The Vespa Song by Maurice Chevalier

Our 1961 Vespa 400 

What do you do when you have a 22 foot long garage that houses a 10' 3" long car? Obviously, you buy another car. "Elmo"as named by the previous owner is just what the doctor ordered.

This car spent October 2016 through April 2017 at the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA as part of the Amore della Strada exhibit.


 This is a tiny car! It is 11" shorter than our Honda 600 Coupe.

The well appointed dashboard allows you to control all the automobiles functions...both lights and windshield wipers!




Suicide doors on a micro car... it doesn't get any better than this!
 
The chrome on this little dude was in sad shape. The bumpers were painted silver and the trim hadn't been polished in decades.  about 20  hours of sweatequity and 3 tubes of Simichrome brought it back.


The convertible top is not automatic, however it can easily be rolled up in less than 45 minutes!


A 393 cc, 2 cylinder, 2 stroke engine, delivers 14 hp through a 3 speed manual transmission and 10 inch tires.

This engine had trouble idling and would stall at every stop.
First, the wrong fuel filter had a cardboard element that disintegrated with the gas and oil mixture. We replaced it with a all metal,Mr. Gasket filter and gave the carba complete rebuild and cleaning. The idle was better but not consistent, so an in-line fuel pump helped to insure a steady fuel flow.
After consulting with Larry Newberry, North America's microcar guru, we discovered the wrong pressure plate had been installed so when the clutch was depressed the release bearing housing would rub and drag down the engine to a stop. Replacing the pressure plate,and release bearing, which is nothing more than a graphite ring, helped Elmo drive a little better, but he still wouldn't idle.
I salvaged another carburetor from
a seized engine which came with the car, The carb needed a little work. It was over tightened so I had to flatten the flange. I used a piece of glass with an adhesive backed sanding disc to slowly sand the flange flat, increasing the grit until I finished with 400 grit paper. It came out great!
Sometimes the old school is the best school!😎

Once the new carb was installed the difference was like night and day! Now the only problem was the electric fuel pump was overwhelming the needle and seat in the float bowl. Returning to an Isaac Newton style fuel pump made Elmo and me very happy.
 


This little guy was difficult to start until I found the original starting instructions online...


This car has less than 11,000 miles! It was driven for a couple of years,  then put away  in  a Colorado garage some time in 1965. In 1996 Bill rescued the car, brought it to Pennsylvania and cleaned it up to its current condition, after 21 years he decided to sell Elmo, We were fortunate to buy it.


  I scored this license plate for those following  who can't understand why we are accelerating so slowly.
"0 to 60 In Never" was not available..
The bumper sticker should also help.

The hubcaps had taken quite a beating over the years, so I took them to the local body shop and
they pounded them out over a sand bag at the cost of a dozen brownies.
I worked them with Mother's Mag and Aluminum polish making them look better than new.

The front panel and decklid had a lot of dings, so we took them to Elwood Body Works and had them straighten and repainted. This job they did not do for a dozen brownies.