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Denmark's most popular moped brand

Puch VZ 50

On 26 October 1974, bicycle dealer Simonsen rolled a sparkling new Puch VZ 50 out of the shop. It was mine. However, I had been looking forward to that day for months. Now I was 15, and my longing could be fulfilled - namely to be motorized. The price was NOK 2,795, which was a lot of money at the time. Fits approx. NOK 15,000 in today's money.

The trip home across Juellingsholm on the new moped was and is something I will never forget. The wind in my face, the sound of the new engine whirring beneath me was pure magic. When I got home, mother was ready with dinner as usual. Those of my brothers who have helped with the financing came with good advice about what to watch out for in traffic and why, peppered with stories from their own moped days.

Money is needed

Getting that moped was epoch-making, a milestone in my life. The friends had already got mopeds, now I could finally ride along. It was a big step in other ways too, a step towards adulthood and towards being free as the bird. Driving home today, I could recall that feeling. That day was the first in my life when I felt the precious treasure of freedom so strongly. The scooter was the means to visit friends and explore all the roads in the area on your own. The first service was included in the price. The ignition was switched on and the oil was changed on that occasion. I followed closely what Simonsen did so that I could do it myself next time. It was only December and it was cold, bitterly cold. My brown jacket with a lambskin collar was not very suitable for riding a moped, it was not tight enough, but a proper jacket could not be afforded, so I had to endure the cold. I didn't know much about windproof clothing, so I lived with it until spring finally came - and the summer of 75 was, as you know, the hottest in living memory. 75 was so hot and dry that there were forest fires everywhere. I drove and drove that summer, trips with friends, fishing trips, trips to Fugdal for fresh supplies for mother's magnificent kitchen. I remember that by washing master mason Børge Larsen's two Ford cars, I could earn exactly enough money for the moped's maintenance in the form of petrol and a little luxury in the form of good bakery bread from the bakery in Tingparken on the way home from Saturday's work. Washing cars was my regular job on Saturday mornings. The rest of the cars I washed, vacuumed or polished for others, gave money for everything else, a 15-will apprentice, a trip to the barbecue, some equipment for the moped, etc. If the weather allowed, Saturday afternoon was often set aside for my hobbies. Fixing the moped was one of them, with cleaning, greasing and adjusting it. I liked to wash the engine with turpentine and kerosene, rinse it with water and drive it for a ride until it was warm and dry and then polish the aluminum parts so that the engine shone in the sun. I often saved the baker's bread until I finished cleaning, so I could sit on the stairs with a cup of coffee and enjoy the sight of my Puch. Aquarium fish was my other hobby, which also took up a lot of time, and I earned a pittance by breeding fish. I was never bored. And yes, the weekends were also for trips in the city with friends, often on mopeds of course. When you got a moped, the neighboring towns were suddenly within reach. So you didn't go out of your way to drive some distance after a party and often meet the frozen person. But as you know, there is not much that can hold a boy back from a good experience in the city.

In addition to my Puch being the most well-kept in town, it was also the fastest legal Puch in town. I didn't have to/want to drive illegally, so I adjusted and adjusted so that it mostly went 40 km/h if the headwind wasn't too strong, 45 km/h if you were lying flat across the tank. Down through the viaduct in Grindsted, it could go 50 km/h. But to keep it in that shape, everything had to be absolutely optimal, the chain well lubricated, the exhaust tuned and cleaned, the ignition fine-tuned and the tires pumped up to bursting point. I found that the spark plug from a Folkevogen (Champion L88A) was good for 1-2 km/h. I also got a little out of mixing my own "special" petrol with special two-stroke oil instead of the tank's pre-mixed moped petrol. My moped did not stand still, I rode over 10,000 km a year on my moped.

Time to change

But there was nothing to be done against my best friend's Gilera, and regrettably he had gotten his hands on one. The worst part was that it wasn't even illegal, despite being at least 10 km/h faster than my optimized Puch.

So when I got a job and started earning money myself, I put my Puch down in the basement. It stood there until another apprentice in the family took it over in October 77. Gone and gone forever, when a long-fingered rascal stole it from a cellar in Skanderborg in 83, gone, but never forgotten.

