Gilera DNA – Ford GT40 project.
Welcome and thank you for your interest to check out my project to turn and old Gilera DNA 50cc into a “Ford GT40 Le Mans” version. And by that I mean the color scheme of the car that won the 24 hours of Le Mans back in 1969, the same year in which I was born.
My name is Francis Arthur from The Netherlands and I had a dream to pimp my Gilera DNA 50cc in an affordable way into something that made it unique and cool to look at. Well, as far as I'm concerned this is the only detailed model with the blue/orange color scheme of a Ford GT40 “le mans” edition on a moped.
Gilera DNA 50cc with the looks of the Ford GT "le mans" edition
I have been searching for months to get an idea, make the design, ask around for people who can paint this, get the right materials and carry it out and have little concessions if it came to deviations of the design.
Starting off with a few pictures of what it looked like before the transformation. The previous owner chose the bike because the yellow color made the machine look bigger. I must admit that the red, black and other versions do look a little smaller. But he also neglected the machine quite a bit, although it doesn't show in the photos, it had a lot of scratches and deep dents in the wheels.
The exhaust was rusty and she really needed an overhaul. So I started with the engine which seemed quite fine even after 30.000KM but the piston and rings had to be replaced. The engineers were amazed that it was still the original piston. The sides were blackened which probably meant that it was slightly leaking and the perfect moment to begin the overhaul.
the only picture I could find with the old exhaust
before the transformation, this seemed to be my favorite side. Now it's the other way around
I have traveled through Belgium, France and The Netherlands with my peds
After fixing the stuff that had gone bad, I couldn't stop thinking about tuning the rest because I already paid quite a lot of money. Buying new tires and straightening the front fork which was damaged in an accident I got from a terribly stupid traffic situation; concrete edges on a dark road without reflection in the city of Gouda. They took the damaged fork and probably milled off some of the metal and put different seals in. I also damaged my GPS, jacket, boots, part of the hood and steering wheel in the accident. As well as some camping stuff. I was just driving home from camping in the woods, a mere 200KM ride. Being badly injured, I still managed to get home while in fact I should have called the police and gotten in an ambulance but I couldn't be arsed. I wanted to be home! My shoulders will probably never fully recover.
Anyway... I noticed that I only had one reasonable picture of the exhaust side of my scooter before the make-over. I came to the conclusion that I must have liked the other side better before. But now it's the other way around!
So, then I started to look for an exhaust that was very quiet and good looking. Most performance exhaust all have that same look with the secondary muffler being returned above. (I do not know what this is called in English) The exhaust I chose looks like the ones used on motorcycles which is important to me because I want it to be looking more like a motorcycle than a moped - The bike ran faster and quietly! Even more than it did with the old standard exhaust.
By now I had to do something about the scratches in the paint and the damage of the accident. After weeks of trying out what to do with the wheels and body, I found me an artist in another city. He painted the hoods.
I was orientating whether I could afford it to have certain parts done in chrome and also having it painted the way I want... the prices were sky high and I already settled for a completely orange color and no extras until I found this guy named Cor through advertising sites. I didn't trust him at first (long story) but in the end he made me very happy with an astonishing result for an amazing price.
So here I was with all the parts that I picked up and brought home, not knowing what goes where. I needed some help putting it back. After hours of figuring out what screw went where and how to put the locking-system that is used for both the seat and the tank, back there were still items missing but... it all worked out the next day. The lock part with the cables going underneath the tank-storage was the hardest part. We tried so many different ways to make it work and it never got the way it should be but at least it is working. Also because the previous owner smacked one of the pins out of place, so with these slightly bent it is hard to make it fit. We glued the pins for extra solidity and it's amazing that it still holds.
Now, this black and yellow buddyseat was a thorn in the eye. I covered the yellow part with an old T-shirt because it felt terrible driving around with that yellow part on the blue and orange. Driving around also made us aware that the blue part was so overwhelming that it needed: stickers!
no stickers added, got home late and was only able to make pictures under the streetlights (bad colors)
some of the stickers added, the colors are all metallic. Backseat not done, yet.
My buddy Peter helped me with talking about the design, seeing if things could be different and also motivated me to do things better because I tend to bungle things up, he also painted the buddyseat and put a lot of stuff together from my bike.
