To an extremely do-it-yourself person, there’s nothing more satisfying than getting elbows-deep in your next project. Even if you end up wracking your brain to figure out a solution to some totally unforeseen problem, that’s half the fun, isn’t it? If you can’t be doing it yourself, though, the next-best thing is watching someone else work their way through their own project—and it’s even better when it comes in a nicely edited time-lapse package.
Take this 30-something-year-old Vespa 50 Special barn find. It’s definitely not the saddest Vespa we’ve seen pulled back from the brink. It isn’t even all that rusty, amazingly enough. Impressively, it even runs, although the state of that oil is as awful as you’d expect from a 30-plus-year-old barn find.
No, what’s interesting about this particular restoration is how automotive enthusiast and YouTuber Nils Homann chose to approach it. Because of the raw materials he had to work with, Homann had a choice. Take it down to bare metal and start over, or work with the kind of beauty that only a vintage survivor can bring?
Luckily for all of us, Homann made the more interesting of those two choices. He carefully cleaned up all the brightwork, mended the saddle—another thing I wish more restoration videos showed, to be honest—and polished that original blue paint. Some kind of rust treatment was involved on spots that were looking a little corroded, but overall, the whole thing wasn’t in terrible shape.
The result is a polished, characterful bike. It’s not showroom-fresh, but that’s the point. It looks like it’s been cared for, but also like it’s lived a life, and earned every single one of its marks. There’s a time and a place for perfect paint finishes, but this isn’t it. Nils Homann chose to both give this classic scoot a new lease on life, and also honor the countless kilometers it already lived before it got to his workshop. It’s beautiful, it’s unique, and it’s timeless.