The 1976 works 400
Puch shown here was ridden by six time 250 World Champion Joel
Robert. It is one of eight made and one of two known to
exist. The focus of this
restoration will be to leave the bike as original as possible.
As with any historical bike, originality is of utmost
importance. Remember they are only original once!
The bike is in very good condition already and it is about 95%
original. Fortunately The motor was rebuilt in Belgium, so
we will leave the internals alone. The next step is to
make a list of any visible work that needs to be done.
Then we will disassemble it taking photographs of the entire
disassembly as there is no manual for the bike.
Photographing the disassembly can be a life saver. All
parts will be catalogued and kept separate. We will then
go through each item and bring it back as close to original as
possible. No original parts will be thrown out or replaced
if they can be repaired. On a bike like this, short cuts
are not an option.
The frame has shown
some surface rust coming through the paint. There is no
choice but to repaint it. We will take a paint sample from
either the steering stem or from under the fuel tank to get the
exact black paint match. We will then strip the original
paint using paint stripper and a soft brass wire brush.
This will insure that the original metal and welds are not
harmed. My son Terry will do most of the wrenching as he
has become a very good mechanic.
and related parts have now been repainted. We used a
sample from the steering head to get the perfect match. It
is exactly the same as the original semi-gloss finish.
This was done by Greg's Hot-Rods in Lake Bluff Illinois.
We do not use powder-coating.
we stripped the gold paint off of the cases, there was a small
sample of the original paint showing. The color was matched and
the cases now are the correct color. The cylinder and head
were washed in a degreaser, I try to stay away from bead
blasting as the finish looks too new. Most of the hardware
was re-plated. The place that does my plating has another
step they use that actually makes the hardware look aged.
It really looks bad when you have shiny bolts on a bike that is
30 years old. Notice the finish on the brake pedal, it
goes perfect with the rest of the bike. Maintaining the
spirit of the restoration is very important. Most people
over restore their bikes and in my opinion they look worse than
they did to start with.
The bike is
now starting to come together. The motor is bolted in the
frame, the electrics are hooked up and the air-box and rear
fender are now installed. We had a filter made as the
original was falling apart with age. As you can see everything
looks just right, nothing is overly polished. Everything
is just as it should be.
installing the seat, tank and rear wheel, it is starting to look
like a motorcycle. The tank and seat were left original even
though the seat has a small tear and the tank has a few spider
cracks in the fiber glass. In my opinion originality
trumps a show bike, especially when it is a bike with a history.
The wheels have to be cleaned up and new tires have to be found.
Compare how the bike looks now with the top photo.