People collect all kinds of things. Scooter people tend to fall into several collector camps, and one of those are people who get really into accessories. One of the rare accessories for Lambrettas was a clock that was available for the Lambretta LD. I've seen a few of these for sale over the years, and the price for them has moved steadily upward. At this point, they are going for what I consider to be silly money. This one here on Ebay,, was the first I have seen for sale in the US for quite a long time. It sold for an astonishing $1377! I have paid less for complete and running scooters!
Well, it has been a bit of a crazy summer, and I just have not found the time to blog much. I guess that is a good thing, since I have been out doing things, instead of sitting in front of my computer! I've done some fun scooter trips, but mostly have been busy with family stuff.
Most importantly for my scooters, I had some forward momentum on my long-stalled 90SS project. I hauled it out of storage, and took the scooter apart for paint. I then sent it down to Eric at 2nd Ave Scoots in Phoenix to begin the painting process. That's a big deal, as the scooter has been languishing in my storage for close to 20 years at this point. Time to get it done!
I have also decided to slim down my scooter collection. I have too much stuff just sitting around. I figure, if I have not ridden the scooter in 10 years, it is time for it to move on to someone who will. So, I'll be selling my GS 150, my German-made Augsburg T/4, a Lambretta D150, and my Lambretta 150 Special... who knows, maybe I'll sell more stuff once I get going!
This seems to be the summer of the SX. This is the third one that has come up for sale in the last couple of months. You can find it here on Ebay. This is by far the best one I have seen for sale in awhile. Usually, when they are this nice, they just pass from one scooterist to another - never popping up in the general market. I suppose the very high prices recently are starting to make people think twice about keeping an SX. It sure does make me think twice about riding mine!
Anyhow, this scoot just checks every box for one of these. The seller says it is un-restored and original. Given that, it is as great as you could ever find. The paint is still shiny and in good condition overall. It shows some use, but really, really, nice overall. The seat looks original to me as well. It still even has the tool kit and owner's manual. What more could you ask for? This will sell for really big money. I bet the guys who paid $9k for the restoration project SX's last month are kicking themselves now!
(05/19/15 Update) Holy cow! Sold for $6,700! If that is a bonafide sale, that is utterly astonishing for one in that condition. I'm not sure what to make of it.
Wow, coming on the heels of the SX200, we have another holy grail of the Lambretta world popping up for sale, a Lambretta TV 175 Series I. You can find it here on Ebay. These are among the hardest Lambrettas to find anywhere. I've seen a handful in the US, but I suspect that most of the ones sold here eventually ended up on the scrap heap. Their motors are just different enough from all the others, that I imagine most of them met an untimely demise when something gave out on them. Who would have parts for one of these in the 70's or 80's? Well, this one is rough for sure, but certainly worth saving. Sure, bits are missing. Sure, it will need a complete restoration from top to bottom. But when you're done, you have a very rare and valuable scoot. Maybe if the bidding remains sane, you might even not spend more money to restore it than it is worth. Maybe.
Here is something you don't see every day... an unrestored original Lambretta SX200 on the open market. You can find it here on Ebay. Mostly these are in enthusiast hands at this point. When someone finds one like this, he or she usually covets, keeps, and restores it for their very own. It is not very often that one comes up for sale on ebay like this. I think the last one I can remember was in slightly better condition than this one, and was bid up to $9,000... but that was years ago. I really wonder where this will end up. Yes it is rough. Yes, it needs absolutely everything. However, there are just so few around that I can see this going for a lot of money - it is already at $5,000 and lots of time to go.
There are things I just don't see very often. Here is one of those things on Ebay. The vintage Vespa Club cog badges are things people collect, and are reasonably common in Europe. However, it seems like there just were not too many US Vespa Club members. So finding a US cog badge is pretty fun. However, this one is an "Arizona" badge. That has a lot of interest to me, since I grew up in Arizona. However, when you really think about it, this is a crazy rare badge. How many people lived in Arizona in the 50's? Certainly not many. So there could not have been many of these badges made. I've never seen one before. Wow. So I figured I'd make a play for it. I was thinking that it would go for around $60. Boy was I wrong! Sold for $140!!
