If you decide to restore your Vespa scooter or want to buy one to restore then the main thing to check is if the frame is straight? Has it been in an accident that has put it out of line or weakened it?
A trained eye can spot a twist in the frame but a simple measurement between the gap in the legshields would be a good indicator, it should be 36.5cms no more or less on large frames. They can be straightened if not too far out, so all is not lost.
The underbelly can suffer from holes rotting in the frame, this is not a major problem these days as we can buy new floors for all models and it is good practice to replace them even if the rot is minimal. During the replacement we also get access to that area of the scooter tunnel to clean out the internal rust. The real worry are bloated seams which require more work and harder to replace in some areas, namely down by your feet and around the engine mounts. It's all saveable just more work which means more time (or money).
Surprisingly the most frustrating and frequent complaint I hear is that parts don't fit or work like they are supposed to. Some customers restoring their own scooters spend more time and effort gathering the parts than actually building their scooter. This is where experience comes in, knowing the correct parts for a particular model and knowing which part is of the right quality, we can help sell you these and save you time and money.
Whilst stripping and building, take photos at each step, make lists, throw nothing away. Not sure how to do something? Youtube it, ask online forums, or better still ask us. There are very often tricks and ways of doing certain jobs - even those that seem to be impossible. With a 70 year history of Vespas, you are never going to be the first or only person with a particular issue.
The beauty of vintage scooters is that they are simply built. Just enjoy it and do your best, if it does'nt feel like something is right then have it checked by someone who knows. We offer the service to go over a restoration you have just completed yourself, and give it the once over.
From the start make a plan to do it right, if budget is a restriction then do as much as you can yourself and learn, spread the cost out over time, the project may take longer but the result is more satisfiying and the resulting bike will last so much longer and run so much more smoothly.
Run it around the block, adjust, test again and then re-adjust. It's important to bed it in and check for any imperfections. Unlike modern vehicles, vintage scooters MUST BE RUN IN if you are using major engine upgrades or reconditioning things. Being careful and following run-in rules for the first month or two will mean that the bike runs better and lasts much longer. Be patient!
Of course, if all the above is too much for you and has put you off the idea of starting a restoration project (that is not the idea of this article!), then we are here to take things off your hands and do everything on your scooter restoration. However, if you are handy with some tools and understand the basics, then many of the jobs in a restoration are achievable.
If you really are in a hurry then you can always take a look at what restored scooters we already have available in our Showroom.
What ever route you choose, good luck!