This project has been a long time in the process, I do realize and apologize for this. We started this project before
Paul Puccio died, while he was in the hospital from complications resulting from an intestine transplant. A handful of us
felt that we just had to do something special for a very well liked and respected Member of the Moped community
initially DonP’s idea for us to do “something” in order to raise money to help with rising medical bills
and extreme financial burden on Paul and his Family. Paul was a special and dear friend of Perry Manessis, among others who
knew Paul, such as DonP, and many others. Butnut gave us the idea of building a special custom-built Moped, to be raffled-off,
and the proceeds from the raffle to go to Paul’s Wife (now widow), to try and help at least a little, with the financial
strain they were going through (and still is today). Of course, being into Mopeds as we are/were, this sounded like the most
awesome idea!!! I had just purchased a Puch Magnum (site unseen at that point), so from my heart I wanted to donate this bike
for the project, since the plan was from the very beginning to completely tear it down and rebuild it from ground up anyway.
I finally got the bike, and boy was it one more “rat-bike” !!! Although the engine would start and run, it
was just worn-out. Everything about the bike was in terrible shape! This did not deter us in our determination and heart-felt
desire to build an awesome Moped to raffle off (at the time in Honor of Paul, but unfortunately, later become In Loving Memory
of Paul Puccio). As we began tearing the bike apart, Paul passed-away, and this devastated us all, although obviously couldn’t
have been as much as it did Paul’s Wife and young daughter.
Paul’s death greatly saddened us all, and truly
depressed everyone. After a period of mourning Paul’s death, we were all still determined to finish the project that
we started, and although it wouldn’t be quite the same as presenting it for Paul to Ride with us, we still knew that
raffling the bike would generate a little money to help his surviving wife and daughter.
Well, as life tends to do, lots
of things sort of got in the way, if you will … some of us had other personal family issues, health issues, etc. to
get through ourselves, business picked-up and overwhelmed us, and life in general made it very difficult to get the project
Once I finally was able to tear the bike completely down, there were sooo many problems and issues with
so many different things on the bike. I actually had to buy another Magnum parts bike, and began picking the better parts
of what I had to be used for this build. The gas tank, headlight bucket, rear tool compartment, and oil tank covers were sent
to Butnut in Hawaii, who put an outstanding gold metal-flake gold paint job on the pieces. Boy he had his work cut-out for
him!!! The parts were rough, but considering what he had to work with he did an excellent job!
I had to send the second
frame that I bought to DonP, as the original frame, for one did not have a serial number plate, and had several busted welds.
The second frame did have a number plate, and all welds seemed to be intact. DonP had the frame painted high-gloss black,
with metal flake, and it also turned-out beautiful!!! Don also did a phenomenal job at polishing all the little pieces like
the brake levers, and such, and actually disassembled the shocks and brought them back to almost like new condition. He had
to have spent a lot of love on all of these parts as well!
The engine …. Oooohhhhhh the engine! Well, I had never
(and still haven’t) built a 2-speed Puch ZA50 engine. But, I was willing to get into it and see what I could do. I tore
the engine completely apart, and borrowed the specialty tools from Ike to do so. WOW, I felt like I’d just jumped in
waaayyy over my head, lol! I basically determined that I was not (and still am not) the one for the job of rebuilding a za50.
I couldn’t find anyone with the time to spare to build this engine. I was stumped, and the project once again stalled.
Chris @ MWH had donated the gaskets ,seals, and crank bearings ,as well as told me that when it came time to shim the engine
to let him know which size shims the engine required, and he’d provide those as well. I made several attempts at studying
the za50 engine, but I’ll be honest, as I was then, I just can’t build the Puch 2-speed! Meanwhile, unfortunately,
the project was at a stand-still at this point.
Lots of people expressed interest and desire to pitch-in and help with
the bike, however, my being located in Myrtle Beach, S.C. at the time, prevented anyone from being able to come down and help
me with it. So, a few of us discussed it, and determined that if we could get the bike to a more centralized location, then
more people could jump in and help build it. I asked Ike if we could gather all of the parts at his location, since lots more
people visit Ike’s than they did my place, and therefore many more hands could get to the bike and help out. This seemed
like a really fantastic idea at the time, and Ike agreed that we could have everything sent to him.
Meanwhile, my wife and I had the brainy idea of moving here to Tennessee, so we could be closer to all
the Moped action, and hopefully be able to make trips to Ike’s more often to be able to get more of us all together
to build this bike. Still no engine or anyone to build the 2-speed at that point, but we figured we’d tackle that when
we got the rest of the bike assembled.
Like many good intentions and well-laid plans, it just didn’t materialize
the way we'd all planned it to, as life once again kept everyone busy with different aspects of normal everyday life things,
and no-one seemed able to make it to Ike’s to assemble the bike. On Ike’s Big Ride, a small group of us did actually
get the chance to unpack lots of the parts to the bike, and get some things done, like putting the tires on the wheels (thanks
StreetCruiser!), cleaning misc. parts and putting final shine on smaller pieces (thanks Brock!), and I put the handlebars
on, upside down, LOL! My son and I did make it back to Ikes one more weekend after that, and Ike helped ChickenWing and I
get the bike on wheels!
AGAIN, the project stalled, as none of us could find the time to get back to it. Nobody’s
fault really, as again, life does tend to somewhat get in the way sometimes of things that we really want to get done. ALL
of us wanted to see the project completed! MountainMoped held a ride before Ikes last year, and we began trying to get everything
together for assembly, and at that point decided that a replacement E50 was probably the most doable and logical remedy for
the engine issue at that point. We couldn’t get everything together at Bryan’s Ride, so we didn’t get much
done to it then either, again, unfortunately.