I have two different versions of this USA market only accessory brochure. They are both similar. One is like this one, and one is slightly different on the cover. The inside details are the same. It is a very cool accessory list for the various doo-dads you could get for your Lambretta in the early 60's. The cover art is really cool as well. You can get your very own here on Ebay.. The bidding is active on this one, and I'm guessing it will get to around $70 at the end. It is a nice and rare accessory brochure, that's for sure!
This looks like a really good one to me. A GS 160 for sale in Central California, just a mere four hours from me. I'm sorely tempted. You can take a look, here on Ebay.. This just has the right kind of patina in spades. It checks all the right boxes. I'm guessing that it will ultimately sell in the $4-5k range. We'll see...
There are a lot of dubiously restored scooters on the web, but it is nice to see a good honest survivor for a change. You can find this Vespa 150 VBA here on Ebay.. It looks like a typical East Coast scooter, ridden for decades, and then pushed to the back of the garage. I'm not sure if the crash bars are saveable, but I'd probably try. I dig this scooter!
Here is a straight throwback to the 1980's, a Vespa T5! You can find it for sale on Ebay right now. This thing is dressed up with a ton of 80's accessories. Sure they look bad, but didn't most 80's fashion? Underneath, the motor on the T5 is tasty, and the upgrades listed inside make sure this scooter will be quick. Sure it looks square and garish, but it does perfectly encapsulate the era. I would totally ride it!
Here is a very rare item, a Lambretta LD clock. Take a look at it here on ebay. These came only on the first series of LD's that had exposed handlebars. Those models had a very small glovebox on the legshields that held a speedometer on one side, and a spot for a clock on the other side. Most people did not opt for the clock option. It has been years since I have seen one of these for sale. I wonder if it will sell!
It is pretty rare to see a Vespa 400 car for sale in this condition, but here one is on Ebay. This one is not too expensive, and likely won't get huge dollars due to its condition. Clearly, it needs a full restoration. However, it appears to be an excellent candidate for restoring. Rust has not destroyed it, and virtually all the parts appear to be intact. Check out the pictures with the listing. It is unbelievable that this car is in this good of condition, given where it was stored. Certainly, if it were closer to me, I would make a play for it myself!
Here is something you don't see too often. This rear rack is a pretty rare rack that was on early Vespas. You can tell by the bottom bracket that it would work only on round-tail models. The top bracket isn't shown, but this looks like a rack I have seen on widebody scoots... it could be that it was also adapted for early rotary valve largeframes as well. Cool, if you ask me!
This was a crazy auction on Ebay. I've never seen one of these before, and it is probably the only one left. An accessory tail light, NOS, still in the box. This would be for a very early Allstate Vespa. The early ones must not have had a brake light, and Sears sold this accessory to retrofit your scooter. Everything you needed came in the kit. Look at the final hammer price of $650... you could almost buy a scooter for that!
This Vespa parts and accessories catalog was just on Ebay. I had been keeping an eye on it because I have a copy of it myself. I always liked this catalog because it basically listed everything that the East Coast Vespa distributor "Vescony" sold. It had all the scooters, three-wheelers, accessories, and parts. I guess it was made for the dealers to have in their showrooms. My estimate for it was somewhere in the $40-60 range. When the hammer fell, it went for a whopping $220! I guess I better make sure mine stays safe... More photos of the catalog below the jump.
I've been keeping an eye on this tail light that is on ebay. These came on the very last Allstates and the one-year only Sears Vespas. They also came on the '67 Vespas. I've mainly seen them on Super Sports, but they may have been on other US market scooters as well. It is undoubtedly a cool looking tail light, and compliments the wide rear of the Super Sport and Rally. I am pretty sure these only came on US market scooters, and were not on anything else. So they are kind of rare.
I thought it would be nice to have a spare one of these, and figured I'd bid up to around $40 for it. It is missing the rare - and usually broken - reflectors on the bottom. It appears to have the guts, and has the lens, which is nice. Still, it isn't perfect, which is why I figured it would sell for a reasonable price. Now I went back to check on it, and WHOAH, it is up to $485?!!! What? People are just nuts.
