1966 Vespa Super 150 Restomod Automatic
On this website it is not unusual to find several works with the name Restomod in the headline. The word is the blend of two words, Restoration&Modification and is commonly used to define a style of build where the challenge is to improve some parameters of the stock bike without changing the original mood. In some way, it is like “modernizing” the original motorcycle, which is not the same as “tuning” it or build another type/style of motorcycle as in the custom world like Cafe Racers, Scramblers, etc.
This is, once again, the basic concept of this work over an old 1966 Vespa Super 150. We are aware that many of you will think that it is an aberration to touch such an old and iconic model, especially when the particular unit is declared as Historic in our country, with its proper license and registration card – which in fact prevents it from being legally modified – but the owner was clear: he wanted a motorcycle ACTUALLY fully rideable on a daily basis and a 6V electric loom, no battery, kick start only, manual gear change and carb engine was a pain in the ass for regular use. Hence, he asked us to change the engine for a more modern one, automatic transmission and electric start, but without touching its classic appearance. The perfect definition of Restomod.
The first and really the most challenging part of the build was to find an engine modern enough to meet all the customer requirements but not so modern as the current scooter engines. Also should allow us to fit in a traditional Vespa engine bay. After much research, we found an automatic version of the well-known PK 125 that ironically had very little popularity in its day: The Vespa PK 125 Plurimatic from 1985, with an engine shape and volume very close to the original one but with a semi-automatic variator transmission and electric start . Semi-automatic because before to start gear must be in a sort of “neutral” and once started the transmission must be activated manually. Also it's a 2 Stroke engine as well as the one of the 1966 Vespa. That was a real bonus in order to keep the original mood of the bike.
The first thing we did was tune up the Plurimatic's engine, which had not been started in many years. Clean the carburetor, chang transmission oil, change variator belt and spark plugs and get rolling.
Once the engine was in enough good condition, it had to be placed in the bay of the Vespa Super 150. Using the trial/error procedure, we cut the compartment to accommodate the new engine as can be seen in the pics aside. Another challenge at this stage was the engine-to-frame joint, which in the Plurimatic has an intermediate ball joint with SilentBlock that forced us to create a specific support welded to the frame. The rear suspension basically matches with the donor's bike setup, which made the final installation much easier for us.
Once the new engine was on place, the whole electrical loom had to be placed on a bike that basically does not have it at all. We take advantage of the left trunk for this purpose, by placing the battery, regulator and other electronics inside. In addition, we placed the ignition key on the surface of the trunk since the original bike does not have an ignition key either.
The fuel tank had to be chopped since the height of the new engine makes it impossible to use the original one. However, the upper part was maintained and an inlet was adapted for the new separate oil mixture system typical of a more modern 2 strokes engine.
Finally, the old gear shift cables were used for the neutral/ transmission control, and the throttle, front and foot brake cables were reused for the same purpose in the new setup. A hidden start button at the bottom of the right handlebar completes the installation that, with the trunk covers installed, barely reveals the change of heart made to this old glory. Furthermore, being a 2-stroke engine, its sound does not confuse with its appearance.
An original motorcycle but with a greatly improved useful life.
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