Maserati 50cc Race Bike Restoration - It lives

Published on 18 February 2024 at 17:02

It was a big day for the little Maserati today, I was ready for the first test start, I believe it has not been run for many, many years, maybe as many as 60. I had struggled a bit with the ignition, I had a senior moment and hadn't twigged that 2 of the 3 wires coming out of the Ducati magneto had to be joined externally to get a spark. What I thought was a kill wire was one end of the exciter coil and that had to be connected to the wire coming from the points to the coil. I had a coil from a modern Aprilia but that only gave me a really weak spark so I set about doing a repair to the Novi coil that came in a box with the bike. The 1/4 inch terminal had been snapped off flush so I used my Dremel to grind away some of the material from around the remains until I had enough to solder a wire to. That worked perfectly and I was rewarded with the biggest, fastest, bluest spark I could have hoped for.

I had set the points gap, the stator plate was set to mid point, I have no idea how many degrees of advance that gives me but it seemed like a sensible starting point.

I thought I had some cables and  screw on nipples but I was unable to find them so I just bodged up a throttle cable and put the bike on the paddock stand I made for it, if I had the cables I would have used my newly completed roller starter but as I did not have that luxury my only option was to pit it in gear and spin the rear wheel by hand. I had to select second gear to do that as it was too hard to turn in first - this bike has a decent amount of compression.

I did get it running but quickly ran out of hands so had to get Mrs to help with pointing the camera. It was just a very short test run, I will make up the throttle cable, brake cable, gear change cables and clutch cable so I can run it properly. I think it is going to be a very fast moped, it has Itom barrel and piston, those engines were capable of propelling their bike and rider at speeds of up to 80 mph, I may have to run an expansion chamber to get that but it should be possible. It sounds fantastic, really crisp and angry.

Video is on youtube and can be found here -

By the way, the bike is called Rospo P Coltrane. When the bike came out it was considered to be quite ugly and some cruel and heartless people called it the Rospo - Italian for toad. I therefore thought of my mis-spent childhood and unhealthy interest in the Dukes of Hazzard, Rospo P Coltrane should therefore make sense to any like minded miscreant.


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