VIDEO | 3 minutes to strip a Vespa

Judging by the emails we’ve already received and the amount of scooter builds going on in sheds, garages and front rooms around the world I think the coronavirus lockdown is breeding an epidemic all of its own.

A couple of years ago, Blackpool based, Mike Collum sent us a little timelapse video of him stripping a Vespa Primavera down. That scooter went off to be sprayed and was never seen again. Luckily some good things can come out of a bad situation and he’s dusted it off and plans to build it in 14 days whilst self-isolating. Here’s part one. We’ll be updating this post over the next couple of weeks so if you want to follow the build keep checking back.



Monday 23rd March 2020, I’m sat at tea break in work and get a text from the missus, which tells me she has Coronavirus symptoms. I tell my boss, she sends me home for 14 days of isolation.

Obviously, I need to keep away from her as much as possible, so I opt to see how far I can get building the Primavera that Gary at M&M in Stretford Manchester, painted for me last year. I was planning to put this on Faceache each day until SLUK kindly offered the chance to bore you all with daily (hopefully) updates… I hate Faceache anyway.


Day 1:

I only had an afternoon as I wasn’t sent home from work until gone 11. I decided not to start big, so attached the strap for the seat that I had re-covered for me two years ago, and put the seat lock in as well.

Then I decided to get the engine panel lock back in. Typically, not all new parts are as good as they should be. I bought this ages ago (like almost all the parts I have for it) and discovered that the ‘boss’ that is supposed to be tapped over to hold it all in place is too short and all the washers are wrong anyway. I’ll have to re-think this one later.


Day 2:

The internal axle for the rear brake pedal can be removed, so I recently got a new one. Obviously, the old one was stuck tight through corrosion, and at some point something incorrect was jammed in as a holding pin. This can’t be drilled out, but is obviously snapped anyway, so I soaked the axle overnight with WD40. With a bit of heat and a big hammer, it came out quite easily. I ordered some new drill bits as I hope to get the ‘pin’ out later. The other option is to drill a new pinhole hoping it doesn’t cause any weakness.


I also opt to build the wheels. I had the rims chromed two years ago while the scooter was at M&M, but they have been well protected against the damp of my crappy garage. Only the spare will have to wait as there is too much rust on the inner tube. I am not rushing things, so I clean out all the threads with a small screwdriver, looking for nails etc along the way. I then wash the tyres with hot soapy water. They get a good cleanup with tyre black restorer, and after assembly, with new nuts and washers, I clean the rims with stainless steel cleaner.

SLUK disclaimer: We don’t recommend rejuvenating scooter tyres with back to black or similar silicone-based products. Slippy tyres and scooter cornering aren’t a good combination.


Day 3:

Time to dig the scooter out from the back of the garage, where it had been protected (read buried) by towels, bubble wrap and old t-shirts for quite some time. Almost long enough for me to forget what the paint scheme looked like. I got a cheap but useful hydraulic lift about six or seven years ago, and have been waiting for the chance to use it. Now is that chance. I load the frame on to it and decide that floor runners and centre mat might help protect the floor during the build.


Keep on running

Nothing is ever easy of course, and the oft-used words from my mate Dave during his scooter tinkering are echoing in my head: “One step forward, two steps back”. The holes for the mat strips are too big for the correct screws. They just hold it in place, but larger ones will have to be sought. I have a new set of floor runners (purchased a decade ago!) but the rubbers have been held together with elastic bands for so long they are misshapen. I have kept all the original parts that are OK, so I have put the rubbers in soapy water for the night and hopefully, they will look OK when fitted. I may have to use one length of new rubber though as one of the originals is a tad short.


Apart from the four mounting holes in the legshields, there are no runner holes in the floor. At least I can hold them in place, and using callipers to measure the gap at the front, I get both sets of runners positioned with exactly the same distance between them… I hate drilling through a lovely paint job though. I don’t want to use the rivets that came with the runners, so more stuff is needed already.

