Brad and Nicky had sent the kid off to college, so they decided they needed a new project. A scooter restoration would be good one, they said.
And not just any run-of-the-mill Vespa or Lambretta, either. A Zündapp Bella.
The Bella was a contemporary of the early Vespas and Lambrettas. Zündapp was a manufacturer of motorcycles which were very sturdy, but very heavy. That design philosophy carried over to the company’s scooters, as you can see.
Brad and Nicky invited me over to look at their new toy a while ago. They’d found it on Craigslist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and found a screamin’ deal to have it shipped up from Napa, Calif. where a relative lived.
Brad and Nicky had enlisted the aid of a network of friends and relatives in their search. They scoured Craigslist in the cities where the friends and relatives lived, with the idea that the friend/relative could act as a go-between in obtaining the bike and arranging shipment.
“I’m not inclined to buy things like this sight unseen,” said Brad, “but we decided, ‘oh, what the hell.'”
Luckily, the bike arrived in good order, and was exactly as advertised.
Even more fortunate, they were able to obtain an actual spare parts manual, and a reproduction of the orignal owner’s manual. In English. Quite good English, actually. It turns out there are many sources for Zündapp Bella bits in spite of sales in the U.S. totalling somewhere in the low hundreds.
Best of all, while their ’58 R154 didn’t run, it was all there, and in decent shape for a 50-year-old bike that hadn’t been ridden in quite a while.
Sharp-eyed Bella aficionados will notice the battery cover is missing (it would be just under the handlebars), but Brad was able to uncover an NOS replacement on one of eBay’s international sites. But then, that’s the nature of a project like this… you will discover things that you didn’t think it was possible to know.
Since the picture was taken, Brad and Nicky have since acquired another Bella in running condition. And other local scooter folk are said to be trolling for Bellas of their own. Bella, Bella.