1988 Morini Dart 350

Tom Far­row, Northamp­ton, Eng­land

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Restoration Revealed -

“So fu­tur­is­tic, a space­ship. I was only eight, but I was hooked”

“MY MORINI DART fas­ci­na­tion goes back to the late ’80s: I grew up in Croy­don, and I re­mem­ber see­ing one in a Morini deal­er­ship there. It was so fu­tur­is­tic – like a space­ship. I was only eight, but I was hooked. Mori­nis were in my blood from then on.

“My dad ac­tu­ally owned a few, and the first bike I passed my test on was a 125 Morini. I bought this Dart while I was go­ing for my full li­cence at 17. It was an Ital­ian im­port and I man­aged to scrape to­gether £1100 to buy it from a stand at the 2001 Stafford Show.

“It needed a bit of work but me­chan­i­cally it was OK. It was rea­son­ably low mileage, about 14,000 miles which had all been done in Italy, not too wet or rusty, but the body­work was cracked. It was nigh on im­pos­si­ble to get the pan­els back then and mine was in OK con­di­tion so could be re­paired. The Morini Rid­ers Club (morini-rid­ers-club.com) might make some moulds in fu­ture.

“Chas­sis parts are not too bad to come by, and they share quite a few with the Ca­giva Frec­cia. And Frec­cias are cheap com­pared to Darts. Foot­pegs, all the han­dle­bar con­trols and switchgear, front forks and brakes, both wheels – these are all Frec­cia parts that fit the Dart. The fork in­ter­nals are slightly dif­fer­ent on the Dart but fun­da­men­tally the same.

“The in­stru­ments were spe­cific to the Dart as they had the Morini logo on them but the gauges them­selves are the same as the Frec­cia. North Le­ices­ter Mo­tor­cy­cles (north­le­ices­ter­mo­tor­cy­cles. com) do a lot of en­gine parts.

“Mine’s got a 500 en­gine so my restora­tion was a bit of a mod­i­fi­ca­tion. The 500 en­gine is ba­si­cally a scaled-up ver­sion of the 350 mo­tor. It’s an easy-ish task to fit be­cause the en­gines are much the same size.

“Darts are neu­tral steer­ing and light­weight – easy to han­dle. I wanted to re­tain that, so every­thing done has been to keep that but with more power.

“They come up for sale from time to time but they’re rare. Me­chan­i­cally they’re fairly easy to work on and the parts you’ll need are fairly easy. Get one that’s got good body­work, and a good fuel tank. That’s the ab­so­lute key. They don’t rust that much or suf­fer with age. They’ve aged so well in fact that they’re not ac­tu­ally that widely re­stored.”

Stealth paint and with a 500 en­gine – good work

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.