From Soup to all of you Nuts
by Steve Clark #309D
OVRADD or What’s the Matter With Me?
What the hell is the matter with me?
The answer to that depends on whom you ask, and the context it is asked in.
Ask my ex, and you’ll be there all day and leave convinced that I taught Charles Manson all he knows before she’s done. Ask my boss and you’ll get a very different description of what’s wrong with me. Ask my friends and you’ll get yet a different list.
I asked MYSELF this question recently, after I did a really bad thing.
On a whim, I made the mistake of listing all the vintage bikes I own in a spreadsheet, then totaling the values. WTF? And to make matters worse, when I ambled out to the shed to look at the collection I walked by a 78 Maico 440 I plum forgot to list!
How the hell does someone with no money accumulate such a mess, get so many projects halfway completed, and forget a Maico?
What’s the matter with me?
Convinced that something has to change, I decided to start with the 78 RM250C I started several years ago. All I have to do is assemble it.
I found this RM on Craigslist within a couple miles of me. “$200 OBO” the ad said. It was a nice day, I was bored, and so I decided to check it out.
That was my first mistake.
When I arrived, the old boy wheels it out, leans it against the shed and sez “Thar she is.” Just like that.
And there she was – all original - tank, seat, fenders, hell I bet the grips would have been original, had the bike had any.
“Hmm” I think. “Does it run?”
“Dunno – try it” he says.
Kickity, kickity kick…no start. I pop the spark plug cap off ...no spark.
“Dang – no spark – that could be expensive..” I sez. “What’s your bottom dollar?”
“Make me an offer”
“Done – git that damned thing off my property”
I peel off the money and toss the bike in the truck. Good grief – the bloody tank is worth that for cryin’ out loud!
Back home I drain the tank and carb, put some fresh gas in and install a new plug after I could see the old one was shorted by a whisker and – spark! Kickety…braaanngg! The damned thing starts, scaring the pudding outta me.
I rev it up once and the throttle cable sticks! &^%$. As I work on shutting it down, I notice the motor sounds really good! This thing’ll be pretty cool when restored!
Out with the wrenches and apart she comes. A phone call to Vintage Suzuki and new plastic is on the way. New plastic arrives and the tank goes to Gonzo for color match and paint. Meanwhile frame gets a new coat of paint. Fenders and side panels are installed and she sits in my apartment, where the dining room table would normally go. While we wait for Gonzo to work his magic on the tank, I have a great conversation piece. "What’s that?" visitors say. "78 RM250!" I reply like a proud poppa. “Cool” they say, with what is, in retrospect, a snarky smirk. I don’t care – I know I’m the only one in the entire apartment complex with an RM250 in my dining room.
Then it happens. I find a 79 Maico GS440 for $700. “No way” I think and go out to look at it. A little discussion and I’m rolling home with a $500 GS – nice original tank – speedo still there and such.
Then I spy an 81 250 Maico in an ad…$700 for this one too. Hmmm… The pic shows the motor – it has a compression release in the back of the cylinder, could it be a big bore? Oh, and it’s got Fox piggies. I meet this guy in a dimly lit parking lot at The Super Mall – he’s in an old ratty C10, and this must look from afar like a drug deal going down. I eyeball it a bit.
“It’s a project…I probably shouldn’t”, I say (knowing I need another project like a hole in the head).
“Whaddaya gimme for it?”
“Lowball him so you don’t buy this thing” I think to myself.
“$450” I say
“Let’s get it outta my truck” he says “Crap” I think, at once both joyous and guilty. I take it home, disassemble, clean and ……then came the 79 Magnum 440…
The kid this one belonged to also thought it was a 250 (what’s the matter with these people?) Feeling guilty, I tried to tell him but he says, “Make me an offer – I hate old bikes” Well, ok….and ANOTHER cheap Maico was mine, this one coming with an extra frame and forks.
So – seeing the herd grow thru no fault of my own – (THEY find ME) I get absorbed in the 79 Magnum. “I gotta get one done” I tell myself.
Before long silver paint is on the frame, and a red 81 tank and white fenders are installed…. almost ready to finish…
Fast forward thru the months and years. I am, in turn, distracted by Weedies, VDR, eBay, Craigslist, McCookRacing.com, and Marks Swap meet, drawn like a moth to a flame. I accumulate cylinders, shocks and other trinkets for bikes I don’t have, but hope to build and a few more projects.
A breakup, a job change, and several moves later, I’m back to now, with a potential fortune in projects in all states of completion. WTF?
Ok – back to the task at hand – stay focused.
Down to the garage – RM frame goes up on the bench. Fenders back on. Mount tank. Air box installed…now where are the swingarm spacers and bearings? As I rummage thru the Rubbermaid boxes I stumble upon the Fox piggies.
“Ooh! Shiny! ” I think, and it’s out to the shed to piddle with the 81 Maico they came off of, the RM sitting in a partial state of assembly, yet again shuffled to the back of my attention line.
What’s wrong with me?
I call it OVRADD (Old Vintage Racers Attention Deficit Disorder). Now back to work I go (admitting you have a problem is the first step…right?).
Hey! Look at these NOS Koni’s! I forgot I had them! Now where is that Zed frame they were for?
I’ve got OVRADD – and I’ve got it bad!
Till next time-