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1967 La Pavoni Europiccola -- Sold!

Going down the vintage Pavoni rabbit hole inevitably means you'll have the urge to push further and further back into the early days of the brand, and since Pavoni didn't sell many home levers to the US market until the 70s, it's not that easy to come across '60s machines here.  This '67 is the oldest Pavoni we've had yet.  


The first logical question is, "What's different?  Or better?  Or worse?" about these early levers.  


We've known from the '70s machines we've worked on that the build quality was better in the early production.  But what about how they actually pull shots?  Are they really any different? 


Well, maybe not a lot.  We'd guess most people would be hard pressed to tell a shot pulled on a mid '70s machine from a mid '60s.  This one is exactly 10 years older than the other Europiccola currently listed, but the "user experience" is almost the same.


Both are "dual" element machines.  Switch to "massimo" to heat up fast, or steam, and switch down to "minimo" to pull shots.


The most obvious difference is that Pavoni started letting you turn them off in the early '70s, with an actual on/off switch!  This one has the usual two settings, high, and low.  But no "off!"  Which is awesomely Italian!  You have to pull the plug, or connect it to a switched outlet.  (We're including a new plug in switched wall outlet with this, so your bases are covered.  Shown in pic.)  


The groups were still screwed into the boilers at this point, instead of bolted on, which is probably why the boilers themselves are so much heavier and thicker than even the early "bolt on" '70s machines.  


The group is the "brass insert" style, with the integrated shower screen.  It was a cool idea, but you must remove the insert from the group to pull the piston out.   Not rocket science, but you'll need to make or borrow a tool to unscrew it when you want to change seals. 


The groups were stamped with serial numbers at this point, and seeing those numbers immediately signifies to Pavoni geeks you got the real deal.  A 1960's La Pavoni.    (See our "Dating Your La Pavoni" section for a guide to the serial numbers.)


We haven't put in enough hours playing with '60s machines to have a serious opinion about the possible difference in "heat management" from the early '70s.  But there could be advantages, or implications with the extra mass in these thicker boilers.  We just don't know!


The chrome is pretty good for a now 50 plus year old!  There's some scratches, and spots where you can see the brass.  But we're guessing if you got a problem with showing some "history," you're not looking at one of these. 


The physical charm of the '60s Pavonis is undeniable.   


The steam arms have a sexy "swoopy" shape, compared to the more angular wands of the '70s and up.  


The portafilters have more elegant fluted spouts.


The cup grids were aluminum instead of the later chrome/stainless.  We've sanded and polished this one, but there are a couple dings in it.  

The fill caps were chromed brass, under a bakelite knob, and they screw down onto the boiler.   (Compared to male threaded caps screwing INTO the boiler with the later models.  Which, of course, went from brass, to the current ABS plastic over the years.) 


The bases were cast aluminum, so no rust, and very rigid, which is great when you're torqueing on them with the lever every morning.  From the early '70s Pavoni went with stamped  steel bases, which could not only rust, but flex a bit. 


Of course we've completely rebuilt this.  Disassembled, cleaned, descaled, and new seals everywhere.  Even changed the sight glass seals (along with a new sight glass) which is no small feat on the '60s machines, with no access hole on the upper flange!  Definitely some finesse (and foul language) required!   


We've adapted this machine to accept the new style heating element, so no worries about some day needing to find the obsolete screw-on brass ones.  


Not only has a brand new updated heating element, it also has a new power cord, and we've added a ground wire for extra safety.   (Not required in the good old days!)  The original toggle switch flips back and forth with a nice spring loaded "snap."


Yup, the base has been repainted.  Those who follow VoltAge110 know how reluctant we are to alter the originality of any vintage machine (we LIKE "old") but the paint was so borderline we took the plunge in this case.  The hammertone silver blue is surprisingly close to the original look, and has a hard two part clear over it for durability.   Hopefully the last time this one will be re-painted!


As with all "dual element" machines, before a pressurestat was added, the pressure relief valve on top of the boiler opens and vents excess pressure off once the machine heats up.  (So not a great idea to go off and "forget" about any dual element machine once it gets going! )


Overall, this is a pretty charming 1960s Europiccola, that we ended up "sparing no expense" on.  We'll see if somebody thinks it was worth the effort!


(Comes with a double basket.)

1967 La Pavoni Europiccola -- Sold!

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