North America's Exclusive Restoration Workshop
Alex called me to pick my brain about
Laverda motorcycles. Triples, in particular.
He’d find various examples and we’d discussed their merits. In some cases, their lack of.
Alex looked at a number of machines
without finding an example that had the look he sought.
Ultimately he decided he should have one built to suit. He also thought I should be the one to do the deed.
I knew of a good project 3CL for sale, put
the folks together and they came to a suitable arrangement.
I went and collected a 1977 3CL. A day trip each way…1,700 miles total.
It had been cleaned up a bit since I last
saw it…no, it had been cleaned a lot. And, it was a runner.
So here is where it started.
First order of business is to
take it all apart, every nut and bolt, making notes about what items
are original to this machine and their condition, which can be saved and which must be replaced.
Also, noting what replacement parts are readily available and create a preliminary parts and to do list.
Time to clean, clean, clean.
Now parts can be reassessed for reconditioning,
upgrade or replacement in light of the desired outcome.
Bits to be chromed are sorted
out, inventoried and any special instructions for the plater
are noted then delivered as it takes 6 to 8 weeks to be done.
Parts order is placed with Wolfgang
Now, the mix match of wheels
must go. Spokes are cool so a ring to Buchanan’s for shouldered Excel rims
(2.15 front and 2.50 rear) are delivered with stainless spokes.
A SF2 front hub is used while a Suzuki donates the rear hub.
Lots of polishing, then lacing and truing. Finally, a set of Pirelli’s; 110/80 and 130/70.
Forks are next and treated to
a full strip down, more cleaning, then polishing lowers.
These are then modified to accept a set of Race Tech cartridge emulators.
Fork springs get shortened by the combined amount of increase in height from the emulator and machined adapter.
Springs are shortened with a high speed cut off tool. The cut coil is then heated and flattened then the end is ground.
Steering stem gets the lower
bearing removed. Then the yokes, instrument mount, tail lamp support and
misc. bits are put in a separate pile, along with the tank, for chemical stripping.
These bits get stripped to bare metal before being refinished.
Rear fork gets the bearings
removed. It and the chassis along with the tool tray are then degreased
and sandblasted to bare metal. The bare frame parts and steel pieces from chemical stripping are then
treated with a mild phosphoric acid solution and hung up to dry.
Lots of alloy bits get cleaned and a full polish.
Time for the owner to make
some color choices. He wanted something besides the routine Jota orange,
especially since as a ’77 model it wasn’t a standard color. Alex was reviewing a number of combinations on his computer
when his wife walked past glancing at the monitor and said the orange one looked good. So orange and silver it is.
More about this later.
Chassis and components are taken to the powder coater.
Meanwhile I have engine parts
to work with. Everything is spotlessly cleaned, clearances are checked,
bores are honed, valve seats are cut, head gets assembled. Bottom end gets assembled.
Ring gaps are set then the new forged pistons, to Jota spec, are fitted. One of Clem’s tasty copper head gaskets
is prepped and installed. Head is installed along with some Axtell spec camshafts and valve timing is set.
With the big lump done it was
time to check on the chassis and rear fork left with the powdercoater.
Looks nice in Sonic Silver; a high metallic content silver very close to the Jota hue but with a bit more sparkle in the sun.
Brake hydraulics are completely refreshed with new kits for masters and calipers along with fresh pistons, pads and hardware.
Clocks get new faces.
Time for some assembly work.
Then sort wiring as all
electrical components are in place.
Lots of previous buggering being put to right. Here’s what it looked like before.
Diane still thinks it looks like spaghetti.
A complete circuit diagram
for inside the bucket was created and passed on to Alex
as there are a few minor changes to the factory diagram to suit the DMC.
On to the bodywork. Tank is
chemically stripped to bare metal, slight imperfections are bumped
and pulled until ready for primer. Original sidecovers were rough with missing pieces and long cracks
so new ones are sourced from Wolfgang. Bits are now primed and block sanded smooth.
Body is given a guide coat of black and blocked again to make sure no imperfections are visible.
Next is a basecoat of Lamborghini Ishtar Arancio.
Followed by two coats of orange pearl…
and finally, a clear coat.
The body work stashed in an
impromptu oven (inside the big van in the sunshine)
for a few days to cure before a final buff and emblem install.
Next up is to build a 3C
style solo seat retaining the tilting feature of the 3CL seat.
I cut the back of the 3CL seat off, hammerformed a hump shaping it to follow the contours
of both the original 3C sport seat and the 3CL seat pan then, finally satisfied with the shape,
welded it up and painted the new seat. Next effort is to shape some foam and give it a cover.
I lifted the black tank of
one of my bikes for initial start up and run in
as I don’t want to risk damage to the fresh orange paint.
Finally, it is nearly done.
Time to roll out for some road testing.
Little bit of carb fettling
and some other odds and ends. Then, after 60 miles of riding the oil is changed,
the head torque and the valve clearances are checked, timing is checked.
All the fasteners are checked for proper torque and it is good to go.
Notice the pop in the color from shade to sunlight.
Turns out this machine is the
sister Jota to the ones owned by David Ill and Bill MacCracken.
One of three sent to Albuquerque from Lance Weil. Lance met the New Mexico dealer in Arizona and all have consecutive numbers.
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