1981 Laverda Jota 120


The Jota Story

I purchased the Jota from a local bike enthusiast and engineer called John Gill. It was in fine daily riding condition with orange paintwork and gold pinstriping (not the original). I owned a classic car restoration business called Sport and Classic – - and decided that I wanted the bike fully restored.

The brief to Sport and Classic was that I wanted the best possible bike returned to me and that there was to be no limit on the restoration but the bike was to be as period correct as possible. This meant that research had to be done in order to ensure that we got it right.

Sport and Classic is run by Don Yardley who has had a long career in automotive engineering, having worked for Jonathan Palmer racing and Aston Martin, being one of the few people to have completed their complete apprenticeship scheme. Sport and Classic specialise in the restoration of classic cars.

The engine was removed from the bike. The frame and wheels were blasted back to base and they were then powder coated. All chromework was cleaned and re-chromed.

The anomaly with the paint colour was resolved by Slaters, who worked closely with S&C to ensure that the restoration was done correctly – under the fairing and behind the side panels the paint was a deeper red than on the bike. It was confirmed that this was the correct colour for the bike and the orange was due to fading of the colour in the sun. Slaters confirmed the bike is recorded on their register as a Jota. Panels were sent off, stripped and repainted to the Slaters colour specification at a cost of £900.

The bike had after market wing mirrors on the fairing so Slaters supplied replacements for these.

All nuts and bolts, where possible, were replaced with stainless steel and cables were replaced with steel braided items. The engine casings were hand cleaned. It was decided not to blast the engine as this ran the risk of particles getting into the engine and, whilst this was a full restoration, we wanted to retain some of the authenticity of the bike and a ‘show pony’ engine finish did not fit with this idea. It is a well loved bike and has been ridden and colouration on the engine reflects this.

The engine was thoroughly examined and found to be in fine order. Don Yardley is a master engine builder with many hundreds of engine rebuilds to his credit and he advised that rebuilding a sound, tight engine that had clearly been looked after could do no good at all. If the engine is well bedded in then rebuilding could not make it better and could actually make it worse. However, the internal chains were adjusted / replaced.

All instruments and switches were taken apart and cleaned. All were kept as originals but the internals of the switches were replaced. The mileage is in km. new handlebar grips were fitted. Internal relays were replaced. The bike has a replacement wiring loom.

New headlight
New indicators – front and rear
New tail light
All internals for the lights replaced

Drive train:
New sprockets – front and rear
New bearings – front and rear
New chain
All elements rebuilt or replaced

Seat was split on the seam and was re-stitched, this has split slightly.

Brakes were overhauled and new pads fitted.

Brake and clutch levers replaced.

Many ancilliary parts were replaced including hoses and I believe the airbox.

New battery.

New tyres.

New shock absorbers. Under advice from Slaters it was decided to replace with more modern units as they recommended that the performance would be superior.

Basically, if it needed to be replaced or rebuilt then it was done.

The final bill for the restoration came to well in excess of £10,000 but this does not take into account that if S&C had not been owned by myself then this bill would have been very much higher. It was a labour of love.

The bike has covered about 300 miles since the rebuild.

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  • Engine Size:1000cc


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