Updated 1st April…


Day 4:

I ordered some fasteners this morning, but no idea when they might arrive. Hopefully, I’ll get an order into SIP today or tomorrow as well for some more parts. Not a lot to report on day 4. I’ve been trying to strip the paint from the top and bottom fork bearing races on the frame. I used paint stripper several times but it was still refusing to budge all the way. I spent a fair bit of time on it again and eventually got them both looking OK.


Despite being soaked in soapy water all night, the rubber strips for the floor runners were still grubby in the sides where they slide into the runners. Still, sat in the warm midday sun cleaning them just before lunch was not exactly a hardship… lots of people are still at work!


I managed to find a new front hub oil seal, so got the hub and wheel-mounted and hopefully that will reduce the likelihood of damage as I am having to pack/unpack everything from the corner of the garage each day in order to work on the scooter. I was going to fit the rear hub to the motor too but realised that I still have to fit a clutch and likely a new rear hub oil seal too. The rear hub backplate also needs a good clean so I think I’ll leave the engine for now.


Wiring loom

After a bit of faffing about, I decided to get the new wiring loom into the frame. I got the multi-meter onto all the contacts first to make sure all was well. Although it’s brand new, I don’t want to be removing the bugger if there is a problem that only comes to light much later. As I had the inside of the frame protected against corrosion during the restoration, it is slightly tacky too, so once fitted I want it to stay there.


I fed a spare control cable through to the horn cover, then connected it to the loom with a bit of masking tape. I also taped up the loose wires to protect them. Slowly pulling the cable towards the rear of the frame as I pushed the loom in from beneath the horn mounting, it all went smoothly. I will have a lot more ‘fun’ getting the other half up to the top of the frame.


The rear brake pedal assembly is quite corroded, but I really want to keep it, so I had it acid stripped a couple of years ago when I took a Lammy engine case in for the same treatment. Just before I finished today I gave it a going over with some anti-corrosion filler primer. I’ll get a bit more onto it tomorrow hopefully.


 At the last minute I also applied some paint stripper to the gear change control as there is plenty of over-spray that will make it difficult to both attach to the headset and accept the grip.


Looking for scooter parts for your build during the lockdown?

At the time of writing the following SLUK supporting companies are still sending out parts:

The Scooter Republic

SIP Scootershop

Scooter Center


Rimini Lambretta Centre

Day 5:

I placed an order for parts today, and hoped it wouldn’t come back to bite me on the arse later on. I had a few other things to do this morning, so all I got done on the build was to put more paint stripper onto the gear control arm.


After lunch, I carried on removing the remaining paint, and the tubes now look good. Not surprisingly, the headset itself has a nice thick layer of paint so the tube won’t slide into place. Cleaning it up took ages, as the design of the older Vespa headsets is such a pain. Why did it take Piaggio two decades longer than Inoccenti to design a two-piece headset? (ed: I think you’ll find Piaggio did a 2-piece headset in the 1950s Mike). I ended up putting a small amount of grinding paste onto the tube to remove the last of the paint, but finally, it seems OK and should work well when greased up.

Parts cleaning in Cillit Bang (other products are also available) and clutch plates soaking in oil
Parts cleaning in Cillit Bang (other products are also available) and clutch plates soaking in oil

Somewhere safe

Obviously, I need to do the same with the throttle arm but couldn’t remember for the life of me where I had put it. I eventually tracked it down to a plastic container box – beneath two other plastic container boxes, a big heavy tent and a box containing my stupidly loud spare GTS muffler! It was a bit grubby to say the least, so I put it into a zip-lock SIP bag and doused it with Cillit Bang. I then decided to continue with the headset and fit the cable stay. Annoyingly one of the bolts was badly rounded and it took far too long to find another 5mm bolt that would do the job (I have plenty of everything except bloody 5mm). I also had to slightly tap out the hole, but eventually, it was done.


