1966 Sears Gilera 106 SS (Speciale Strada) - New Project.

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by charlie98210, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. charlie98210

    charlie98210 just not fun here anymore

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    Back at the Dawn of Time, when I was fifteen and after I had begged my dad for over a year to allow me to buy a small motorcycle, he agreed to purchase a brand new Sear Gilera 106SS for me. Spring of 1969. And for the next four years I rode that bike all over creation--mostly up at our fishing resort in northern Minnesota (twenty-nine miles from Bemidji and eighteen miles north of Cass Lake. Our mailing address was Blackduck, Minnesota. No street number. The mailman knew where we were.

    During the first summer the seat fell apart and I adapted a Honda Mini Trail seat to fit the forward attachment points of the old seat. That winter, my dad and I (me, mostly) stripped the bike down and repainted the front and rear fenders to mastch the bike's stock black tank (the fenders were originally painted metallic silver gray).

    [​IMG]
    Stevensville, Michigan Spring 1970​

    At my dad's suggestion, we installed a little skid-pad type of passenger seat, but after trying it out, nobody ever wanted to sit on it, so I used to rig-up a seat style life preserver (loops tied to the frame rails on ether side of the rear fender. This was cool until 1973, when I declared a mutiny and refused to work at the resort that summer (I'd found a girlfriend). In retaliation, my dad sold the bike out from under me, trading it to a friend of his who lived in Ohio for a roll-top desk (so that I would have a place to do my homework and not be roaming all over the countryside on my little motorcycle and girlfriend.

    Fast forward to now and for the last ten months I've been cruising ebay, looking for a running example of my old bike. Mostly, what I've seen are a really ragged assortment of junk parts and no running bikes. But now I've found a fairly nice example from 1966 that I've put a bid on and (hopefully) I 'll be able to buy it. The plan is to clean it up, repaint and restore it.

    And, maybe, relive some of those glory days when I rode my old 106 in the wild forests of the Minnesota wilderness.

    Here are some photos from the ebay ad.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The engine number matches the frame number. 106 is the model and displacement (106cc) and the second number is the number that the bike came off the assembly line. Apparently, all the 106 SS motorcycles manufactured were sold directly to Sears and they sold them in the U.S. (they were not available for purchase in Europe--but I may be wrong on this point). So, anyway, this particular Gilera was the 2,877th motorcycle off the assembly line in 1966!

    The auction ends this Sunday (in five days).
    Hopefully with good news and a fun nostalgic project for the rest of this year and this winter! :wings
    #1
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  2. goatroper

    goatroper Been here awhile Supporter

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    I hope you win it.
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  3. charlie98210

    charlie98210 just not fun here anymore

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    Me, too! :nod I'm SO ex-CITED!!! :clap
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  4. MrBob

    MrBob On a whim Supporter

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    My buddy Mike's mom bought him a new one in about 1968. We could usually talk him into loaning it to us so I got to roar around the streets of St. Paul on a bike that topped out at about 45 mph.
    #4
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  5. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    Man, I hope you rescue that thing. I often have this discussion with a friend of mine, who happens to be obsessed with Italian bikes of that era. There were soooo many cool designs back then. The problem is: there are too many of them and not enough people who care anymore, to rescue and maintain them.

    At least once or twice a month, some old Italian two stroke turns up on CL and I briefly entertain buying it. Luckily the asking prices are high and I figure that means they're not desperate to sell. They're safe for the time being.

    Subbed :lurk
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  6. charlie98210

    charlie98210 just not fun here anymore

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    My old 106 topped out at 60-plus (mph). But I only weighed 120 lbs back then. :D
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  7. charlie98210

    charlie98210 just not fun here anymore

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    Just got the "You have been outbid" notification from ebay.

    Well--I guess I'm back to looking for a good, used Sears Gilera 106SS. :(
    #7
  8. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    Story time:
    The year was 2000 and there was an auction at the Rotary Rocket Company on the Mojave airport. I had my eye on a few things but, the belle of the ball was a 16x40 Cadillac (Yang Ironworks) lathe. It wasn't even five years old and came with a nice selection of tooling.

    The auction was full of resellers who make their living buying at auctions and reselling to industry. I watched them lose lot after lot. It wasn't because they wouldn't pay. It was because people were bidding everything up beyond the point where they could make any profit. Amateurs were paying full retail for things like Harbor Freight power tools and thinking they got good deals.

    Naturally, auctioneers kept the lathe until almost the very end. It was the only thing I really wanted out of the whole place. It was going to be a stretch, if I could win it at all.

    The lathe got her turn. Bidding went fast and jumped $1000 at a time: 1-2-3,000! $3,500...$4,000. I jumped in. $4,500 and it was mine, $4,600 to someone else, $4,700 and I had the bid. Someone else went $4,800, I bid $4,850 and a reseller jumped in with $4,900. The auctioneer looked at me for a bid. I shook my head and dropped my bidder paddle to my side. "I'm out."

