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1997 Vespa PX150E Part 3: The (Epyc) Saga Continues!

After Euro Motors Corporation lost the Philippine distributorship of Piaggio and Vespa products to another company in late 2007, we also lost their sponsorship for the restoration of the 1997 Vespa PX 150E entrusted to us by comedian and host Jeffrey “Epy” Quizon. We lost a bit of momentum and it took us a couple of years to get our mojo back, especially with the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis. In 2009, we were introduced to Joel Lanuza, a true-blue Vespa enthusiast and reputable mechanic who used to work Veloci Motors, the former Vespa and Piaggio distributor, and (at the time) works at the Blaze Motortech Corporation, one of MotorCycle Magazine‘s biggest advertisers.

Joel Lanuza rolls our Project Vespa into his workshop inside the Blaze Motortech factory…

… where he immediately starts working on it.

Joel installed a temporary clutch lever and gear change cable to be able to shift the 4-speed grip shift manual transmission to neutral when attempting to start the 150cc single-cylinder two-stroke motor. He gave us a list of the needed parts, including a brake lever, left hand (LH) and right hand (RH) front signal light assemblies, LH and RH rear signal light lenses, a headlight assembly, a front shock absorber and a new battery. We also need to get three new 350 x 10-inch tires and inner tubes because all the tires on our project Vespa were way past their useful life.

Joel installed a temporary clutch lever…

… so the transmission can be placed in Neutral when he tries to start the forced air-cooled 150cc single-cylinder 2-stroke motor.

Since our project got idle for 2 years, Joel had to thinker with the carburetor that delivers the air/fuel mix along with the 2-stroke motor oil.

Working on Spare Time and Spare Dime

Joel used most of his break time and whatever spare time he had available at the Blaze Motortech factory to work on our project scooter. He raided the parts bin of the factory (where he got the temporary clutch lever and gear changer cable) and finally got the motor to run using its kick-starter. He reported that the low-mileage motor is still in good condition despite its long gestation period but it needs a new regulator, which is made by Ducati. He referred us to Nani Juarez of 2211 Works Blue Gate Enterprises Inc., who agreed to supply us with the parts we need. However, we procrastinated on getting the parts because we haven’t asked the Vespa’s owner, Epy, for funds.

We need to get a new regulator made by Ducati, which used to make electronics before they got into motorcycles.

Joel checked the front suspension and brakes of our project scooter before he started the engine.

After Joel disassembled the all-steel Italian scooter in preparation for a full restoration, it languished for a year with barely any work done on it. The Vespa was left neglected again after Joel became busy at the factory, Epy became busy with several film and acting projects, and we became busy working on our publication and events. Out of respect to the owners of Blaze Motortech, we decided to pull out the scooter and store it under a bike cover at the motorcycle parking area of our office.

We took the Vespa home partially disassembled…

… with some of its parts stored in a big carton box.

The instrument panel was removed in preparation for restoration…

… while the torn saddle needed a lot of work, too.

Sometime in July 2011, Epy found time out of his hectic schedule to drop by and check on his Vespa. He looked around it, walked around it, and then gave us a wry smile. He knew that it would cost a lot of money to get it fixed and that we tried to get sponsors for its complete restoration but things didn’t go as we planned. We expected him to be disappointed with the slow, slow, slow progress on its restoration but he wasn’t. However, we didn’t expect what he wanted to do next – He was thinking of getting rid of his Vespa!

OMG! Is this Epyc (epic) saga about to come to an abrupt end?

The author with Epy Quizon on the Vespa in July 2011.