Reviving the Classics: My Journey Restoring a Vespa Primavera 125

This article was written by Tonio Lombardi

When I bought this Primavera 125 from a friend, as an unfinished project, it was more than just a transaction—it was the beginning of an exciting restoration project. I wanted a classic Primavera for quite a while. The Primavera 125 which debuted in 1968 was an iconic scooter which proved hugely popular. Based on the small frame design, this iconic model was marketed to the younger generation. I picked up the frame, engine and a number of boxes full of parts. It was a puzzle waiting to be solved.

The first task was to address the frame and other parts which needed to be painted, which had been subjected to wear and tear over the years. After a thorough soda blasting to rid it of corrosion and grime, a protective layer of rust-resistant paint was applied, ensuring its longevity. However, the leg shield, a defining feature, bore the marks of its age. The decision was made to replace it, and with my brother’s expertise as an ironworker, we carefully removed the old leg shield and fitted a brand-new one. 

With the frame sorted, attention turned to the aesthetics. Deliberation led to a nostalgic choice—the iconic Coca-Cola edition colours. This scooter, manufactured in 1975, would proudly wear the Marrone Metallizato, a metallic brown paint exclusively used between 1974 and 1976. To complete the look, a cream-coloured seat and matching handlebar grips were chosen, paying homage to its original design.

Meanwhile, the heart of the Vespa, its 125cc engine, demanded a thorough overhaul. Every component was meticulously examined and cleaned. New bearings, a new clutch, carburettor, crank, and parts of the ignition system were installed, maintaining the original specification. It was crucial to maintain the authenticity and originality of both the engine and the frame, a testament to the scooter’s history and character. Replacement of worn parts extended to rubber components, speedometer, shock absorbers, nuts, bolts, lights, and a new set of Michelin S83 tires for a safe and smooth ride.

The biggest challenge was about to start: reassembly.  Had I disassembled the scooter myself, labelling and photographing each step, reassembly would have been much easier. Instead, I delved into reassembly instructions within the service manual, exploded diagrams, and I undertook extensive research in books and online sources. It was a meticulous process, but one that fueled my determination to resurrect this classic.

Classic Vespas are elegant in their simplicity, and if you possess a fundamental understanding of mechanics and combustion engines, restoring them is indeed a laborious but immensely enjoyable process. The end result is not just a rejuvenated scooter, but a timeless relic that was given a second chance to grace the roads and capture the hearts of admirers—a true labour of love.

Have you restored a classic Vespa?

We’d love to hear about it. Send us an email with your story and some photos and we just might feature it here, on our website!

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