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Gilera 500 4cyl Protar

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7 hours ago, Fastcat said:

Nonetheless, Protar had many unique and wonderful subjects that we aren't likely to see again

Yes, Dave, it's the fact that they (or he....) took the trouble and made the effort to make them at all is the thing that is worth celebrating.. 

No guns, no bombs or missiles, no military tat or celebration of weapons of killing and destruction..... Just fabulous and beautiful machines. 

I spent several happy hours bashing away on the old Airfix Dakota model, the awful gunship version, putting it back to a half decent DC3 airliner in Lufthansa colours. Rewarding project! 


Speaking of happy hours bashing away, I have some small progress.

This is the prototype throttle arm for a carb. 


Then I made some more in a little production line, trying to keep them all the same. Plus an operating arm, trimmed the brass shaft to a better length and slid them together one by one like this.... 






Just the attachments to the bits of stretch sprue that are inserted in the tops of the 4 carbs, and we're sorted. 

Don't know how much will be noticeable in the long run - it is hard enough trying to get a picture of the arrangement on the real thing even with the fairing removed, 


Still, it's a bit of tinkering fun and as Dave said, at least Protar supplies the basics that you can try things out on. 👍

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Thought I'd better try to get the frame assembled around the engine unit. And it's in.... 


It makes for quite an awkward assembly that rolls around and can't stand up in any way, so temporary use of the stand is made and a sprue leg in the steering head.... 


At least it isn't rolling around the mat, while I figure out the next step. 

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There are some periods of grim disappointment and frustration with this kit, and moments of simple click together fun. 

I'm having difficulty with the wires and cables. The stuff supplied, red for HT leads and black for brakes, clutch etc, are quite bendy, especially with a bit of warmth. But they are solid in cross section and what is required is tubing, so that they push onto the various fittings. Getting 5 mounted on the distributor is a bit of a nightmare. It could have been so much easier..... 

The rear swinging arm and the front forks assembly, on the other hand, basically click together and the fit is OK. Nothing wrong with it. 





Here's the Museum front end, 


Bearing in mind that things are just clipped together and dry fitted, I think that will do 👍

There's even an option there for me to crack on with the general build and leave any thoughts of respoking wheels until another day, when I'm bored and looking for trouble... 😎

That's all still totally dismantle-able in the wheel area. 

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Nice update Rob, coming on well whatever the tribulations! :)


I've never ridden a bike (apart from a pushbike!) but for some reason really like classic motorcycles and after having discovered it a few years back really enjoy watching 'The Motorbike Show' with Henry Cole on ITV. Managed to miss this years series so have just caught up on ITV hub. The last episode had a couple of nice items on Sammy Miller's museum and that's on my must visit list now!



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Oh no, I thought to myself, the front brake is on the wrong side......! 




The reality of the situation has finally dawned, and this bike is fitted with twin leading shoe front brakes on BOTH sides. 

Before I start hacking at the wheel hub, I'm going to investigate the possibility of cloning the example supplied. If it's a challenge too far I'll just forget the idea and build it as it comes. With the fairing fitted there is not a great deal to be seen, but I fancy having a go to see if it can be done. It's always helpful to have a ready made example to work from 😎

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I think I have the basics of a solution to the front brakes problem. I realised that the hub had to come out and be repurposed for the brake plate. 

After many tiny holes were done by hand using a pin vice, and a bit of blade work, the beast came out. 


The white disc then fits in the back of the hub.... 


.... And the extracted piece forms the basis of the plate, complete with the important overall domed shape. 


The front air intake is the main item 


Rather than removing more plastic inside the intake, I went for the simpler solution. Very little is to be gained from opening up the inside here, and much to be lost. 

I have a plan to use gauze on the intake anyway, and now I have 2 to do. 

There's another outlet vent at the back of the brake plate and a few details to sort incl operating arms, and I got to remember to make a left and a right side. 

But I think I'm sorted for the main structure 💃💃💃😎

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Hi Rob,

                    The kit's actually correct for earlier versions of the bike. A trawl of the internet shows duke aboard with a single sided brake. BUT, the tank and fairing shapes varied significantly with the season. 

Protar weren't too fussy when it came to specifics and often relied on generic models.

Adds to the frustration factor!



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Thanks for the info @Fastcat. Well, I'm in for a penny now.

I imagine these machines were developed and modified on a regular basis, between one GP and the next event, certainly season by season. 

And if more braking power was required, or just the track was dry on the day in question, you could opt for the double brake up front. Only speculation, this. 🤔

Not that I'm fussing, just having taken some reference pictures to help me out, I'm referring to them probably more than necessary. 

Rear suspension units is the next thing in line. My pictures of the Museum bike show this.... 


..... which isn't what the kit is offering. But then it's only 5 minutes work to swap one type for another if the rider wanted a change . 

So I'll probably assemble the kit parts and try them out. 

One more little addition is a pair of big chrome hex nuts or caps on top of the forks. There's a kit on supplied for the steering head position which probably is a steering damper, which will go on in a minute.. 



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The scratch-building from the chaps on this site astounds me. Great job rob. 


Just contemplating the additional tools required, before getting into the skills and patience, renders me exhausted. 

Edited by slippers
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Well, @slippers, thanks for that, but I'm just messing around with bits of wire and plastic sheet..

I suppose I've accumulated a few handy items along the way, and methods and ideas I have learnt from being on this site. 

A few builders don't even bother with a kit, they just start with some good drawings.....! 

Some are into 3D design and printing. 

Are you familiar with Muller Corner yoghurt? (don't know where you are). Their pots, unlike most packaging, are white polystyrene and are good for our use. Plus you get thick areas and thin flat walls, and ready shaped corners and curves. Bits of wire and metal tubes are often useful, especially tubes that fit neatly into the next bigger size. 

But yeah, just messing around with bits of plastic.... 😃

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Thanks for the tips, rob. 

I did use an old plastic cup to help fill the frame and swing arm of an RC211V. I can't say for sure that I would have thought of that if not for your recommendation. 👍

Edited by slippers
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