Restoration

AN INDEPTH LOOK AT RLC'S RESTORATION PROCESS... 

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***START!***

Here at RLC, our reputation is based upon the quality of our restorations so we thought it was time to give you an idea of the sheer work that goes into putting some life back into your scooter.  A basic breakdown of the process is as follows:

- check over the scooter 'as it stands' in unrestored condition.  If the engine is free, get it up and running
- strip the scooter down completely
- powder blast all bodywork
- strip the engine down
- check frame for alignment in RLC's frame jig
- rebuild the primed bodywork as a 'dry run', check & fit accessories (if requested)
- strip the scooter's  bodywork once again and send it off to be painted
- rebuild the engine
- rebuild newly painted bodywork / fit rebuilt engine / fit accessories (if requested)
- run and ride scooter for a minimum of 200 kms to check everything is okay
- delivery of completed scooter 

All this is fine on paper but what we want to do here is give you an inside look at the above steps.  The first thing we do is photograph the scooter and take note of the frame and engine numbers.  If the engine is free, we get the scooter up and running.  Even if it's an old dog, nothing beats hearing it sing once again prior to the restoration process commencing.  Work proper then begins with the total strip down of the scooter - and that means absolutely everything.  Every last nut, bolt and washer.  Extra care is taken at this stage to check the steering column, 99% of Lambrettas have had a smack at some time in their lives and the steering area is always the first to suffer.  We check how the bearing cups sit in the frame, their alignment and condition.  The same applies to the forks:  again, they're meticulously checked for straightness and how they move within the frame.  Once done, the steering cups are removed from the frame (you wouldn't believe how many people leave these in even when doing a "complete" restoration!).  With all the bodywork stripped, everything is checklisted, checked for overall condition, degreased and then sent off to be powder blasted.

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***ENGINE!***

In the meantime, the engine gets the same treatment. Lambretta engines tend to be in poor condition after years of abuse, minimal maintenance, and poor lubrication. The end result means that, from an entire engine, it’s not rare to ‘recover’ only the barrel and base engine casing during some restorations. Everything is cleaned, degreased and checked over. We offer 3 types of engine finish:

1. matt grey (standard) finish
2. acid – dipped shiny finish
3. acid – dipped and then mirror polished finish

The first two options are inclusive within our basic restoration cost. If the 3rd extra mirror polishing option is requested, then there is a minor additional cost.
Nothing beats an acid dipped engine casing both for looks and ease of future cleaning.
We also offer acid dipping as a standard service for customers who want their own engines treated and more details of this along with costs can be found in the ‘Acid Dipping’ section within the ‘Restorations’ section of the site menu.

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 ***‘NOS’ NEW OLD STOCK ‘RICAMBI ORIGINALI’***

Once the casings are ready, we build the engine to your requested specification. There really are too many alternative specifications to list here but all engines are fitted with new bearings, seals, electrics, crankshaft, piston / topend, chain, clutch, gaskets etc. ALL components are top drawer and we only use parts that we ourselves use in our own scooters. Three simple things that we do on all engines (that are often overlooked by others) are lightly machine the gasket faces and the cylinder head face to ensure super tight sealing, fitting a new gear selector bush for a mega precise gearchange and the use of a proper metal – meshed halite washer on the drive side. As for the components themselves, you get an IWIS or Regina chain, SKF, FAG or RIV bearings, Rolf oilseals and a Borgo or Asso piston, to name a few items. All parts are the best money can buy and we try to use as many ‘NOS’ New Old Stock ‘RICAMBI ORIGINALI’ (Original Spare Parts) Innocenti parts as possible. An example of this is the use of ORIGINAL NOS rear hub bearings and ORIGINAL NOS cranks & conrods. Who else fits these as standard in a restoration? At RLC we also hold a good stock of ORIGINAL NOS carbs as well and we no longer offer these for outright sale, as they are used exclusively on scooters restored by us. Another point worth mentioning is the fact that we now fit original front and rear shockers to our restored scooters. Original Lambretta suspension units are totally different to all the remade items on the market and once we have rebuilt them with all new parts, they not only work perfectly but they also REALLY look the business. Original units have the manufacture date stamped on them - so we ensure that these dates are correct for your RLC restored scooter. All these components are normal fitment during an RLC restoration and included within the basic restoration cost.
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If you require a ‘factory restoration’ then all fasteners are zinced and blackened as per original spec. All fasteners will have the correct forged numbers on them as they left the factory (i.e ‘IVS R.50’ etc.). Over the years, we have built up an incredible database with all these details and this knowledge is used to rebuild your scooter / engine. If you require an acid dipped / polished engine, then we take extra special care with the studs & fasteners to ensure that EVERYTHING is mirror polished and gleaming. We have had special sidecasing studs made that mean that once the casing is closed, there’s not one single thread protruding in excess. Our collective OCD is your guarantee to ATTENTION TO DETAIL.

