A Mexican Ducati rescue and rebuild

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by Airhead Wrangler, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Adios Mexico

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    Back in Seattle, FINALLY
    While trolling the local version of craigslist here in mexico I stumbled across a listing 4 hours away up in Guadalajara for a '71 ducati 750 rolling frame with engine - basically a complete bike minus tank, seat, body panels. Oh cool. Then I thought about it for a second. They didn't make a 750 in '71. I began comparing photos to the photos in the ad and with the corroboration of others here in old's cool, determined that it was most likely a '79 or early 80s Pantah 500SL. I called the guy up and he didn't know much about it. He said he really wasn't sure of the year, but thought it was a 750. He had inherited it from his father who had kept it in the back of a motorcycle shop for about 20 years. The seller had always meant to restore it, but had just never gotten around to it. It sounded promising and I was ready for a weekend roadtrip so I packed up the truck yesterday and drove the four hours up to Guadalajara with my girlfriend. This morning we headed up to the seller's neighborhood and met up with him. The bike was about what I expected. The frame and many fasteners are pretty rusty, but definitely fixable, the cases are pretty corroded, the transmission shifts, the engine turns over with the back wheel, I haven't checked the electrical stuff, but all the basics seem to be here for a rebuild. Anyway, I bought it, loaded it in the truck and brought it home. My dog likes it too.

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    Notice the PO was thoughtful enough to seal off the mouths of the carbs before storing it.

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    Confirmed, it's a pantah 500SL:
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    One thing I've found kind of strange is the combo of the chrome frame which appears original and the white wheels. I haven't found a single photo of any pantah with anything other than a black frame and gold wheels. Any ideas there? I probably won't rechrome it as there isn't anywhere to chrome stuff near where I live. It might just get some satin black rustoleum chassis paint. Any recommendations for cleaning up the engine and more importantly keeping it from corroding again (I live across the street from the ocean). I'll be disassembling everything in the next couple days to get a clearer picture of what I'm working with.
    #1
  2. jbcaddy

    jbcaddy Long timer

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    #2
  3. yellowbirdrs

    yellowbirdrs Been here awhile

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    looks like a fun project. hope you find her for cheap because all the Ducati stuff is expensive here in Mexico and if you get the parts in the US you ended paying crazy money to UPS
    #3
  4. Abdelhub

    Abdelhub Blanco Trasho

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    yours turns over! score....my heap is stuck.....I don't think there are any bevel 750 pistons left on the planet.....i just stare at here in the shop waiting for the money gods to unleash so i can put her back to rights....
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    mike
    #4
  5. Abdelhub

    Abdelhub Blanco Trasho

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    Snohomish County
  6. Reryder

    Reryder Onward through the fog...

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    Cairns, Oz
    Ah yes, but Bevels and Pantahs are two different stories. Bevel prices have gone stupid. Pantahs are at lease somewhere this side of insane.

    Nice project there. The crustiness of everything looks like the bikes that sit aruond unused here in teh tropical salt air for years. Drives me nuts that nobody ever bothered to spend a dollar for a tin of WD40 to spray them down with before leaving them sit! Still, nothing that weeks and months of polishing and painting wont fix.
    have fun!!
    #6
  7. fishkens

    fishkens Long timer

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    Nice find. I love this pic - skinny bike.

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    #7
  8. Houseoffubar

    Houseoffubar fine beer sampler

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    Love the Pantahs! I came real close to getting a silver 600 once.
    I'm pretty sure you can punch these out to 850cc or so.
    #8
  9. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Engine number (and front calipers) say plainly it's a 500cc. You can get about 720cc out of it with a degree of reliability - beyond that, it becomes a grenade with a VERY (measure it in seconds) fuse - but why would you?
    With some opened pipes and venturis, these things can rev very, very hard.
    The chromed (or perhaps nickled?) frame was a fashion in the early 80s - trouble is, in the unlikely event it cracks - how will you know? Paint - of whatever colour - is good.
    There's lots of options for bodywork - everywhere from stock to twin-headlamp fairings. The trick racer stuff is made by NCR in Italy - expensive, but beautiful.
    Wheels were gold - but they're YOUR wheels now!
    Well done & good luck!
    #9
  10. O.C.F.RIDER

    O.C.F.RIDER Loose nut behind h/bars

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    I raced the very first Pantah that we got into my Dad's bike shop, so I know a bit about them. As to wondering if the chrome frame was stock, uh, NO. As I remember , now it's a loooooong time ago that I had this bike, I think the 500 came through with 32's not 36's.
    Have fun with you're new baby! :thumb

    Chris
    #10
  11. ontic

    ontic

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    :lurk
    #11
  12. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    Is the frame chrome or nickel ? It would be better if it was nickle , less chance of hydrogen enbrittelment. Plus nickle looks cool, think Trackmaster and Champion flattrackers.
    Looks like a lot of opportunities ahead.
    #12
  13. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Adios Mexico

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    [​IMG]

    After looking at this a bit I'm wondering if this is the US market speedo with small MPH on the inside and larger km/h on the outside or is this the "rest of world" model? Anybody know? It would be a strong clue as to where this bike came from.
    #13
  14. O.C.F.RIDER

    O.C.F.RIDER Loose nut behind h/bars

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    I'm sure the speedo I threw in the garbage was in MPH. :lol3
    #14
  15. Fitero

    Fitero Just One of Billions

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    I love the look on your dog's face! Not too bright, but game for a ride in the truck, a thrown stick, anything! :rofl
    #15
  16. Beater

    Beater The Bavarian Butcher

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    Wow ... sent your frame away to HPN and got bored, eh? :lol3

    Fun stuff! Let's see what you do with it! :lurk
    #16
  17. DesmoDog

    DesmoDog Desmo's my dog

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    I got mine from Syd's Cycles in Florida, though that was some years back now. I hadn't heard they were scarce? Try Phil at Road and Race in Australia if Syd's doesn't have them? There are other places too but I'm not at home so don't have my references handy.

    BTW when I got my 750GT I thought the engine was seized too, but when I got it home I discovered it would turn over backwards but not forward. Turns out the fron cylinder had some junk in it that was keeping the piston from reaching TDC.

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    Turns out the rings were stuck in the pistons anyway so it got Sport pistons and and carbs before it was done.
    #17
  18. Sniper X

    Sniper X De Oppresso Liber

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    Looks just like my old 81 500 Pantah 500.
    #18
  19. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Metric countries had km/h only - wonder if the odo reads in km or miles? If that's a genuine 8540km - the bikes barely run in!
    #19
  20. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Adios Mexico

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    Even if those are miles then it's only "barely run in" X 1.6 which is still pretty damn good.
    #20