On the bench

As I only had the afternoon, and most of it was used up already, I decided not to dig out the frame and continue fitting the loom (coward). So, opted to change my mind and got the motor up on the bench. I was chuffed to find both a rear hub oil seal and a new set of clutch plates. I stripped the backplate and placed the small parts into the bag with Cillit Bang to clean them up overnight. I put the clutch plates in another bag, and soaked them in gear oil, where they will also stay until tomorrow.


Putting the brakes on

Of course, nothing is ever that simple, and I discovered one of the brake shoes was partly seized, and had caused the other to wear far more than it should have… I’ll be needing new rear brake shoes then. What was that I said about this morning’s order? I put a load of WD-40 onto it and tomorrow that bugger is definitely coming off.

Day 6:

Another day without getting too far forward, and nothing worth taking photos of either. But as the adverts for a certain supermarket, I’m not allowed to visit keep telling me ‘Every little helps.’

After spending good time cleaning up the throttle arm, I noticed that it didn’t match the gear control arm. So, I had to haul out all the boxes and the tent again, and low and behold I have three of the damn things. I had cleaned up the wrong one… do’h! Still, the right one wasn’t too bad and after cleaning it went straight into the headset without fuss. So some consolation at least.

After that I assembled the clutch and then fitted that, and once fitted I attached the kickstart lever, put it into first gear and disengaged the clutch. Pushing the kickstart lever all seemed good and the layshaft didn’t budge.

Using more Cillit Bang and an old toothbrush, I cleaned up the rear hub backplate and re-assembled that with the new oil seal. I fitted the hub too, so now that is another piece that is less likely to get damaged. I still need new shoes for the rear end, but I’ll wait to order those until later as I will probably need more bits anyway.


Whilst I was fitting the kickstart I realised I hadn’t fitted the clutch adjuster bracket. I searched high and low but could not find it. Eventually, I happened to look at my spare engine…yep, there it was. Then I remembered, that engine was built from scratch and I only have the one bracket, so off it came.

More Cillit Bang!

It was at this stage that I had to admit to myself that I am really just putting off fitting the rest of the loom up past the fork tube. So, tomorrow I’ll definitely have a go at that. In the meantime I scrabbled through the margarine tubs where all the small Primmy bits are and picked out bolts, springs, cable trunnions etc. that I am likely to use and put them all in another container (ice cream this time!) and filled it with yet more Cillit Bang. I am going to leave them for a couple of days so they should come out looking nice and clean.


SLUK Shop is open all hours

Day 7:

Today went quite well. I started out by doing what I promised myself… the loom. I dropped a piece of string with a nut on the end down the right-hand side of the fork tube. Masked up the connectors on the loom to protect them, then tied the string to it. Pushed the loom into the frame, then pulled it up to the top of the fork tube, manipulating it inside the frame as I went so as not to cause damage by pulling the string too hard. Amazingly, it all went well, so obviously I got very worried! Apart from having to work the connectors through the top of the frame with sharp-nosed pliers, it was quite easy really. I had already thought that the wires for the horn were too short from the loom, and should have extended them first. I was right, and had to push the loom back down a little to get at them. I have now extended them, passed them around the back of the fork tube and pushed them together to keep them from falling back into the frame.



Annoyingly, all that pushing and pulling showed that the quality of the loom is not as good as it should be. When I was looking to get the two wires for the rear brake light, I noticed a number of bare wires, so I had to pull more of the loom out of the brake pedal hole to re-wrap them in insulating tape. I had to do the same at the top of the loom too, where it had caught on the top of the frame. I expected that to be honest, as there is never quite enough room. I would love to have seen them do it in the factory.


Rear light

As I can’t keep my mind on one thing for too long, I decided to fit the number plate bracket. I found a few rubber grommets that were just right for spacing it out from the frame (I think it’s supposed to have a spacer of some sort, but I don’t have one). I went through all the tubs again and found a load of 5mm bolts…where were they when I needed them the other day? So, after some time I managed to get enough washers together as well and got it fitted. I think I might get some 5mm nylock nuts for it though, so that I don’t have to tighten them too much and thus squash the grommets, making it look wrong. That’s another part out of bubble wrap.