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The majority of the engines we build are either standard spec, or with a 60’s / 70’s slant. Popular engine extras requested are 225cc cast iron barrel conversions, 180W 12V Ducati points electrics, Mk.1.5 Amal carbs, one –off large bore 60’s style exhausts with 1, 2 , 3 or 4 exit pipes and double engine mounts.
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***DRY BUILD!***

Once the bodywork has come back from being blasted, all the parts are checked over and replaced if necessary. EVERY frame is checked in RLC’s jig, to ensure that it’s millimetre perfect and then all parts are rust – proofed and etch primed. The dry build then commences with the total assembly of all bodywork. Again, extra care is taken to check alignment and compatibility. Nothing looks worse than seeing a restored scooter with uneven gaps between legshields and headsets, or floorboards that don’t sit perfectly. This is probably the most important stage of the restoration process. If a customer has requested accessories, this is the stage where they’re cut n’ shut, adapted and fitted. Nearly every accessory needs some work to make it fit nicely. Even seemingly simple things such as crashbars and carriers very rarely sit flush where they are mounted. A prime example are crashbars : we weld and modify all mounting points to eliminate all ugly brackets and to ensure they really do fit absolutely flush with the scooters’ bodywork. Nothing is worse than having to drill holes in freshly painted bodywork so it makes good sense to sort everything out at the dry build stage.

 
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***PAINTWORK!***

With the dry build stage taken care of and fully documented, your bodywork goes off to be prepped & painted by Robbie, Marino and Stefano, aka RLC’s paintwork boys. Based in Imola, they really are keen as mustard and love their job. At any one time there are normally a dozen of our scooters on their premises. Their attention to detail is amazing and their patience never ending. Marino is the chap who is the metal worker in the crew and his ability to shape and form metal is mental. A simple example of his work is how he cleverly shapes, lips and creates the recess in a metal inside legshield toolbox to fit a Smiths rev – counter and then does the same to the door. Robbie uses PPG Superior paints (PPG supplied Innocenti with paint…) and we have a superb database to consult to make sure all the original colours are bang on. Again, Sticky asked us to write the paintwork colour information of his Lambretta manual for this reason.

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 ***REBUILD!***

Once all the paintwork has been completed, it’s left to settle and harden for approx. 2 weeks. The build proper then commences. RLC was one of the first Casa Lambretta dealers and we have a good knowledge of all the right parts to use during your restorationCasa rubbers are generally excellent and whilst we are fans of NOS Innocenti parts, fitting 50 year old rubber parts makes little sense. What’s the point of fitting rubber parts that are now rock hard? As such we use new rubber material.


You are given a choice for the fasteners that we can use on your scooter. They are:
1. zinc plated & blackened (standard) finish
2. stainless steel (unpolished)
3. zinc plated & blackened (factory) finish with correct forged numbers
4. stainless steel with a mirror polished finish

The first two options are inclusive within our basic restoration cost. If the 3rd or 4th option are requested, then there is an additional cost, due to the extra time needed to locate and cross reference original fasteners or, in the case of option 4, to physically mirror polish every fastener, one by one. If the 4th option is requested, then there is an additional cost of Euro 250 / GBP £ 220. The extra cost is due to the extra time needed to locate and cross reference original fasteners or, in the case of option 4, to physically mirror polish every fastener, one by one.

