Itom Astor Competizione Frame Painting

Published on 7 July 2024 at 18:45

With everything in bits I set to stripping the 65 year old paint off, it was very patchy and there was some minor surface rust where the frame was bare, it cleaned up nicely with a stainless wore brush in my angle grinder, the Dremel dealt with the few bits the grinder couldn't get at. I went with the bike's original colours of white and yellow, the white is U-Pol brilliant white gloss, the yellow is Rover Inca yellow. It was hard to find the exact shade of yellow as the paint on there has definitely darkened over the years. I tried polishing it a bit and it came up lighter but I went with a brighter yellow anyway as I believe from looking inside the little tool boxes that it was lighter before the sun spent the last 65 years dulling it.


I restored the shocks, they are in good working order and just needed cleaning, polishing and respraying, they need new rubber bushes, which are on order. The chain guard was the first bit to get some yellow, I panicked when it first went on but as it dried it darkened to the sort of colour I was looking for. Once dried I put it back on the frame and could see the contrast between the black, white and yellow parts, I think it's going to look splendid. 

The wheels have already been done, they look fine, have new rubber on them but the back one has gone flat, I don't have an adapter to blow it up with. A lot of old Italian bikes use Presta rather than Schrader valves, fortunately you can get an adapter for a pound or so that allows you to use a standard Schrader tyre inflater, I have 2 on order as they are so small I am bound to lose one.

I have done one of the tool boxes, very simple but I am missing the knobs that secure them shut, finding some is likely to be challenging. I need more paint, I just bought a 150ml can to see if I liked the colour r not before committing to getting a couple of large cans. I'm not sure how to deal with the tank at the moment, it's in really bad shape and my bodywork skills are sadly lacking. I can get by on simple stuff but on a bike worth as much as the Itom I may need help. Dave at Ton Ten Classics says he has a couple so I will have a look at them before deciding. Decals are available so that helps a lot. I checked today and found that I have a brand new chain for it, Dave has the carb that I need. I am going to be building it in road spec, the carb is an 18mm, I think it was 22 on the race versions. The race versions had a different piston, the cylinder was chrome plated down the bore, it had a different head and an expansion chamber exhaust. Talking of exhausts the one I have is seriously rough, it is the original but the chrome has nearly all gone and the underlying metal is badly pitted, I don't think restoration is viable and a replacement is very hard to find, I think this may be my biggest headache of the whole project. I may have to build my own, it looks like the factory expansions were in black so that makes my life a bit easier if I go the fabrication route.

I found an original ignition coil and bracket in the box of bits, I cleaned them up, painted and mounted them back on the frame, I will finish the tool boxes next and put them on, the swing arm is already mounted, the shocks are fitted loosely until the new rubber mounts arrive.

I have only had the bike a week and already it's looking a lot more presentable but there is still a long way to go. I think I may have to get somebody else to do the seat, I'm not much good with a sewing machine. May be a similar story ith the tank, I think it's too far gone to be saved but I will attack the insides with molasses or electrolysis before giving up on it totally.

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