Cheap copy

Whilst I was at the back end, I thought that it would look nice with the rear light on too. It looks great, but it’s obviously a cheap copy. The frame gasket doesn’t fit as well as it should, and the connectors have a little screw in, like a domestic plug. How stupid is that? Oh, and there is no gasket behind the lens either, so I’ll be on the lookout for one of those at some point. Still, got to say it looks the ‘mutt’s nuts’ now that it’s fitted.

‘Arry the Ammer’

At this point, I had a set of punches delivered. So I decided to get that ‘pin’ out of the rear brake pedal. One half fell out with a little push, the other took very little persuading from ‘Arry the ‘Ammer. As far as I can tell from the remains, it was a nail. If this was still the ‘80s, I’d probably just stick another nail in it too! Hopefully, the hole is still good for the correct pin.


SLUK Shop is still busy taking orders

Back to the engine

With that sorted, it was back to the motor. I put a little fine grinding paste onto the crankshaft, and then put the flywheel on without the woodruff key. Span it around a few times then cleaned it all up. The crankshaft had a few marks and scratches from years of abuse, and that will help it all fit together nicely. Unfortunately, I also discovered that the threads for the flywheel cowling are knackered. There is still a little thread left, so I should be able to tap them out to 7mm, but I will have to get some matching slot head screws as well, as I don’t want to use hex bolts.


A few coats of black paint on the rear brake pedal finished off a reasonably good day. It could have gone a lot worse, but I also know I have probably the worst job of all coming up…fitting the legshield trim!!

Day 8:

Another day of contrasts, with some stuff going well, other stuff not so well. I started off by drilling the lock for the engine door, tapping it out to 3mm and fitting a screw and another washer, so that’s that sorted. I still managed to waste a fair bit of time finding a screw to do the job.

I also fed the speedo and front brake cables into the forks. I pushed old cables up into the forks from the bottom, then slid the new outers over them until they came out the exit holes in the fork leg. I then simply fed the new inners down and into place.

Whilst I had the cables handy, I fed the gear, clutch and throttle cables into the frame. I put masking tape over the ends prior to feeding the cables down from the top of the frame, then taped them all together so that they don’t slip down into the frame. I have left the other ends inside the main frame for now, as they will only end up getting damaged if I stick them out the bottom of the frame when it has no wheels and is spending its time sat on the hydraulic lift.

I got the choke cable lever out of the Cillit Bang, it looks like new. With that now fitted, it’s another little job out of the way.

I then went back to the engine. After discovering the threads for the flywheel cowling were knackered, I thought I would try a helicoil insert. I have a 6mm tapping tool, so with that done, I went through all my inserts only to discover no 6mm. Half a dozen bloody 5mm though! Why, I don’t know as I haven’t even got a 5mm tap for them. I’ve had them for decades, so it could be any number of reasons.

Two important phone calls also took up a fair bit of my time, so nothing more to be done today.

Rumours that Mike has shares in Cillit Bang are purely fabricated
Rumours that Mike has shares in Cillit Bang are purely fabricated

Day 9:

Today started off OK. All the bits I had soaking in Cillit Bang came out looking good.


I was especially pleased with the stand spring, it was looking bad when it went in, now it looks like new. I’ll need it too, as the new stand did not come with either a spring or the bolts to attach it to the frame. I’ll use the original bolts for now, but I may change them for stainless steel round head allen bolts later. I spent a bit of time removing the remaining bits of crud in threads etc from the other bits I had soaked, and greasing the parts that needed it, before attaching the kickstart lever then the clutch cable adjuster bracket.


I noticed that some of the bolts I had soaked, had been drilled with what looks like a 1/2mm drill bit. The only reason I can think that this would be done was that either the scooter was raced, was going to be raced, or a previous owner read about racing and decided it would be a good idea to wire-up some of the bolts too. Strange.