The electrical parts are of utmost importance on a Lambretta and that’s why on a RLC restoration you get the following Innocenti parts ; headlight glass & reflector, headlight rim, headlight junction box, key ignition switch, horn / dip switch, stop light switch, rear lens and main junction box. We have a massive stock of original NOS parts and these are used for your restoration. In their absence, we fit Innocenti parts that we have restored to ‘as – new’ spec. Our knowledge of Lambretta electrical components and all their variants is second to none, hence the reason why Sticky asked us to supply this info for his ‘Spanners Lambretta Manual’.

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***NOS NEW OLD STOCK ‘RICAMBI ORIGINALI’ INNOCENTI LOCKS & ELECTRICAL PARTS!***

Another thing we pride ourselves on is the exclusive fitting of original steering and toolbox locks. It can take over two hours to restore a toolbox lock but believe us, once finished, it’s better than when it left the factory. Again, certain lock numbers were only fitted to certain models so our database and knowledge ensures you get the correct items on your RLC restoration.

Teflon lined cables are fitted as standard on every rebuild or restoration we undertake and to make sure the bike looks the part, we restore and fit the cable oilers. They’re only fitted for aesthetic reasons but they really do finish off a Lambretta restoration, no question.
Another Brucie Bonus that is inclusive within RLC’s basic restoration cost is the exclusive use of Innocenti stamped wheel rims. We DO NOT use modern remade wheel rims for a restoration.

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***DANTE!***

Apart from standard seats and colours, we also offer you the customer the choice to have something a little bit special if you so wish. We have various original aftermarket seats and these are exclusively covered by Trezzi Dante, who is without doubt the best seat upholsterer in Europe. Seats are important for the finished product and we can help you decide what seat would look right for your scooter. Dante and RLC is the combination that is your guarantee for a superb seat.

 
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 ***VIGANO, ULMA, SUPER, FALBO, ARDOR, FIAAM, POLI ‘BOLT ON’EXTRAS!***

There are numerous other options we offer and apart from factory / standard restorations, we also specialise in Watsonian sidecars, 60’s & 70’s spec tuning and loaded Mod scooters. This is a style of scooter that takes considerably more work than any other option : a fully loaded front carrier with 20 lights, mascots, horns and badges can take 2 – 3 weeks of solid work to get right. One of our rules at RLC is that if we fit accessories such as lights or horns to a scooter, then they must work. Our previously mentioned 180W 12V Ducati (points) conversion option is easily capable of powering however many lights and horns you wish to fit. We have been specialised in ORIGINAL LAMBRETTA PERIOD ACCESSORIES for longer than we can remember and are the market leaders in sourcing items made by: VIGANO, ULMA, SUPER, FALBO, ARDOR, FIAAM, POLI, and the like.

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Other extras include Italian metal inside legshield toolboxes, Smiths rev counters, Smiths Chronometric speedos, modified headset tops (using original headset tops as the basis – NOT the dire remade ones on the market), original NOS tyres (Michelin ACS, Pirelli SC93 etc.), NOS bodywork parts, Italian Innocenti unstamped 200cc engine casings... the list really is endless. All these extras are available for your RLCrestoration and prices supplied upon request.

At RLC, another ‘extra’ we offer is a sidecar restoration service. We have a superb working knowledge of British made Watsonian sidecars and have an abundance of NOS spares for these (including the now impossible -to -find Timken hub bearings). An RLC restoration of a sidecar includes a heavily modified CNC machined sidecar hub to take a std. Lambretta wheel (utilising an original Innocenti Series 2 rear hub). We also offer unique parts for your sidecar such as front and rear crashbars, rear carriers, seats and RLC’s own Lambretta engine mounts developed exclusively for sidecar use.

