Date of Manufacture: 50 to 60 years old?
Origin of Machine: France
Country of Purchase: France
Serial number: 146C
Power: Gas and electricity, 1200 watt
Boiler type: Closed boiler
Lever type: Spring lever
Tamper Dimension: 57 mm
2 double filter baskets, 1 single basket

Translated by Gary Seeman.

Despite the limited space of my blessed home and with the patience of graceful darling, I’ve been moved by the desire to restore a commercial machine, to face down such an imposing cube for but a few cubic centimeters of coffee essence.

The opportunity was provided by Pascal, who generously offered me a machine with a strong brand,
a Zenith Express he had picked up.

This deal was based on an exchange of machines that would be beneficial for both of us.

I thank him here and now with friendship and warmth.


This is the machine that was offered for sale.

The machine seems in good condition.

Do not judge a book by its cover.

After it arrived at Pascal’s place, he began a general inspection that took some effort.

Deteriorating paint.

Chrome in poor condition.

And rust, a lot of rust.

The boiler. And so it goes, could it have had all of these problems? All the same …

… the slow transformation of the boiler …

which benefitted with a bath in Pascal’s "special dip."

This would require the full complement of tools, the torch will be brought to bear as well.

To remove the face from the chassis, straighten the right edge of the façade and
repair a heating element nipple.

Before and after.
The change is easily apparent.

Among other "niceties" Pascal was also able to restore a sightglass tube I had broken,
sizing it with a cutting torch.

That’s a good piece of work!
And if this were not enough, Pascal asked if I would send it out for paint and rechroming,
 entrusting the job to his local artisans.

And so I would have to be patient and let it be, after receiving these photos.

A paint shop.

Then rechroming of parts.

The drip grate is beautiful.
The right side that was damaged is
only a bad memory.  

I believe I owe a debt of gratitude to Pascal. A big thank you to him.

And one day it finally arrives home.

The crate is too heavy, I have to open it and extract the machine piece by piece.

Beautiful packaging for shipment!

Now the machine begins to reveal itself. It's always a special moment.

It is finally here!
I must only discover, collect all the pieces
and there!

On top. To the side. Inside.

And like a puzzle, I sort all the pieces to the work plan.

Ther’s an air of mystery, since I didn’t take it apart myself.
I wonder if I'll put each piece in its correct place.

Yes I hear your horrified cries, but this is
 only a collection
box for storing the small parts.

There is a strange piston assembly … !
Grime and the usual gray deposits
 on the brass.

Fittings puzzle me about their provenance. This chrome lever is beautiful … The portafilter, not so much …

The pressure gauge is not too dashing. The scars of the past, but which give it the necessary stamp of authenticity.

The dial seems to have soaked or
suffered from condensation.

A bit of a triple 0 makes it beautiful,
but retains some patina.

Clean piping, shining copper and renewed plastic and Bakelite. The routine that I like.

Any more pitting and it could start to break through, but fortunately this piece was thick.

Here is a bizarre discovery, a preposterous idea.
I guess the original shower screen was broken or had disappeared and this was a makeshift way
 to make this Zenith work.
The hole will be plugged with a little welding.

I take care of the lever and the bearings.

I continue with fabricating seals using Teflon or Klingersil.

Heating element seal and group seal, I do them over because the first ones didn’t work.

Then laying Armaflex insulation.

And I can begin to reassemble.

Some close-up details during reassembly.

Then the final assembly, before adjustments and pressure testing.

Today I pulled my first shots of Zenith espresso. There are some adjustments to make, a few micro-leaks to fix.

But what happiness, what beauty!