Lola is dead. Long live Lola2!

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Okay, I have to admit.  I know just about enough on the mechanics of the Lambretta.  I can re-build the carb, adjust the jets, change the brakes, pull it apart and put it back together.   But on the morning of Rockers versus Mods, when I had high hopes of riding with my Peeps, I found myself with a dead Lola.  No spark.  So, probably a dead HT Coil.  Then, since I had been attempting to start it all morning, I guess I did something to fry the starter.  Plenty of power at the input at 12.46 volts DC.  But nada.  Not so much as a click.  Lights – fine.  Brake light – fine.  But nothing on the starter.  At all.

So, after a bit of soul searching and some kind words from Michelle, I have decided to get it fixed and sell it.  I have found a new(er) Lambretta TV175 that looks pretty nice and runs smoothly, from the videos the owner has sent me.  It’s not a Viet-Bodge version and was professionally rebuilt by a guy in Toronto, then procured by the seller in Troy, MI.  The seller knew who had done what, when, and had paperwork to prove it.  Solid provenance back to pre-renovation.  Plus, it appears to start on the first kick.  Getting shipped from Troy was pretty easy.   $650 gets it here by the 4th of May or so.  Gets picked up tomorrow in Troy.  Mike Lada from JC Motors handled all of the arrangements.  They’ve got a pretty sweet way of transporting:

So, here’s Lola2.   A 1963 Lambretta TV175.  In my humble opinion, a real show-stopper.  Nice resto with no cut corners that I can see.  Nice adds, like disc brake in front, beefed up suspension, Clubman big bore exhaust, turn signals, brake lights, tons of chrome.  Let me know what you think of her.

Bought her off a super nice guy in Troy, MI named Keith W.  Keith is a British ex-pat who has the heart of a lion and has been more than excellent to deal with.  A true gentleman.  Totally cooperative with shipping and even threw in some bucks to help get her here.  A very fair deal all the way around, I think.

Anyway, Lola2 is about 10 days out at this point, so now I play the waiting game.   Now, to fix Lola so I can get her on the selling block.  Sorry Lola.  I tried.  Really, I did.  Time to move on.  SO, if you’re reading this AND you want a beautiful example of a 1957 LD 150 AVV electric start, it will soon be running again and I can offer her for sale.  I have unbelievable provenance, all the way back to her original owner in the U.K.   If you’re itching for a sweet looking LD, let me know.  Love to work out a deal.

Comments on the new scoot?

Why Joseph Kony should be gone and why Kony 2012 is so important

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Okay, I’ve mentioned it in my main blog as a means of showing support for my daughter, Abby.  She first started getting involved with Invisible Children, while attending St. John’s Episcopal School here in Dallas. At first, I didn’t really get what she was up to.  But then she started to show me videos.  Begged me to watch them.   So, I did.

Okay, we’ve seen similar stories in our recent past.  Where a dictator gets into power and abuses it and enslaves every man in sight to fight for him.  Ultimately, it falls over into the children.  This is their fight.

Started by a couple of guys named Jason Russell and Ben Keesey, Invisible Children is a movement to call attention to these lost children.  They have all been the victim of one Joseph Kony.  Kony 2012 is their campaign to raise awareness in 2012 to the level where the world looks and listens.   Kony leads a group called…and get this…. the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA.   What a joke.   One mean and awful son of a bitch, if I do say so.  Totally corrupt and responsible for the abduction of an estimated 30,000 children in northern Uganda since taking power in 1996.

Visit http://www.kony2012.com to learn how to help stop this fool.

Kony has got to be stopped.   The world must speak and it must be heard.   Please take a moment to check out their website and watch their videos.  Then get involved.  Together, we’ll bring this waste of a human to justice.

Thanks for listening, friends!

Why are people jerks?

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Okay, have to rant a bit.   I’ll get back to Lola soon, as I’ve been up to much.  But until then, I’ve got to tell you, it doesn’t matter what your hobby or interest.  Once you have a public arena where people can rant anonymously, the mud starts to sling.  Scootering is no exception.   Really aggravates me, although I know it shouldn’t.  But seriously guys, can’t there be just ONE common-interest hobby that can keep the politics and backstabbing out?

