Project Poland: Man Down

Words & Photographs: Stan

The Quattrini’s running perfectly, the Vespa’s had a rebuild and the TS1’s ready for the off. Unfortunately Stan isn’t.

Of all the things that I thought could jeopardise Project Poland, the NHS wasn’t one of them. Unfortunately, we have some illness in the family. Before anyone sends a get well card, it’s not me, but we’re faced with problems that many readers with elderly parents will be familiar with.

Unfortunately, our circumstances mean that it’s going to be a difficult summer and spending the best part of a month travelling Europe just isn’t possible. However, as one door closes another opens, and once the medics have cleared the current haze of uncertainty, there’s an opportunity to take the Quattrini on some shorter adventures.

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I’ve already squeezed in some GTS trips we’ll be featuring, and there’s also the possibility of the Quattrini taking part in something really special later in the season. The Vespa and TS1 are still heading for Poland in the hands of Brad and his dad Mike.

More of Mike later, but for now it’s enough to say that this isn’t his first rodeo. Now in his 70s, Mike’s been around scooters since his teens, still rides regularly and wields a mean pair of spanners!

Our group of travellers may be one man down, but the show must go on and here’s where each of our scooters currently stand.

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Blessing in Disguise

The Polini Vespa was first featured in Scootering’s October 2018 edition when I took it for a quick road test. I’ve always liked its KAS race-paint and on that day the Polini equipped motor performed perfectly.

Unfortunately, when we took it together with the TS1 for a shakedown ride a few weeks ago it was clear that all wasn’t well. The engine began to surge and then lost power. The roadside diagnosis was an air leak and it was dispatched to Mike’s workshop for some care and attention.

“As suspected, the culprit was a blown oil seal,” said Mike. “As I had the casings split, I took the opportunity to examine the other components and found that the autolube had chipped a tooth. Brad’s a big fan of autolube and, as he hadn’t disabled it, the consequences of failure somewhere in Eastern Europe could have been catastrophic, so blowing the oil seal was a blessing in disguise.

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“The seals have all been replaced with viton and we’ve had it on the dyno at JB Tuning, where it registered a not-too-shabby 16.5bhp. I’m pretty confident the motor’s now up to the challenge.”

Whilst the Polini was on Mike’s workbench, he also took the opportunity to fit a SIP speedo. “I’d read that these are hard to fit but found it quite straightforward,” he explained.

“Once the power supply to the lights had been identified, wiring it in was very straightforward. Unfortunately, the instructions are a little vague in describing the set up process. They describe scrolling to the desired menu using the button and then pressing the button to access it.

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Unfortunately, that simply moves the display on to the next part of the menu. After a frustrating hour I realised that once the desired part of the menu’s been reached, the button needs to be depressed and held for a few seconds. That gives access to the desired options. After that it was all plain sailing.”

Feel the Power

Starting any engine after re-build is always a tense moment, but the Quattrini burst into life immediately. It’s crisp, responsive and without any running in, is already producing 25bhp and 19.4ft-lbs of torque!

As they’re developing a reputation as Quattrini experts, it’s unsurprising that the re-build at Chiselspeed was fairly straightforward, although Russ, who did most of the work, reported that shimming the AF five-speed gearbox required a slow and methodical approach.

He also made a precautionary decision to replace the selector spring. “We used one of our ever dwindling supply of Innocenti items,” said Russ.

“They’re superior to any re-manufactured item and make for a far more positive feel.” One other component to be changed was the clutch. The BGM super-strong was an emergency substitution to keep a friend on the road, and as Chiselspeed had an LTH clutch on the shelf, it found its way into the Quattrini’s casings.

With the DL in pieces I took the opportunity to fit a set of SIP Performance cables. Not only do they feel more positive, they too were a blessing in disguise; my clutch cable was holding on by a few strands.

A timely reminder for everyone that routine maintenance is just as important as spending on big ticket items, even if Poland isn’t the end destination…

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