Restoring a Vespa with no experience?
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Enthusiast
Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 61
Location: Australia
Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:48 am quote
Hello everyone! It's been a long time since I've posted on these boards, I've been busy and my life has been changing a lot, pushing my Vespa dreams into the background for quite a while now.

I've been very bored lately. I've spent 90% of my time simply studying (I'm a University student) or playing video games. As fun as that stuff can be, at best it's a whole lot of short-term stuff that feels pretty unsatisfying. I've been looking for something I can take up as a long-term hobby and mechanics/electronics has really caught my eye. I guess I want some 'hands on' work to do that will be fun and rewarding.

With that in mind, I've been wondering if it would be totally insane for someone with zero mechanical or electrical expertise to try and totally restore a Vespa. Skills aside, it suits all of my needs... It's long term, it's something I could blog about, it's mechanical and electrical (and from what I've seen, much less complex than something like a new car), it'll teach me a lot and in the end I'll be rewarded with the Vespa of my dreams!

I apologise for the length of this post, but I felt the background was neccessary for readers to asses this daunting task. I guess I'll list out the questions I want to ask:

1) Does anyone on this forum have experience with restoration? Can you provide me with a source of information on the topic?

2) Is it totally insane for me to dive in with zero mechanical/electrical experience, or is it the perfect opportunity for me to learn as I go?

3) Does restoring an old Vespa generally turn out cheaper or more expensive than buying one? I'm a Uni student so I'm not rich!

4) Will I need lots of expensive/strange equipment to restore a Vespa, or can it be acomplished with general tools from an auto store?

5) Lastly, if anyone knows what to look for when selecting a Vespa to restore I'd love to know.


Thankyou so much if you can provide me with some advice on this subject. I know the post is long-winded but I have really become interested in this concept of restoring a Vespa lately!



Edit: Sorry, I meant to post this in General. Don't know what happened there, I must be tired! If this needs to be moved please don't hesistate to do so.
Ossessionato
Joined: 17 Oct 2005
Posts: 3220
Location: The Happiest Place on Earth
Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:16 am quote
Re: Restoring a Vespa with no experience?
Nuro wrote:
1) Does anyone on this forum have experience with restoration? Can you provide me with a source of information on the topic?
I've done this kind of work on cars, but not scooters. The principle is the same, but the scale is different. Scooter Help is a great resource. The Scooter BBS (vintage side) is also valuable, if a bit rough and tumble.
Nuro wrote:
2) Is it totally insane for me to dive in with zero mechanical/electrical experience, or is it the perfect opportunity for me to learn as I go?
If you have friends locally with some experience, or you can take a motorcycle mechanic's course at a community college or something, then yeah, it's a fine project. It's less complicated in scope than a car, to be sure.
Nuro wrote:
3) Does restoring an old Vespa generally turn out cheaper or more expensive than buying one? I'm a Uni student so I'm not rich!
Buying someone else's restoration is usually cheaper than doing your own. Most people don't get back the money they spend on projects like that. It's a labor of love rather than a cash cow.
Nuro wrote:
4) Will I need lots of expensive/strange equipment to restore a Vespa, or can it be accomplished with general tools from an auto store?
For the most part, a set of metric tools will take care of you. However, on there are a few odd tools that you will need once in a while. Again, having scooter friends helps. They may already have the tools.
Nuro wrote:
5) Lastly, if anyone knows what to look for when selecting a Vespa to restore I'd love to know.
Honestly, that's highly dependent upon the model you're considering. It's also dependent upon your skill set. As someone who is comfortable at working on mechanical things, but not bodywork or electrical, I would pick something that needed a few systems rebuilt over something that needed panels beaten out and repainted. I think the most important thing is to find a complete example of whichever model you're considering. You also need to assess the condition of the frame and any rare sheet metal on the bike (cowls, glovebox, fender). Honestly, were I looking for a vintage scooter, I'd be looking for all of that, plus something that ran. I'd want to enjoy it most of the time and work on it when I desire.
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