Without fail the biggest trap that I see people ( including myself!), fall into is the expectation that a car, motorcycle, boat or truck will be in great shape if it has low miles. Low miles can be a blessing and have its benefits but lately, more often than not, it is a detriment. As a machine sits up it settles into a fixed position for ages and causes a whole slew of problems. Not getting enough exercise is bad enough but imagine the rigor mortis you'd experience from 40 years of being stationary. If someone wanted to preserve a machine without accumulating miles it would require a great deal of effort to climate control the room and keep the engine rotated every so often so that the bearings and internals don't settle into a fixed position. The more viable, (and enjoyable) method is to simply run it and drive it a regular, but limited amount of miles over the course of its life.
I had two cars that were on opposite ends of the spectrum regarding this. One was a1987 vw gti. 80,000 original miles but sat for roughly 12 years. Every thing in the suspension needed replaced and most everything that surrounded the rotating assembly of the engine. The other was a 1965 ford Falcon with 100,000 miles. The falcon was driven around 2000 miles a year for every year and for the most part was like brand new everywhere.
The example below is of a rare lambretta sx200 Italian scooter from 1966. It has only 600 original miles and had been kept in a pretty typical garage in Georgia. Body was beautiful and cosmetically is pretty close to what you'd imagine out of a bike that was garage kept for 50 years. Inside the engine was different story.
Above are two photos that show how great it can be to only have 600 miles. The left is the gear box . The teeth on the gear is where the kick starter engages. A pretty wearable part but since it had low miles and was submerged in gear box oil it was like new. No chips or wear on the teeth. The left is the stator area. Also because of the low miles the stator never really was used and still looked like new.
Here was the condition of the crankcase. Over the years someone must have tried to either keep the crankcase from rusting or poured something down it after the damage was done because the entire crankcase and top end was locked up and badly pitted. The mag housing was in such poor condition that even with a great deal of heat and a press the bearings could not be removed without cracking the housing
There was a light at the end of the tunnel. The cylinder rings didn't corrode the cylinder wall (that is just staining) and was able to still use a standard size piston. Though it needed a new crank, the crank case did clean up nicely and the finished build was relatively inexpensive.
If you have any questions about the project or could use my help with your project feel free to shoot an email or phone me directly.
Saints Cycle Works