1964 250 Restoration

“One shot in particular, fired my imagination. Quite a nice action shot showing good details of the bikes construction. “

That was how I started my section on the replica of Richard’s ’64 race bike I was about to construct (& still am in the process of building). Little did I think that in less than 6 months I would be seeing the real thing!


This is the picture which identified the bike we had found as being one of Richards originals.
The most telling “signature” item on this side being the gearchange cover.

This is the cover which came with the bike. Compare its shape to the one in the enlarged picture right.

Its pretty obvious this is the same cover, all the angles look right although the rear section is rather difficult to make out.

Compare the front hub on the original 1964 shot with the as-found hub on the right side

How many Parilla hubs have you seen with 4 strengthening ribs within?

Note the cut away frame rails & upright rev counter. Seat is the slightly wider unit Richard made at the Parilla factory race shop in ’64

A few more pictures of Richards bike before the work begins to return it to working condition – not “restored” but kept as it was last raced in 1964.

And I thought the only man with a time machine was “Dr Who”……

Compare the exhaust system to the start line pic above left.

Richards newly found race bike…….

Has been taking shape over the winter of ’06/’07 . Since being reunited with it in the summer of ’06 he has been busy restoring it to race-ready condition & to as near its ’64 specification as possible.

Rather than refinish & replate every item it was decided to treat the bike to a “sympathetic” restoration where parts were left in “as last raced” condition if at all parilla cycleparts possible. In some cases this was possible – the original petrol tank will retain the dent in its side which was put in it when Richard dropped the bike loading it into the van in ’64. Its internal condition will be perfect & coated in a modern sealing compound but the external painted surface will remain with original scrapes & scratches just as when it was last raced.

The one-piece exhaust pipe & mega was very rusty, dented & devoid of original paint. Rather than make a new one the original has been derusted & resprayed in the original heatproof black. It looks just like it was in ’64.

Some parts have had to be refurbished & refinished. The front fork legs being a good example. The stanchions were rusty & one was seized into its fork leg. When both stanchions were dismantled it was obvious they would not be serviceable. It’s impossible to buy new stanchions &, whilst new ones could beParilla from the back made, it was decided that the originals could be saved by hard chroming & regrinding back to original diameter. The sliders themselves were slightly oval in the ID & were ground internally to a true diameter before being powder coated in gloss black as original

The rest of the rebuild has been tackled in this fashion if it’s usable, safe & original it stays. Unusable but repairable is kept. Only totally worn out, or safety related, parts have been renewed or replaced with NOS or modern alternatives.

The finishing of components has to be a compromise between the OE finish (which often in the case of RM’s bike was not the same as the equivalent road bike) & what the EEC will allow us to use these days. Cadmium plating for instance, is all but impossible to source being a very toxic process, a variety of zinc plate is as near as can now be easily achieved.

The engine

Above – The lows

Below – The highs

The pictures above illustrate some of the wonders revealed as the engines were stripped – a disintegrated piston, a smashed gudgeon pin, a bent oil filter, a hammered con rod…..& a 5-speed gearbox!

More as the job progresses…..

The Rebuild

The crank was rebuilt with a new Arrow rod & the assembly began on my kitchen table – note the large hammer.

No big problems. Tight bearing inners were eased by careful polishing of the crankshaft to allow hand fitting of the bearing inner (in the case of the drive side roller) & ball race used on the dynamo side.

The engine is being kept as near to 1964 spec as possible so the chain drive cam system has been retained.

It’s not a system I have much faith in so we will be keeping an eye on the tensioning springs. A NOS timing chain was to hand so that is in there. Even the fibre oil pump/points drive has been retained.

The days work finished….A long day’s work produced a completed bottom end. RM’s 5-speed box, unlike any other Parilla 4 or 5 speeder, had to be loaded into the cases prior to closing them. The standard clutch & spring is retained too for the moment until a replica of the factory original “multi spring” unit can be made.

Who said we wanted it to be easy?