 
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As mentioned above, you also have FabriRLC’s multi - talented fabricator, at your disposition. He is a long time scooterist with an amazing knowledge of exactly how to make one off parts both fit and work well. He is responsible for RLC’s unique handlebar mirror brackets, modified headset tops, side – opening seats (as seen on the RLC restored Lambretta ‘Bel Air’ 5 Speed S type’s), ‘flush fitting’ crashbars, racks and carriers, untold unique light mountings (for Mod styled scooters) and of course his party piece, all RLC’s amazing multi piped exhausts. These exhausts have been made for several scooters over the last few years (with several featured in ‘Scootering Magazine’) and not only do they work well, they are also a superb finishing touch – and something that is so often overlooked by others during a restorationFabri’s knowledge of Lambretta’s means that he takes into account factors such as stress points, bracketry and most importantly, suspension movement. We put as much thought into your exhaust as into the scooters paint scheme! A bespoke one - off RLC twin piper made by Fabri could bring a smile to anybody’s face : fact. Often copied but never equalled.


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 If you want something that we haven’t listed, then don’t hesitate to ask.
 

 ***TEST RUN!*** 

Once your scooter has been completed, we use it for a minimum of 200km’s to make sure that everything is right. That gives the scooter time to ‘settle’ and free the engine up a little. Once this distance has been covered, we then go back over the scooter to check every fastener, adjust the cables, adjust the brakes and then clean & polish the whole show. Only then is it ready to be shipped off to you.
 

 ***TIMETABLES & HOW MUCH?*** 

We normally have about half a dozen scooters ‘on the go’, being restored at the same time. This is due to the fact that certain types of restorations take longer than others. In the case of something missing / the wait for ordered parts to arrive / parts to be fabricated, we move onto another scooter in the workshop. A factory / standard restoration normally takes between 4 – 6 months from battered, ‘old dog’ status to shiny, new, sexy object. Non - standard restorations such as ‘60’s Street Racer’ styles can take a little longer due to the advanced specification (i.e. adding rev counters, Smiths speedo’s, Amal carbs etc.) and fully blown Mod styled scooters can take anything from 6 – 12 months.

‘STANDARD / FACTORY RESTORATION’
On average, a standard resto’ takes between 80 – 100 labour hours and this timescale is accounted for within a ‘base’ restoration cost.

60’S / 70’S ‘STREET RACER’ RESTORATION’
On average, a Street Racer resto’ takes between 150 labour hours and there are additional costs for two – toning paintwork and all ‘bolt on’ additional parts (rev. counter, Speedo, Amal, legshield toolbox etc. etc.). The end cost for this type of restoration is our ‘basic’ cost (see above) + the cost of extras requested by the customer. This means that we can only supply a quotation upon demand – based upon the customers’ requirements.

‘MOD SCOOTER RESTORATION’
On average, a fully loaded Mod scooter resto' takes between 200 – 250 labour hours. Without a shadow of a doubt, the most complex and time consuming job we undertake. Anybody who thinks otherwise should come over and visit when we have one of these type of jobs on the go. The end cost for this type of restoration is our ‘basic’ cost (see above) + the cost of extras requested by the customer. 

‘SIDECAR OUTFIT RESTORATION’
On average, to restore a Lambretta & sidecar outfit takes approx. 180 labour hours. This is based upon the fact that the work needed to restore a sidecar is on par with restoring the actual Lambretta scooter and the modifications we carry out.

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HOW MUCH?

All restoration quotations are based upon the scooters’ bodywork & bare engine casing being re-useable. In the case that any of these parts are deemed unfit to be used during the initial stages of the restoration, and you will be immediately informed of such. If the customer is unable to supply (an) alternative(s) for the defective part(s) and we are asked to supply it / them, the cost for these is additional.

As each and every scooter is different, it follows that each and every quotation for a restoration will therefore be different.  All quotations are also subject to us actually seeing a scooter either in person, or via detailed pictures, to enable us to provide a quotation / indication for eventual work to be carried out. However, a ball-park figure for a complete 'factory' concours restoration, based on the information listed hereabove, would be Euro 14,000 (dated as of April 2017). Prices in other currencies can be provided although these are dependant on (then) current) exchange rates and possible fluctuations. All written / electronic quotations are vaild for one calendar month as of the date of issue. 

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