I guess not.

Okay, on to some of my recent Lola stuff.    I’ve been reading that using 100LL gas (same that piston airplanes run on) is actually better because of two things.  First, it’s a higher octane.  Much like was available in the 50’s.  Second, it contains no ethanol, which sucks the life out of gas if it sits too long.   So, ran to Northern Tool and acquired a nice new 5 gallon gas can and then proceeded to the local helicopter field, where they happen to sell 100LL.  It’s about $.50 more per gallon, but I figure it’s worth it.

Well, next, I will tell you all about the huge Dallas Rockers -vs- Mods scooter and cafe motorcycle rally that I attended this month.  Oh wait!  No I didn’t.  Because Lola crapped out on me.  AGAIN.  First, it wouldn’t start.  Turned over just fine, but no spark.  I have a feeling that my HT coil is fried.  Unscrewed the spark, plugged the HT coil onto it and tried the spark against the piston trick.  Nada.  Okay, so probably not getting a spark.  Fine.  I’ll just order a new one.  Then, I went to just turn it over one last time after re-connecting the spark and ….wait for it…… zippo.  The electric starter won’t even engage.   Plenty of juice.  12.49V at the starter.  So, I probably fried the starter now, by turning it over too much.

It’s hidden under the floorboard, but it’s there on the bottom right….

Engine compartment of my 1957 Lambretta LDA 150 AVV with the electric starter, which is hidden below that red battery cable along the right hand side, just below the leg shield.

I’ll tell you, there are days when I absolutely love this machine and then there are days I sit and wonder what it will take for me to get it to the city dump and call it quits.  But, I’m not a quitter.  So, I will trudge on and get this damn machine running.  If it kills me…..

A friend may be coming out to Dallas to rescue me.  More on that later.  For now, she sits where she is.

St. Patricks Day ride

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It was a glorious spring day in Dallas.  The sun was in and out all day, providing a cool yet warm at times temperature to watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dallas on Greenville Avenue.  The typical idiots were out in force, but it’s always funny to watch.  More of a spectacle, really.  40,000 drunk college students pretending to be Irish.  Oh well, all in good fun.

Here’s a pick from outside of the Vespa of Dallas store on Greenville.

Photo of the crowd in front of Vespa Dallas, as the parade was wrapping up around noon.

Now, since I haven’t done much riding, I decided it was a good day to stretch her legs a bit.  So, I ran home and grabbed my Canon 7D and made my way to Deep Ellum to find some backdrops.   Found a few.  Here is what I like:

And on a closing note, my daughter, Abby, is passionately involved in a cause called Invisible Children.  In essense, this cause is singly focused on removing from power an idiot in Africa named Joseph Kony.  You know the story – he enslaved children soldiers, arms them and teaches them to kill for him.  Go check out their video about getting Kony captured by the end of 2012.   Pretty powerful stuff.  Amazing to have such drive to make a cause your career.  Visit www.kony2012.com and read more.  He’s a prick and needs to go.  Thanks.  And thanks from Abby for sharing the word about this idiot.   The earth needs to act.

A Lambretta Scooter for Advertising, the movies, commercials?

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Okay, someone mentioned to me today that I should put the Lambretta scooter out there to be in advertising photo shoots and the like.  It’s not a Vespa, which is what you see mostly out there, but I still think it’s pretty good looking and would make a fine addition to a model shoot or something.  Anyone know how I would go about that?

Aaahhhhhhh. A thing of beauty!

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Finally!  Photos of Lola in all her glory.  I’ll let the photos do the talking.   But figured that I better take some photos before I crash her into a pole or drop it over a bridge, which I truly hope doesn’t happen, but you know what I mean.  She’s absolutely perfect right now.  Fresh paint job, fresh spark plug, fresh tyres, fresh steering lock, fresh spare hubcap with coolio Lambretta emblem in the center.   Well, here you are.  Hope you enjoy.  I surely do!

From now, I hope to share my time on Lola.  An occasional spin around the lake, an occasional rally.  Perhaps a new kick-start install when I get my gaskets in.  That sort of thing.   Well, enjoy all.

