After working on a number of neglected cars and making them presentable and roadworthy I was thinking of something more of a classic. Ideally a Jaguar having owned a MkII, a MkIX and others. Being more realistic, regarding cost, a sixties Ford or Mini Clubman was favoured. Having seen a few Lambrettas advertised in local papers this was also considered and having owned one as a teenager added to the appeal. The next obstacle was somewhere to work on it (patching up a "banger" on ones drive is one thing but a proper restoration is something else). Finding a suitable vehicle and getting it home is another problem. My father-in-law was responsible for making my mind up when one day he told me he had seen an old BSA like he had owned in the '50s and was thinking of buying it I said "yeah and I could buy a Lambretta" which set me thinking. A Lambretta appeared to be a good choice, at least it could be transported home in the back of a Mondeo estate, worked on in a shed and still had some Lambretta tools. Also on the plus side is the lower insurance and road tax allowing it to be used alongside my everyday transport without costing an arm and a leg.   

 

Series 3 Li150 (1965)
Purchased from Cambridge Lambretta Workshop  9/11/2002

Unloaded after its journey home  and time for a better look. Complete,  apart from side panels, the leg shields have some rust holes, front mudguard has a small dent and the seat requires re-covering. Some of the controls have seized (gear-change, choke & front  brake) due to exposure to the elements. The engine also appears to be seized, but this is hopefully also due to standing and not a seizure while running,

First steps are to remove unwanted  parts such as the remains of a rear carrier and windshield brackets. Next step in the restoration is to remove the power unit.

     

 

The rear end almost completely stripped, the horn casting and front mudguard removed. Most screws securing these parts were seized and therefore sheared when undoing them, so a little careful drilling will be required to remove the remains.

 

Engine and  gearbox removed along with a few other parts such as the air-box and petrol tank, which need to be removed in order to allow the wiring from the generator to be disconnected. A new r/h side rear running board will be needed as the present one is rusted through.

In the engine department the chain case cover has been removed and the front sprocket. After removing the head the barrel followed with some effort, but is not actually seized, just a case of built-up gunge on the studs Removing the generator housing revealed the problem to be a seized bearing.

Frame after stripping to bare metal and sprayed in primer ready for final colour. Other parts will be rubbed down and sprayed in order of re-fitting. Final colours have not yet been decided, but will be along the lines of the original of white with a second colour. 
Final paint and reassembly underway. Blue has been chosen for the second colour, which will be for the horn-casting, centre stripe on side panels and hubs. Broken screws have been drilled out of the horn-casting, and head-set.

On the left the original speedo, yellowed by years of sunlight and the markings almost completely faded. Now with a screen-printed fascia in mph, although the odometer still reads kilometres.     

Reassembly now under way with the front hub being the first to be completed, also the headset bottom and handlebar controls in place. The toolbox and lid along with the rear light assembly also in place. Other body parts will be fitted when the engine is back in the frame.

The engine now completely stripped and cleaned, most components are in good condition but many parts will be replaced as a matter of course during the rebuild. An excellent guide to rebuilding can be found on the LCGB website and will assist in this rebuild, therefore I will skip photos of this stage.
 

With the engine now back in the frame attention turns to other parts such as the carburettor. A thorough clean was much needed before fitting to the engine. A 2mm layer of "gunge" lay in the float chamber  


 

Stripped and repainted, the seat assembly is ready for fitting a new cover. Right, the recovered seat fitted to the scooter. A new exhaust system is also ready to be fitted and once all the bits and pieces have been connected it will be time to give it a kick-over.


 



 

Attention now centres on the panel-work, a pair of side panels being obtained through Ebay. Not in great condition they are basically sound, both in need of a little panel beating once the old paint and filler was removed.

 

Not being skilled in panel beating and filling this took longer than expected, but when the final paint went on was well worth the effort.

 

 

The original legshields being in a particularly bad condition another set was bought. Although not perfect, they were in good enough condition for DIY repairs. As with the side panels they took a good few hours of light panel beating and filling to produce an acceptable finish when sprayed.  

The original right hand rear footboard was well rusted with several holes. Finding a replacement proved to be difficult as they are either not a lot better or fetch un-reasonable prices. Therefore it was decided to do something with the existing one.  

First the rust was removed and a split welded, then the top surface and under side were skinned with fibreglass tissue to bridge the holes. Once cured and  light sanded the top face could be given a layer of body filler. With this finally sanded and sprayed the end result is quite acceptable until a sound footboard can be found.  
 

Completed but still some problems with bulbs blowing. Once this is cured then it's ready for the MOT and registering. A 12v system is being considered partly due the difficulty in obtaining the correct bulbs and to give better lighting.

 

 

 

The first outing was for the MOT, which it passed first time then a week later for the DVLA inspection. Once the registration number was issued (a Portsmouth No. with a C suffix ) a rear number plate could be fitted and then taken out on the road properly. As could be expected there have been a few teething troubles (see below) but was running well for the Isle of Wight Rally ride-out.

 

      With a total rebuild such as this it would be unreasonable not to expect a few minor problems when it was taken on the road. This first was evident within a few hundred yards when it was found that 4th gear would not engage on the way to the MOT station a short way further I noticed the speedo was not working but decided to continue anyway as there was not time to sort either things and a working speedo is not part of the test anyway. Back home with the MOT passed the gear linkage was adjusted and the outer speedo cable shortened to allow the inner to enter the drive more fully. Next outing was for the DVLA inspection with everything working fine until after 5 or 6 miles the speedo stopped again. This time the teeth had been chewed on the drive spindle so a replacement spindle and ring ordered. Although these are meant to be fitted together as the new spindle had steel teeth I decided to chance it (it could only chew the ring gear which I had a replacement for anyway) and fitted this only. The cable seemed a little stiff so lightly greased it and replaced it making sure it turned smoothly. A run down the road and it was fine until after about 2 miles, no speedo again. Fearing the worst I removed the wheel end of the cable, the spindle was still driving ok but the cable was solid. After removing the speedo the cable turned freely but the speedo head was stuck. when this was dismantled it was found the old grease in the head had dried out and had become like a solid wax. With this cleaned and re assembled the speedo now works perfectly with very little flickering of the needle. 
SUMMARY

Most difficult bit:  knocking the panels and legshields into shape. Both are of a difficult shape and unlike car body work the legshields need to be the correct shape on both sides. 
Most satisfying bit:  starting the engine for the first time, as I have no idea when it last ran, and riding it fully road legal.
Would I do it again?  yes, most definitely but with prices rising and the choice of model limited it is unlikely.

 

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Copyright 2006
 

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