Legshield trim

Next up was the job I had been dreading, and to be honest, I wish I hadn’t bothered. I knew that the original style aluminium legshield trim was gonna be a bugger to fit, but the top part went on easy, so I thought what the hell, let’s give it a go. So I used up some more of my ever-dwindling supply of masking take and stuck a couple of old t-shirts to the inside and outside of the legshields as protection. I also used a bit of ACF-50 to lubricate and protect the edges of the legshields should all go well. It didn’t. No matter how hard I tried, the trim would not fall into shape at all, and every slight movement caused it to slice a small piece of topcoat off the edges of the legshields in various places.

Not surprisingly, I did not try my luck for long, and gave it up as a bad idea. I wanted to try, as there is no way that I can chuck the frame into the back of the car and take it to a specialist. It looks like I’ll be replacing it with something else, and something that is easier to fit, as the job cannot be done with the headset in place if using the correct tool.

Legshield trim tips?

Do you have any words of wisdom or tips on fitting legshield trim to a Vespa?


Bodge it

After that, it was back to the motor for a while. I fitted the stator plate and worked out where top dead centre is. The stator might be a pain too, as it’s not the one I ordered, but the Lincolnshire based scooter parts shop insisted that all I need to do is change the connectors and all will be well. That remains to be seen, and as I bought it over a year ago I’m probably stuck with it. I have re-wired a PK stator for a Primmy in the past, but I mated it to a PX loom that I ‘butchered’ to work. This time, I am trying to mate it up to a proper Primmy loom. Using the original stator as a guide, I think I have the pick-up in the right place, and it doesn’t look like the stator will fit any other way.


With that done, I offered the engine up to the frame to make sure it’ll slide in easy when the time comes. I did this, as experience tells me that the frames can sometimes become ‘pinched’ or the silent blocks can protrude a little more than they should. Also, with all that paint on it could be a struggle. I needn’t have worried this time though, as there is loads of room.


Turning my attention to the SIP rear shock, I used a bit of copper grease on the threaded section then cleaned up the mounting rubber, greased that too then fitted the shock ready for when the motor is going in.


I finished off today, as I have done a few times, with a bit of spraying. A few quick coats of clear lacquer on the two sections of the rear brake pedal as a bit of extra protection. 


Day 10:

A day that started well enough, but yet again ended in frustration.


This morning I put the rear brake pedal assembly back together. I had to run a bit of wet and dry through the axle holes so that the axle would slide in nicely, and once it was looking good it was all greased up and the axle went in just fine. I noticed that the new pin already had a bit of rust (great quality!), but it cleaned up easily enough. I ran a drip of ACF-50 onto it. I got the pin holes lined up, slightly pinched one end of the pin to aid fitment, then using the T-handle from a spring fitter (stretcher…whatever), I tapped it into the hole. As it got further in I switched to using a hammer and punch to drive it home. It went in with a bit of force, suggesting that over time it too will become stuck fast, but I’ll be happy enough if it never has to come out again.

The new light switch was attached, once I had found the correct screw, along with a new switch gasket and I re-fitted the spring.


Spring time

After lunch, it was onto the centre stand. I spent some time sorting out the correct length screws, and washers etc. I put a couple of washers inside the rubber feet in the hope that they prevent the feet from ‘cutting’ through the rubber under the weight of the scooter. Although I have to admit, that’s more likely with a heavier PX, but worthwhile for such little effort. With the frame on its side, it went together nicely, so all I had to do was find the stand spring clip that I have seen somewhere. No such luck. I spent ages going through all my tubs again, even places that I know I have no scooter parts just in case. I know I have one, but the little bugger remains unfound. I did have a similar bracket though, the old headlight adjuster (I have two new ones anyway), and it appears to be doing the job OK for now.


Once that was out of the way, I unpacked the new steering lock. Typical of a motor manufacturer, there are several different sized locks for the same models. So I had to measure the gap for the upper part before ordering. I have the right one, but will it fit? Of course it bloody won’t! I immediately assume that there is paint inside the holder preventing it from going in, so obviously I start filing away as carefully as possible to make room. Despite the care, small bits of paint flaked off the lock holder, and I only hope that they won’t be noticed once it’s all together. But I can already see a call to Gary on the horizon for a bit of touch-up paint.


