Taco 66?

Bax

New Member
#1
Hi all,

My uncle recently passed away and left me a mini bike that I used to love riding as a wee lad.

I have rebuilt Tote Goats in the past and my daughter rides a Monster Moto that I’ve done some work on (but it runs well since it’s so new) but I kind of want to rebuild this bike out of memory of my uncle.

I know the beautiful tank isn’t stock and I am not positive it’s a Taco 66 but all signs seem to point to that model.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Also, does anyone have any recommendations for parts for these bikes? I’ve found a handful of suppliers but their inventory is quite limited.

Thanks in advance!
 

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#2
Hello and welcome! There are some experts on here who will be able to help you. Restoring the bike would be a nice tribute to your uncle. The question is, do you want to restore it as new (actual "restoration") or return it to how it was when you rode it as a kid, or what? It's a Taco so a full restoration would make it worth a lot of money (it's worth quite a bit as is) but it would lose its character and may no longer seem like your uncle's bike, if you know what I mean. I think it would be a tough decision for me.
 

Bax

New Member
#3
Thanks Charles!

I appreciate the kind words. My goal is a close to original restoration (is that a thing? Lol).

I would like to use as many original parts as possible but might go with a different than original color.

My gut is telling me to try and preserve the silly style of the aftermarket “custom” tank but I am not sure how to do that in a sensible manner so the tank will likely go. But I’ve considered painting the frame in a similar color scheme to the tank as a homage to my uncle (still undecided on that though).

The rear shocks are shot which has me concerned as I have thus far been unable to find a replacement and most parts seem to be to a Taco 22 and I need to determine whether or not the parts are interchangeable.
 
#6
@Bax the serial number imprinted on the left swing arm will identify this bike.

the tubular swing arms identify 1966 which was the first year of this design, and can be either a taco 44, or a taco 66.

taco 44 had a briggs 3 hp, while taco 66 had a two stoke power products AH47.

the letter in your serial number being an "A" will be a taco 66, the letter "T" in the serial number will identify a taco 44.

i hope this helps. your bike looks pretty complete, i would restore it back to original and then decide what you want to do as far as let it sit in your office or ride the heck out of it.

good luck.
 

Bax

New Member
#7
Wow!

@sonerenos thank you!

I do know there is a serial number there but your insight is really appreciated!

I believe the engine is a 5 1/2 Hp if memory serves me correctly. So I will have to take a look when I get home tonight
 

Bax

New Member
#8
Once you define where your line between an authentic restoration, and a nostalgic job of preservation lies, you will be in a better position to go out and search for parts, or continue with restoration. No matter which way I went with the bike, that engine would be gone unless I had some special attachment to it.

You can apply carnuba wax on painted surfaces, as well as chrome polish on rusted chrome bits, tire dressing, etc. to preserve the bike. You can also shoot urethane clear on the tank for example to preserve it. I am an admitted purest, yet that tank speaks to me.

The shocks were made by Cerriani, but during that time period, many motorcycle and mini bike components were made by Cerriani, and many companies began copying them. They were not an oleo shock, so there was nothing to wear out other than compression springs. I've rebuilt a few of them, as well as some of the oleo offshoots by them and other Italian MFGR's of the time. You can rebuild those shocks, and they are a lot like the Tote Gote Nova series shock, (another Italian company called Orlandi) except the Gote shocks were oleo. Again, yours should be a straight forward disassembly, paint and chrome.

The blue color of the frame is the natural result of the fading action on the Lynn Wineland purple. Parts of it may have a greenish tint as well. I have a formula that duplicates it using flip flop pearl, but most people powder coat them, which is nothing near what they came out with. A Taco was never "Plum Crazy" and it didn't even look that good on a MOPAR. LMAO! If you ever decided to paint it something near the original purple, Dupont Spectra BM203 is about as close as you can get.

Your machine is in great shape. It's up to you to decide how to honor your Uncle. Once you do that, we can provide better answers. The parts you need are going to be generic, and easy to source, although if it's a Taco 66, the engine might give you some fits. We're here for you. (To help you spend your money) :)
Great insight!

For as long as I can remember, the bike has been a sapphire blue but never knew it was purple originally. That’s really cool.

I ran home for lunch and took a look at the serial number but could barely read it so I may do a rubbing on paper to see if that helps.

Fantastic insights. I can’t thank you enough.
 

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#9
Great insight!

For as long as I can remember, the bike has been a sapphire blue but never knew it was purple originally. That’s really cool.

I ran home for lunch and took a look at the serial number but could barely read it so I may do a rubbing on paper to see if that helps.

Fantastic insights. I can’t thank you enough.

i see a "6" being 1966, "T" being taco 44, and the rest of the 3 digits are the production numbers in sequence from 001-xxx

those swing arms are notorious for coming off. thats why they changed the design to a flat swing arm in 1967.

if you beg @MSPTREX he may help you obtain some bearings that will eliminate those swing arms from falling off while riding.
 
