It’s not often a custom scooter project goes without a hitch and this one is no different. In part 2 we dropped the metalwork round at Riding Dirty Customs and discussed the paintwork in great detail.
That was in January and we had a five-week schedule to get the paintwork finished. The plan was to ship it over to Rimini Lambretta Centre by mid-March so it could be built in time for their open day at the end of April.
Although the frame had been sent over from Rimini in primer, Rich needed to get it back to bare metal before he started working on it, so it was blasted. That uncovered a few problems and the lifting rear end needed some extra strengthening, so the frame ended up at Faircharm Restorations to be welded up.
Claudio’s hydraulic rear end modifications had only been tack welded and needed finishing and strengthening before work could start… or it would be likely that the 265 Scuderia engine would rip the frame to bits.
To begin with, things were going well, our little project WhatsApp group chat was full of banter, ideas and regular updates from the RDC crew (and other people involved in the project).
The Kingfisher Blue basecoat was on and things were progressing well and very quickly. Then things took a sudden turn for the worse.
The owner of the scooter, Chris Macnamara didn’t like the front end or panels once they were lined out and painted. The paint had already changed from the metalflake agreed and turned into candy because Rich couldn’t make the complicated design work in metalflake. The changes to the design weren’t as the client wanted so I asked Rich to hang fire, rather than carrying on that night and making more work for himself to get things back on track.
Come and get it
You know how it is when you’ve put your heart and soul into something, then something happens to upset the karma. RDC had already sunk lots of hours and pulled out all the stops to get the paintwork underway as quickly as possible. Casting doubt on their artistic licence flipped Rich over the edge and he told us to “Come and fetch it, I’m done.”
The customer is sometimes right
Not really the response we had in mind, a bit of reworking would suffice but when you’ve got two headstrong cocks at loggerheads it’s sometimes best to just move on.
I got the uncomfortable job of collecting the semi-finished bodywork and trying – at the 11th hour, to find a painter who would not only fit the job in but was also happy to complete somebody else’s work and be able to do it for the new deadline of Monday the 15th of April.
Disclaimer: All ended well though, both parties agreed on a price for the work carried out and nobody ended up in court/hospital.
So it’s late on Thursday afternoon and I’ve got a van full of half painted Lambretta parts as I search the East Midlands for a new sprayer. Luckily, Terry at Racepaint UK, based in Eastwood Nottinghamshire semi-reluctantly agreed to take the job over. Terry is no stranger to scooter paintwork, he’s the man behind the Cobra run of Lambrettas and plenty of other fine looking machines.
I met Chris at Racepaint the following Monday. Chris rode up from Cardiff and over a quick supermarket lunch, he used a Lambretta GP line drawing and some kids felt tips to sketch the design he wanted. To be fair to Chris, he did a great job. I’m not in the least bit visionary when it comes to designing paintwork but he nailed it first time and we took the drawing back to Racepaint and left it with them.
Terry had got the bodywork back to where it needed to be in just a few short weeks. He’d stripped the panels back to bare metal (after the filler in one cracked) and he lined it all out. Late last Wednesday night he sent Chris a few photos of the finished side panels and they weren’t how Chris wanted them. Other than ‘The Brogue Trader’ the all-important logos were missing and this time it was Chris’ turn to throw his toys out of the pram.
Stroppy late night emails were bounced backwards and forwards between Terry, Chris and myself and by morning I was expecting to be finding a new sprayer (again).
Road trip to Italy
April 15th was the day of reckoning, Chris had planned to drive to Italy with the freshly-painted scooter in his converted Transit camper. It had to be finished for that day – yesterday. Chris runs a chain of fine gentlemen’s shoe shops under the Brogue Trader and Loake brands. He prides himself on exceptional customer service and attention to detail. He’d rearranged his diary to allow the time to drive over to Rimini, drop the scooter off, have a little touring holiday and visit Rimini for the open day. His diary takes some planning so there was no leeway.
Thankfully disaster was narrowly averted. The pressure of a busy work life, a trip hanging in the balance and a scooter that needs to be delivered by hand to Rimini in less than a weeks time had tipped Chris over the edge.
Just a word of caution from me at this point. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re not happy with how something is going, be it a spray job, building work, some decorating, or even the way your pub lunch has been cooked – the way you go about resolving the situation is very important.
Ranting on email, text or over the phone is all well and good at making you feel better to get it off your chest but it doesn’t fix things. I find a calmer approach, allowing the job to be put right (after all you’re the paying customer) gets much better results. It means the job can be sorted, there’s no ill-feeling and everybody walks away happy.
With a spray job there’s always room for a little artistic licence and the sprayer may well have an idea of how it should look when finished, that may well be different to how the customer sees things. If you’re a sprayer then you need to listen to the important parts of the job, the customer will have certain things that need to be part of the work. In this case, it was the logos for Casa 265/The Brogue Trader/ScooterLab and Silkoline.
I visited Racepaint on Thursday afternoon and Terry had kind of made up with Mr Mac after a morning phone call. They’d compromised over the detailing of the panels and Terry agreed to spray them again, adding the all-important logos.
It took a full day for Terry to redo the panels, by the time I got there they were complete and had just been lacquered. To be fair to Chris I think he was right to insist on this change. The panels do look much more in keeping with the scooter and after all, it’s him who has to live with it and this isn’t a cheap project by any stretch of the imagination.
Yesterday afternoon Chris picked the finished bodywork up from Racepaint, he carefully bubble wrapped it and placed it in his Transit ready for the trip to Rimini. On Thursday it will be dropped off at RLC for the Casa Performance boys to start adding the fast bits and building the scooter.
The open day is on the 27th of April, if you’re lucky enough to be going you might get a sneak peak at the scooter, although the boys in Rimini are flat out at the minute so don’t be expecting to see it finished.
New products always in development…