After a fair bit of filing the lock still won’t go in. I can see that there is no paint preventing it, so I measure the width of the slot, then measured the width of the lock upper. The lock is too wide. Yet another brand new replacement item advertised as top quality that simply does not fit. It is about ¼ to ½ a mm too wide. The only option is to file it down to fit. As it’s brass, it is much softer than the steel used to make the holder, so it’s the obvious choice. But after more than half an hour using several different files it was still too wide and I was getting fed up.


I called it a day. Sometimes it’s better to leave things and go back to them at a later time. It’s a pain knowing that I still have to make it fit, but I was already pissed off by then so it was better to leave it.


Day 11:

A good day for swearing!


OK, so not everything is doom and gloom today, in fact, mostly a good day’s build. After yesterday’s disappointment with the steering lock, I took the decision to do the ‘big stuff’. Obviously, on a smallframe Vespa, that’s very relative.


First up, the forks. I selected a couple of stainless domed allen screws, all the washers and a couple of nuts. Made sure they all went through the required holes ok, then very gingerly passed the mudguard down over the fork tube. The mudguard is brand new, and never came here until after it had been painted, so I was a little worried that the holes might not line up. Fortunately, they did, and I soon had it tightened down and looking nice.

It’s not a race

I cleaned up the thread at the top of the forks and checked that the new bearing race screwed on ok. I then loaded-up the bottom bearing race with grease (I hope you’re reading this Piaggio!), pulled the two cables down to the top of the fork and proceeded to push the forks into place. As the frame is still balancing on the lift, I had to hold the forks in place with one hand while I grabbed the top race and started to screw it on with the other. The sodding thing wouldn’t go on. Cue lots of swearing. After several minutes of abuse it finally decided I was gonna win, and on it went. With the forks now secure and turning smoothly, I then discovered that there was not enough thread left to fit the tab washer and race locking nut. Everything was in place correctly, so I dug out the old bearing race and discovered that it is thinner. Either another badly made copy, or I have been sent a PX one or something. Again, I’ve had it for a few years already, so I had to spend a bit of time cleaning up the old ones and once fitted all was well again.


At this point, I realised that the securing nut for the speedo cable had gone for a look down in the fork tube. Arse! There’s no way I was taking the forks out or tipping the scoot upside down to get it back out again. More swearing. I grab a torch and straighten an old coat hanger that I usually use bent up to spray parts. Amazingly, I managed to pull the offending item back to where it should be and put a load of masking tape beneath it to stop it happening again. Why can’t the bloody manufacturers prevent this in the first place? I swore at it again, just for good measure.


We have power!

Now it was time for the engine. Knowing that it would just slide in nicely, I got everything positioned with the engine in place beneath the frame and then bit by bit lowered the lift until the frame and engine were exactly right. I slid the shock bolt in and secured it with washers and nut. I went to push the engine bolt in and immediately realised my ‘schoolboy error’…I had not removed excess paint from the bolt hole in the frame. Do’h! I popped a couple of smaller bolts in both sides just to hold it in place as it was now lunchtime.



Tight as a nun’s chuff

Back on with the job, I grabbed my scissor jack and used it to lower the engine a little. I was damned if the engine was coming out again. Using A 10mm drill bit I carefully, and by hand, removed the excess paint and soon had the bolt pushed through. With that done I lifted the scoot off and over the hydraulic lift and onto its wheels for the first time in over two years…yay. Well chuffed. I pulled it onto the stand, cleaned up the nut for the engine bolt and tightened it all up. Suddenly there was a hell of a bang and I practically shat myself. Desperately searching the scooter from top to toe expecting a bloody great dent and missing paint, I was bemused not to be able to find anything amiss. I looked in the frame, then underneath….it was the bloody stand spring hook that I had made yesterday. With a sigh of relief that there was no damage I had another scout around for a replacement but couldn’t find anything. I have made one before, so I might do another. For now it can wait.


