Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Pantah Basket Case

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by Ged, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. The story so far!

    After spending the last 17 years (!) rebuilding a basket case 1954 M21 BSA, the last thing I was looking for was a new project. But of course, life isnt that simple...

    When Pantahs first arrived in Australia in 1981 (I think?), I was at Frazers in Brissie, on crutches (having crashed my 500GTL big style!) trying to buy a new Pantah 500. They were just beautiful. I couldnt raise the necessary $2900 and ended up with a '76 900GTS (which from memory cost me $1800!) instead. Wondeful bike, but I always wanted a Pantah! That was over 25 years ago and I have often said I couldnt afford another Ducati ever since!

    Anyway, when a "100% complete, was running, stripped for painting" 1983 500SL basket case turned up at the right price last week, it just seemed like a good idea at the time..... 20 hour return trip from the NSW North Coast to Sydney and back in my Alfa 156 Sportwagon to collect all the bits and I've had enough time to look at the collection and work out the best way forward.

    The bike is (was) a pretty original black and gold 1983 model. It's had a bif on the rhs at some stage, but well repaired and otherwise, original paint. All the bits seem in pretty good nick, (new tyres for instance) and it seems like a reasonable project and not too difficult or expensive to get it back together and on the road, which is the objective.

    The guy who bought and then stripped the bike was, I am told a mechanic. he's certainly done an excellent job. It seems to be totally complete and there are about 20 labeled plastic bags containing all the fasteners and sundries. He has kept a log book during the strip down, showing componant assemblies and how they go back together as well as noting anything which needs to be repaired.

    The clock shows 79000k's and It has come with reciepts for the past 15 years or so, showing a full engine and gearbox rebuild at about 50000K's. It has regular service records right up to when it was stripped in 2000.

    So, its a bloody large jigsaw puzzle at the moment, but it looks to be a good puzzle!

    Mechanical condition wont be known until it is back together of course, but I am hopeful it is as was represented. We'll find out! My only concern is that the last workshop receipt for tune up and valve shims was done at the same mileage as in on the clock now. Given that the only thing I can find so far that is missing, is the speedo cable, I am figuring that it was broken when it had that last service, so it is unknown how many K's went onto it before it came off the road. The spark plugs look to have done a few K's for sure.

    So, the plan at this stage is to get it back together and running and see what needs doing. Easy said huh!

    My brother has been goading me into this the whole way, so I am blaming him for the whole debacle. Good thing he's a spray painter. When the sun ever comes out arond here, he is going to blow some fresh 2 pack over the chassis and sundry black bits, which will give us a good point to start getting the rest back together and running.

    The fairing and seat unit are looking a little ratty, so they will cop some new black and graphics, but I really want to preserve the original tank paint, despite having one tiny ding. The centre stand and chain guard have been chromed, so the first decision is to paint them both black or leave them chromed?

    The overall philosophy will be to build it as a rider rather than a show bike, try not to spend a fortune and try not to stretch it out to seventeen bloody years! Hope you guys are up for the challenge?



    Attached Files:

  2. You lucky, lucky b#@stard!
  3. You own an Alfa and a Ducati.
    You masochistic fool :LOL:
  4. sounds more promising than most other (literal) basket-cases :LOL:!!!
  5. I believe that the brakes are cross compatible and don't work equally as well on both makes.
  6. Oh ha ha ha you two! As mentioned, its not my first Ducati and the 156 is my 9th Alfa Romeo. Each of them extroadinary cars. I live at the top of of a 3km, 12 corner stretch of mountain road, so I am a part time tyre tester as well ;) and that helps dictate my prefernces in motor vehicles!

    You do admitedly need to be a little "special" to put up with Italian stuff, but you either have that in you (or learn), or you dont. For the people who do persevere, the rewards are unequaled by anything else. Ive had a life time of Italian stuff from a 66 Vespa 150 Sprint to a 76 Mk1 Moto Guzzi Le Mans plus the Ducatis and the Alfa's and the and the.... I love em.

    My favorite T shirt says, "The best things in life...are still made in Italy". :)
  7. They do make patches to help people wean themselves off Italian vehicles. They're made up of rust with a hint of burnt electrical connections :LOL:.