The next chapter in my motorization was when I turned 17. Then I was a bit tired of having to settle for 40 km/h. If you peeled the seal out of a Puch, it didn't take long before the long arm of the law was in its place, and I didn't want to sit and look over my shoulder. I had an agreement with my father and mother not to drive illegally, and I kept that agreement. But here at Grindsted, a couple of Gilera mopeds had arrived, they were interesting for several reasons. Egon Johansen's moped and bicycle shop in Nørregade had sold a few. And among the boys I was with, the rumor spread that precisely the 73s had been mistakenly type-approved without sealing the intake.

I had to have one like that, and in October 1976 I found a 73 in Randers, and during November and December 76 I renovated my own "blue" lightning in the form of a Gilera Touring 50 from 1973. It ran me in the last year, until I turned 18 and got a car.

When I think back to that time, I can see that my interest in engines was a little out of the ordinary. But hang on, what a lovely time it was!

A new project

Due to the number of Puch knockers that were sold in Denmark, there are still unrestored examples of all models out there, some set aside in worn but complete condition, others left in barns, cellars and garages in a sorry state . Once, not so many years ago, an original Puch could be bought for a sweet. Over the last 10 years the price has skyrocketed and even poor and incomplete examples are worth saving, especially if the remains are from one of the rather rare VZ 50 Flagship versions.

Many years ago I met someone who had 2 of these standing in the garage. His plan was to make one good out of two bad ones, and apparently it never came to fruition. I asked if I could buy one. I was allowed to buy the one that was without an engine, as it was the most complete. I also got a couple of cardboard boxes with excess parts in the deal. I thought that once I got the time, I would fix it up. It ended up in my attic, where it lay partially separated for several years, waiting for better times. Normally I would never get involved with a cardboard box model, because it takes far too long to assemble when you haven't taken it apart yourself. But a moped doesn't consist of that many parts after all, so when my red VZ was finished, I wanted to take a closer look at my cardboard box model. I made a list of everything that was missing and found the missing parts surprisingly quickly, thanks to my newfound contacts in Puch circles. Here I would like to extend a special thank you to Niels Teilbæk, who is such an expert in everything to do with Puch MS and VZ.

Over a couple of winters I managed to get it together, bit by bit. I chose to discard the frame, as it was very bad, and instead built it over a fresh frame from an ordinary VZ 50, which I found from a collector in Copenhagen. The frame on the two Puch models is exactly the same, apart from the frame number. And since it is actually surprisingly difficult to get such a plate frame welded up so that it is completely straight, I gave up. I shouldn't have done that, but more on that later.

I asked Niels from Vejle Bilservice (who is also a Puch enthusiast) to see what engine parts he had lying around, and he assembled a nice 3-speed Puch engine from loose parts for my Flagship. In 2015 it was ready to drive, and it had actually become a fine moped, assembled from parts from at least 3 mopeds and some new parts from FACykler in Fredericia, whose owner Jan is himself a Puch collector. Here you can buy most things for old Puch knallert, a place where good and polite service is a matter of course. Nice to meet such people, where attention to detail and service are still paramount.

And here a very strange incident occurs. There is an original engine for a Flagship for sale in DBA, the seller is in Esbjerg. I buy it sight unseen and when I get it home I can hardly believe my eyes; it's the missing engine for my Flagship! It was probably a strange coincidence. I bought the remains of this moped in Nyborg at the time. I remember that the seller said he had bought it in Sønderborg. How does its engine end up in Esbjerg? Puch has a frame and engine number that match. That's why I know this engine is from the wreck I bought back in the day, and numbers match means a lot among Puch collectors. I now have at least one Flagship whose nameplate and engine number match, whose number must begin with 93 to be a true VZ 50 Flagship. Incidentally, the frame number also shows the year, and both of my Puch boots are from 1974. I have both insured and use them every summer for little fun trips out into the blue.

Although the Puch name may have a bit of bad karma from the time of the war, when Göring was a major shareholder and the name became a little too closely linked to Nazi-era Austria, for us here in Denmark the Puch name will forever be associated with mopeds , and perhaps especially a few popular models from the moped's heyday in the 60s and 70s. The total production figure of Puch scooters and motorcycles in the period from 1954 to 1985 is 3,900,000 units. Of this, around 250,000 units ended up. in Denmark.

