Mar­tini 220LC Vespa: Shaken not stirred

Stir, then leave to stand

Scootering - - Contents - Words: Nik Pho­tog­ra­phy: Gary Chap­man

A mon­ster of a scooter, ex­pertly en­gi­neered into a clas­sic race cut and painted frame.

Well trimmed body­work, with aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing vents.

In the scheme of things, I sup­pose six years isn’t too long a time scale to pro­duce a ma­chine like this. The de­sign, the fab­ri­ca­tion of the liq­uid cool­ing, the en­gine build, the frame mod­i­fi­ca­tions, the paint and graph­ics – not to men­tion ac­tu­ally find­ing the money needed – all take time.

What you don’t of­ten see is a ma­chine that’s al­most fin­ished, and then left to sit for four years un­der a sheet in the garage. That’s what hap­pened here though. Started in 2006, it was a re­turn to the scene for Rich af­ter a few years play­ing on road bikes and more, re­vis­it­ing some­thing that he’d done pre­vi­ously, and trying out some tun­ing ideas that he’d picked up along the way. It was al­ways go­ing to be an LC, hav­ing his­tory with them (a pre­vi­ous Vespa, a sim­i­larly cooled Malossi 166 was fea­tured in

Scooter­ing many moons ago) and want­ing to im­prove the power avail­able with more mod­ern com­po­nents.

With this in mind, an ex­ten­sively mod­i­fied Malossi 210 kit was mated to a 60mm Se­ries Pro bell crank, with the owner us­ing his knowl­edge of port­ing to make sure the fuel mix sup­plied by the Kei­hin 35mm AS carb via BGM reeds (in a home-made block) could flow freely. The wa­ter cool­ing jacket was de­signed and fab­ri­cated by Rich, al­though he en­trusted the ac­tual weld­ing to Didge at Mec­world. Ig­ni­tion is sup­plied by a Keytronic 16 box of sparks, and the re­sult­ing ex­plo­sion drives a 37-tooth clutch onto a stan­dard P2 gear­box, making the 22bhp and, more im­por­tantly, 15lb-ft of torque very us­able on the road.

The more ob­ser­vant of you may no­tice that I’ve not touched on the ex­haust, and for good rea­son. By the time this gets pub­lished, it may well be on its fourth one. Noth­ing spe­cial about that, other than each is made to a dif­fer­ent spec­i­fi­ca­tion by Rich him­self, us­ing a mix­ture of ex­pe­ri­ence, knowl­edge and the­ory, in that or­der of im­por­tance. As he says, it’s great read­ing all the the­ory, but when you ac­tu­ally build some­thing, it won’t al­ways work as the book sug­gests. Over the years, he’s re­alised that one thing that can hugely af­fect the per­for­mance is the tem­per­a­ture of the pipe, with liq­uid cool­ing pos­si­bly caus­ing it to run cooler than ideal, and with this in mind, the wa­ter pump is ad­justable to al­low in­creases or de­creases in tem­per­a­ture. At the mo­ment though, Rich is strug­gling to get rid of a dip in the power graph, pre­sum­ably caused by res­o­nance, which gives the en­gine a dip in power be­fore a sec­ond small peak in per­for­mance oc­curs. Other than this though, he’s happy with the way it runs, and can’t speak highly enough of Shiny Red Tun­ing who let him use their dyno to set up the mo­tor.

Be­fore all this work was done though, the CAD app was used to help to redesign the phys­i­cal lines of the scooter, al­low­ing Rich to mess around be­fore pick­ing up the grinder.

All this work and it’s still not fin­ished yet. There are mut­ter­ings about start­ing again us­ing Pi­nasco cas­ings and more mod­ern com­po­nents… It’s not just the en­gine that catches the eye though, the rad­i­cal street racer styling is helped by well thought-out paint and frame mod­i­fi­ca­tions. Based on the leg­endary Lan­cia Delta In­te­grale rally car, the lines have been restyled to suit the scooter us­ing a CAD (Com­puter Aided De­sign) pack­age. The white and red paint was laid down by lo­cal painter Banger be­fore the graph­ics from Vi­tal Signs were ap­plied. The lines in­side the legshields proved to be some­thing of a chal­lenge, hav­ing to be drawn out by hand on the scooter be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to the com­puter. Even then they didn’t come out quite as planned, with one side not quite match­ing the other and hav­ing to be re­done.

Be­fore all this work was done though, the CAD app was used to help to redesign the phys­i­cal lines of the scooter, al­low­ing Rich to mess around be­fore pick­ing up the grinder. A long way from spend­ing hours with mask­ing tape and marker pens trying to imag­ine what the fin­ished ma­chine would be like! The ma­jor body­work changes are sup­ple­mented by a good num­ber of more sub­tle mod­i­fi­ca­tions. In par­tic­u­lar, the han­dle­bars are nice and sub­tle, with mod­i­fi­ca­tions to take the Aprilia master cylin­der and reser­voir, along with the Stage Six dis­play, and the light switches have been re­lo­cated to the left

hand side to clear the fast ac­tion throt­tle. Sim­i­lar thought has gone into the de­sign of the tool­box which is home to the pair of CR250 ra­di­a­tors. The slits al­low for plenty of air­flow, while the top has been drilled to al­low ac­cess to the filler, with the rev counter sit­ting on the other side, a piece of kit that’s prob­a­bly es­sen­tial on this beast of an en­gine, with 8000rpm be­ing ‘nor­mal’, and top­ping out at 8500 given a long enough run. On the dyno, the scooter hit 10k… Thank­fully that sort of power doesn’t trans­fer to the road, or you’d be look­ing at a 90mph+ scooter, one that Rich hap­pily ad­mits is ‘a bit light when it’s windy’.

So apart from the new cas­ings, in­ter­nals and in­evitable other mi­nor changes, what’s next in the pipe­line? Well, an­other P2 has made an ap­pear­ance and there are in­ter­est­ing plans afoot for it. Whether we’ll see it be­fore 2025 is an­other ques­tion though!

Well vented rads in the tool­box.

Not a good idea to put your wa­ter­proofs and oil in there...

Car­bon can stays, the pipes change.

No run­ners, just skate tape, sorted.

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