I got a call from Roberto (the Vespa Wizard) about an interesting/rare Vespa Postie scooter he'd found. It'd been garaged since the mid 1980s but had suffered considerable corrosion to it's monocoque, especially the floor pan and underneath the central tunnel. It also had myriad holes drilled every where. Interestingly, after minimal attention the engine fired up and ran very sweetly. Being such a rare find Roberto was enthused and of course keen to restore it. The primary issue was the corrosion in the frame...so after a call to me we decided on a course of action. Just a little bit of cut & shut!
If you ever wanted to see the internals of a scooter monocoque here's your opportunity.
Wow that is amazing Vincent....have fun working on this baby...
Thanks Julie...it's always nice to save a piece of history, even if it only extends back to the 60's.
that looks like a super job Vincent!
Day 3. Postie Scooter Monocoque Rebuild.
Today's efforts focused on making paper templates (x2), transfering them to steel and then welding in the new pieces to the scooter body (not frame). It's quite tedious as the 'new' panels need to be a close fit, with approximately 1mm clearance between the panel edges and the opening being closed off. This is required to both ease welding and minimize any distortion, as the panels become quite hot and expand during the welding process. The best method is to stitch weld short runs on opposing sides until the job is completed fully around the perimeter.
This work finishes off the major repairs to re-strengthen the monocoque, which if left, compromised the structural integrity of this historically interesting scooter. The remaining repairs apart from a few small rust areas on the braces below the floor pan are primarily to do with panel finishing aesthetics.
Vincent - loving your work.
I know Robertos been doing a bit of research but still if anyone has photos or any knowledge on how these girls looked back in the '60s I know it would be appreciated!
To be truthful as a child of the 50s and 60s I can't recall seeing postie's on motor scooters. I recall them using bicycles, but I grew up in the burbs (Burwood & Boxhill). Perhaps they were used more in country regions as the distances were greater.
This scooter ran perfectly, from a makeshift fuel system when Roberto first showed it to me. Quite amazing if you consider it was stored without any TLC since the mid 1980s. The rot and corrosion that I've been repairing is probably due to a hard life outdoors, rain, hail and shine during an extensive working life.
Since opening the bowels of this scooter, it's quite obvious to me that there's no allowance for drainage if water and moisture get into that central tunnel. Storing it in a cold and damp environment for decades isn't doing it any favours.
Yeah. I'm a bit the same. Grew up in Mordialloc/Mentone and never saw posties on scooters.
I've been told that there were perhaps only 100 Vespas or so imported especially for the PMG to use as Postie Bikes and the majority were in SA and perhaps QLD. There is a car museum in the Adelaide Hills that might have one but I'm guessing a bit; feel like I saw one there some years ago.
I was with Roberto a day or two before you and we started it up; I think the next day he pulled it down and rang you. It's a bit of an exciting project; I'm pretty close to it.
Yeah Jeff, it's nice to save and restore something like this rather than just junk it and have a pile of spare parts (although useful) but with no real identity. A bit like an Egyptian canopic jar. That's why the body, in this case the monocoque is important as it defines it's use and history....Oops getting a bit too philosophical...time to get back to the metal work.
Its likely they were used for telegram delivery (an early form of email...) rather than postal work. In NSW (where I'm from) the GPO used BSA Bantams for telegram work.
Australia Post should have archive photographs of all vehicles. I'll see if I can put my researching skills to some use.
Look forward to seeing those pictures Anthony. Good luck with the research.
Vince,—Following up on this, the national archive has very few images of PMG scooters prior to 1970. Seems that they got very excited about their new Honda 90 step thru's in 70-71 though.
So far I have one image of possibly the last Vespa (ZP•401) being retired from service as the following picture in this archive series shows the same employee / truck location (and a couple of buddies) beaming over a new Honda.
The model here appears to be complete and has its leather index folder bag on the back, but empty space directly behind the seat and small bag rack on the front. This might indicate a telegram bike.
This image is taken at the PMG Chippendale (NSW) motor garage.
The second image (loaded postal Vespa) is from SA showing a mail delivery Vespa (C•960)in service. (An excellent image if you want to dress in period costume with the bike...) Here the iron ware is more substantial with large bags front and rear. The image is from the mid 1960's.
So far all I could find in a cursory search. I'll explore some other options...and keep you....posted.