Thursday, February 26, 2009

About the shop

I have a small shop and intend it to stay that way. Quality dictates it, and, after all, quality is my main concern. Because of this, it is necessary to book appointments well in advance. A deposit is required for guaranteed scheduling. Detailed photo's are taken of each bike during the restoration process. These are for you; and accompany our itemized, semi monthly billings. Billing is done on a time-spent basis, plus parts and materials. As always, quality work takes time and time is money. But, with our experience comes efficiency and lots of organization, all to your benefit. At Vintage Italian Restoration you will get the most for every dollar spent when you're seeking perfection.

We specialize in restoring:
Aermacchi
Benelli
Bianchi
Ducati
Ferrari
Franco Morini
Gillera
Laverda
Maserati
Minarelli
Mival
Mondial
Motobi
Motoguzzi
MV Agusta
Parilla
and more..

Testimonials:

"Hugo has been a very knowledgeable help for my wide variety of classic Italian bikes. He has gone out of his way to help me fix my Ducati Elite and other unusual Italian bikes in my collection. He has done other restorations for people I know and has always done an excellent job. If you have any technical problems with vintage Italian bikes he is the guy to fix them.  Great job, Hugo! I appreciate it! All the best." - Michael H-S.

 

"I am writing this letter to recommend Hugo Galina as a motorcycle
mechanic/technician. I have known Hugo since 2015, when I commissioned him
to work on a vintage Ducati and get it road ready.
During that first project, Hugo exhibited a work ethic that was clear, concise and
educational. He listened to what I wanted to achieve and gave me a number of
options and advice. Hugo then made a thorough assessment on the condition of
the Ducati and sent me a number of pictures in the following week. We discussed
and prioritized the work to be done and he sent me an itemized list of jobs cost
and parts cost. I received updates as the work progressed and the project was
completed within the timeline.
I have found Hugo to be consistent over the years. I would describe him as clear,
respectful and calm in his communication with others and me. He has a vast
pool of knowledge about motorcycles and a passion for vintage motorcycles.
He is congenial, efficient and detailed in his work. Hugo is caring towards the
motorcycles he is working on for clients. I recall a number of “fixes” that are
better than stock, which Hugo designed himself.
Hugo has a broad range of knowledge and flexibility to handle a number of
technical problems. His experience about what works is among the best. I trust
him to make the best decision for the motorcycle and protect the bike with great
care. I would highly recommend him for any vintage bike projects."
Sincerely.
- Craig Deines