Scooterlounge is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and thus, we have a deep and abiding interest (some could call it a hatred) of the California DMV. Paying the registration fees on a fleet of scooters really adds up. So we are really keen to figure out ways to pay less, or at least, not pay any unnecessary fees to the Man.
We already gave you, gentle reader, the tools with which to fight any back registration fees on your classic vehicle. If you forgot, go here and read....
Now, we have become privy to a new online resource to find out in advance whether you'll need to pre-arm yourself for battle. We give you, the online registration calculator. You can use it to find out if your chosen vehicle owes back registration fees and penalties.
Thusly forewarned, you can go to the DMV with the correct law provisions at your fingertips with which to dazzle and delight the clerk opposite you in the window. You'll be in for a fight, that's for sure. However, with the law on your side, you should come out victorious.
Warning - below is a legal description of the California law as it pertains to vehicle registrations. Ignore if you don't want to dork-out.
I did a bit of research into the issue of paying back registration on a vehicle that hadn't been registered in awhile. This comes up often with scooters, because people just don't pay the reg, and then sell them. So when you buy the bike and change the title, you have to pay all the past registrations. I read on an online forum that it was possible to get out of having to pay the back reg for a vintage vehicle, but that most people (and most DMV employees) didn't know about the law. So that got me on the road of doing some legal research into the guts of the California vehcle code...
I believe that this is an early photo of the Lambretta assembly line in India. I am not sure if this production was the API factory, or some earlier incarnation of the licensing arrangement with Innocenti.
[update January 1, 2014] I got an email from Rudy P. who was the lucky guy who ended up with this scooter (though it went through others before he got it). He's now in the process of a nut-and-bolt restoration on it. It is now in bits awaiting paint. I can't wait to see the finished product. It looked to be a nice straight scooter, so the restoration should be pretty straightforward.
[original post June 16, 2011] This is one of those rare Ebay moments, when the quickest draw gets a super deal. Here we have some longtime owner who didn't know what he had, and put, what could be described as a "barn find" Lambretta SX200 up on Ebay. Now normally, if the seller knew anything about how Ebay worked, he would have just run a normal auction. However, for some reason, he put a Buy-it-now of $1500 for this scooter. What a deal! What strikes me as totally insane is that you can see that there were a total of five bids on it. So that means that four people saw the ad, and did not hit the $1500 buy it now, but bid below that. I think we can safely classify those people as dumbasses. I feel sorry for the seller, who if he would have run a normal auction would likely have gotten around $4000 for this scooter.
Cool video of Lambrettas at the race track. I guess they had to race, rain or shine. Clearly, a lot of wrecks due to the slick conditions. It is amazing this footage survived!
In 1965, a young Bristol UK woman was part of a team formed to beat the world scooter speed record. Marlene Parker, a taxi driver in the city, had been selected from 67 female applicants from across the country to ride a Lambretta scooter in Monza in Italy and break the world record of 110 miles an hour.
The team behind the attempt, which was sponsored by Lambretta and Filtrate Oils, is now reuniting. The only missing member is Marlene - but no one knows where she is.
"Eventually the machine was sold and the team lost touch with Marlene. Unknown to the designers and engineers the machine wasn't scrapped, and has recently been discovered in the hands of a large German scooter company (SIP, perhaps?) that is intending to completely rebuild it and return it to its former glory of 40 years ago. "They are also trying to bring together all those of the British team who attempted the world record at that time."
I've dealt with countless 70's US Market Vespas, and they all had the crazy battery system that Piaggio came up with to comply with US regulations. Needless to say, their solution was half-assed, and basically didn't work well. Mostly, I just removed the battery from the scooter, and re-wired it to run AC. It is actually pretty easy to do, especially so with the trouble-prone 1974 versions. Here is a nice video on how to do the modification from one of my favorite shops, Vespa Motorsport in San Diego.
