Fast forward to 2011. Erik brought the drippy VNB to our St. Paul shop for a full restoration. We had our work cut out for us. The motor had to be rebuilt. The floorboards were badly rusted and rotted through. There were dings, dents and bends all over the little scooter’s steel panels and what was left of the paint was hardly presentable. Over the following months, the plucky little Allstate slowly came back to life. Reusing what we could and replacing the too far gone with new, begged and borrowed parts, the Vespa soon began to look like its old self again. With a brand new front mud guard and brand new side cowls, plus all the body reconstruction on the main chassis, it didn’t seem remotely like the same scooter when it came back from paint and body. All the rot was gone and all the panels were straight and even. Fresh paint wrapped the healed body in a soft, putty gray. It’s a remarkable paint job that looks both shiny and matte at the same time.
The key to any restoration is attention to detail. It’s knowing what parts to keep, what parts to replace and knowing how something should work once it’s back together. With Erik’s Allstate Vespa, getting it all put together was only the first part of the restoration. Sure, the bike was complete, and it was gorgeous, but only a test ride would show if everything was in proper working order. Jeff got the bike started and it snarled happily. The clutch wasn’t quite right though. No amount of adjustment would let it change from 1st to 2nd properly, and it wouldn’t go into higher gears at all. Jeff had to put the Vespa back on the lift and pull the clutch apart. Using another VNB belonging to our service writer, Mutt, as a reference, Jeff soon found a washer in the clutch assembly that didn’t belong. It’s one of those obscure things where that washer belongs in the clutch on one Vespa, but doesn’t belong on this one. Erik had done some clutch work on the bike prior to our restoration efforts and it looks like he had the wrong clutch kit, which included this washer. It’s an easy mistake to make, and thankfully an easy mistake to rectify.