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                                       1976 400 Puch Restoration


  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.


  The frame 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.



   When 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.


  Just by 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.