Does anyone remember the Grillo?

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If you don’t...never mind. It’s Italian. It’s fast. Made curiously. Handles like dream. Insane ergonomics. Engineered like....well...like most Italian things - complicated.

The engine is pure Americana. Briggs and Stratton. Vanguard 16 HP. Well it might be American...perhaps it was assembled there...I don’t know.

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What I do know was that it was choked by an Italian. The pathway for the choke cable meant it was ridiculously hard to use - very tight. Stupidly tight.

Illustration for article titled An American, choked by an Italian, in Australia...
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The cable going through the pic is the choke. Right of picture is the choke knob. Which works much like every choke knob in creation. Hard straight section about 3" long into a flexible coiled outer cable, inside is a solid wire. Cheap, simple & functional. Unless someone designs a path that involves right angles.

More of a wrong angle...
More of a wrong angle...
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Sorting this out involved removing the entire choke cable assembly. The above image was taken by sliding my phone into the chassis with one hand then using my pinkie to take the picture. So undoing that nut up there required trialling three different 14mm spanners, considering a big fucking hammer, having a hand cramp and then loosing most feeling in my left hand due to blood flow issues before it came loose...

Redirecting it required stabbing M’lady in the finger trying to get the cable end and the choke lever talking in a fashionably cramped location surrounded by other lovely things...

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So much room for dainty hands...
So much room for dainty hands...

Plus a bit of back and forth with a robust chassis and its unwillingness to bend to my will. And yet...

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Before...
Before...
After
After
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Simple stuff but truly fiddly in that wonderful Italian style. Dead set...this thing is built like a brick shithouse but designed like a chocolate teapot. And yet it’s so endearing...

Suffice to say it works much better now thanks to some extrodinarily foul language and some graphite powder...

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From right to left...in the middle is the original choke cable that my mother somehow destroyed and my late step father attached to the ROPS as some sort of reminder...
From right to left...in the middle is the original choke cable that my mother somehow destroyed and my late step father attached to the ROPS as some sort of reminder...

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