So today, on a break from work, I got started. I knew the Vespa wouldn't start, and I wanted to go through it to make it roadworthy. The first step was draining all the gas from the gas tank. I removed the seat and took out the gas tank, found my spare gas can and checked to see if the flow looked good. It did, and I put the old stale gas in the Volkswagen, which is by far a less picky eater. After that I took the carburetor off and disassembled it. I don't know why anyone ever refers to cleaning out a Dell'orto as "rebuilding it." It has fewer than 20 parts. I took each piece off, sprayed some mystical "carb cleaner" spray can at it for a few seconds, and then put it back together. I went with a 110 main jet, and realized for the first time ever that my idle jet says "60" on it. I don't think I even knew that one existed (it's under the pathetic little filter on top of the float). Then I put that together and put it all back. I put the rear mixture screw at its customary starting position of 1.5 turns out from all the way screwed in, and I put the idle adjuster at its position of all the way in until just before the throttle slide kinda starts to slide open.
Autozone down the street had two NGK B7ES spark plugs, which they sold me for a meager $4.98. Then I got fresh gas and a bit of two stroke oil and the cockroach of a scooter fired up on the third kick. It even idled in a hearty way only a two stroke single cylinder can do, casting a pulsing glow on the rainy driveway. I rode it in a small victory lap down the street and back in to the garage.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Vespa. It's built from pieces of other Vespas to the point where the most original features are scratches, dents, and rust. It's been a steady accessory through girlfriends that have come and gone, through apartments and places that are now only memories. It hasn't really been a trusty companion, as it's broken down all sorts of times, but never as much as you would expect. I have gotten sick of it a whole lot of times, but then put it away. Then I realize the problem was likely something very small, and it will only take a few ounces of effort to fix.
The major problem with my particular Vespa is that the fork is still bent. Luckily, I have line on an original replacement fork. Parts have been disconcertingly hard to come by, for some reason. I don't know why. The Italians stamped out tons of Vespas back in the day. It's not like it's a Citroen SM or something. It's supposed to be a common deal. Local scooter torch bearers P Town Scooters told me I would have to order a new fork from SIP in Germany, which would set me back somewhere in the multiple hundreds of dollars range, they guessed. So I called around a week or two ago, inspired by my Volkswagen's increased gluttony for fuel, among other things, and got a line on one from a reputable longstanding scooter shop, many states away. I realized I missed talking shop with scooter people, rattling off that I was looking for a 16mm fork, but I would consider a newer 20mm style one. Hopefully that fork will get here soon and I can get the scooter buttoned up a little bit more.
The great thing about owning old vehicles for a long time is that every year they are more rare. More people are giving up on their old vehicles and going with some sort of more sane alternative. My Vespa was around 25 years old when I got it, and now it's around 30. Every year it's getting older, and a little bit more classic.