The APE

Piaggio APE 50 cc

March 2013

 So I was talking to a chap called Roger in my local pub who happened to mention that he had, in his garage, a three wheel contraption called an APE. He said it was based on a scooter and only had a 50cc engine. Intrigued I asked to have a look at it. And here it is! I promptly bought it off him for 400 notes and took it home.

 As Roger only lived up the road I sat in it and free wheeled all the way down the hill to mine. First impressions are "its an odd little thing".

 Everyone is happy, although Louie the hound aint so sure.

 So it came with a box of bits like everything I seem to buy. The story behind this was Roger was going to buy a lathe and whilst in the workshop looking at the lathe, he saw this half covered in the corner. Thinking he would like a bit of a project he bought it. Now the chap he bought it off said it was driven back from Italy by a friend of his. Now if that is indeed true then fair play to the lad as with a top speed of 23 MPH with a good tail wind behind it that would have been some journey.
 Two horns on this monster, and two on the van as well, the little van packs a mighty punch.  A little carry handle just above the headlight is so it can be lifted and moved with ease when stuck in a tight spot.

 It was so light you could literally lift and move it where you wanted.

 Look at the pedals, just the same set up as a car. Weird to say the least.
 Cant find a heater anywhere, but I dont suppose you need one in Italy. Imagine this, you had to take your hand off the handle bars to change gear which was the red knob in the centre of the picture. Not the safest thing to do.

Plenty of muck and grime, you can see the lifting handle better here.

 Tiny little 50cc engine and some questionable wiring. An empty battery box and a 7 litre fuel tank. It was electric start although it had a hand crank in the cab also.
 So me and my mate Shedy started the strip down at his gaf and gave it a wash (thats me).
 This is Shedy, to be honest he didnt fit in it as he is a bit of a caveman.
 Ok so the cab has been stripped and prepped for primer. Didnt take too long as its only small. Wheels were treated and painted.

I painted some logs as well!

 Shedy had a cool app that changed it to whatever colour you wanted. I dont want red though.
 I went for a white cab. The metal chasis will be painted black by hand. And that wiring will be replaced and correctly routed.
 Some electrics have been dealt with, no wiring diagram so a bit of suck it and see went on.
 My uncle Dave brought his compressor to my garage and gave it some primer and the final coats.
 A few beers for payment.

 So jump forward a little and you can see the bits have been replaced and I have actually started the engine and had it ticking over. Looks good so far.

 We are getting there with window and lights back in.

 So what we have here is a brake, clutch and accelerater set up like a car. The brake only operates the rear wheels. The front brake is operated with the right lever. Believe it or not, the left lever is the pump for the window wiper water jet. The gear lever is the thing in the middle with the red knob. The lever to the right and lower down than the gear lever is the reverse gear selector. The larger lever to the left of the gear selector is the hand crank to start the engine should the battery fail. The choke sits on top of the handbrake. Dont worry the wiring will be tidied up.

 Up and down the road I go, to be honest its a little un-nerving as the rear wheels seem to want to lift in sharp turns. However it was great fun. It had 4 gears forward and when selecting reverse it had the same 4 gears in reverse. Odd little thing it was.

 Complete here. The flat bed on the back was made by a local fabricating firm. I put the marine ply in the back and the shiplap sides on. It actually acted like a tipper for access to the engine etc.
 Ok so this project was never a keeper, and it was sold to a lady from Essex. She came up with her husband and a low loader followed. The reason for the purchase was so she could load up plants on the back and drive it to her village to sell them. How quaint and lovely that the APE was doing what it was build for.

 The boxes in the back have some bits in like the wiper blade and mirrors and the door windows and closing mechanisms. I had also aquired some vinyl stripes in the Italian colours that I was going to put on but never quite got there.

 A van helping a van to new life in the countryside.