#10
If it were mine and I had bought it from a stranger, I would want to restore it (as new).

If I inherited it from a family member, that would complicate things; if I had childhood memories of the bike, more so. The tank is kinda ugly and looks out of place, and yet it pretty much defines the character of the bike, doesn't it? Just wouldn't be the same bike without it. If I were going to clear-coat anything that's weathered/worn to preserve its current condition, I would use a matte clear rather than gloss. I think I would check all the bearings/bushings, replace the shock springs, replace parts/hardware only as needed, get it running, give it a thorough cleaning and preserve the character of the bike. It could always be restored later, if desired.

two_cents.jpg

Wherever you are, you have a fantastic view from your back yard!
 
#11
i agree with @Charles S statement of your backyard having a phenomenal view

with that being said, i restored my childhood bike that was purchased new in 1968 from Steens for my father. he passed it down to me and i found every part needed NOS and the bike looks immaculate. it now sits on my dresser in my bedroom (where most have a TV).

whichever route you decide to take with this bike, you can toss around the idea of restoring another 1966 taco 44 and keeping this one that you have memories with the way you remember it. I have a 1966 taco 44 i am willing to box up and ship to you, its complete and has most parts already cleaned up and restored. this way you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

i love looking at my bike i rode as a child, but i dont ride it anymore because of all the time and money spent restoring. If i could do it again, i would ride the bike and restore another just like it.
 

Bax

New Member
#12
Thank you all for your insight and sage wisdom.

I sincerely appreciate it.

I’m surprised to hear the feelings invoked by the silly gas tank and am beginning to wonder if I should try to incorporate it back into the project.

The tank appears to be rust free and the cap would just need to be replaced.

The lacquer coating really creates a deceptive picture as it makes much of the tank look yellow but it’s a mixture of blue and silver glitter paint which has me considering a paint job that incorporates both colors but I am undecided.

I feel compelled to use as original of parts as possible and my cousins claim to have a 2nd engine that my uncle set aside for the bike so I need to see if it’s worth the effort or go another route. But I’d prefer to keep the seat, springs, shocks, gears, wheels, etc as original as possible. However, I have bounced back and forth on adding / removing a tooth for either more torque or higher speed.

Random story about this bike - I was allowed to ride it on my own when I was about 6 years old for the very first time. After a few laps around the yard I burned my leg pretty badly on the engine and ran away hollering like a cat in a blender. Grandma got hold of me and rubbed aloe from her plant on my leg. So for years I called it the “Aloe Bike”.

Much of the family has silly memories with this little beast so I want to do something that’ll make them proud and nostalgic.

I hope I don’t disappoint
 

markus

Well-Known Member
#13
That tank almost looks like it fiberglass? Maybe flip it around and get it closer to the seat, I would also pursue the other engine as it may be the right one for the bike, even if its toast you may be able to salvage the shrouding or something off it and use it on another engine. the one currently on the bike I am betting is a sears engine, most likely off a lawn edger and the paint color post dates it probably 5-10 years newer than the bike itself.

Tanks on Taco's are cool (well if the tank itself is cool), plus that would give you a lot of options when it comes to setting up an engine since you would not have to think about room for a tank in side the frame.


 

Bax

New Member
#14
@markus is that your bike?

The tank is metal and is surprisingly rust free on the inside. It’s just coated in enough lacquer to coat your kitchen table lol
 

Bax

New Member
#15
Side note: the family asked if I wanted this Sears Gilera from his yard (they don’t know what make and model it is) but the interesting thing about this bike is it has a LEFT brake and a RIGHT shifter.

Interesting huh? 30F457BE-A749-4600-9050-E846A4184BF3.jpeg
 
#17
Side note: the family asked if I wanted this Sears Gilera from his yard (they don’t know what make and model it is) but the interesting thing about this bike is it has a LEFT brake and a RIGHT shifter.

Interesting huh? View attachment 247846
European bikes used to be set up that way. I remember when (mid-'70s) my brother had a '71 Triumph and I had a '76 Kawasaki. Getting off of my Kawasaki and riding his Triumph was SO difficult. If I rode it long enough, I could get somewhat used to it but I had to really think about every action.

It's crusty but I'd take it. I have a thing for old motorcycle engines and that engine is beautiful to my eyes. The rest of the bike looks like too much of a project for me so I imagine the engine repurposed (with a cross-shaft shifter linkage!) or displayed on a stand. I have no idea whether the bike is desirable, some things that used to be worth next to nothing are highly desirable now. I imagine that's due, at least in part, to so many being scrapped when they were considered worth next to nothing, making them rare now. You could list the bike as an auction on eBay with a starting bid of $500, see what happens.
 

Harquebus

Active Member
#19
I'd restore the Taco (to your liking) and set the tank aside as an homage to your uncle.
I don't feel you are overly sentimental about keeping it as-is.

I'd keep the Gilera, that's a neat bike.
I had remembered the name from before and this ad/poster which I like, for obvious reasons... :p

 

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