Restoring a barn-fresh 1966 Sears Allstate

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CVMG Paris 2013

My annual pilgrimage to Paris (Ontario that is…) for the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group’s annual rally.

Our camp was busted buy the keystone cops for having a “fire” when Paul tossed the wiener wrapper into the bbq… it flared for all of 35 seconds disappearing into ash on the coals, this happened just as the 1920’s cop car drove by, prompting screeching tires, headlight interrogation a hilariously absurd grilling (pun intended) regarding fire, or the absence of fire, wieners and what is or is not a fire…. not our first run in with the overly enthusiastic volunteer keepers of the peace.

Note the mileage on the Puch, before and after.

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Mid Ohio 2012

As I was in Indiana this summer, I took the opportunity to drive 3.5 hours west to the  AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. I was mostly interested in what treasures were hiding in the legendary swap meet, and just to check out the festival in general. This year’s theme was Mods & Rockers, so I was hoping there would be lots of British bikes and Vespa/Lambretta kicking around.

The swap meet has 250 odd booths and I was imagining tables overflowing with a cornucopia of exotic parts. I envisioned bikes in boxes, bags and baskets piled in heaps; I expected trailers jamed with  fresh barn finds, crusty Cushmans, bobed Harleys, and Puch Allstates five to the dollar. It’s wasn’t just me that was hyping the swap, here are a few tidbits from the website:”The Worlds Largest Swap Meet”, “the continent’s largest motorcycle swap meet” and ” It features 35 sprawling acres of old, classic and even some new bike parts and memorabilia.” Well it must be good I reasoned.

Just before I packed the family into the car and headed south to Indianapolis, I spoke to George. George is local vintage collector and has a ’58 AJS for sale that I was contemplating, his opinion was that the CVMG National Rally is better than Mid-Ohio; more selection, more variety and less junk. Bah humbug said I, how can our humble event come close to something as big as Mid-Ohio, besides, there are like 300 million people in the USA to our 30 million, Mid-Ohio has to be at least 10 times better! Yes the swap was big, but big isn’t better, like those all you can eat restaurants, quantity does not translate into quality. If I was looking for a milk crate with a turnsignal, brake caliper,

I was only there for 3 hours on Saturday afternoon, from 3-6 so I didn’t get an opportunity to explore everything. Unfortunately the Mods & Rockers tent was cleared out by the time I got there, so was most of the exhibits on the lawn and tents. So suggestion # 1 is:  come on Friday, stay the night.

My photos reflect my particular interest in the swap, they don’t do justice to the whole event. All day there are races on the track and loudspeakers throughout the park are tuned into the announcer, this combined with the wahhh wahhh of the track give the venue a great atmosphere. There are photos on the AMA website that give a good sense of the event.

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Malcolm and I hit the road on Saturday to attend the 23rd Annual Quinte C.V.M.G “Rally and Show”, July 22nd to 24th, 2011 at Robin Lake Park, Ameliasburgh, Ontario. We hit the road at 11:30 and slogged out on the 401 – of course hitting stop and go traffic. Malcolm’s bike wasn’t happy past 4000 rpm on the highway – we think there is dirt in the tank – sputters, coughing and general grumpiness would ensure with attempts at acceleration or WOT.

We finally got off the highway at Cobourg. All was fine until Colborne, when gearing down for a 90° in the town center my clutch cable pulled out of the nipple. Now considering myself a smart fellow, I brought an extra cable, being even more clever it was one of two that I purchased off Ebay as NOS. What better I thought then fit an old bike with original parts!

I fitted the cable with my grossly inadequate tool kit. Malcolm had to borrow a dime from the corner store to improvise a screwdriver to get the lever off. His excuse for not bringing tools was “I figured you were prepared” and in his defense it wasn’t his bike he was riding.  I fitted the cable and off we went. The bike was NOT happy. I couldn’t get the clutch to fully disengage and it required an iron grip, it was actually easier to shift without the clutch then with it.

We arrived at the the campground and were greeted with cold beer and familiar faces. I spent lots of time fiddling with the clutch, adjusting the lower adjuster – when finally it dawned on me to use the spare cable the Malcolm’s bike had. Needless to say fitting the Barnett cable was a dream and the bike was happy.

