Some purists might want to bypass these pages now, because Mick Maidment is not the sort of guy who builds his scooters to standard spec...
Mick is the sort of guy who can be found at home stripping engines and rebuilding them. He seems to have developed a speciality for working on LML engines, stripping out bad crank bearings and replacing them (in fact he reckons the new five-port LML is one of the best engines around). It’s not all about engines either (as you’ll see from the scooter featured here). It seems that Mick is more than proficient with body repair and fabrication, even to the point of him doing odd bits for well-known tuner, Harry Barlow.
With his penchant for Vespas, Mick owns several, including a 1966 Sprint, a PX218 (for taking the wife out) plus two SS180 scooters and it would be fair to say that not all these machines are completely standard. His latest project started life as a 1958 Vespa Clubman, which he purchased around three years ago for £800 and although he loves that early shape, he decided to, shall we say ‘upgrade the engine’.
The P200 lump he chose is fitted with a 60mm crank with a ported and polished barrel, which is mated to a Sito-plus twin sports exhaust. He has also made radical alterations to the frame and body. These include a transfer bracket to take the P200 lump, modified tank anchor points, addition of a choke, a modified front mudguard (to take the disc setup) and a GS style headset, which was altered in order to fit a master cylinder. This he reckons, was the hardest part of the project, as he had to route the hydraulic brake pipe from the headset to the caliper while getting his frame mods accurate enough to ensure nothing hit and the scooter ran true.
He has also fitted a spare petrol tank which sits inside the spare wheel (made out of half a Vespa wheel rim).
There were other areas that Mick felt ‘needed looking at’. He didn’t like single seats so he made his own frame and fitted old springs from a defunct dual seat, which was fabricated in the style of a Super Gandolfi pinball style (mainly due to the tank peg width). In retrospect he thinks that a slight alteration in the seat shape might have been a better idea.
If you look closely at the pictures, there are other visual alterations that have been made. All of these mods were done by Mick himself (including a dry build) using parts mainly sourced from Kev at K&S Scooters (http://kandsscooters.co.uk).
However, he decided to entrust the final paintwork to Craig who runs the Scooter Paint Shop (http://topscooterpaintwork.co.uk). This was finished off with pinstriping, courtesy of Jon of LetterKnight (www.letterknight.co.uk). He’d like to send out his thanks to all those mentioned – including Ian Wilkins who supplied him with the original frame.
Having got back into scooters only five years ago, Mick has had a smile on his face ever since. He goes out with his mates from the ‘Last of the Summer Wine SC’ every Friday night and enjoys riding with them to the IoW Rally. His other hobby is working on old Triumph cars and on that score, we’ll let him have the last word; when I asked him why, his reply came back: “Anything to avoid working on Lammies…” (lol).
Words and Photos: Mau
Footnote: On the day of the photoshoot, there was a blizzard with snowflakes coming down the size of ha’pennies – if you can remember what one of those was... consequently these pictures were taken in Mick’s garage and outside between snow flurries.
Responses to “Vespamania!”
Current Issue: Feb/Mar 2016
Dave Phillips’ Heinkel Tourist
The TV2 Ridgeback: a production oddity
Production scooter race class: introduced by the BSSO
Vespa Rally 180: A design revolution
How to remove a Vespa engine
The J Range: A compact history
Scooter Mania! Putting the records straight
• Next issue on sale: March 16