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Member
2016 PX125, 2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
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Location: Norway
 
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2016 PX125, 2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
Joined: UTC
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Location: Norway
UTC quote
So, I've bought a VL3T from 1956. Handlebar Vespa.
It's in a really good condition, having being stored for the past 15 years in a barn, unused. Unknown history before that, but I did reach out to the guy who imported it to get some more history on it and hopefully he'll get back to me.

External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

Anyways, it's new to me, and I'm now starting the process of getting it to run. I'm not (yet) very technically inclined, so it's definitely a learning process. That being said it does seem promising from what I can gather; the front break isn't working, and I definitely need to clear the carb before attempting to start it, but apart from that it seems mechanically fine, and it seems to kick over rather easily, so in my naïvety it shouldn't be all too difficult to get it running properly and road ready.

I definitely need to get my hands on workshop manuals for this. As far as I see Haynes doesn't cover pre-1960 Vespas, so I'm out of luck there. Would love to find something similar though. It does however seem that the material available for handlebar Vespas is somewhat limited compared to slightly newer (60s) models, so that's a major bummer for me.

Also beginning to read up on beginner guides to Vespa restoration/repair, so this will definitely be an experience where I can (and will have to) learn a lot.

Which books and sources are recommended for 1956 Vespas?

I've found some good stuff already; including a book and a generic 1955 service manual.
@birdsnest avatar
UTC

Not So Moderator
VNB VSC VMA VSX - o9c vbc vmb
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Location: Hustletown, TX
 
Not So Moderator
@birdsnest avatar
VNB VSC VMA VSX - o9c vbc vmb
Joined: UTC
Posts: 8314
Location: Hustletown, TX
UTC quote
Wow, that's a great looking scoot!

See if you can find the first and/or second issue of Vespa Technica.
You should also be able to find a PDF of the parts catalogue or the dealer service manual for that model. (EDIT - Ooops just saw ....That is what your second link was.)

Wide Frames have some unique parts and certainly fewer experts than your average scoot. Remember that when taking advice online from folks like, well... me.

Johnathan Gick posts here regularly and knows his stuff. But, ask away if you have general questions and we can point you in the right direction for sure.
⬆️    About 1 year elapsed    ⬇️
OP
UTC

Member
2016 PX125, 2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
Joined: UTC
Posts: 25
Location: Norway
 
Member
2016 PX125, 2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
Joined: UTC
Posts: 25
Location: Norway
UTC quote
I suppose this will be a combination of a project report and a personal notepad, so excuse any ramblings. Hopefully some of this turn out to be helpful for others who go on Google in search for info about their Vespa VL3T later on.

--
Quite a bit of time has passed since my initial post. Some of it can be blamed on unforeseen circumstances, such as getting a Covid-19 infection shortly after picking this up. In fact, the purchase of this was most likely the source, which put me in a bit of a foul mood about this Vespa for a bit.

Also realized that the rules for my rented underground parking garage say that no mechanical work can be carried out on their premises. There was a guy who ended up getting kicked out for doing exactly that. (although he ran a make-shift motorcycle shop and completely rebuilt two motorcycles there, so he had quite a bit of equipment stored and made a huge mess). I figured that since the management company now had gone through the steps of kicking that guy out, I should lay low and not draw any unwanted attention.

Excuses aside, I haven't done anything with this apart from planning, watching a few restoration videos on YouTube and reading a bit. Waiting for a spot to open up at a local scooter club where they have a 10-bay workshop, so until then I'm mostly waiting. Might roll it out on the street come summer if it's nice and warm out and try my best as a shadetree mechanic, but I'm not planning anything major before securing a more permanent workspace.

--
Interlude
I have also learnt a bit about the history of the scooter. I already knew it had spent the last 15 years in a barn. The seller owned a record label and the scooter was registered in the company's name. Sony Music ended up buying the record label, and as part of the sales process they needed to liquidate some of their fixed assets, including this, so I got a very good deal on it.

Records show that this was imported in 2003, and then it was sold in 2004 to the record label. I emailed the previous owner who imported it and asked him about the history, hoping to gain some insight. His name sounded Italian, and after a couple of days he graciously responded.

Records show that this was imported in 2003, and then it was sold in 2004 to the record label. I emailed the previous owner who imported it and asked him about the history, hoping to gain some insight. His name sounded Italian, and after a couple of days he graciously responded.

In 2004, he was riding in the city on a warm summer's day and was stopped randomly by a guy in the street, who desperately wanted to buy it. He agreed and sold it, but as he said, in hindsight he shouldn't have. He offered to buy it back from me in case I wanted to sell it in the future though, so he's top of my list should I decide to sell it.