Long ride home, passed through Trenton, saw the barracks where I spent 2 weeks as an Air cadet.  We didn’t get rained on despite the forks of lightening off in the distance. We pulled into Toronto at 11, almost 12 hours after we left, the streets steamy and wet from the days heat.

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Parts are collecting…

Well,  summer went by and I didn’t get much done on the bikes, didn’t get much riding in either.  Discovered a nice road just out of the city on an evening ride, up and down country lane at dusk – quite beautiful.

PING tinkle tinkle… was the sound I heard when I pulled my clutch lever. It was a lovely Friday afternoon and I thought I’d zip up the highway to a meeting- alas I didn’t make it as I got stuck in stop-and-go traffic when the clutch cable nipple went flying.
Luckily I didn’t rear end the car in front of me as I was only going at a walking pace, uncharacteristically I was positioned in the curb lane and rode up the shoulder to the next exit- whew.
The DVP rightly bears the nickname Don Valley Parking Lot, it was built for 60,000 cars a day and regularly sees 100,000. Needless to say,  the Norton gearbox was not happy about that ride home. On the bright side, I only had to stop twice – once on the off ramp and once for a delivery truck on doing a 6 point turn…  I avoided lights on major arteries by ducking into the residential streets, making my way by rolling stops and shifting fairly smoothly with throttle blips and careful foot work.

Last weekend I attended the CVMG Milton Swap meet, it was a bit chilly and we arrived late, so the pickings were slim and vendors were packing up. I picked up a new clutch cable for my Norton Commando and met “Drago” who is the local Puch expert. I’ve heard his name mentioned and now I know how to find him! He had a few bins of Puch parts. No doubt I will contact him as I dig into the restorations.

250 SGS piston - twingle parts

Puch M125 Transmission cases

There were very few bike for sale, a nicely restored AJS scrambler, just begging to get dirty.

Restored AJS Scrambler

The other extreme was this Sears badged Gilera. It is always nice to find bikes in worse shape then you own…!

more then a little Autosol needed here...

1960's Sears Gilera

Today I received 1.8kg of nuts and bolts. They will come in handy for when I reassemble the Puch 250 SGS.

369 screws, bolts, washers and nuts

369 screws, bolts, washers and nuts

I also recently received the seat springs for the solo seat for the Puch 250sgs. It was far more complicated than it should have been. The springs made it from Austria to Germany, into my father’s suitcase and finally to me. It was faster and easier to just ship 3.8lbs of nuts  directly to my door.

Lesson learned.

Puch 250sgs parts - so far....

Puch 250sgs parts - so far....

My plan is to get the ’66 SGS up and running – sort out the sidecar mounts (weld?) and then when all is fettled and sorted, do the body work, paint & chrome. Here’s my secret weapon- sandblasting pressure pot. I was going to make one – but it seemed like alot of work when this was on sale. Just need to make a blasting booth.

Princess Auto special....

Princess Auto special....

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CVMG National Rally: Paris 2010

It isn’t Mid-Ohio, but it does have some fine bikes and if you look closely there might be a part or two on the tables worth haggling for. I’ve been attending the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group annual Rally in Paris, ON for over a decade and have seen many of the bikes previously, so the photo gallery below is what tickled my fancy.  Notable this year were a few Sears Allstate bikes, a nicely restored Gilera, and a few other PUCH motorcyles in lesser states of restoration. There were the usual Triumphs, Nortons, BSA etc, new this year were the Indians and the really old flat tank Harleys. I did run into a guy on the road leading to the Paris Farigrounds, he had a Velorex 560 attached to a Triumph (or was it a BSA), I asked him what he thought and he said it was a friends and it’s scary! Hmm, not sure which part is scary. I particularly enjoyed the Nimbus with a Steib sidecar, there is something about a Nimbus…

2010 marked the 100th anniversary of Rudge, there were some fine Rudge motorcycles on display, this video was taken at the end of the Concours judging on Sunday.  I usually time my Sunday visit for the end of the judging so I can hear the bikes start up and drive off.

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