To the Dubliner

Well, after a very long respite, it was time to get Lola back on the road.  Following a few days of rain, the sun was out and it was good riding weather.   Threw on the jacket and helmet and off to the Dub on Lower Greenville.

The clan was all there.   About 20 scoots and 15 cafe races and assorted other bikes.  Had a good time, a quick pint of Guiness and back home.  The Rockers vs Mods weekend is coming up soon and one of the guys was handing out postcards, announcing the dates.  Should be fun.

For now, it was fun just getting back on 2 wheels.

New parts, new life

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I had the opportunity to be in San Diego this week for work.  So, I took it upon myself to visit my good friend Guillermo at Lambretta Works.  For any Lambretta enthusiasts out there, you really have to see his place.  It’s been a Lambretta shop for over 30 years and both the history and general feeling there is pretty incredible.  He has a wealth of knowledge and an amazing array of vintage parts.  From new, old stock to pieces that have been parted out from older bikes, he pretty much has it all.

One of the things I learned when my starter cable broke last fall is that my dear Lola is not simple to start in gear.   It weighs in just over 300 lbs, so running to get a bump into 2nd gear is a stretch.  So, I am determined to put a manual kick-start mechanism on her.  Innocenti never contemplated having both a kick-start AND an electric start.  I guess I get it.  Why have one when you have the other.   But having one, and not the other, I was left craving the other!

Of course, Guillermo had an extra laying around on a parted out LD.  Next, a kick armature and fresh rubber end cover and I was all set.   Now, all I need do is to set it up on Lola.  Having brought it home, however, it appears that a gasket is in order.  Sure looks like a gasket belongs to me.  So, question to Guillermo.  Awaiting answer.

Until then, I have made a few more modifications to Lola.  One, I added my spare tire cover that I had painted to match the original stock Armaranto Rosso.  And a new, old stock steering lock, which I have been looking for.  And he told me about a customer who had purchased an LD new in the 50’s.  His brother had taken it out at just 13 miles and totaled it.   Including putting himself in a body cast!  Long story short, he had a set of original rear brake pads with only 13 miles on them.  Likely original asbestos, if I’m a guessing man.  HAD to have them.  Also, Guillermo had a very cool center medallion to mount on it where the center hole was.  It has a brass  LD emblazoned in the middle.  Very cool accessory.  It’s the little things….

Here are a few pics of the re-built horn, the new kick-starter and the actual kick arm, after I spent about 2 hours sanding and polishing it to a high gloss.  You’ve just got to love aluminum.  You can take a piece that was more beat up than this starter cover and turn it into this.

Once the weather warms a bit, I’ll take her out and get some new beauty shots of her, all finished.  For now, this is my parts parade….  enjoy.

Finishing touch – Fix the Horn!

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What to do when you need to get a somewhat rare 12v AC horn, where everyone typically used DC?  Fix the one you’ve got, of course.   Upon the second removal of the horn, following the repaint, the bubble gum fix (I’m not making that up) finally gave way.  The bakelite terminal post had long ago cracked and one of the sides had given way.  Someone down the road fixed it with a wodge of bubble gum.  Yep, still somewhat pink and gooey.  I know – gross.  Cuz, there’s only one way it got gooey, friends….

This is how the back and front of the horn looked, pre surgery.

Rear of Lambretta LD 150 AVV 12V AC horn

The Broken horn. Too good looking to give up and go new!

So, after doing some drilling out of the rivets, I was able to dis-assemble everything.  2 coils inside with a few resistors.  Very easy to see where I needed to solder in replacement wires.  I decided to go outboard with them and just placed two grommets in the holes where the wires came out to keep it clean.  A fresh spray paint on the baffle under the brass cover and it looks even better than these photos!

Ready to plug her in and see if she works!   Positive wire…check.  Negative ground….check.   Plug that positive into the positive and… crap.  It pulls out of the horn casing on the front of the bike.  SO, off comes the steering headset that houses the speedometer.   Patch in a fresh wire and replace the steering headset cover.  Screw in place.  Now, back to the wire connections.  Fresh connections and a test with the ignition on.   BLAAAAAAAEEEEEEEP!   WAY stronger than before.   I must have restored a loose connection inside when I wired it fresh, as it was at least twice as loud and clear as before.  YEA!