Beyond scooters, I also really like all of the scooter dealer items. I collect all the odd-ball stuff from dealers. Brochures, service manuals, tools... you name it. I've been on the hunt for a 60's era Vespa sign for many years, and never found one. After all these years, one turned up on ebay in the hinterlands of California's Sierra Mountains. It was in a very small town, where it just so happened I knew people. I won the auction, and this sign with very heavy patina now hangs in my garage. I'm stoked!
The Salsbury is a legendary scooter, and one of my favorite of all time. It certainly set the standard for those that came after. To start with, the styling on it is timeless. In addition, it was technologically advanced. It was the first scooter that had a CVT, which is still used in all modern automatic scooters today. I've always wanted a Salsbury. In the pre-internet days, it was almost impossible to find one. Now that the internet has made everything available, the price is out of my reach. I can still admire it though. One of the nicest I have seen was just sold on ebay for a whopping $20,000 USD!
This is a very rare scooter, with an impossibly rare accessory sidecar, in stunning condition. It is no wonder that the price reached astronomical heights!
Enjoy more photos after the jump.
This is a nicely done video about a fellow in Los Angeles that restores and repairs 50's Italian motorcycles. There is indeed a shop for every vehicle niche, and that really is enabled by the internet... where else would you find customers for such a narrow focus? I love it!
Yeah, it isn't a scooter... but these would have been the motorcycle alternative to a scooter in Italy in the 50's. I have a '59 Gilera 150, and I can tell you it is no faster, and not much bigger than my '59 Vespa G.S. To my mind, the Gilera is the most beautiful of these 50's Italian bikes. The Ducati single that is briefly in the video is also stunning, if for no other reason than the outrageous fuel tank. I have no idea how they made them with so many complex curves!
A Lambretta was recently sold at Sotheby's for a charity auction. It was a replica of the scooter in the iconic movie Quadrophenia, though not the original scooter. Hammer price: $209,000 USD. Let that sink in for a second...
Consider that the actual scooter used in the movie sold in 2008 for £36,000.
Personally, I see this as part-and-parcel of our new Guilded Age. Sure, it is nice that it was for charity... but honestly, the fact that someone has such an ridiculous amount of money that they can drop two hundred grand on a bauble is pretty obscene.
If you want to go deep into the weeds of the actual scooters used in Quadrophenia, this site has your geek-out covered.
This interesting pin showed up on ebay last week. I have never seen one like it. I guess that it is a badge that was given to employees at the Piaggio factory. Clearly, it is quite old, I would guess from the 1950's. I was wondering how much it would end up selling for. The buyers were out in force for this one, and it ended up selling for a heafty $255! Quite a bit for a little pin!
Recently, I've been working on my friend's Vespa 150 Sprint. It has been in storage for a long time, and now wanted to get it roadworthy again. The main problem that it has had, even in storage, was that it leaked oil - bad. It was two stroke oil, not case oil that leaked out. All the largeframe Vespas in the US market in the 70's had oil injection. This one had a problem keeping oil in the tank. It was a slow leak, but over time, all the oil came out. So now, I had to determine the cause of the leak.
My first thought was that there was a crack in the tank, sight glass, or oil line. I pulled the seat off and got the tank off.
When I got the tank off, there was no problem with anything in there. As you can see from the above photo, there was no oil inside the frame. The metal oil tank was fine (the oil tanks from the pre-P series were metal, not plastic), the oil line was fine, and the sight glass was not cracked. I did notice that the fuel line was hard as a rock. Since I was already in there, I replaced it.
Next, I turned my attention down the line, the oil line, that is. I couldn't find any really obvious culprit. When I took off the carb and looked in the air box, there was nothing that jumped out at me. The only thing I noticed was that the screw that holds the air box on the case was a bit loose. I tightened it up. I think that the air box was not 100% tight on the frame, and oil was leaking out from the bottom of the air box. Since I have tightened it down, the scooter does not seem to be leaking. I'll keep an eye on it, but for now, I think it is problem solved!
