upfront. Show detailed photos to people who are intimate with your model. Give them so many photos from every possible angle it makes them sick and ask "should this hole be here?" If I had done that simple task before going to paint this would never have been a problem.

Now I can make any excuse I'd like, saying I want to keep the soul of the bike or to honor its history, but that is lie. I screwed up and missed it. At this point I feel pretty disappointed in myself and without a doubt I am not ready to do period correct restorations. This bike is preparing me to be a better restorer. With that said, this is a rare Vespa and maybe restoring a Sprint or a P would have been the best place to start, because I feel as if I did this bike a disservice. Although, I wouldn't have gotten a Sprint or P at $250 like I did for the SS180. It's a good thing it's our plan to never sell it and my wife is not bothered by the things I am. She is happy with the Vespa and it is her's.

The only way I would have purposely kept these holes is if I did not paint. And if I was to do it all over again and this was my bike, I probably would have kept it all original. Again, Lisa is the one that has to be happy with it since she's riding it.

When I restore my 1962 TV175, possibly starting in the Fall, I will approach it differently and hope to make no mistakes in the restoration.

Sorry to be a downer. I am just upset with myself. Learn from my mistakes people. That is 50% of the reason that this blog even exists. If I mess up and you learn from it then good results from my bads and I need that or I will feel like worse crap.


Anonymous said...

Jeremy -

Just stumbled across this while searching the web. I just finished up a 5 year restore of an 1966 SS180. We had a dealer to do the work with EXTREME supervision, and finally had to finish it up ourselves. Fortunately our SS was 100% original so we had something to work from.
You have a rare and valuable machine even it's not 100% restored.

Scooter Couple said...

Thank you. This SS is "mildly" mod'd and for the grand majority of it is original. I even went so far as to rebuild the rear shock. Most don't. I have learned a lot and made a few mistakes along the way, but all in all my wife will be very pleased with her bike and the anoraks, well they will remain anoraks.

A musuem restoration would be $10,000 for this bike and my aims to ride it like it was meant to be and to be honest if I owned a $10,000 job I may feel scared to ride it and leave it in the front of a coffee place for five minutes.

We bought the bike in 2005 I believe and have been working on it since.

Thanks for the support.


Anonymous said...

Hi Again Jeremy -

I noticed you dealt with B&B in Landisville. I'm located in Lititz if you ever need to see an SS180 restored and running. It has been in our family since 1974 so we know almost everything that's ever been done to it. I don't ride it daily - but I have had it out at least twice already this year, and am considering a 200 mile ride coming up in May in New Holland.

You can reach me at MarkM AT


Scooter Couple said...

Thx Mark.

I emailed you offline.