Keep it original, or restore it?

Information relating to the Matchless G80 or AJS Model 18 500cc Heavyweight.
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Keep it original, or restore it?

Postby cfaber » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:50 pm

So, I have this '54 18s project I'm working on and I'm wondering a few things about keeping it original vs restoring it, let me go through the pros and cons and maybe you all can help me commiserate on it:

Restoring:
New paint
New nickel/chrome
New parts
Factory finish / like new when done
No paint scrapes
No dents
No other body issues
Value reduction?

Leave original:
No longer a "survivor"
No earned patina
Value increase?
Dents
Paint scrapes
faded paint
etc. etc.


Talking with some of the graybeards I know in the classic bike scene the feeling was to leave it original because "it's cool", that said even if I want to leave it original the front fender is going to need to be fixed, the tank has a strange paint schema (chrome on black, no other color), and the seat has to be redone and the bike will look strange with a new seat and old everything else.

Anyways, I value the community feedback greatly, I'm leaning more and more toward full restoration, repaint, etc.

Thoughts?

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Re: Keep it original, or restore it?

Postby Rob Harknett » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:08 pm

Unrestored cosmetically bikes are now quite rare. Once restored there is no going back. Restored like new could mean many parts are in fact new. Unrestored has nothing to hide. Those bikes are the real deal.

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Re: Keep it original, or restore it?

Postby SPRIDDLER » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:18 pm

It's entirely up to you, depending upon it's current condition/useability and whether you want to ride it or show it to win prizes.

You mentioned 'value increase' but even if if you decide to do most of the restoration work yourself (i.e. no labour costed in) that you listed you're very unlikely to see any value increase (unless perhaps if you obtained the bike for very little money). You say new parts - but what parts? A restoration always costs more than anticipated....... new rims and spokes, mag refurb, dynamo refurb, rebore/piston, (bottom end? clutch? gearbox?)............maybe in the region of £1200 already, then sub out work for stripping tinware, filling dents, repairing rust and re-spraying frame, mudguards, tool box, headlamp, forks, oil and petrol tanks...........replace seat, h/bars, levers, cables, wiring harness, tyres, fork rebuild, replace exhaust, refurb speedo (Phew!).....could be at least another grand or much more. (Plus the divorce settlement? ;) )

A photo of its state now is essential to give any worthwhile opinion.
Last edited by SPRIDDLER on Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:16 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: Keep it original, or restore it?

Postby G15 Roy » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:06 pm

image.jpeg
SPRIDDLER wrote:It's entirely up to you, depending upon it's current condition/useability and whether you want to ride it or show it.


A photo is needed to give any worthwhile opinion!
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Re: Keep it original, or restore it?

Postby SPRIDDLER » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:29 pm

Roy didn't like to say so or the Adverts Police would get stroppy but he currently has that bike for sale which he says can be restored for 50 quid ready for riding it to the 2018 Jampot in Portugal. :rofl: :rofl:

Roy's 50 quid resto to ride to the Portuguese Jampot rally (545x640).jpg
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Re: Keep it original, or restore it?

Postby cfaber » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:43 pm

SPRIDDLER wrote:It's entirely up to you, depending upon it's current condition/useability and whether you want to ride it or show it to win prizes.

You mentioned 'value increase' but even if if you decide to do most of the restoration work yourself (i.e. no labour costed in) that you listed you're very unlikely to see any value increase (unless perhaps if you obtained the bike for very little money). You say new parts - but what parts? A restoration always costs more than anticipated....... new rims and spokes, mag refurb, dynamo refurb, rebore/piston, (bottom end? clutch? gearbox?)............maybe in the region of £1200 already, then sub out work for stripping tinware, filling dents, repairing rust and re-spraying frame, mudguards, tool box, headlamp, forks, oil and petrol tanks...........replace seat, h/bars, levers, cables, wiring harness, tyres, fork rebuild, replace exhaust, refurb speedo (Phew!).....could be at least another grand or much more. (Plus the divorce settlement? ;) )

A photo of its state now is essential to give any worthwhile opinion.



Here's a few I snapped before pulling the engine out.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/s2xekC5qQWTrb2sD3

I have extensive experience rebuilding motorcycles (old motorcycles) so I'm not too worried about the labor costs. I'm lucky in the sense that I paid so little for the bike, additionally the machine work also will cost me almost nothing as I have some very good friends who will do it for beers =)

Overall I'm looking at about a grand or so for everything out the door, more if I really want to dig into (re-lace the wheels, etc) however there isn't much work to do. About the only thing that will need to be addressed is the seat, it's done, and the PO tried to fix it himself (poorly), the paint on the fenders is a bit chalky but nothing horrible, a few scrapes on the top of the tank without much more than that. The story I got from the PO was it was his dad's bike, the bike was purchased new, ridden for a few years (4400+ miles on it) and then broke down, from there it sat in the dad's garage under a cover from '64 -> sometime recently. Dad passes away and son takes the bike home (who's also in his 70's) decides he wants to make it work and pulls the bike half apart, decides the engine is toast and never looks at it again until a few weeks ago when he decided to list it for sale. I picked it up for a song and now I have the engine in pieces, half it (piston, crank, cylinder, top) being worked on (very little wrong other than shellac gasket seal in all the oil galleries, so he's going to pull the crank apart and clean it for me, and re-hone the cylinder). everything mechanical on this bike is going to be rebuilt, the rest is just cosmetic.

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Re: Keep it original, or restore it?

Postby cfaber » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:45 pm

I should also note that I've already got new bars on order, these aren't right and are probably replacements from when the bike was laid down at some point. I'm also going to be replacing the headlight bucket and surround as the bucket as a cigerette lighter in it and the surround has a nice "I've had quality time with pavement" dent in it.

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Re: Keep it original, or restore it?

Postby Expat » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:58 pm

Looks like an interesting project for the collection Colin. Pity you’re too far away for me to visit for a look see.

:) :)

Steve
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Re: Keep it original, or restore it?

Postby Janet » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:26 am

Unless you bought it with the intention of selling it on for a profit, (pitfalls of that are identified in previous posts) do it how you want it to be.
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Re: Keep it original, or restore it?

Postby SPRIDDLER » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:09 am

Yes, it's up to you.
I only fettle in order to ride, not for show, fun, or profit.
However, I agree with you on changing the handlebars and the seat.
I poke badgers with spoons.

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