Denmark's most popular moped brand

There weren't many boys and girls in the 70s who didn't want a moped, and most wanted a Puch. The MS 50 model was a hit in the 60s and the epitome of a moped that had 2 or 3 gears. The MS model became the small Puch when the VZ 50 model arrived in 1968. The big Puch was born. A large Puch was the ultimate for a few years. The sound of the fan-cooled Puch engine became part of the soundscape in all Danish cities for a period that spanned 25 years. Puch got here via the importer O.E Andersen, who skilfully kept the brand at the top of sales until the moped era ended, thanks to the new law for mopeds that came into force in 1979. A completely stupid law that banned large mopeds with more than 2 gears.

Quality from Austria

Puch came from a country with mountains and a sense of quality, and this reflected the Puch knallerts, which were quality through and through. They were not built for high speed, more for reliable transport in all conditions. Therefore, the Danish throttle to 1 hp did not take the drivability of a Puch in the same way as other mopeds, which were built for greater power. The fan-cooled Puch engine originally produced 2.5 hp, where other mopeds from countries such as Germany, Italy or Japan were often built to produce double that. Then if you had to drive legally, a Puch was a good choice. The engine in a Puch held, did not drip oil and was easy to start. On the other hand, the pressed plate frame was vulnerable to rust, and the frame could easily become warped in a crash or if the engine was tuned. In the period until the Japanese mopeds took over, almost half of all mopeds sold in Denmark were of the Puch brand. The Puch MS and VZ models are therefore a dear memory for many of my generation. The Puch VZ was also very popular in Sweden, where the model was called the Dakota. Here in Denmark we got a variant of the VZ 50 model called Flagship. It was equipped with side indicators and a dramatically large speed wind-cooled cylinder. A feast for the eyes and a good moped.

The last VZ models, including the VZ Flagship, were sold in 1977, after which a series of more modern Puch models, built on the Japanese model, took over. These were models such as Monza and Grand Prix, which were built on a frame that was unmistakably reminiscent of that of a Yamaha FS1.

Puch stopped producing mopeds in 1985, after which Piaggio took over the rights to the Puch name in connection with mopeds and motorcycles.

Articles you must read:

My first vehicle Puch VZ 50

My first vehicle was a red and silver gray Puch VZ 50, the year was 1974. I loved my Puch and drove many thousands of km on it. Summer as well as winter. It was a means of transport and a hobby. My Puch activated my interest in mechanics. My time with the Puch bouncer is full of good memories.

In 2008 I came across an original VZ 50 similar to the one I had myself and in a nostalgic moment I jumped at the chance as the price was extremely reasonable and all original parts were there, albeit serviceable for replacement. It had only had one adult owner, who had taken it with him to Sweden, specifically Varberg, where this Danish Puch had covered 50,000 km. I had it shipped home, and over the winter of 2010/11 I spent 60 hours together with the old Puch, - almost as new I would say it was. It was fun to revisit all the details that were remembered from that time. Unfortunately, the rust had a good grip on the frame, so getting that part done properly was not so easy. Making this Puch was pure fun and involved meeting a lot of fun people in the hunt for parts. I found out that there are quite a few peers who also have or are in the process of restoring their old mopeds. There are some parts that can no longer be found original, the exhaust is one such part. But the quality of the parts that are reproduced for Puch is often ok. However, I set out to make this as original as possible and the fact is that only parts of the wiring harness, brake switch, seat cover, rims and exhaust shroud are non-original parts. The rest are original and from this moped. The engine naturally had to have some wear parts replaced, and the gearbox was finally filled with the same Castrol SEA 30 oil that was used at the time.

Denmark's national moped

It's a bit funny, then, that an object like a Puch knocker, which was so common once, could end up being surrounded with such affection among collectors and nostalgic people, as is the case. But a 3-gear Puch is almost Denmark's national car, and therefore every drive in it brings more admiring glances than any other vehicle I've owned.

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