Now I’m hooked on 50s

Classic Bike (UK) - - WORKSHOP YOUR RESTOS -


Found at last year’s Clas­sic Bike Live by his wife, Ian ad­mits he didn’t know what this race-bred Benelli was. How­ever, he’s now deep into restor­ing the sweet Ital­ian.

We showed the Benelli 50 Sport in as-found con­di­tion on the Clas­sic Bike stand at the MCN Lon­don Show in Fe­bru­ary. We made a start on turn­ing the bike round as soon as we got home. Progress was not helped in any way by the cold weather, but it was stripped and parts sorted out in pri­or­ity of work re­quired.

One of the re­pairs to the frame meant cut­ting out the old welded-on footrests and mak­ing new bolts for at­tach­ing them cor­rectly. The wheels were stripped, the hubs cleaned up and new bear­ings fit­ted. Spokes were sized and ordered from Cen­tral Wheel Com­po­nents (01675 462264) – they are al­ways pleased to help – al­though the wheel rims had to be sourced from a sup­plier in Italy. They had to be re­painted, as were the hubs, but once all the items were as­sem­bled I could get on with re­build­ing the wheels.

The frame and a few other parts were sent off to be blasted and pow­der-coated. Some com­po­nents only re­quired the blast­ing process, so to make sure only the right parts were coated I sent pho­tos of the bits that were to be blasted, along with clear in­struc­tions for ev­ery­thing (for ex­am­ple, I asked them to en­sure the chas­sis num­ber area was masked and lac­quered af­ter the rest had been treated). Once they were back with me, I sent off ev­ery­thing that needed paint­ing.

By this time the en­gine was done. The pis­ton looked OK, seals and bear­ings were mostly stan­dard sizes, and my lo­cal spe­cial­ist was able to find ob­scure bits like the ball race in the gear­box. With the cases vapour-blasted and a new old-stock ex­haust fit­ted, it was back in the frame. We’re now see­ing the re­wards for our ef­forts.

The Benelli has sparked a new ad­dic­tion for 50cc bikes. I’ve also found an Itom 50 which I’m plan­ning to re­store as well. I love the con­nec­tion with for­mer rac­ing stars – my hero Bill Ivy started rac­ing on one, as did Mike Hail­wood. Not that I plan to start rac­ing again at my age... but I can live the dream.

Benelli has been blasted, pow­der­coated and painted. It’s look­ing good...

BE­LOW: Ian now also has an Itom of great in­ter­est

RIGHT: Lo­cal spe­cial­ist tracked down the gear­box ball race – a hen’s teeth com­po­nent

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