Headset fitted

With the forks and engine in, I had little choice now but to fit the headset. Recalling my error from earlier, I got the headset bolt and tried to fit it first. It was too tight, so a bit of wet and dry later and the excess paint was removed from the bolt hole. I masked up the ends of the wiring and pulled the control cables up a bit, then lowered the headset into place whilst passing the loom and cables into the correct slots in the headset moulding. Well, I say correct slots, but I then realised that the two parts of the loom were back to front. It shouldn’t really be an issue as there seems to be plenty of loom to play with, but it would have been better for the switch wires to have been on the right, and the headlight wires more central.

I pushed the bolt through and loosely tightened it, aligned the headset to the front wheel and then tightened it properly. Marvellous. As it was now late afternoon and I had a few other things to do, I called it a day.


Day 12: Back to the small fiddly stuff.


After the forks and engine instalment yesterday, there is only little fiddly jobs left to do now, until it comes time to try and get it running. That’s not going to happen yet though, as I still need a CDI and regulator.


Most of today was spent getting the scooter cabled up. As I am not rushing, especially as I am doing my best not to scratch it, I took my time and tried not to get angry when things didn’t go right straight away.


I had a good look at the routing for the loom and decided, against my better wishes that it needed slight adjustment. I took the headset off again, and moved the switch part of the top loom so that it was alongside the part for the headlight. There is just enough room for both and the throttle cable, and that’s probably where it’s supposed to go anyway. One thing I didn’t do when pulling it all apart was pay too much attention to those little details. The Piaggio manuals are not really a great help, and I don’t have a Haynes one. It’s all learning as I go.



More bodgery

As usual, it was a real faff trying to get the gear cables into position inside the headset, then I discovered that the top hats for the cables were too big for the holding bracket. So, out it came again – this time to be drilled out to 6 mm to match the top hats. At this point, I decided to ‘cheat’, or at least try something I haven’t before. I fitted the gear and throttle cables into place in the bracket, then pushed it all down into position and then screwed the bracket to the headset. Ha! It was really easy that way (and I bet everyone else does it that way already!) and it put a lot less stress on the inner and outer cables.


Once that was done, I found all my spare handlebar washers and spacers and set about fitting the bars into the headset. Apart from the split pins that hold the cable ‘rollers’ on the shafts, it was not too much trouble. I had to really space out the throttle control though as there was loads of play, so it does not look as good as I would like, hopefully when the grips go on it won’t look so bad.


Getting the clutch and front brake cables in wasn’t too much grief, so the levers went on too. I need some anti-rattle washer for the levers though, so no grease yet and I’m not adjusting anything until they are fitted.



More electrics

I also fitted the horn with new screws and clips. Annoyingly, I have a black horn gasket but a grey rear light gasket. One will have to be replaced, and If I can get both in grey and a rear light gasket that fits correctly, it’ll be grey. All the control cables are also grey.


The last job of today was to start wiring up the light/horn switch. The pink and yellow are supposed to go into the same terminal, but there is no way that’s happening. So I will probably get the soldering iron out tomorrow and see if I can join them together and still get them into the tiny space.

Day 13: A day spent achieving little!


Very little to tell today. I spent the vast majority of the day getting the floor runners fixed and the rubbers in. Some of those rubbers took some persuading, and I was even forced to soak one in boiling water in order to get it in place. Oh yes, I managed to ram a screwdriver through a finger whilst I was at it. Plenty of blood and swearing (no tears, honest) and a slight scratch on the floor of the scooter. To be honest, I was expecting a horrendous mess, but I guess I got lucky.

I also discovered, to my annoyance, that I had not ordered enough stainless nuts and washers for the runners. The ‘to order’ list is getting bigger.


I did get the yellow and pink switch wires joined up and secured in the switch. I also decided to wire up the rear light. I had to slightly extend the loom wires as the light has connections for bare wires, not spade connectors like a proper one. Another unnecessary pain in the arse. I am toying with the idea of an LED conversion for the rear light.