I'm not in the market for another scooter, but when Lambrettas come up for sale nearby, I tend to keep an eye on them. Recently, a project Li150 showed up on ebay just across the bridge in San Francisco. I took a look at the listing, and talked to the seller. It looked like a good honest "barn find" that was being sold as part on an estate sale. That said, the scooter is very rough, and will need a complete restoration. The motor is siezed and it is missing a sidepanel. This thing will cost many thousands to make right. Even if it was free, it will likely cost more to make it nice than it is worth. So I figured that it would sell in the $500 range, and maybe $800 at the top end.
So I was completely blown away to see that it sold for a whopping $1900! What the ...? Maybe there was gold in the glovebox? I have no idea. But from what I see here, and from what I heard from the seller, someone seriously overpaid by like three times for this thing.
This is especially so when you look at other recent ebay sales.
Just compare with this fantastic Series I Li, which reached only $2500 and understandably didn't meet reserve.
This perfect Li 125 Series III, no bids at $3700 (and I doubt will sell)
This tatty Li 125 Series III in arguably better condition (though still rough) sold for $427
It just goes to show, people sometimes get caught in bidding wars. Whoever bought this thing is very far upside down on it from the word go. The seller is stoked though!
It is pretty cool to see a photo of a 90SS back in the day when it was just another scooter. It is kind of hard to imagine someone doing a hill climb or scramble on one of them now. "Oops, I just crashed my $15,000 scooter!" just isn't I sentence I ever want to hear.
This is a very interesting way to promote Vespas. This custom van clearly has a sliding rear section to allow access to the rear flat bed section. It sure would be a great rally support/transport vehicle today!
This is a very cool photo, and the technical aspects of how it was made are pretty amazing. Yes, he used photoshop... but not how you might think. Check out the details here.
Interesting little video from a scooter club in Columbia. Well done!
I am not only involved with vintage scooters, I also like vintage motorcycles... and cars. There are numerous rally events going on all summer, but two of my absolute favorites are the Moto Melee and the California Melee. The Moto Melee is for motorcycles (and scooters), and the California Melee is for cars. Although I have an old Alfa Romeo, this year, I went on the Cal Melee with one of the guys in my scooter club, Derek. He owns a Datsun 510, that he has heavily modified. It is a pretty sweet ride. We spent a lot of time driving with some good friends - and fellow scooterists - in a Porsche 914. Take a look at the great photo album here.
One of the things I've been busy doing in August was moving my scooters. I had stored most of them in the same rented garage for at least the last five years. The person I had rented from needed the space back, and so, sadly, it was time to move on. As luck would have it, Scooterlounge team member Dano had space in his garage. As the saying goes, as one door closes, another one opens. The big move took a good part of a day, with mutliple truck-loads like the one above.
This is what it looked like in Dano's space as I started filling it up. Scooters and motorcycles aplenty. Suffice to say that the pile 'o bikes that I dropped off took up much less space than the car that Dano used to have stored down there. My Rally is also coming in handy as a reference while he works on his Vespa GS restoration (more on that to come).
I have been pretty busy the last few weeks. Hence, the lack of posting. Yet, here we go again! This is the two SX 200's owned by the Scooterlounge crew. I fine looking pair if I do say so myself.
Ooh-la-la! The makings of a very fast motor. Can you name all the tasty goodies in this build?
I had some time to work on the Lambretta recently, and figured it would be good to install the choke kit on the carb. It has a 24mm Mikuni, and previously, I had to pull off the cowl and manually pull the choke on it when I wanted to start the scooter from cold. Jet200 sells the conversion kit, but I previously had gotten the wrong style of choke cable, so I was thwarted in my attempts to install it. Finally, I got the right cable, and it was time to do it up! As you can see in the photo above, the existing choke is the black plunger on the left side of the photo.
Here is the new kit that I got from Jet200. Not a lot of stuff, easy. So I pulled out the old mechansm, and installed the new cable into the lever on the frame. Then I threaded the choke end into the brass adjuster as seen above, and attached the cable through the spring and onto the plunger. Simple.
The only problem I ran into was that the cable housing end would not fit into the brass adjuster. So I had to make some "adjustments" to the cable housing. It kind of looks ugly, but it does get the job done. When I was finished, it all worked great. Sweet! Now I don't have to pull off the cowl every time I want to start the scooter!
