[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.
I'm thinking this is a Lambretta LC? This is a very odd ad. The model is impossibly thin, the clothes look crazy, just check out her waist!
So this just arrived on my doorstep. Thank you Bellomoto! I currently have a silver P, but I prefer the black. Soon my silver girl will be sold and gone, and this mistress will take her place. First things first though, I also have a shiny new SIP road exhaust to install before she gets rolling. I will post the details of that installation when I finally get some time in the garage.
Yeah! I like the chuzpah! If you are going to roll Viet-bodge, wear it proudly. I love the bent wheel rim, by the way.
Keeping with the theme of scooter videos, here is another one I like. This video is (obviously) from Germany. I think we scooterists can all relate to Dennis, the builder of this scoot. Lots of little details go into each of our scoots. Things that only we may appreciate, or even notice. As he said at the end, "I would never sell it, that is my thing, that is my baby..." Yeah, exactly right...
Some nice fellas down Louisiana way are going for broke, and doing a full web TV show about scooters. Well, I guess it is more about them riding scooters and having misadventures, but still, it is damn cool. This is the sort of thing I'd do if I had some equipment and the time to make it all happen. I love it. Check out the latest episode, where they go to Amerivespa. These guys bought a bus as a scooter hauler! How cool/crazy is that?!
Should you find yourself living in the U.S. Virgin Islands, I would suggest you bid on this Rally 200 that is currently for sale on ebay. For the rest of us, I highlight this listing because it shows off a detail that only us scooter nerds would find interesting. The rear frame badge.
The Rally 200's were pretty similar throughout the 70's, but they differed in the small details. Here in the US, we got different switches and electrical systems, with at least three different versions. Maddeningly, none of them were the same as the European models, so spare parts for them are hard to find.
While the Euro models were much simpler with their electrics, they did get the (in my opinion) ugly large headlights. Sure, it is nice to see in the dark, but at what price... at what price!?
Now to the issue at hand here. The rear frame badge on this Rally is different from most of the later badges. Notice that the letters are all capital, compare that with the later badges, which have lower case letters. Also, the font is different from the later badges. I'm not sure how long these badges were used, but it must have only been the first group of the 200's that Piaggio made. I have only rarely seen these badges, and none of the US market scooters had them.
This Iso scooter is for sale on ebay in Virginia right now. Iso was an Italian manufacturer of refrigerators, most famous for originally building the Isetta bubble car. That car saved BMW's bacon when they made it under license from Iso in the 50's. I'm not sure if the Iso was sold in the US, and I think they were not. In any case, this one appears to be an Italian import. While the seller states it is in original condition, it has clearly been repainted. You can see overspray on the cable clips and on the wheel nuts. He mentions that he was planning on working on the mechanics, so you can also bet that it will need attention there too. Do you want to pay a lot for a non-running odd-ball scooter? If so, than this could be the one for you. The bidding is now at $2200, which I would say is all the money and more for this scoot.
By 1951, the battle for the Italian scooter market was at a fevered pitch. MV was determined to field a credible scooter; the result was the "Ovunque" ("Everywhere"). The main characteristic of the "Ovunque" was its single beam frame, constructed of large diameter tubing. While the engine used the same block and head similar as four-speed models, the "Ovunque" used a three-speed transmission with a twist-grip gear selector on the handlebars. The rear suspension was rather tidy; it was a swingarm design that used the engine as an integral part, as well as a single hydraulic shock absorber. Two versions were built; the O51, which used a single exhaust, and the O52, that utilized a double exhaust system. A popular seller, production was approximately 10,000 units.
This scooter recently sold at auction for $5000.
This Sears Allstate Puch sold at the Las Vegas Auctions in January for $2000. This is about what these routinely sell for... perhaps on the high side. This one looks pretty original. Not many people seem to be into these scooters, but Sears seems to have sold a lot of them.
While most of us appreciate the Vespa for the beauty of its design, there appear to be some people around the world who think to themselves, "How might I make this wonderful object horribly ugly?" My friend Pelayo sent me photos of this scooter, which is for sale in Reno, Nevada. It appears to be a mating of a Vespa motor in a home-made frame, with a lot of farm-engineering in the mix. They put a Vespa motor in this frame, and also seem to have welded the Vespa fork tube on the front. Note the Vespa fuel tank cap on there as well. Pretty wild.
This 1950 MV just sold last month at the Las Vegas auctions for $5500.