Sometimes, kids, you just have to re-make it yourself.  Better than buying a new aftermarket one, IMHO.   It’s still the original horn on a 1957 scoot.  Pretty sweet, I say.

But now, Lola is back to riding condition!   Woo Hoo.  Five months down and she’s ready to roll once again.

More on the final touches in the next entry.   Ordered my new full-face helmet and mesh jacket with armor inside to protect my elbows, kidney region and ribs.   Can’t say that the little tumble on Lola at 5 mph didn’t scare me a bit.  It did.  So, now, I’m going full face on the helmet and gladiator on my jacket.  I’ll look dorky all day to not go hazy again.  I have a new respect for two wheels.  In all of the years I’ve ridden, I’ve never experienced it.  Now I have, so now this is how I roll…..

My dear Michelle will be much happier that I am now riding this way.  So will my dear daughter, Abby…

 

A bit of history

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During Lola’s downtime, I wanted to research her background a bit more. Having finally reached the three-prior owner in Florida, who was kind enough to complete the transfer documents so that I could title Lola in Texas as an Antique Motorcycle, I was on to the UK. I possess the original title document from the UK, which shows most owners. I don’t see a record of the fellow in North Carolina, who apparently purchased it from the owner in the UK. But, I believe I have a rather full history of her ownership now.

I began by using my favorite tool, Google, to do a bit of research. I searched the name of the original owner in a little town on the outskirts of London, Chelmsford in Essex. Chelmsford is about 35 miles NE of the London center city. It is here, on Epping Glose and Canuden Road and 7th Avenue where I found some possible links. I found an obituary from just 2010 of the original owner! There was a memorial written by a funeral home and it contained some contact information. So, I started sleuthing. First, to the lead undertaker, then to a records keeper. I also reached out to the actual street address of the original owner to see if they HAPPENED to remember Mr. Bannister. But nobody knew what became of him. So, I was on to the second owner, Mr Jiggens. I had posted a letter and received a posted letter in return with some thoughts on where Mr. Jiggens and/or his relatives might now reside. Ultimately, it led me to an address of his son! Another letter and wait……

Around the middle of August, 2011, a letter arrived from the UK! I had high hopes, but was prepared for a “Sorry, I don’t know anything” response. Was I WRONG! JACKPOT!!! He wrote, “Although he didn’t have many photographs, I do have one!” How cool is THAT? It was of his father, standing on Seventh Avenue by Lola! Or, whatever she may have been called at the time! Her leg shield was off and I noted a few other things. One, her color is correct. Red trim with white base. True to a 1957 Lambretta color scheme. A few other things were noted. One, she had her side fender license plates! And I could READ them! 494 KVW. Sweet! Another piece of her history. Now, I’ll do a bit of research in the UK on that plate to get a verification match, just because that’s how I roll. From the title, it appears that Mr. Jiggens purchased Lola in 1968.

But how absolutely cool is it to not only find the son of the second owner, but to get a photograph of him, standing by Lola! You’ll note the spiffy Tartan plaid seat covers and something on top of that Bond Bug 3-wheeler in the same pattern. Some sort of pannier bag, I wonder? Now, based on the year of that Bond Bug, the photo is from at least 1970. So, she was nearly 13 years old when this was taken. But just a couple years after he acquired her. Things make sense and line up. I like it!

So, here’s the pic:

How rocking cool is that? So, of COURSE I had to go out and find a purveyor of vintage UK plates, who could make me up a custom set. I now have two curved plates exactly like this with 494 KVW in my garage, awaiting Lola’s return so that I can properly mount them on her front fender. Now, I need to find that nifty front fender embellishment on the very front. Nice touch. Several things match up here. One, her luggage rack in back. I’ve got the very same one. Two, the underlying red color, a match to her current Amarento Rosso that she is painted now. So, beyond the obvious, things are absolutely lining up as a full history of her ownership. Love it!

I’ll post some pics of her when I get her back with the new plates on the front fender. My next inquiry – what’s that little kick-plate at the base of the seat fender that goes across her from side to side.

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