Sure you can fix a scooter, but can you delve into computer code and fix a broken website blog? I know I can't... which is why we here at scooterlounge.com have a phalanx of scooter-riding computer nerds who work night and day to keep the site up and running. We had a little problem with the blog for the last few days that stopped us from posting. Thank the computer gods, and the scooterlounge IT team, it is now fixed, and we can resume our normal posting!
So, I have a late model Vespa PX 200. It had clutch problems, so I got some time to open up the motor and take a look. I was shocked to discover a regular old-style clutch, and not the cosa clutch. I really have no idea why this motor did not have the cosa clutch in it. Well, I just so happened to have a cosa clutch lying around, so I took out the clutch that was in there, and put in the cosa. Above, you see the original clutch on the right, and the cosa clutch in the motor on the left.
I think the cosa clutches use just a nut and lock washer. However the system in the motor was the old style, and that is what I had lying around. So I put a new nut and cage on there to get the clutch on. It isn't really what is supposed to be on there, but it works just fine.
Now, I can actually ride the scooter. Soon, I'll do a post on how it runs with the SIP road pipe I also installed (but couldn't ride because of the bad clutch).
August 8, 2013 Update: Well, it looks like the hive-mind has spoken. These must have been genuine. They ended up selling for a whopping $800!! There were 13 bids on it. Someone had a rare collectible, that's for sure.
July 27, 2013: Every once in awhile, something shows up on ebay that you just never see. Here is a set of Lambretta work overalls. They certainly look old. The main question is whether they are from the Lambretta factory, or from some shop somewhere (probably in Italy). I am not enough of an expert on the Lambretta factory to know. However, it sure seems like some people with deep pockets think it is a genuine article. As of today, the bidding is over $400! I wonder what they will ultimately sell for. One thing is for sure, they are very cool!
I'm not really sure where this photo was taken. It looks like it was at a stand at some sort of convention. Note the old tube gadget in the background. Also take a look at the guy in the background with the cowboy hat, bolo tie, and the plaid jacket. The whole scene is very 1950's. Awesome!
Someone forwarded me this cool video from a scooter club in Bogota, Columbia. Scootering is a world-wide phenomenon, and sometimes it takes something like this to remind me of that fact. This video could have been made in San Francisco, or London, or Barcelona... you get the idea. Great work guys... keep the scootering flame alive, I say!
More info on the Moonstop Riders S.C. here.
One of my favorite scooters is the Lambretta TV175 Series II. I just love the lines on the Series II Lambrettas, and of course, the TV175 is the one to have. They do not seem to come up for sale very often in the U.S. However, there is one on Ebay right now, and the seller is using an interesting selling technique. The "buy it now" option doesn't seem to me to be the best way to sell on ebay. I guess we will see whether it works for him.
This scooter has a lot going for it. It clearly has original paint, and also has some really nice accessories. The question on the accessories is whether they are original or reproductions. I'm personally not a huge accessory fan, but some people certainly love them. The original paint is good to have, but in this case, it is not in the best shape. Yes, it is ok, and you could drive it as-is. However, the price he is asking for the scooter is really at the top of the market. For $9,000, I would expect to have original paint in very nice condition (compare to this one), or a high quality repaint. This scooter has neither. So... will someone pull the trigger on a rare scooter? We'll see?
Cleverly painted Lambretta by utterly hip sign painter/artist Nicolai Sclater. His blog is well worth looking at... very, very cool.
This is a photo of a Lambretta TV175 that Innocenti made for promotional purposes. It is kind of hard to see in this black and white photo, but it was completely chrome plated. They toured the scooter at shows to show off the new slimstyle TV models. Pretty cool! I believe that this scooter survived, and is now in Vittorio Tessara's Lambretta museum in Italy.
This is a video report about a scooter collector in Austria. It is in German (with an Austrian accent, naturally), but even if you don't speak German, the scooters are great to see. I'm a big fan of the Goggos and the Maicomobil. The most interesting one to me was the Russian Goggo copy. I had never seen one of those before!
