Lenco L75 Restomod

How to take this excellent turntable into the 21st century

[Lenco L75 Restomod]
[Italian version here]

Product: Upgrades to base Lenco L75
Manufacturer: not for sale, TNT-Audio DIY design
Author: Piero Canova - TNT Italy
Published: November, 2021


For some years, in the car world, the so called "Restomod" has become more and more popular. In simple words it is the restoration of historic cars respecting the look, but updating the mechanical parts, taking performance and safety to today's level. It began as a way to eliminate some evident flaws of the original design (brakes not braking, poor suspension, unreliable carburetors, etc) but then step by step it involved the entire car maintaining the beauty of the original design, but upgrading all components achieving a performance even superior to modern vehicles. I wanted to try something similar in the turntable world and so some time ago I looked for a turntable that could be found at a reasonable price and with the potential for some substantial upgrades. The Lenco L75 was the perfect choice since it is still easily available, it is simple and solid, and the parts are reasonably cheap, which is good, since big modifications often mean big mistakes. Furthermore, it has some parts, like the motor and platter, that are first class, so with the right modifications, it is possible to reach reference performance. As usual my modifications must be inexpensive and respect the original look: it is always possible to do something better, but the cost might equal that of a new turntable and the look will be totally different. I have included several pictures to help explain the modifications.

Let's start working

Usually you find, on sale, complete Lenco L75 turntables. Some people restore them to the level they were when they left the factory, but our purpose isn't this, rather a Restomod, so the outer appearance must remain almost unchanged. I first disposed of the weaker performing parts so the factory plinth and the tonearm were replaced with something more up to date. I have kept the main board with the same colors and switches, the spindle and bearing, the motor and platter. Let's see in detail the modifications.

[Lenco parts]

I recommend two improvements: the replacement of the metal ball bearing (number 5 in the right image), which is likely to be worn and flat-spotted, with a ceramic ball and the use of a PTFE based lubricant. I have tested several oil grades including some very thin, but they work well with modern shafts and bearing housings where tolerances are very small. I did try also a cup on the bottom replacing the plastic cup (number 9 in the right image) to provide an oil reservoir to keep the shaft well lubricated, but this seems not to be the right solution. To remove the shaft it is enough to remove the circlip on the bottom (number 8 in the right image) with circlip pliers. Next the thrust pad comes out from the bottom together with the ball. Finally you loosen the screw in the middle of the bearing housing (number 5 in the left image) and the shaft will exit from the bottom. Clean everything with a microfiber cloth or similar that doesn't leave dust or debris, lubricate it well, and insert it inside the bearing housing. For a ball bearing replacement you can use a ceramic ball intended for mountain bike bottom brackets: they have excellent load carrying capability and also very low friction. The size ranges from 3/16" to 5mm. Put some lubricant on the cup at the bottom of the shaft, insert the ball and reassemble the thrust bearing and the circlip. Overall cost is 2€ for the ball, 10€ for a can of oil and 15€ for the circlip-pliers if you don't have a pair.

[Lenco L75 Restomod]

[Lenco L75 Restomod]
[Lenco L75 Restomod][Lenco L75 Restomod]

[Lenco L75 Restomod]

[Lenco L75 Restomod]

In both cases you will need an extension of the spindle in order to hold the record and on top that a record clamp. You need an engineering company with a turning machine to make you a small rod, 7mm diameter and 20mm long, slightly concave on one end and convex to the other, matching the profile of the top of the spindle (number 4 in the right image on top). Fortunately, the Lenco spindle isn't very convex on top so they can do it with ease. You can use brass, aluminum, stainless steel, plastics; to fix it on the spindle you can glue it. You need a jig for the gluing the spindle extension so it will be perfectly vertical and centered. Take a small block of PE or PP and drill a vertical hole 7mm diameter. Check that your extension slides freely inside it. Put a drop of cyanoacrylate on top of the spindle, place the jig ove the Lenco spindle and then push the new extension into the hole to glue it. Cyanoacrylates do not glue polyolefins so when you remove the jig the extension will remain in place. Any clamp will be ok; I have chosen the HD graphite one since it is quite heavy, but a metal one will be also OK. It is only important that the clamp doesn't apply too much stress on the extension when you remove it.

How does it sound?

Immediately you will notice that the turntable is much more quiet. Idler wheel turntables have several positives, but complete silence isn't normally their strong point. The turntable speed is now much more precise and wow and flutter are in the league of a good modern turntable. This quietness and precision, together with the dampening lets the qualities of an idler wheel turntable shine: bass solidity and extension, PRaT and musicality. In comparison to the unmodified turntable the sound is much more detailed and precise having lost the typical character of many turntables of the '70 that make everything nice an pleasant. Now, it is as if a veil of dust has been removed and, if the record is of low quality, this becomes immediately evident also when the recording quality is high, the track immediately hits you. It is now a first class turntable with a clearly defined character that deserves a tonearm and a cartridge of very good quality to express all the Lenco L75 potential. Reliability is as good as the best; just set the speed properly and it will give you many hours of excellent music. There aren't any complicated electronics, electronics or belts getting sloppy or dry; just once a year, change the tyre on the idler wheel and it will go on almost forever. It performs well with all music genres, but in my opinion, I have found it works really well with big orchestras. Does it sound better than my beloved direct drive turntables or a high level belt driven turntable? I can't say that, but rather that the more you increase the level the more all the above technologies converge to a sound that is similar; possibly it loses something in noise floor level, but we are talking about tiny details. More radical improvements like changing the main plate with a thicker one will further improve the performance, but it is really building a brand new turntable.


With an investment in improvements worth some 100€ excluding mat and clamp and some handwork you can have a turntable that will look vintage at first sight, but that after few minutes of playing won't leave any doubt about being in a different league. With a tonearm looking a bit vintage, but of good quality ( a SME M2 or a Jelco SA-250 will be perfect), let your friends listen to it. Some will remember when Lencos were the standard turntable in DJ consoles, but the quality of sound will be a surprise.

DISCLAIMER. TNT-Audio is a 100% independent magazine that neither accepts advertising from companies nor requires readers to register or pay for subscriptions. After publication of reviews, the authors do not retain samples other than on long-term loan for further evaluation or comparison with later-received gear. Hence, all contents are written free of any “editorial” or “advertising” influence, and all reviews in this publication, positive or negative, reflect the independent opinions of their respective authors. TNT-Audio will publish all manufacturer responses, subject to the reviewer's right to reply in turn.
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© Copyright 2021 Piero Canova - piero@tnt-audio.com - www.tnt-audio.com