During the 50's through the early 70's Montgomery Wards and Sears department stores were heavy into rebranding primarily European bikes as their own brands. Montgomery Wards bikes were mostly Italian made Benellis and French made Motobecane mopeds that were rebranded as Wards Riverside. Sears imported Austrian made Puchs, Italian made Gileras and Vespas all rebranded as Sears Allstates. When you purchased one of these department store bikes either through their catalogs or in store, it came in a crate with the purchaser required to do some assembly. Typically that included installing the front fender and wheel. Installing the handle bars and controls. Installing the battery and seat, and making all the final adjustments such as chain tension, brakes and controls, tire pressure, and lubrication. None of that white glove set up that motorcycle dealers provide today.
This is what I started with. Lot's of red spray paint all over the bike, 60's/70's flower stickers, bent handlebars, stripped oil drain plug, rusty rims, torn up seat, and a few missing and incorrect pieces. As ugly as it was, the bike was strong runner that needed very little mechanical attention.
Some photos of disassembling the bike.
Bead blasted and ready to go to the painter.
The engine I basically just cleaned up and decarbonized. I also repaired the stripped oil drain hole.
The original chromed steel rims were rusted pretty bad. I was able to find Italian made Radaelli alloy rims for less than what it would have cost me to have the original rims re-chromed. The original spokes were silver painted Alpina spokes that were rusted pretty bad, so I replaced those with new chrome spokes.
The paint and body shop I use, Creative Classics in Independence, MO did a beautiful job recreating the original paint scheme complete with pin striping in the colors I had selected.
Reassembling the bike. Next to riding, this is the fun part!
And some photos from the inaugural ride after it's restoration.
And on a recent trip to Harry J. Epstein's, one of the coolest tool stores in existence.