Then, all of us, I mean seemingly everyone, got really antsy and wanted
this thing put together and raffle tickets sold!!! Everyone wanted a shot at winning a custom Puch Magnum that up until that
point so much love and care was going into! Email after email began pouring in to several of us, asking about the status and
progress of this bike. I got all choked-up, felt terrible, and felt as if I’d failed the Moped community, but more importantly,
Paul, his Widow, and his little girl. I was heart-broken, and decided I had to go get the bike, and bring it back to my shop,
in hopes of completing it. Tab went to Ike’s, got all of the parts together with Ike’s help, and I went to Tab’s
and picked it up, and Tab and Lenny helped me load all of it into my van. I brought it back here, and Mrs. Smitty, NightFlight,
ChickenWing, and I all jumped in on it, and polished fenders, headlight rim, etc., and began to put this thing together. Although
we got a lot put together, there was still lots left to be done, like wiring, cables, etc.
Work in my shop began piling
up, I got into parts sales, etc. … and then I had a mild stroke. In amongst all of this, quite possibly as result of
cold winter months, nobody being able to ride their Mopeds, anxiety levels peaking, miscommunications, misunderstandings,
and just all kinds of crap cropped-up. MWH wanted their parts back since I wasn’t going to use them to rebuild the za50
engine (understandable), DonP had issues and complaints about different aspects of the build, and it just all turned really
ugly, seemingly all at once. Out of haste and anger (admittedly) I sent the parts back to MWH, unfortunately without proof
of my shipping them, parcel post, during the busiest mail time of the year, and this resulted in all kinds of suspicions of
all types from all directions. MWH claimed they didn’t receive the parts, and of course I felt terrible for not getting
proof that I’d mailed them, and I felt that I should have also used better judgment (despite my hot-headedness about
everything at the time!) as to the way I mailed them and I should have obtained proof of shipment … but, unfortunately
I screwed-up there. So, I went on a diligent hunt for replacement parts that MWH said they never received from me. Thanks
to great businesses like Steve’s Moped and Bicycle World, Myron’s Mopeds, and Ike’s Bikes, I was able to
purchase all but the Styre-Austria bearings that MWH required. I gathered all of these parts to send to MWH once again, not
because I had stolen or sold the parts as I’d been accused of, but rather because I genuinely felt really bad that MWH
may not have received them. As I was trying to “make things right” with the parts, everyone’s anger, distrust,
suspicions, frustrations, and even lashing-out escalated horribly! So, at this point, I felt that I’d already done what
I said I would, by sending the parts back, and that’s all that I could do, especially since the SKF bearings that I
was able to acquire (at an eye-popping price!) would not suffice. I would have still continued trying to locate these particular
bearings, and resend the parts, again, to MWH, but more personal attacks against my business, my personal / business forum,
etc., turned me much less inclined to go above and beyond anything further to rectify the situation. Of course, I have since
been accused of all sorts of thievery, dishonesty, etc. as a result, however those accusations against me are false, and although
I can not prove that I did send said parts back the first time, I can’t prove that they didn’t arrive at MWH either.
Primarily as a result of the overwhelming stress that all of this caused me, even to the point of being detrimental
to my health resulting in my having a stroke, my wife highly suggested that I just back out of the Moped Business, because
it just wasn’t worth me dying over.
Of course, this meant that I had to find other careers and means of income to
support my Family. So I now have three jobs that I’m working, along with trying to manage time when I can to complete
a few engine builds that I had promised before “closing shop”, and this also includes the Paul Bike.
Paul Puccio Custom Puch Magnum was unveiled at the Tail of the Dragon Moped Ride! I still have the original za50 engine, disassembled
in a box, and the winner will have the option of taking the za50 “basket case” engine if they want it. I don’t
have all of the parts to rebuild the engine with, but will provide the gaskets and seals that I purchased after sending the
original ones back to MWH, to also go along with the disassembled 2-speed za50.
The engine in the bike right now is a pretty-much stock E50 1-speed.
Almost $1,000 in monetary and parts donations combined were
contributed to build this bike. There are some people who claim $2,000 - $4,000 in cash was collected ... however
this is not the case. Moped Riders, although are good-hearted people for the most part, normally don't have fists
full of dollars to give away. These donations were collected to build the bike.
Laura Puccio handled raffle ticket sales, and collection of the proceeds directly. All proceeds from the sales
of the raffle tickets went directly to Laura. Almost 1,200 tickets were sold!!!
The winning ticket drawn from everone's tickets by Emma, was Jeff Grilliot (tomos03). Congrat's Jeff !!!
Thank You ALL for all of the support, patience, care, work, and love that has gone into this long drawn-out project,
that was conceived and put together from the bottoms of all of our hearts,
In Loving Memory of Paul Puccio.
*Note: There was a donations page on this website at one point, however, my original website
was wiped-out somehow, and shortly thereafter we experienced a major computer crash with our old computer. We are still
working to recover the original donations list. I am still not sure if this was a coincindental fluke, or
if someone purposely attacked my website and computer. I do know for sure that my personal/business forum as well
as my new computer were hacked a few months ago, but I do not know if both times were related or not.
|The rat-bike we started with ...
|...and the BEAUTY built by the Moped Community !!!