That was the last I saw of the engine for a couple of weeks until it returned fitted to the cycle parts ready for wiring, ignition timing & fitting of the CEV 6055 “AC magneto”. Since the bottom end rebuild, RM had fitted the timing cover, Arrival for the next stage of the rebuild…barrel & (very distinctive) dynamo/selector cover. Quite a few alignment/adjustment problems were encountered but RM stuck with it & the gears now select perfectly.

The CEV 6055 was an unknown quantity to me having either used battery & coil or CDI systems. RM had used them with great success back in ’64 so, as a battery-less system, it was worth a try & of course entirely correct for the bike. I selected the best looking unit we had & removed the internal condenser replacing it with an external (& easily replaceable) new unit. Mag & wiring now in place, ignition timing under way.Old condensers always give trouble in my experience & the one in the 6055 is hard to get at & soldered into the wiring – not ideal for “Paddock Panic” replacement!

The remote points, with manual advance, is a far better system than the internal, fixed advance type first used with the 6055 but the points cam gave us some problems. It was not possible to get the correct timing within the adjustment range of the points back plate. After much head scratching another points cam was tried & we were able to get 50deg on full advance. I’m not sure if this was due to a cam that was “stoned” or just indicative of the poor quality control of the period. Testing gave us a spark so the 6055, which could not be simpler, might well prove to be the system of choice, only its need of an AC coil (not a common unit) concerns me should replacement be needed.

RM now was able to refit the head & start to prepare for the engines first bark in 43 years….

First Parilla ride in 43 years

Brmmm baaaa…. she lives!

So Saturday 2nd of June 2007 was set for the first fire up of the now fully rebuilt bike. Luckily it was a dry sunny day & she was looking good propped up outside RM’s front door.

A few “bumps” provided the odd whimper but nothing which could be considered as “running”. The oil used in assembly combined with our over enthusiastic “tickling” had wetted the plug. A session with a gas blow lamp dried out the plug & we tried again. Luckily RM had invited his son Chris over so we had two enthusiastic pushers to keep it turning over. After a few yards she struck up & the strident bellow of a Parilla on an open mega was heard.Still not running…

A couple of laps of RM’s (thankfully circular) drive allowed us to savour the moment & enjoy a sound not heard for quite some time.

Now the bike could be fully assembled & taken for its first track “shakedown” session

So the date was set for its first track outing – Mallory Park afternoon practice session Wednesday 6th of June ’07.

First test run…

The afternoon session was ideal for a first outing, long enough to get the feel for what needed doing without having to miss sessions whilst attempting over ambitious repairs/modifications. 3 x 20-minute outings spread over a 3 hour period allowed us only time to attend to matters affecting running, other flaws were noted for attention in the workshop on our return home.

Not only was this a test of the bike but also the new trailer & RM’s stock of tools & spares for the forthcoming trip to Schleiz

The EquipeThe first attempt at starting was not encouraging, a push down the paddock gave not a pop. Odd as it had been starting readily at home. What had changed? Only the addition of the OE points cover. Removal of the offending item resulted in a start on a set of rollers kindly offered by a near paddock neighbour. The cover had been shorting out on the points terminal. The session went well with the full 20 minutes being run. Towards the end, the bike sounded flat & some popping & banging was evident. On inspection, the exhaust flange had loosened & a lot of fuel dripping from the carb led us to think the fuel level was too high. The second session revealed some oil seepage from the head area but the bike ran very well in the first part of the run, in the later laps it reverted to its flat sound again & a look at the plug revealed a sooty covering with oil contamination. We dropped the fuel level a little before the third outing but this was not to be the answer. The third session allowed a few more laps but the oil leaks were worsening & the mixture was obviously not right. Plenty to think about & some work needed before the first public outing for the bike at Schleiz, but overall a very successful day with 60 minutes of running under the belt & no major problems.

Recognise the bike & rider? Actually the 125

First outing for 43 years, same style?