"Years ago a coworker had mentioned he had an interest in vintage Italian
motorcycles.  At the time I had a Triumph 650cc motorcycle and I didn’t
quite understand the appeal of a small motorcycle.
A few years later, perusing motorcycle magazines and photographic books
featuring vintage motorcycles, I felt a nostalgia for café racer-styled mopeds
and small capacity motorcycles, particularly Italian ones, thinking that these
had been readily available during the 1960’s when I was a child and that the
selection of interesting motorcycles and brands had dwindled; these bikes
were now rare and far a few in between.  That interest was fueled further
after picking up a motorcycle magazine during a trip to Italy that featured
beautiful vintage motorcycles from that country.
About 7 years ago, I found an affordable Gilera motorcycle available locally
on Craigslist.  Unfortunately, I was told it had already sold when I inquired. 
Shortly thereafter another one was available on Craigslist, not quite as good
looking as the previous one, but the price was right.  It ran, and had a great
sound.  I liked the styling, but the condition was a little rough. I bought it. 
It was a bike that had been sold in the United States in the 1960’s by Sears
Department stores, a Gilera 124 5V.
I researched the internet for information on that type of bike, looked for
parts availability on Ebay, purchased books and manuals, etc.  At that time
there was not a lot of information available, at least I couldn’t find very
much.  There was a Yahoo group for Gilera motorcycles, but it wasn’t very
active.  It seemed at the time I had a pretty rare bike and I had no idea
what to do with it.
My mother, who lived in another state got ill, and so my motorcycle
languished in storage in California for 5 years.
Eventually I returned to California.  I happened upon a video on YouTube
that featured a man who specializes in restoring vintage Italian motorcycles.
He was located in southern California.  And he personally rode a beautifully
restored Gilera motorcycle.  I found myself watching that video over and
over.
I looked up and made contact with this man, not knowing his availability or
what the cost of restoring a bike like this would end up being, or how long a
restoration project would take.  Years?
He was available and agreed to see my motorcycle.  We talked about what
would be done and he drove off with my motorcycle, to assess its condition,
particularly the condition of the engine internal parts.
Sadly, many parts in my engine were quite worn and had not been
assembled properly by the previous owner.  Other bad news was that the
frame was bent and the forks were damaged in an accident, and the best
thing to do was to replace them.
Once the engine was rebuilt I was undecided if I wanted to continue, it
seemed like it was going to cost a lot of money and I wasn’t sure I could
justify the expense.  I reached out to another local builder (who did not
specialize in Italian bikes) for a quote to restore my bike based on photos of
my bike and photographs of a result I was after.  Also, at that time on Ebay,
several ‘50’s-era Gilera motorcycles were available for not too much money.
It was a dilemma.  I rationalized that if I took the bike back now, I would
still have a ratty bike with a good engine and wouldn’t be able to get much
money for it if I decided to sell it (and buy one of those faraway bikes on
Ebay, sight unseen).  And the estimate I got back from the other builder was
not far off from the estimate I received from Mr. Gallina to complete the
restoration.  I decided I would be happier committing to completing the
restoration now that it was started.
Payments were made in installments and I started to receive photographs of
bike parts that were newly painted or replated.  Soon that was followed by
photographs of the bike getting reassembled.  The reassembly actually
seemed to come together very quickly.  As I received photographs
documenting the reassembly of the bike I was happy with my decision to
proceed with the restoration.
Hugo was a very good guide, he listened to what I asked for, and with his
knowledge of these bikes and their history, guided my modification decisions
in a way that would stay somewhat faithful to the marque and not get too
far off.  I continued to search online for parts and decals, rims and spokes,
tires, exhausts.  Without knowledgeable guidance, I could have wasted quite
a bit of money buying items that either wouldn’t fit or were not appropriate
to the bike.
As I started to receive photographs of the bike nearly completed, I was
thrilled at how it was turning out.  On some of the cosmetic decisions Hugo
would send me photographs of the possible variations.  Soon after I would
see videos of Hugo starting up the newly rebuilt (and polished) engine for
the first time and of his first test rides.
Soon it was time to take delivery of the fully restored bike.  Seeing the bike
in person, the bike truly exceeded all of my expectations, he really did a
tremendous job on it. 
On my second ride, a problem arose, but not one that was unanticipated. 
We had used a Benelli tank, and with a full tank of gas, the weight
compressed the foam pad underneath the tank and now the bottom of the
tank was in contact with the head of the engine.  I tried to remedy the
situation by inserting more self-adhering foam pads under the tank to keep
it raised up off the engine.  I couldn’t quite get the tank elevated high
enough and that remedy seemed like a temporary fix, the foam pads would
eventually compress from the weight of a full tank of gas and the problem
would reoccur. 
Its was a hot summer, and Hugo was away visiting family out of the country.
My bike was in a storage unit located 40 miles from my home.  Apparently
with the hot weather gas had creeped its way into the crankcase and I found
a pond of gasoline-smelling oil on the floor of my storage unit.
Even while away, Hugo made contact to see how I was enjoying the bike.
When he returned from his visit he arranged to have my bike picked up to
address the issues.  He fabricated a metal bracket with a thick rubber spacer
bolted on to permanently solve the tank height issue. 
He flushed out and replaced the oil and test drove the bike.  He informed me
that on these bikes the tanks must be vented and/or the fuel lines
disconnected from the carburetor during extremely hot weather.
Would I recommend Hugo Gallina and Vintage Italian Restorations to
someone looking to have work done on their vintage Italian (or European) motorcycles?  Without hesitation, my experience has been very good so far.
He is knowledgeable, meticulous about his work, and I feel fortunate that he
is relatively close by. 
If I were to undertake another restoration project, would I work with Hugo
again?  Absolutely."
- Ron Feldstein



"After purchasing my 1969 Gilera motorcycle, I contacted Hugo Gillina, who I happened to find on his website. Hugo took on the job of helping me restore and repair my Gilera and has done a tremendous job over a period of about 3 months.  The restoration consisted of several projects, including getting the engine running after 20 years of not starting. All were completed to my satisfaction in an efficient and timely manner.  Hugo’s commitment to resolve any issues involving each project, and his attention to detail was outstanding. He totally kept me informed on each aspect of every project, and also identified and helped resolve any new issues as they came up.Upon completion, not only is the Gilera a great ride, but it looks better than new!  In addition to repairing and restoring, Hugo made a special effort to find specific rims and pipes during one of his trips to Argentina. Hugo is very easy going, friendly and a true professional, and I am very happy with the results of my “new” vintage Gilera. Thank you, Hugo!"
- Mark Eichert 



"I have done business with Hugo Gallina several times over  the years. Small Italian motorcycles of the mid-60s was my experience with Hugo. I have purchased parts from him via EBay as well as directly. I have always found him to be fair, honest and professional. He also has done engine repair for me. His work was performed  quickly, estimates provided, and I was always kept informed of the progress. The finished work performed as intended and costs more than reasonable. It has been a pleasure to do business with Hugo!"
- John Carmell

3 comments:

  1. hey nice blog, remember to visit my blog at System Restoration

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hugo:
    Felicitaciones por el blog. Y felicitaciones por la calidad de tus trabajos.

    Hugo,
    Congrats on the blog, and on the quality of the restored bikes. They are amazing to the detail!

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is pretty awesome, I have been thinking about the antique restoration shops here in Glendale, AZ, and I think that it would be awesome to get my bike running again.

    ReplyDelete