--
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Planning ahead for when I begin to undertake the first phase of this, I have created a publicly visible notepad with what I'm planning to purchase.
https://www.sip-scootershop.com/en/wishlist/qxttGGDz20aOUYXFZVZ4sA

Apart from a few nice-to-have items such as the grab rail, knee pad and a mirror, the rest is what I've figured is needed to get it up and running nicely, planning to do the following:
• Replace fuel line and gaskets
• Run new cables for the throttle, brakes, clutch, gear (as needed)
• New tires and inner tubes
• New brake shoes front and rear
• Replace carb gaskets and replace jets if properly clogged

Then there's an additional point I'm unsure about; upgrading the front brakes. I have no experience riding Vespas from this era, but I understand that the front brakes leave some to be desired. Should I upgrade them while I'm at it, or will I get sufficient braking power by getting fresh brake shoes?

If upgrading; SIP sells a brake kit (item # 23208620) complete with cables, brake shoes and a new brake drum – any thoughts on whether this is better than getting the Pinasco drum (item #23208400) and their brake shoes (item # 87576100)?

I realize that this won't be a quick scooter by any means, and I also figured that I'm not sinking way too much money into it, at least not as of now. The goal is to get it up and running in a safe manner, and depending on the riding experience and how well I like it I'll consider upgrading shocks, springs, getting tubeless tires etc. in a second phase. As of now, the shopping list above is going to be about $400-500 shipped depending on what I'm doing with the brakes, plus the cost of me acquiring some additional hand tools.

Anything I've completely overlooked and should include, either in scope or parts I should order when I'm placing a larger one anyways?

--
Some literature and links I've found useful
How to Restore and Maintain Your Vespa Motorscooter by Bob Darnell and Bob Golfen, ISBN10 0760306230 / ISBN13 9780760306239

THE BOOK OF THE VESPA - AN OWNERS WORKSHOP MANUAL FOR 125cc AND 150cc VESPA SCOOTERS 1951-1961, ISBN10 1588501132 / ISBN13 9781588501134

Very high-level restoration guide: https://www.liveabout.com/vespa-restoration-743499

SIP Scootershop guide, including a 20-minute video about wideframes: https://www.sip-scootershop.com/fr/blogs/classic-scene-blog-vespa-lambretta_2795/post/vespa-wideframe-model-science_4856

Technical specs: http://www.scooterhelp.com/scooters/VL3T.150.html

History/buyers guide: http://scooterlounge.com/vespa/buyers-guide/vespa-handlebar.shtml
OP
UTC

Member
2016 PX125, 2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
Joined: UTC
Posts: 25
Location: Norway
 
Member
2016 PX125, 2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
Joined: UTC
Posts: 25
Location: Norway
UTC quote
Also adding some photos.

Makeshift trolley for transporting it home as it had a flat tire. The seller was a couple of blocks away from me, so I walked it home and even went a bit offroad crossing a park on a gravel path. Worked wonders.
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Probably a replacement speedo? And who knows how many times it has passed 9999.
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Old tires that definitely needs replacing
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External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

Apart from the cobwebs, it looks okay visually
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Some paint cracking on the fender
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

Rear light in great condition
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

Nice-looking seat, and pillion seat on the luggage rack
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text
UTC

Hooked
various, but less than I used to have
Joined: UTC
Posts: 175
Location: San Anselmo
 
Hooked
various, but less than I used to have
Joined: UTC
Posts: 175
Location: San Anselmo
UTC quote
Looks like an older restoration. Taillight is wrong. Speedo is wrong. seat badging is off bondo on the front fender and its a funny shape. Front swing arm should be painted (not polished and front brake backing plate should be painted (body color). Front spring would not be polished and wheel lug nuts would be painted as well. That said, back in the 1980's some parts were hard to find and we used what we could find. Get this book: it's a basic intro in to the old stuff.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
OP
UTC

Member
2016 PX125, 2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
Joined: UTC
Posts: 25
Location: Norway
 
Member
2016 PX125, 2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
Joined: UTC
Posts: 25
Location: Norway
UTC quote
Fantastic, adding that to my reading list.

Your point about it being an older restoration makes sense, and thanks for pointing out the bits that are off. I think you're right about some older restoration, or possibly just repairs over the years as stuff broke. It has been used for quite a few years, and I think for something that's being used regularly you're more inclined to fix it with what's available, not spend a bunch on sourcing a perfect replacement part.
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1964 Allstate Cruisaire, 2022 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401, 1972 Suzuki T500J
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1964 Allstate Cruisaire, 2022 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401, 1972 Suzuki T500J
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OP
UTC

Member
2016 PX125, 2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
Joined: UTC
Posts: 25
Location: Norway
 
Member
2016 PX125, 2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
Joined: UTC
Posts: 25
Location: Norway
UTC quote
Wonderful, greatly appreciated!
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