October 9, 2018
Some of this will be familiar to those who have been down the same road as me, while for those who haven't, but are planning their journey, I hope it helps! I had never done a 'proper' restoration before, but had lots of experience with patching things up, making do and mend, papering over the cracks and so on. This time it was going to be different. Proper.
The bike in question was a D14/4 Sports basket case, purchased on a whim (see the story in my 'Introduce Yourself' post.
It was in a bad way. I knew immediately that I would be spending way more on the bike than it would be worth, certaintly in the current market.
Running through what was needed was daunting. New wheels, tyres, brakes, wiring loom, exhaust system, handlebars, controls, electrics, fork seal holders, complete set of nuts and bolts, front mudguard, brake arm would all be required as the originals were either missing, or beyond repair.
Add to this rechroming of rear mudguard, headlight shell, heat shield and brake arms, all of which were very rusty, but sound.
A total of 20 items for the powder coat treatment, and respray for the side panels and petrol tank would also be required.
Add to this an engine rebuild (it was in pieces, in a box, with a shot big end, missing piston and unknown other problems.
So, expensive then. As it was a Sports model, the best-looking Bantam in my opinion, I reckoned it was worth it. I would never spend the money on a standard model, unless I had some emotional attachment to it.
The project almost fell at the first hurdle when I discovered that, although the engine was a genuine sports one and all the signs pointed to a kosher bike, the frame was from a D7. Probably replaced following an accident. Gutted, but knowing I could make my money back by selling what I had from parts, I was stunned by the generosity of an individual, well known in these circles, who offered to swap my frame loop for a genuine sports frame which he had, just to keep another Bantam on the road.
Of course I couldn't refuse and it turned out that both the frame and engine left the factory within four days of each other, in December 1967. Not matching, but not far off. No V5, unfortunately, but an age-related number will be fine by me.
The same individual put me in touch with a fellow Bantam enthusiast in my local area who has provided skills which I sadly lack, having rebuilt the engine and done an excellent paint job on the tank and side panels for me. Thanks Jimmy!
The project will be finished very soon. Everything is ready and just waiting to be assembled and I'm just awaiting a NOS petrol cap from a fellow club member in Canada to make it complete. From start to finish will have taken less than three months which, for a total restoration, is not too bad.
So what have I learned along the way? Keep as much as possible, restore rather than replace, unless it's just not an option. When sending a frame to the powder coaters, mask off any threaded holes. Hours spent with paint stripper and a cotton bud is not time well spent. Don't add up what you've spent. Make sure the sort code is correct when making a bank transfer for a large sum of money for, say, chroming. Some lucky person finding a large sum of money unexpectedly arriving in their bank account may not always want to give it back. Oh, and ask lots of questions - there are some very good people here who know the answers and are always willing to help.
Sorry there are no pictures of the ongoing process - there will be some of the finished article, though - watch this space!
November 7, 2014
October 9, 2018
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I'm looking forward to bolting these on! The chrome on the springs was so far gone, they couldn't be saved, unfortunately. I managed to find a NOS pair of Girling springs for a Bushman, still in their cardboard boxes from the 1960s. They were painted black, so I sent them off for chroming. The dampers weren't too bad, so got them painted up and the chromed springs put on. Not a bad result!
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