This is the story of my '64 Vespa 150 - how it became mine and how it has given me a new vespatude.  I'll be recording the neat places I visit, the different things I do to make the Vespa my own, and - oh yeah - those reactions I get from both friends and strangers.

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Thursday, August 31, 2006
The engine has arrived!
I was walking into the living room to sit down a check my email. Out of the window I could see a big brown UPS truck. The driver and his helper started shifting a large box back and forth to get it out of the truck and the helper picked it up and started across the yard.


I helped him get it up to the door and I brought it into the living room and tore into the box. There was loads of paper and cardboard and in the bottom was a piece of plywood with the engine fastened to it with metal bands. Everything looked to be in order.

It has been raining outside for most of yesterday. It is supposed to be raining today and tomorrow -- I believe it has something to do with Ernesto the tropical storm. So, I went in the basement and cleared a space for Heebie and then wrestled him down there. He'll have to stay down there until I can find the time to switch out the engines.

Not that I haven't started already :-) Once I got him down there, I began to take the old engine off. It didn't take that long -- I've gotten pretty good at it. Then it was time to put the new one on...

I was kind of surprised by the state of the engine. Obviously, I didn't expect a brand new engine. You can tell that the engine is solidly put together. Everything is tight and, well, solid. However, there was no detail work on the engine. For instance there appears to be some rust tarnish on the flywheel cover and other small things like that. Really, those are small issues and I can do some work on those to get them up to stuff.

The only thing I really was unhappy with was the state of the kick start. It is pitted and dark tarnish is all in the pitted areas. Still, I'm not too upset with this because I would really like to modify the kick start from my old VBB engine to go on this one. I like the curve of that one better than the angular bend in the P kick.

The other issue is the bike. My Indonesian friends put a very large kick stand system on the bike. I haven't seen another bike with one as large. Anyway, it keeps me from being able to line up the pivot bolt because the muffler keeps hitting the kick stand spring mechanism. Yes, I know I could take the muffler off and get the pivot bolt in, but then I wouldn't be able to put the muffler back on -- not to mention I want to avoid taking it off if at all possible.

So, here are the challenges I see going forward 1) finding a replacement for the kick stand. I believe I will contact SCOMO to see about getting one that they know will work with this configuration, and 2) the electrical. Just looking at the wiring I can tell I am going to need some help getting my stator wires to match up with my harness.

Once those things are out of the way, the rest should be pretty normal. I can't wait to get that thing up and running. Only thing is that I won't have much time to work because I have events to attend for the next three nights and I ride my first metric century (on my road bicycle) on Saturday morning. Somehow, I think I will find the time! I don't believe I will rush it though. I've waited this long. I would prefer to do it right.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Finally, I have the tracking number to prove it. The engine is on its way. It should be here August 30th. I might just have to take a vacation day to get it installed. Exciting!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Closer than ever!
Well, I communicated with Chelsea at SCOMO yesterday and we got the payment worked out. She says they are going to box it up and send it out today. I figure they will get it ready to go sometime early next week.

I had hoped to have gotten the engine here and installed by next weekend. The USACycling Pro Championship will be here in Greenville and I would have liked to have been able to follow them around to some of the spots where they would be riding during the race. Of course, at this point, I'm just glad I'm getting it period!

Here is what I know about the engine. It has a rebuilt case. My understanding is that it is an engine that the owner thought was messed up and he ended up buying a newer scoot. However, it was only a minor issue. So, I am told it is very solid. From this base there was added a DR 177cc cylinder kit. The carburetor is a Dell Orto/Spaco Si24/24 with oil injector. The exhaust is a Sito Plus. Along with these major parts, all of the bearings, seals, clutch mechanism, etc. have been replaced.

The original stator was rewired. I don't know if that is a good thing or not. I guess it allowed the mechanic to make sure the setup would match my bike.

I'll be taking the old one out this week. It's time to clean up the frame to get ready for the transplant!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Could it be?
Is it possible that I could have my engine soon? I have followed up with Chelsea at SCOMO on a regular basis to keep up with the status of the project. Today, I received a reply that the engine was being taken out of the test bike at the moment she was emailing me.

Soon I should be getting the final breakdown on the cost and they will pack it up and ship it out to me. I had hoped to drive up to Richmond to get the engine and to also check out the shop there. However, the delay in getting the engine done forced me into one of the busiest times of the year for me. So, I must have it shipped.

Maybe I'll have it up and running in time to hit the back roads to follow the riders for the USACycling Pro Championships that will be held here in Greenville the first three days of September.

I couldn't be that simple... could it?
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Here is the latest from SCOMO
As I mentioned earlier, I am starting to get a little frustrated with how long it is taking me to get this engine. It has been a month since I put my order in. Here is the latest word I've received:
Hi there Jonathan!

Your engine is basically done. We just need to triple check and make sure all of the electrics are straight. I'm going to speak to the mechanic after bit and have him get it finished up by the end of the week if at all possible.
We shall see...
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Okay, I'm starting to get frustrated
I was told that my engine would most likely be done last Tuesday. I had hoped it would be shipped to me last week. Didn't happen. I guess I'll have to turn up the wick at little this coming week.

I'd really like to get my Vespa running again. Besides the fact that I just simply miss the fun of riding, I also want to prepare for the congestion on campus this school year. They are building a parking garage in the space that currently makes up the central parking lot. Over a hundred spaces have disappeared. It is going to be a mess when the students get here in a couple of weeks.

Here's hoping I can get the engine in there within two weeks -- not only that but August 25 will be the one year anniversary for the beginning of this story. It would be nice to have the Vespa running one year later.
Monday, August 07, 2006
This could be the week...
I am told that I should find out this week if the engine is complete. Perhaps as early as Wednesday it will be put in a crate and delivered. I had hoped to go pick the engine up, but the timing just isn't working out to do that.

Enough time has passed since the frustrations I was having this time last month to get me excited again about working on the scooter. More than that, it is exciting to think about the fun to be had when it is running again! Not to mention the fact that there is loads of construction going on right now on campus and parking is at a premium. With students arriving soon, it will be nice to have easy parking.

Stay tuned...
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Finally some news to report
Things were moving forward with the new engine for my Vespa. Then, low and behold, the technician that was working on it got hit by a UHaul truck! That obviously delayed the completion of the unit. Now, I am told that I am about a week away from having a possible engine ready.

I am also planning on extending the pixel page. Not all the pixels sold and so I was not able to give away the two $100 prizes. So, I am thinking about extending it until the end of September - even if I go ahead and get the engine.

Hopefully, I will soon begin to be able to give some updates on my restoration of the scooter as well as more stories of my experiences driving a vintage Vespa around a city that has a very small scooter population.


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