PLC Corse : Primarily Lunatic Conversions
What is PLC?
ScooterLab: What is PLC?
Christiaan: PLC is a program you need for CNC machines. As I was the first making clutches with a CNC machine I thought it was a good name for the company.
The company started in 2008 making a water-cooled racing cylinder kit, crankshaft, clutch and exhaust for Vespa smallframe, all-together in one box. That made it very easy for someone to build a fast race scooter.
You seemed to come from nowhere with the fastest Vespa kit on the market at the time. What was the story?
Before the PLC kit I was an official sponsored Vespa racer for Zirri in 2006 and 2007 racing in a small series in Italy. There were about 10 riders but some very good ones like Mauropapa, Cesta and Michael Hilton.
Around that time I was at a parts fair in Reggio Emilia and there was a reed-valve Pinasco cylinder for sale for 30 Euros, which I thought about making into a winning cylinder of my own. The seller was a kart tuner. He sold me the cylinder cheap and asked me to help him fix a Vespa clutch. We became friends and he suggested making a Vespa kit together.
One day he asked me to come to test his Vespa on a circuit with the new cylinder but it was horrible. Over the next year we developed a new kit and exhaust to the point where I told Zirri that I couldn’t race for him any more. I wanted to ride on the new cylinder we were developing. Thankfully Zirri took it well.
“We entered the ESC championship and started winning races”
What was the origin of the PLC cylinder?
It was based on a water-cooled kart cylinder mould that was broken because it had been dropped on the ground. We modified it with an iron liner to make the Vespa version. In the end we made 60 liners before the final good result.
The water-cooled cylinder had 3 transfer ports and a big exhaust port with 2 boosters (sub-ports). It fitted to the Vespa casing with a thick base plate because the fixing studs were in a different position. The port layout gave it a really wide power-band from 4,000 to 14,000rpm using a 24mm carb and a small Piaggio reedvalve.
What did you do with the kit?
I sold them to friends of mine and we entered the ESC championship and started winning races, but we were disqualified because they said it was an “alien” cylinder and not available on the market. They let us race the rest of the series but we could not get points in the championship.
How did you take being disqualified?
I understood it at the time, but I didn’t like it. I put so much time and energy into PLC that I didn’t want to accept it.
We were told that we could enter the next year only with an air-cooled kit, so we started to develop one.
Because it had the studs in the original position it only had 16hp when the others had between 20-24hp. In Austria we told my rider Cesta that it made 21hp and that he could win using it. He was a good rider and with only 16hp he still won the race.
“Mine still has some differences that make it better.”
Where are your products made?
At the moment all the parts are made in Italy. The best selling products are polyurethane silent blocks. They are good quality and for normal use you never need to buy any more. For racing they make the chassis stiffer to keep the wheels in line but they have a bush inside so the engine moves with no friction allowing you to set the suspension better.
What’s the most exciting new product from PLC?
Probably the new PX tank-seat unit that we are developing.
So are your products all bodywork and suspension now?
No, I still make some technical parts for the engine – such as the clutch which I still think is the best in the world for the smallframe. It’s 4-plate and real plug&play. Others have copied the basic design but mine still has some differences that make it better. Marco Sangiorgi uses it on his 47hp Vespa with a Grand Prix cylinder and has no problems.
I’m thinking about making more technical parts in the future.
Who do you collaborate with?
I started a new brand – DXC – together with Matteo from DuePercento which is a range of high quality parts at a good price. These parts are not so much to make money but just parts that we talked about and wanted for us to win the races. I still sponsor some riders in the Polini racing series. I also have a good relationship with Pinasco. I have raced for them in some endurance races and I help with development of some parts for racing.
Where can people find your stuff?
They can look on www.plccorse.com but it is also distributed by Duepercento, SIP, Scooter Centre and LTH. In the UK I sell to JB Tuning and in the States via Gran Sport.
PART THREE TOMORROW