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Next Caretaker of the Ambassador - James Pissot
(Back to Ambo W/Attitude story)
Jim got the Ambo up to Canada and spent some of his winter time dismantling and detailing some of the parts and customizing the ride to fit Jim. That is what you do to become one with the bike. Here is a quick recap from an email update Jim sent me at the end of 2008.
(2008) Good afternoon, Roy
Hope these early days of November find you and Dee well (even though bracing for the early winter monsoons). Just wanted to say hello, tell you I figured out what "hobo spiders" are, congratulate you on your SpiT-Fire (incredible!!), and bring you up to date on your/our "Ambo with Attitude."
let me say unequivocally, I LOVE THIS BIKE!
Valerie laments that I am obsessed, and is becoming jealous. I guess that says it all. (But she DID buy a very fine and solid leather jacket at the thrift store where she volunteers...). Did not enjoy as much riding as i would have liked this year, but looking forward to an aggressive summer in 2009!
I had hoped to get my training and license early this summer, and
begin riding the Ambassador "as is" to see if riding was something i really
wanted to do. But the MSF courses were full, and i couldn't get in until late
August, so i took to Plan B. Decided to do some things that I would want if I
kept the bike, and a new buyer would appreciate if i decided to sell it. So I
pulled the engine/trans, cleaned it to aluminum, and began polishing the rocker
covers. Rebuilt the u-joint (had some very slight slop), changed the fluids,
timed and tuned, replaced the front brake lines, cleaned the frame and touched
up all the black (with a brush (same as you?), and it looks just fine for now).
I thought it best to get to know the bike riding on footpegs, so i hunted on eBay and replaced the floorboards (but are keeping that set-up handy). Also, neighbours raised eyebrows (after their ears perked up), so I mounted a pair of used and cheap Harley Sportster slip-ons, in place of the flow-through fish tails. Hope the gods at Mandello del Lario aren't too angry... Looking forward to replacing (or re-chroming) the headers and installing more authentic exhausts eventually. Overhauled the horns, refreshed the K&N filters, changed and re-routed the fuel filter. Also managed to find a fuel tank in Boise with the chrome in good shape, so that's part of the plan as well.
Since my last ride was a Kawasaki 175 nearly 40 years ago, i
started the Ambassador out here in the neighbourhood. Stop, start, turn, figure
8, shift up/down, weave, emergency stop, etc. Wanted to replicate the manoeuvres
we had in the MSF course and license test. Screwed up a few (or more) times, but
felt better every day. Extended my range, hit the highway, tried some twisties
to the ski hills. More fun every day!
I really like the way you added "attitude," Roy. The 1000 ccs, bigger carbs, 5 speed and front discs really make a difference. Great roar when I twist the throttle in 3 or 4 at 40 or 50 mph. Feels absolutely great!
So, no doubt I will be keeping it and enjoying rides for a long time. Valerie's brother (rode with the #1 plate on Utah motocross and TT scrambles years ago) and i have a lot to talk about and he gives me daily tips on enjoyable and safe riding. I am on a first-name basis with Dave Richardson, Greg Bender, and the parts staff at MG Cycle. In fact, the last time I wrote a question to Greg, i mis-typed "Ambadassador," so we may produce some AmBadAssAdor decals! Now i need to find more local folks to ride with....
Winter has set in, and I may spend more time with the bike in the
garage and shop than i did on the road. Will remove and polish the
rims/hubs/spokes, plug all the cracks and un-used holes in the sheet metal.
Prime and paint the sheet metal (deciding on colour; a lot of folks really like
what you did), build an auxiliary instrument panel to hold the extra gauges,
turn signal lites (and BUZZER), and tinker here and there. Will tighten up the
shift linkage (have bushing connectors), clean the wiring, and look into hard
bags (for longer rides, maybe). Have purchased a kill & starter switch for the
handlebars. Also, considering revamping the handlebars because the straight
upright position seems to be pounding my already damaged lower back. Will see if
a slight forward lean suits me better...
Bottom line, Roy, the AmBadAssAdor and i are one. Forza in Movimento, indeed!
Thanks again for all the fine work you did on this great
motorcycle, Roy. I truly am honoured to own, "restore," an ride it. Hope to make
it down your way some day, for a ride together. Of course, you and Dee always
are welcome here if you hanker for the Canadian Rockies. Seattle to Canmore
offers some great rides through BC...
Hope September finds you well. ughly enjoying every minute on and under the Ambo with Attitude. Cleaned up the dash lites, purchased new mirrors, re-did brake hoses, and a touch-up here and there. Sheet metal was next, but couldn't decide on the colour(s).
I Was intrigued by Greg Bender's Eldo re-do <
http://thisoldtractor.com/gtbender/eldorado_project.htm >, but not convinced
a rich yellow would work in the classic Ambassador.
So decided I needed to "test" it before committing several hundred to body repair and professional painting.
Here are the do-it-yourself rattle-can prototype colours (Dodge "detonator yellow" + Italian flag) and my first attempt at pinstriping.
What do you think -- may be a horror after your fine red paint job. Haven't decided on other pinstriping yet.
And these side panels are just painted silver (not yet chromed).
Bottom line -- I do like it so far! Cheers, jim