MV entered the scooter market at the Milan Trade Fair in 1949, and in 1950, introduced the CSL model (C Super Lusso). With its tubular and pressed steel step-through frame and non-stressed body panels, it incorporated a forced air cooling duct that ran down the middle of the foot-rest platform to provide cooling air to the engine. For better cooling, the engine was equipped with a fan installed on the magneto flywheel. Its 2-stroke single-cylinder engine displaced 123cc, and its 6:1 compression ratio helped generate 5 HP to the rear wheel via a 4-speed transmission. Production of this model was 2,500 units.
This Sears Allstate recently sold at auction in Las Vegas for $5000. It is a very nice scooter. The paint looks fantastic. I'd call it a "resto-mod," in that it hews to the original scooter, but there are a lot of obvious modifications. It is clearly much nicer than the original scooter was. If you are not into originality, this would be a very good choice. The price is higher than these usually sell for, but it appears to be much nicer than average. A fair deal all the way around.
This scooter recently sold at auction in Las Vegas for $4500. It was part of a large collection of MV's that were sold and scattered.
The CGT is an evolution of the "A" series scooter, the 'GT' standing for Gran Turismo. The scooter debuted at the 1950 Geneva Show and was first called the "Popolare", then the "Normale", finally settling on CGT. It had the same engine layout as the CSL, but without body panels to cover the powerplant. The front portion of the scooter used essentially the same components as the CSL. With the exposed engine, the cost savings were considerable; the CGT sold for 175,000 Lira, making it very competitive with its rivals. With 6 horsepower and four gears, the CGT could attain 80 Km/h. With its pressed steel frame, the CGT weighed 86 Kg.
New York City - Oct 20, 1971 - A city policeman ducks behind a police scooter as he takes up position outside a building on 44th St. where a office robbery was reported in progress. Dozens of city policemen, several armed with shotguns, poured into the midtown area to spectacularly break up the robbery as thousands of workers left nearby buildings and witness the action.
This scooter recently sold at auction in Las Vegas for $4000.
This very original Triumph Tina Scooter has only 202 actual miles showing on the odometer. It had reportedly been in Burroughs Cycle Shop in Burr Oak, Indiana, since 1963, and was sold to a collector approximately ten years ago. Very few Triumph Scooters were sold in the US and they made two models: the Tina and Tigress scooters. The Tigress was the larger and more sophisticated model, and this Tina represents the budget model. As motorcycle manufacturers, Triumph's heart was simply not in the scooter market. Just looking at this thing, you can certainly tell that Triumph did not even try to understand what the scooter market was all about. To top it all off, their scoots were more expensive than either Vespa and Lambretta, and were not nearly as well made. A clear recipe for failure in the scooter market, which quickly followed.
This scooter recently sold for a very reasonable $3500 in Las Vegas. It was part of a large collection of MV Agusta motorcycles.
For 1952, the MV Agusta factory produced a 150cc version of the CGT Scooter. Like the 125, the engine was exposed, and the single-cylinder, 2-stroke engine was cooled by direct air without a cooling fan. The scooter had a 4-speed transmission, allowing for a top speed of 85 Km/h. The rear luggage box was a handy feature, and the mudguard kept the riders clothes unsullied. It had a fuel consumption rate of 3 liters per 100 km, and a fuel tank capacity of 7 liters. Approximately 1,000 units were produced.
This LD was just sold at the Las Vegas auctions for $4,000. This looks like a nice scooter. Given the large influx of Vietnam-provenance LD's that I've seen, this one is the real Italian deal. Just from the one photo, it appears that it was redone by someone who knew something about Lambrettas. You can see all of the hardware on the forks was off for paint (always a good sign), and it checks all of the boxes for a nice LD. The only quibble I have is the painted centerstand. This appears to be a fair deal for both parties.
This video captures the attitude of just about every vehicle subculture that I have had the pleasure in which to partake. It reminds me a lot of what scooter culture was like here in the US in the 90's. I guess that as the values of vintage scooters has risen, the amount of "new blood" in the scene has declined. I think that many people who would have gotten a Vespa have gotten a moped. No matter, the moped scene is vibrant and interesting these days in the US. Some of the custom mopeds I have seen are truly amazing. It doesn't take a lot of cash to make a badass moped, but it surely does take some skill...
