Ever since I was a kid I have always loved old scooters. However I have never really wanted the responsibility of maintaining a "vintage" machine. I always thought to myself, "why can't we have the convenience and reliability of modern engineering like a Honda with the class and styling of an old Lambretta?"
Recently it occurred to me that as an adult, I actually have the skills and facilities to address this important issue that has nagged me all these years.
I am a metal sculptor, and have absolutely no experience with scooters at all. What follows in this instructable is my experience of stripping down a mid 1980's Honda elite 125cc scooter, and totally redesigning it with aluminum scrap metal. For the curious, please visit my web site: www.nemomatic.com to get a look at my other work and see how this beast fits into the bigger picture.

Step 1: The Carcass

To start out with I wanted a scooter that had a reputation for reliability, and enough power to handle the additional weight that I was bound to add with all of the scrap metal bells and whistles that I intended to heap onto it.
My friend Rich Humphrey liked my idea enough that he traded me the fine Honda Elite 125 that you see below for some other mechanical crap I had laying around that would suit his robotics projects. Rich would prove to be a necessary feature in this project as he provided a broader knowledge of the scooters electrical systems which would have to be violated in order for the project to succeed.
His Elite was a perfect candidate because it was designed to carry two adults (weight not a problem) and it was covered with cracked up plastic panels that were just begging to be pulled off and thrown away.
<p>This is one of my all time favourite instructables. :)</p>
<p>The Nixie tube speedometer BLOWS MY MIND! Just...wow!</p>
&quot;Steampunk Vespa&quot;
Call it what it is - dieselpunk. Wonderful! Retrofuture machine age style - definitely dieselpunk. We need more of this.
OMG. The design is awesome. And the display is...WOW. Great work. One of a kind. <br> <br>
Sweet ! The only thing you missed was making a faux after burner/ rocket on the back of it and I just put that down to personal taste .
Epic. That is all I have to say.
near to my house a street lamp is missing!!! Now I know where is gone!!! lol<br><br>Nice job...really shiny
&quot;Now it is time to get back to making art&quot;? I don't think you stopped making art. It looks to me like this IS art. Great Instructible.
Fantastic! When is the instructable for the ARM coming out?
Hubiewan says:<br /> Love it!&nbsp;&nbsp; Where did you find so much aluminum that had yet to be recycled?
&nbsp;I can't seem to get away from the stuff. &nbsp;Got literally tons of it piling up.
&nbsp; I live north of Boston and, find it difficult to beat the other scroungers to the prize.&nbsp; Lots of folks rely on scraps for extra dough.&nbsp; Where are you located?
&nbsp;I'm in Oakland CA. &nbsp;I've had to form relationships with the scrap yards out here. &nbsp;They are all afraid of liability claims so it helps to show up with a hard hat and steel toe boots.
Amazing. really great work even down to the smallest detail. I like the way you did the dashboard. did you get the Nixie tubes to work?
Yeah, thanks for reminding me. I just posted a photo of the finished panel on step 6.
You guys are making me feel really lazy. All that I managed with my aero 80 was a headlight and instrument nacel from my old BMW. Now I feel that I have to swap it back and rework both bikes!
Dude that's frigen awesome! My bike's gota built in retro look, but this takes the cake!
I'm surprised you didn't make sure it ran or at least almost ran before doing all that body work! Isn't that a big risk?
Yeah. That's the problem with attempting functional things when you are primarily an artist. I get into trouble that way often.
Wow, this is so cool! Love it. I am the proud owner of a new Vespa. I'm pretty happy with it, but this is just awesome.
What kind of Vespa do you ride?
It's an S150. Red, actually. There are some pics of it on an -ible I posted into the Green contest. Looking at your work again makes me inspired to try to make the cowling storage more functional, like maybe engineer a water bottle to fit. I'll visit your site to see your other stuff.
In Australia I have only seen the S125. Maybe they don't sell them here?
Check out index for FarmShow.com of Lakeville,MN about 3 years ago a fellow wanted the look of early HD bikes and built knock-offs out of metal tubing & painted 'em flat black. Love that paper! No ads & readers reccmd good products.
its a lamp......
Absolutely too frackin' awesome. Has a little bit of a steam punk look to it to my eye. Great job on the instructable too.
While I see what you mean, I think this is more in line with the style of the 40s and 50s with everything being as smooth and metallic as can be. If there had been more rivets, brown leather, wood, and exposed metal tubing I'd call it steampunk. It looks amazing either way.
Amazing! Every attempt of mine to do this sort of thing on at any scale turns out "rigged" looking. 5/5 Props!
chevere!!! nice work,
This has been done before on a motorbike by Chris (fixitsan) on the neonixie-l Yahoo! group. ISTR his experience was that nixies have a variety of mechanical failure modes that tend to manifest themselves as shorts between cathodes when used in this configuration, i.e. bumpy roads & nixies are not a good long-term bet. To reiterate, its not that they break (with the risk of mercury escaping - most nixies contain small amounts of mercury), its an internal failure that gets you. To Jiggsy - nixies can be very very cheap (<USD 1) or very very expensive (>USD 500 each) depending on size & rarity...
Great Project
Incredible! That thing is awesome. I did something very similar to my Honda Elite 80, although my is less curvy. Check it out. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://flickr.com/photos/22380580@N02/2182615845/">http://flickr.com/photos/22380580@N02/2182615845/</a><br/>
That is wild! It makes me want to track down a bum scooter and trick it out. I thought the rivets were a nice touch. Very utilitarian. There is an Eastern Block Scooter that actually looked a lot like this. What did you use as the donor scooter. I wish that I was this cool with a MIG welder.
Thanks. It's a 1985 Honda Elite 80.
Whoa! That is awesome. I love it. I looked all over while I was doing this project to see what else was out there. I wish I found you then. Where are you located? We should dork up the streets!
Thanks. I only need a few more things to finish it. Yours has inspired me to complete mine. I'm in south Texas. If you're ever down this way, let me know. The Streets will be thoroughly dorked.
I do not say this lightly, but that is the most ape shit cool instructable ever. And I mean ever. I dig the chopper helmet (but it won't help you in a crash) Absolutely amazing. I am stunned by your brilliance. I too wish to own a lambretta but am not going to pay $3,000 for an example in shit condition. And I agree on the performance. And finally, you have a great girlfriend. My formers would never tolerate all of this. Did you land this cutie while making your bike?
No. Met her while I was still an art student. This gave me the opportunity to come across as weird and pointless as I was ever going to be. Everything I've done since then seems very responsible by comparison.
THAT is the most beautiful Elite scooter ever! Amazing!
Clever, creative, fabulous! +1<br/><br/>And congrats on the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.metafilter.com/69031/Shiny-scooters">metafilter mention</a>.<br/>
Hey thanks, I didn't know about that post.
Dude, where can I get a sweatshirt like Wendell?
I think you just wear a white sweatshirt for a while around some nuclear waste.
It's a wonderfully beautiful design that makes me think of something Buster Crabbe would ride to the Rocket Port in Flash Gordon. Thank you!
Stunningly cunning...A work of art...
Beautifully done!

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a kinetic sculptor who works from found materials.
More by nemomatic:"Homunculus" Kinetic Robot sculpture from found materials Giant Kinetic Praying Mantis Sculpture from found materials &quot;Quicksilver&quot; Retro-Future Scooter from appliances and scrap metal 
Add instructable to: