In 2023, the word “moped” indicates a small-displacement (or equivalent, if electric), low-speed two-wheeler that may or may not have pedals. Back in the day, though, they usually had pedals—as you’ll see is the case with this 1956 Zundapp 433 Combinette.
Like many good restoration videos, this barn find machine dug up by the YouTube channel Random Hands has most certainly seen better days, but it’s not completely beyond hope. With the right sort of care and attention to detail, it’s even possible that its best days are yet to come.
It all starts with the teardown, of course. Made in an era before plastics were everywhere, there’s a whole lot of steel going on with this machine. While there’s plenty of grime and some definite bits of surface rust, none of it seems to be too terrible—and certainly, there are no big holes where anything has rusted through.
If you’re used to seeing how Vespas come apart, the Zundapp bodywork comes apart into quite a few more (and smaller) components than you might be expecting. Luckily, there only seems to be one broken bolt that needs to be freed, but other than that, the teardown goes relatively smoothly.
When RH gets into the teeny, tiny engine, it’s not actually terrible inside the cases. Sure, it’s been sitting for some time, and it needs attention, and the oil mixture inside would look much more delicious if it was supposed to be a milkshake—but it could be a whole lot worse.
The engine rebuild process is fairly straightforward. Take everything apart, clean it, put it back together with new bearings and gaskets (which were easier to identify, thanks to someone sending RH an actual manual for this machine), and you get the idea.
Once they’re cleaned up, the engine cases polish up beautifully—and that’s when RH has the great idea to simply clear coat them and put them back together, which is something I wish a lot more people would do when the metal is this nice. (Yes, that’s a personal issue, I know. These aren’t my builds, and I believe that whoever’s doing the work should have all the say in the world over how the finished product looks, just so we’re clear.)
Then it’s time to tend to the tank—and that’s where things start to get interesting. After cleaning it up and stripping off the coatings, he gets the bright idea to use a nearby ceiling fan as a tumbler to agitate the tank while he’s removing the rust inside. While it’s going, he takes a surprise cotton candy break, wherein RH actually whips out a cotton candy machine, makes some fresh cotton candy, and has a little snack. (Hey, you’ve got to keep that energy up when you’re working hard, right? Right.)
After that, there’s some lead solder filler in a surface crack, and then some matte powder coating, nickel plating, and chrome plating applied strategically to restore the rather classy color scheme this Zundapp appears to have had before it fell victim to the ravages of time.
From there, he applies similar techniques to the rest of the bodywork and brightwork, paying special attention to the nickel and chrome plating needs of the silencer and shocks. Refreshed and re-spoked wheels and new tires go on, and once all the body parts are ready for reassembly, the whole thing goes back together beautifully. There’s one bolt hole that clearly needs rethreading, but he takes care of it in short order, and is soon able to get the corresponding bolt to thread in smoothly and without a struggle.
At the end, we’re treated to seeing (and hearing) a small test ride, and it sounds like the little two-stroke engine is running well. Another vintage moped gets a new lease on life, and is ready to ride for many more days into the future.