Sometimes you just get lucky – 1977 250 Qualifier

Scott Johnson of Colorado, recently sent me note about his newly restored Qualifier:

In early April 2016 I began to see 2 Can-Am motorcycles being advertised in the local Craigslist here in western Colorado by an auctioneer who would be holding an estate sale on April 16. One was a 1976 TNT O/R 175cc and the other was the bike you see here which was the 1977 Qualifier 250. Not knowing anything about the Can-Am’s, nor ever owning one, I decided to call the auctioneer to see if I could just buy them outright and to get more information on them. I was told the original owner had passed away and had bought both of them from Knowles Can-Am in Gunnison, Colorado. Both bikes had clean original Colorado street legal titles. It was much easier to get street legal status back then as the use of hand signals, a headlight, taillight and DOT tires were all that was needed. I was further told both bikes were in rough condition.

Upon arrival to the estate auction, I was a bit worried as there were approximately 300 people milling around all the items. I had to wait for over 2 hours before they got to the bikes, and believe me, there were plenty of people looking at them. People saw me studying them both in great detail and began to try and pick my brain as if I was going to bid on them and how much. Of course, I did not divulge a thing.

The first bike to be auctioned was the TNT 175 Off-Road model. I later learned that this bike was somewhat rare if it in fact was the O/R model and upon inspecting the VIN# I learned that it was.

Bidding started at $500 on that bike and when no one raised their hands, the auctioneer had to lower the starting bid a few times until hands started to go up. It reached $200 when I raised my hand.  Another bidder raised theirs at $225 and I again raised mine at $250 and ended up winning that bike! The Qualifier was next. Again the auctioneer started off at $500 and had to come down. Hands started to go up at $200 and by the time it hit $500 I was again the winner!

Once getting both bikes home, I painstakingly cleaned both carbs, tanks, fuel lines, transmission fluids etc until I got both of them running and going down the road. I wanted to make sure the transmissions went through the gears with no problem and there were no gremlins in the engines. Both sounded good and ran fine. All the lights worked as well which was a bonus! I decided to sell the TNT on eBay to use the funds to restore the Qualifier. It was a toss up but the decision had been made. The TNT sold to a guy in Pennsylvania for $760 which needless to say made the Qualifier a free bike to me.

The restoration started right away and by June 4, it was done! Everything was either powder coated, painted, polished or highly detailed right down to every spoke, bolt, washer you name it! The magneto and flywheel were a mess and I am glad I inspected that area. Clean as a whistle now. Lower forks were wet sanded, polished then serviced with new oil and boots. Brakes were serviced and cables lubed. Wiring was either replaced or re-wrapped. Carburetor was cleaned a second time. I spent over 10 hours wet sanding the tank starting with 400 grit going up to 1500 grit and then buffing out. It did not turn out 100% due to some fuel staining that I just could not remove without painting over the plastic and we all know that does not hold up very well. New fenders & graphics all around were applied.

I think I spent over 100 hours of my time on this bike over the past few weeks but she turned out beautiful.


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