The handles had an impossible fit and it was only because of using brute force (his hands) that we got them on. We had to adjust the whole thing by melting the rubber and customizing the anodized stuff.
Acquiring the aerosol cans was almost turning out to be impossible. From every country that I tried, none of them was able to ship it or it costed something like over 200 euro. After searching and searching I finally found a company in three cities near me by visiting a random link. Not one but three, yes! Sadly it doesn't seem to be the same vinyl-spray that I've seen on the Internet where people could actually sit on the materials/couches they sprayed but I was already very, very happy that it was possible! I found something that sticks to the vinyl backseat!
Of course we encountered another problem here and that was when the orange color came off like it never attached in the first place. It looked okay when we sprayed it but when it dried up it almost fell off by itself. So I went back to the store and got the same quality paint as the blue one. (I had that blue color mixed on request and gambled the orange color by picking an existing RAL color, black was easy)
the backseat finally got done, amazing sight! Now I was really missing my number stickers
Taping in everything again, this time it worked out but it was still quite fragile. Unfortunately I won't be able to take someone on the back of the bike but that's a small price to pay. The backseat is still soft but we're guessing it's too fragile, it is easily scratched off.
After we left it to dry and assembled it, we started to smile because the alternative was buying a completely black seat, which I almost had to do but seeing the combination now was the reason why I kept on trying to make it work. It looks so much better now, looking as if it was a single seat machine!
Meanwhile I was looking for stickers from sites all over the world. I ended up for most of them on E-Bay. Every time it was a gamble to find and design stickers that were weatherproof. It seems that all of them are.
The easier part was looking for some brand stickers, but later on designing the tankpad and the numbers that I had in mind.
For the tankpad and the number I needed some more motivation, so one night I just sat there and looked up a lot of pictures from the Internet, edited them in Photoshop so all of the background was orange. It was quite the surgery job cutting some of the pictures out of impossible backgrounds and putting new shadows in. Also looking up the right fonts to design the texts and the number.
cutting out pictures in Photoshop, making new shadows, filling all of the old backgrounds with orange
between heavy rainshowers we managed to make a few nice pictures, I just had to make some
Designing the tankpad was tough because the design of the GT40 is very straight. So in my opinion you can't be doing deferred colors with these straight orange and black stripes. Which is mainly why I left the wheels orange, only.
The tank pad design site was terrible to work with but the idea of having a tankpad design of my own fitted the profile so I did what was necessary having to start over many times because of the site. About 13 layers moving them all around in the web application, positioning them the way I thought would be nice. But it was all guesswork by the eye and I had no idea seeing it in real that it would be a lot smaller than I thought and I was shocked a bit trying to fit it on. But in the end, it worked out and another stage was done. I tried a lot of number fonts and came up with this '7' and found a nice site to have it made for me.
With the last parts, the wheels had to be done. Because this is my only vehicle I was reluctant to have these done. I would not be able to move around freely anymore. So, after having it postponed way too long I decided to do it and together with that the last few stickers fell in the mailbox.
Because I ordered the stickers over time each with a week or more in between, it slowly started to form towards the final stages. I'm very impatient in these things but I get too spoiled when it happens too easy, I guess. Watching some movies on Youtube of how to properly fit the stickers on, helped me a lot because I had never done that before. It turned out to be a great method opening only half of the sticker and putting one side on first. I made some water and soap but in the end I didn't use it. The difficult parts were the small things of the stickers that tend to be sticking to the wrong side and when you lose that, it is hard to find the right spot again. It has to stick to the upper layer when you peel the back of.
Too bad that Gulf Oil Nederland didn't have any extra material to give to design stickers from. At least after a few times the communication went well. It was nice to have a person who answered my questions from a big company. Putting some of the stickers on top in the middle of the tank was not easy, too. I'm not that tall, so I don't have much oversight to position it. The tankpad went well in one go but the Gulf sticker on top had to be done a few times over. Apart from a few stickers, this is the final result!
Regards,Francis Arthur – The Netherlands(plans for the near future are replacing the damaged covers of the Brembo braking fluid casing, putting a number 7 sticker on the cockpit, add a few other brand decals on the sides)
the only detailed Ford GT40 edition on a moped, as far as I know
my bike and I... take care and drive safely