The owner was previously thinking of selling the whole collection, but now said that he will keep them. That is good to hear. Hopefully more people will get to enjoy seeing them.
Nice street scene, somewhere in the Netherlands in the 50's.
Oh fashion world... is there anything you can't do with photoshop? If you can make models look taller and superhuman, you certainly can remove a scooter's centerstand!
Note the sequential license plate numbers!
As you may recall, I had recently purchased on the hot new "Clubman" style exhausts made by BGM. (get yours here). I thought it would be a straight up fit, but alas, I was mistaken. The exhaust header would not clear the fins on my cylinder. (photos here)
With that problem, it seemed only brute force would be my solution. So I got out the trusty Dremel tool and got to grinding. I roughly marked where I thought the header was hitting the cylinder, and cut away. As you can see in the photo above, I got the small bit off that was interfering. Then I cinched up the header. You can clearly see how beefy and huge it is. Nice! As an added bonus, I should be able to get the pipe and u-bend off without taking off the motor tin. I like it.
Here is the pipe on the scooter. As you can see, it looks totally stock. I can report that, at idle, it is surprisingly quiet. It is almost as quiet as a stock scooter. However, once you get on the throttle for any amount, it gets loud quickly. No big shock, I mean, it is a performance exhaust. I can also say that this scooter is crazy fast with this pipe on it. I still have to do some jetting work, but it just feels like it wants to rip through every gear. It is very very quick. (note, the motor is a mildly street tuned 175 with a mikuni flat slide)
Last month I got a chance to join up with other Lambrettisti on the annual LALO rally in San Francisco. LALO is the "Loose Association of Lambretta Owners," which really isn't an actual group, but just a few guys that organize this ride every year. It is Lambretta only. I think I've been on every one they have hosted. Usually I truck over from Oakland, but this year I rode over the Bay Bridge with my pal Pelayo.
The San Francisco area has a high concentration of classic scooters, and a ton of Lambrettas are among them. I guess that there were about 40 scooters on the ride this year. Some years have seen huge turnouts.
I had to post this up because this is an accessory that I had not ever seen for sale in the U.S. before. It is an accessory flyscreen for a Lambretta Series II or it appears, also Series II Li's (but not TV/SX). Very interesting.
I can see why not many of them (or any of them) made it over here. As a flyscreen, it doesn't appear to be of much use. It is just a flashy item to spice up your scooter. For someone into accessories, this really is that final touch. I have seen a lot of the chrome items up for sale either as originals or re-pops. However, this version of a flyscreen is one I've never seen. If you are into this kind of stuff, you should jump on it. The seller is someone who really knows his stuff...
Several interesting scooters hit the final bell this weekend, and the results were somewhat surprising.
First was this 1967 Vespa SS 180 in Massachusetts. This is a last-year US market scooter. It has the US-only 1967 round headset. The special '67 "Mickey Mouse" SIEM tail light is missing, but it has the round "tractor style" light, though missing the side reflectors. It looked like a pretty decent scooter. Not perfect, but a decent rider. I figured it would sell for the buy it now of $3250, but didn't meet reserve at $2325. If it was closer to me, I would have made a play for it.
Next was this 1963 Lambretta Li 150 Series III in Portland, Oregon. This scooter was being sold by a well-known Lambretta guy, who completely restored it. It appears to be in excellent condition, and knowing the seller, I'm sure it is a really nice scooter. He rebuilt the motor with all new parts, and put in a 175 top end. It sold for $5000 and I'm sure everyone is happy.
Third is a 1962 Lambretta TV 175 Series III, from the same seller as the Li above. This scooter is arguably more interesting then the Li above, but did not end up selling. This is an early TV Series III and has the Li style cowls, the later ones had the "Special" style cowls. It has not been restored, but has been conserved. The scooter was repainted, but the cowls were not. I'm not sure why he didn't shoot the cowls at the same time he did the rest of it, but whatever, it is still a nice scooter. With a rebuilt motor, and all new cables and wiring, I'm sure it runs great. The 175's are surprisingly quick, and the one I had (also blue like this one) seemed actually faster than my SX200. I thought this one would sell, and the Li would not. I'm guessing that the decision not to paint the cowls really hurt its chances. Reserve not met at $5100.
