Friday, 19 March 2010

The Start....in at the deep end!

Hi there, welcome to my blog which will cover step by step the restoration of my Douglas Vespa Rod model.

First off I'll give you a bit of background on who I am and information about my particular scooter.

Who am I?
My name is Roger Green and I live in the South of England, I'm 27 years old (as of 2010!) and have been riding scooters (mainly Vespas) since I was 16, I've rebuilt a number of Vespa and Lambretta scooters and consider myself to be fairly competent at rebuilding them but by no means an expert!
Vespas for me are an obsession, I love everything about them, the shape, the smell, the sound, and the simplicity of them, also the way Vespas were intertwined in the social fabric throughout the 1950's and 1960's - a way of getting people mobile cheaply after the devastation of World War 2, all this stuff fascinates me.
Some people like fast cars, football and drinking.......I like Vespas!

So why do a Blog?
Normally even the word "Blog" sends shivers down my spine because it makes me think of middle class students writing "blogs" about their travel trips abroad or people spilling their minds about how they had beans for dinner or how wasted they got last night..... it all just seems a bit pointless to me really, I don't care what you had for dinner or where you went skiing.
Although saying this going against all my "Blog hate" here I am writing a blog!
The main reason for this is down to my numerous internet searches for Vespa, because sometimes when searching I came accross a few Blogs from other Vespa owners showing a step by step guide of their restorations showing how they worked on the scooter and why they did things a certain way, this seemed to very much lend itself to the Blog format because it's quick and easy to update and the ongoing format clearly shows how things are progressing and also has functionality to allow links, videos, photos and all sorts of other helpful tools in Blog postings.

I thought this would be a good way to show the restoration of my Douglas Vespa because there is not a lot of information out there about these scooters and some parts are very hard to come by, hopefully this blog will help people in a similar situation to mine.

The Scooter:






This particular Rod model came up on the off-chance on the Scooter Trader website, I wasn't specifically looking for a Rod model but it was always in the back of my mind that if a good one turned up and I had a chance to buy it then I would because they are a beautiful looking scooter and have historical significance to anoraks like myself because they were the first Vespa model to be built by Douglas motorcycles in Kingswood Bristol, UK.
The scooter was 99% complete and needed a full restoration, and after numerous phone calls with the seller we came to a deal where both parties were happy, and I ended up swapping my Douglas 92L2 and a P200 engine for the Rod model.

NOTE: I'd actually started stripping down my 92L2 and created a blog for it (http://www.92l2.blogspot.com/) before the Rod model came up, Gavin (the seller of the Rod model) is continuing the blog where I left off and you will be able to see the progress of the 92L2 and it's P200 engine conversion.
The scooter was picked up from Wales on Sun 31st January (listening to Andy Murray get a whooping from Roger Federer on the radio during the drive up to Wales!)

From what I know, the scooter was stored in a munitions factory in Bridgend for the last 40 years! There are numerous coats of paint over the original metalic green colour, and although these layers of paint don't look too pretty they have helped save the scooter from rotting away in the damp Welsh climate.

I'd describe the top coat as Nazi uniform grey! :) maybe it was a military colour paint? If it was stored in a munitions factory then that type of paint would be fairly easy to come by.

The scooter will be a difficult restoration due to the rareness of the machine and the fact that the frame needs fairly extensive repair work but I'm prepared and ready for the challenge ahead!