    The auctioneer stopped the auction, looked straight at me and said, "You came all this way and you're going to lose it over $100?" I paused, nodded and reluctantly held up my paddle, "Five thousand!"

    Before anyone else could bid, he pointed at me: "ONCE, TWICE, SOLD FOR FIVE-THOUSAND DOLLARS! Moving on to the next lot..." The other bidders never got a chance. The auctioneer did me a favor that day. No, I didn't lose it over that $100.

    Are you going to lose this bike over $500? :lol3
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  9. charlie98210

    charlie98210 just not fun here anymore

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    Yep. I signed a Blood Oath to my wife after I purchased a rusted-out 1947 Willys CJ2, sight unseen, and towed it home.
    She put an $800 cap on the Gilera Project (shipping charges to be added to the $800 if I won).

    You don't want to cross my wife. She's an only child, parochial-schooled, over-achiever who always gets her way. :nod
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  10. MacNoob

    MacNoob piney fresh

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    I bought a Corvair from a guy in Blackduck some years back.
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  11. charlie98210

    charlie98210 just not fun here anymore

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    Cool!
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  12. Mr. Vintage

    Mr. Vintage Family Dude Supporter

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    Bummer... But a cool story, please keep looking! Reminds me of my Wards/Benelli 250, kind of a brother from another mother.
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  13. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer Supporter

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    The story could have ended differently , you could have been stuck with an anchor.
    My 106 story.
    I liked them in the catalog in the 60's ,I liked them on the show room floor in the 60's. My first bike though was a Honda 50 step-thru. Legend .
    Then at the Mid-Ohio Vintage Days auction I held up my number and bought a 106 for $300. It was complete and had a completely flat front tire. I had to push it from the infield where the auction was held across the bridge and down the hill into the pits where our collective garage was. Along the push trail , several people commented on the bike. Had one , remembered them , etc. I was already tired of pushing so , I offered the bike to anyone that showed interest. No takers.
    Back in the garage I abandoned the bike to go search out a tube at the swap meet. Found one and fixed the tire. Then checked for spark , yea got spark ! Then I pulled and cleaned the carb , flushed out the tank , put in some race gas and kicked it to life. Yea life !
    With it running , try the lights , got lights ! Try the horn, got a working horn ! Then the test ride . First gear , it's alright , 2nd gear , hold on tight , 3rd gear , faster , 4th gear out of sight !
    Then as the motor warmed , I heard a knocking sound . What's that ? I rode it until there was no mistaking the fact that it was getting louder by the minute.
    The bikes Gilera built for Sears were built to a price . And to keep the price low some corners were cut. The biggest corner was the use of a bushing instead of needle bearings in the big end.
    I rode it a few more times , stopping when the knocking got to be too much for me. I pulled the side case one time and out of an oil gallery dripped this fluid that was semi-liquid like thinned down anti-seize grease . That was motor oil mixed with the remains of the bronze bushing.
    A couple of years ago I traded the bike for a John Deere riding mower to a buddy that had acquired a 106 with a good motor , but , less good cycle parts that the bike I had.
    Regrets ? Not many , I have a Honda 50 step-thru .
    #13
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  14. charlie98210

    charlie98210 just not fun here anymore

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    Wow. I didn't have problems with my bike. I put around six thousand miles on it during the three years I owned it and the motor was bulletproof. Any problems I had were in getting parts through Sears. The rear shocks both came apart and it took three months to get the replacements. During that time, I still rode the bike--I constructed a pair of double strap steel struts and put almost a thousand miles on the bike (effectively with no rear suspension) and nothing broke.

    Good memories all around from that bike. :-)
    #14
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  15. charlie98210

    charlie98210 just not fun here anymore

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    Holy Cow! That Seatrs Gilera 106 SS just hit $1,025 and there's still a day left to go! :eekers
    #15
  16. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    30 minutes and counting. Get in there!
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  17. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    The reality is that--being such a low-end bike--whatever it sells for will likely be a realistic value for what it is, plus or minus $500.

    With the age, scarcity of clean replacement parts and what you'd end up spending to make less of a bike into the same condition, I'd go at least $1,800. That's enough that if you lose it, you can shrug your shoulders and accept it. If you win it, you got your bike for a little more than you planned but, at least you're starting with a complete and relatively clean machine.

    Nine minutes...
    #17
  18. charlie98210

    charlie98210 just not fun here anymore

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    It sold for $1650. 'Way too much for me! ;)
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  19. MrBob

    MrBob On a whim Supporter

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    The days when a guy could buy a vintage project for a reasonable price seem to be no more. I have been priced out of that market.
    #19
  20. charlie98210

    charlie98210 just not fun here anymore

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    :nod
    #20