Tony Fitz gt380 Restoration
I took ownership of DEME in April 2000
When I took her as part of a swap for of all things a yellow Reliant Robin, I got DEME, An absolute Mint silver 1978 GT250 and a 1971 Honda CB175, A good deal you might think, but The Robin was my Dad's so I had to sell the GT250 for £650 to pay him what he wanted for the reliant leaving me with the Honda which hadnít seen daylight since 1976 and had been kept in a million bits in a damp garage in Tilbury and this GT380 which had blown a crankshaft oil seal in 1982 and had remained in bits in a loft in Grays ever since!
Upon inspection of all the different boxes of components that DEME came in I noticed that the right side barrel and piston and the crankshaft were missing, I contacted Les and he looked again but was unable to find them, so a quick call to find a part in the motorcycle news, located an engine down at a breakers yard in Godstone, Surrey just off the M25, I rang the guy and agreed a price of £115. Having been assured it was a runner I went to collect it only to find it too had been sitting in a damp garage and every casing and the RAM AIR cover were in real bad pitted condition. This did not really matter too much because all I really wanted were the Crank and top end which seemed ok, the engine turned over and the compression seemed good.
So with all the required bits we transferred everything to Rick Forsythís garage just down the road from me and commenced the rebuild. The frame was in bad condition so I had it blasted and powder coated at Domain in Latchingdon along with the Swinging arm and the footrests and a few other small bits and pieces, The engine rebuild was simply taking the bought engine to bits and transplanting the crank and top end onto the original casings, which luckily were in excellent condition, the guy I bought it from said the engine had only done 5000 miles, maybe he wasnít Lying?
We (me and Rick) got the engine built up pretty quickly, the thing that had rotted away to unusable in the loft was the front mudguard - I bought a pattern one from M&P.
All the chrome parts came up ok when cleaned thoroughly and as you can see are still ok today. The engine went into the frame, Rick sorted out the birds nest (that used to be the loom) to get all the electrics working as they should, so with a new battery all we needed to do was get her firing.
The Clock read 10000 odd miles which I know were genuine when we fired DEME up. She had a new set of plugs but was and still is running sweetly on the original points. When they finally give up I will convert to electronic ignition. She passed her First MOT in September 2001 and has passed every subsequent one since with no bother at all.
She made her debut at the Copdock show in October 2002, and went again in 2003, She also went to Vange in 2005.
In 2007 she had a good strip down clean up and appeared at the 1st VJMC show at Uttoxeter on the X7/GT Stand, she went to Copdock and then Stafford - again on the X7/GT Club Stand. She passed her MOT again in August 2007 with no problems and is still running on her original points
Unfortunately I didnít take any pictures of the rebuild - most unlike me, but I have plenty of her built up.
She isnít a concours example, but she is presentable, with a lot of originality, I am only the 3rd owner from brand new, the mileage is original, and she is ridden and used.
Restorations Front Page