Finally, there is this 1980 Vespa P125X with a California sidecar in the Los Angeles area. This is a rig that I have seen quite a few times. It has a lot of the accessories that were available in those days, and the dealers really pushed these fiberglass sidecars at that time. I've seen a lot of them. It also has the huge fiberglass windscreen/mirror accessory, that I think was US-only, and the US-only flat rear rack. This is the later, cruder, model or rack, the earlier version was chrome and really nice. Both of the US rear rack versions were super strong, and are are really practical acccessory. This one has a huge rear box, and I have not seen this type of box before. I guess it was from a motorcycle. This scooter appears to be all original, and normally the silver paint of this era was really weak. Most of the silver P's had failing paint by this point. This scooter was clearly garaged all of its life. Note the front fender reflectors, which are normally the first thing to go upon repaint. The speedometer shows 225 original miles, and I'm sure that is accurate. This thing was a novelty purchase. Didn't meet reserve at $3825.
I have a Lambretta Series III that had an Indian big bore exhaust on it. Well, it eventually shook itself to bits, giving up the ghost a few months ago. Right about the same time, Jet 200 announced that they would be selling the new BGM Lambretta exhaust. Good timing! After waiting for them to arrive from Europe, I finally got one from my local shop, and just recently had time to start the process of installing it. I got all the old junk off the scooter, and proceeded to put the new stuff on. Alas, I found that the new header is a bit too wide to fit on my cylinder. It hits the cooling fins. Now I have to decide whether to cut the fins, or try to jam it on there as-is. Hmmmm, where's my Dremel tool?
Are the "hipsters" that are so oft derided by popular culture just the mods of today? Hard to say. Youth subcultures all have their own uniforms and generalized ethos. However, I would say that the focus on retro natty attire and fetishization of bicycles of some of today's west-coast hipsters has a lot of parallels with the mods of yesteryear. Nevertheless, some styles are evergreen... as evidenced by the use of scooters in many fashion shoots. They just accessorize so well with clean retro-inspired fashion. Wouldn't you want to be pals with these guys?
I believe they are modelling Gant fashions.
Some cool footage from the SIP Custom Show. It is perhaps a bit more interesting if you speak German... but the shots of the scooters are universal.
Wow, time flies. About a month ago, I cruised over to my friend Jay's pad to help him make some progress on his GS. Jay bought a GS 150 VS4 in parts, and has been slowly resurrecting the old girl. Suffice to say, a GS restoration is not for the feint of heart, or anyone on a schedule. Missing parts, even small ones, take a long time to track down. Above, you see Jay-the-bandito working the surface rust off his rear shock. Fun times!
Here you see Jay's scooter in the background. My GS is in the foreground. I brought it over to his place so we had a reference for all the funky nuts and bolts, and just generally could figure out where the jigsaw puzzle pieces went. We've made good progress. At this point, we're just needing to get the wheel nuts, and Jay's got a roller! Then comes the fun part of connecting all of the cables and wiring...
Sorry for the light posting recently... I've been on vacation. Yes, relaxing on a warm beach in Mexico with a margarita and some fish tacos. I'm back though, and we'll get back to our regularly scheduled scooter blogging!
I live in the San Francisco bay area, and there are a lot of interesting people that live nearby. One of my friends works at Pixar. It seems that Pixar is working on some sort of animation that will have a scooter in it. One of their sound engineers was looking to find the sound of a vintage scooter for their project. My friend sent him my way. So he came by my house this morning to record some scooter sounds.
I ride a scooter every day, but I don't often ride different ones side-by-side. I had my PX200 out, and the SX200 that I have been working on as well. The thing that was most surprising to me was that the Vespa was much louder than the Lambretta. Honestly, the Lambretta was very quiet. What a nice scooter!
Cool period photo of some kids at a Vespa display stand. It could be at a car show or a motorcycle show. Note the sidecar box on the scooter they are sitting on. The scooters behind them have some nice accessories. Also, you can just see the back of an Ape delivery truck in the background on the left.