    (FYI I do own an '86 33Ti ;)).
  8. See, youve got it too..! The best thing about being mad is not wanting to be cured.
  9. The best part about being mad is wondering why everyone else is happy to be so boring. :)
  10. Passion even if misdirected is still to be admired .. good luck with our jigsaw puzzle ..
  11. What is it about masochism that demands complexity? Is it that the physical pain and financial hardship, the inconvenience and ridicule, are so much more poignant when distilled through failure and inadequacy? Couldn't you just hit your head on the ground for a few minutes each day?


    That T-shirt, which proclaims your deviancy publicly, it wouldn't be possible to read that through your riding outfit, would it? I mean, your leathers are not made up predominantly of big chrome rings and narrow black leather straps, are they?

    Enough. --------- Never hankered much for the Pantah, but the Darmahs used to give me a woodie. Especially in black, with the yellow and orange pinstriping. With contis, and the little dome wire mesh covers over the naked carb throats, to keep rocks and small boys from getting sucked in...
  12. I too share your passion/obsession for both Alfas and Duc's

    Owned the '78 Darmah (Black and Gold :dance:) for near enough to 26yrs AND still puts a smile on the dial. had a "78 Alfasud Ti too as well as a '79 GTV 2 litre.

    And all I can say is nobody else will really understand.

    Good luck and keep us up to date with the project
  13. [groan ...] That is one sexy motorbike.
  14. Good on you Gerard, soon a mighty army of pantahs with 50 year old riders will thunder across the landscape! I'm happy to provide any info you might need, having a complete pantah in my garage might prove a useful reference if you get stuck on anything (like the mystery of earthing the rear blinkers). Andy
  15. Sounds awesome mate

    Glad I am not the only Alfa/Pantah person out there.

    Alfa standa for Always Looking For Another, have to work on something for PANTAH

    I like the patch idea but I'm sure it would fail me, i'd have to hit a rehab clinic and watch videos of toyotas and hondas for hours on end, even then i think i am a lost cause.

    Lucky with all the setup of the parts in bags and the log book - excellent thinking by previous owner.

    You blame yur brother now, but I can almost guarantee when you go for the first decent ride on the Pantah you will be jumping off and giving him a big brother hug and thanking him :)

    Looking forward to pickies and stories, if you do need parts there are heaps of suppliers around and in my opinion they are not expensive to rebuild or maintain.

    Cathcv ya

  16. Good to see there is a few Ducati/Alfa double masochists out there! The thing I like about online forums is that by displaying and sharing your weirdness, it makes you feel less weird. Your not, but you feel it.

    Hey Andy. Was hoping you might turn up. Cant wait to get around to the rear blinkers! I ran across Shanes thread while searching for a photo of the wiring layout for the bike, so you guys have already proved usefull and I suspect you might have some collective advice that will be most handy.

    Do the strip down notes I have line up with the rear blinker solution? Looks like that earth runs all the way back to the battery rather than through the frame?

    Hoprfully the sun will come out today and Tony can get some paint on the frame and we can get on with it. Gerard.

    Attached Files:

  17. Hey Shane. Cheers! Yeah, I am building up a list of bits to replace/obtain, so I might get some advice in the next few days on where to look.

    I like the ALFA acronym, as opposed to the FIAT one, Fix It Again Tony.
  18. Nice score indeed. Should be fun putting this all back together. Looks like a comprehensive set of notes too. Better than anything I've ever done :wink:

    Oh. No contest on the sidestand/chainguard. Loose the chrome.

    Look forward to following this.

  19. Those notes look pretty thorough Jed. I think you'll find that the earth wire is a short black one that goes from the position described to the mudguard which becomes the earth. There is a little metal sleeve inside the rubber gromet that must help in making this connection. You'll know if its not right as all blinkers will flash at once very weakly. There is a wiring diagram in the back of the workshop manual or you can get a digital one (that you can magnify) by going to website wiringdiagrams21.com. I notice you are on the North Coast NSW, Arthur Davidson of Ducati Headquarters at Byron Bay will find you anything you need, I've found he has the most obscure bits and pieces at his fingertips and will provide excellent advice. Other good sources I have used are Road and Race or Gowanlochs. I've owned my pantah for 29 years and think that I've experienced most of its pecadilos so ask me by all means if you have problems. I wouldn't call myself a good mechanic but often its been a case of fix it myself or you don't get to ride it. An open mind, patience and a good manual will usually win the day. Good luck. Andy
    PS Why have I been looking at old Alfas (and Fiats) on ebay?
  20. Oops sorry, that should have been Arthur Davis of Desmo HQ. Hadn't had my get home from work beverage yet.