I fitted the toolbox door. That was a five-minute job (for a change). The lock is a tad stiff when shut, but I think it’ll loosen as the paint wears on the catch. I had already fitted the lock a few weeks ago, and had to use wet and dry on the door to make it fit. These expensive paint jobs can be a nuisance some times.


To round off the day, I found another suitable grommet, a stainless 6mm round head allen bolt and a nylock nut to secure the mudguard to the fork leg bracket. I must admit, with all my P-range scooters over the years I have always removed that bracket, but the forks had already been chromed by the time I thought of it. The rubber grommet simply takes up the gap between the mudguard and the bracket (I might get the proper one sometime), the nylock nut means I don’t have to tighten it too much and it won’t come loose.


Day14: Time for cosmetics

I always thought that getting the scooter back on the road in 14 days was going to be a tall order, and I never really thought it would be achieved. The idea was to see how far I could get in that time. So the last two days were spent doing nothing but cosmetics to make it look like it should when it’s actually completed and on the road.

I’m pleased to say that Gary did a top job with the lower legshield piece that was replaced, it has the brake pedal hole in it, and the pedal just went in so easy I was shocked. Never had one that does that in all my years of Vespa riding. Once the frame grommets were fitted round the engine bay door I had a bit of ‘fun’ trying to get the flywheel cowling to stay in place, as I am still waiting on those 6mm helicoils.

Switch cover fitted, speedo went straight in too, no catching on the paint. I wasn’t surprised to find that the new headlamp has a plastic lens. I put the original one in with the new rim, just carefully placed in for now,  for some photos. Once I had found some long enough 8mm bolts, I fitted the exhaust. It will have to come off again in order to fit the brake shoes, but it was quite easy to fit.

With a bit of ACF-50 as lubricant, I slid the handlebar grips on. They went on nicely, but I also noticed that the gear selector arm was pulling out a little leaving a gap. This wasn’t happening when I put it all together, and the spring clip is still in place. Something else to look into later.


I tapped out paint from the threads for the seat, seat lock, tank and spare wheel holder and selected the M7 bolts to fit them in place. Some of these may well be changed, but I will also have to helicoil the lower spare wheel holder nut, as it is stripped. It’s welded inside the frame during manufacture, so impossible to get to. If I really had to, I could tap it out to M8, but hopefully that won’t be necessary.


I have cleverly mislaid the new fork link cover. I nearly fitted it on day one, but decided to put it somewhere safe until today. Now it’s lost somewhere safe! I did, however, find a new voltage regulator, so that’s saved me a few quid off my next parts order.


So with all that done all that was left to do was get out the Autoglym (a bottle I have had for well over 30 years!) and give it a damn good polish. Let’s be honest, it’ll never look this mint and shiny again. Then pose it on deck and take a few snaps.


In conclusion:

I guess I could have got further in 14 days if I had really wanted to. I am pretty sure many other people would have. But I have a habit of getting hungry quickly, so have regular breaks. Also, every morning I have to remove the GTS, then the GP, then a set of ladders from the garage. I then have a few other bits to move about the garage before I can think about uncovering the Primmy and lifting it off the bench at the back of the garage. And, after I have finished each day, it’s all got to go back in again in reverse order. It all takes time, and I never intended to rush anyway. Oh, and I had to make sure the wench was OK during each day too, after all, she’s the one who is suffering from the dreaded virus (still recovering at home).


Also, this was a last-minute thing. Until I got sent home from work last month, I had no idea I was going to be building the Primmy any time soon. Had I got chance to plan it, I would have gone through all my parts tubs and checked everything over in order to make a list of what was needed before getting stuck in. Still, I am quite pleased with where I have got to. After all, there wasn’t a nut, bolt or washer attached to the scooter 14 days ago and now it’s all but complete. The engine was the only part that was already built, and I’ve only changed the top end and ignition anyway…so far.


Words and photos: Mike Collum


Primavera build gallery

SLUK Shop are still open as normal

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