This is a very rare 1937 Moto-Scoot, made by Moto-Scoot Mfg. Co. Chicago, Illinois. It has an accessory headlight and tail light with an NOS battery tube holder. The rear body is all cast aluminum. This scooter had a completely rebuilt 4-bolt head Lauson engine - the original engine for this scooter. There was no clutch on this year, it was bump-start and go. I believe that the later models had a clutch, and these clutchless ones are quite rare.
This scooter sold at auction in Las Vegas for $7,000
I just spotted this porcelain Vespa sign on Ebay. It looked a bit strange, and when I looked closer, I realized it is a reproduction. The give-away was its size (small) and what looks like some overlap on the red and blue on the circle. The Vespa logo does not look right either, it just looks too fat, more like the modern logo, not like the old one. Also, all of the old signs I have seen have the Vespa logo going horizontal, and this one, it is tilted up, like on the scooter legshield. It looks like it should be that way, but the real signs did not have the logo like that. Normally I would not care, but this guy is asking $400 for this thing.
This 1960 MV Agusta Chicco scooter just sold in Las Vegas for $5,750. It was part of a massive collection of MV's. The owner had amassed one of every model of MV Agusta made. Fantastic. Too bad they were not sold as a lot, and are now scattered.
MV introduced the Chicco Scooter at the Milan Motorcycle Show in November 1959. It was popular, staying in production until 1964. While it had a conventional scooter profile, under the bodywork was a motorcycle-like powerplant. The 5.8 HP 155cc single-cylinder, 2-stroke engine had a horizontal cylinder and primary drive via a chain. The driven wheel cantilevered directly onto the gearbox output shaft. This engine had no relation with any other MV product and was specifically intended for this bike. Forced air-cooling kept the engine in one piece. The body used monocoque pressed-steel construction with a fixed front mudguard. Price in 1960 was 157,500 Lire.
I just love this photo. There are so many layers to it. Clearly from the context, this was taken in North Africa - Tunisa, Algeria? I'm guessing this was late 60's or maybe even early 70's. How did this Rumi get there? It was pretty rare even when new, and was not cheap. It must have taken a lot of skill for the woman to keep her head scarf on while riding!
Stanley from Holland with Vespressi has done a great re-purpose of a classic Vespa Ape. We here at Scooterlounge sure love Apes, and Stanley's is really nice. He has, clearly, set it up as a mobile coffee shop. We also love coffee, so you our excitement is two-fold! I can't imagine a more fantastic way to grab a cup of joe than standing aside this wonderful Ape! It also looks like he makes a really nice cappuccino.
If you find yourself in the Utrecht area, you really owe it to yourself to find where they are set up. You can follow their route here.
You can check out photos of the restoration here.
The beginning of the year is when the big motorcycle auctions take place in Vegas. This year there were only a few scooters among the choice bikes up for sale at the Bonhams auction. You can check out all of the bikes that were for sale on their site. Be amazed at the eye-popping insane $480,000 paid for a 1939 BMW race motorcycle. I'm sorry, I do love me some motorcycles, but the fact that someone paid almost half a million dollars for a single bike is a sign of the horrible skewing of wealth in this country. If you were the buyer, would you not be ashamed to show your face after such ridiculous "let them eat cake" excess? I would...
Anyhow, there were a few scooters for sale.
First up is this handsome 1969 Lambretta 125 DL. This one is painted in one of the original colors, but no mention if it is original paint. The auction listing indicated that the motor was punched out to 175, and clearly the original forks have been changed or modified for use with front dampers. Does this affect value? I would say that those are attractive modifications if this is for someone who wants to ride it. Are those people at a Bonhams auction in Las Vegas? Clearly not, since this scooter did not sell. Either the punters wanted something more stock and original, or the reserve was un-realistic. Auction estimate was $5,000-$7000, which I think was pretty ambitious for a 125. I've seen several sell in the $4000 range about 5 years ago, though none have come up for sale recently, that I know of. This one looks tidy, but I think that originality is king when it comes to high dollar scooters these days.
Next is this very cool 1957 Victoria R200. It looks very German, no doubt about it. I have to say that I've never seen one of these, and I doubt any made it to American shores. This one just oozes patina. You can just see a hint of the touring stickers on the front mudguard in this photo. The paint appears to be original. You can be sure that nobody else will be rolling one at your local scooter rally. This scoot sold for a very reasonable $1495. Quite well bought for a rare scooter. I would have certainly bid on it if I were in Vegas.
There were surprisingly many mopeds up for auction this year. This Flandria Kingline Deluxe was the coolest of the lot. Just look at it! It has the styling excess of a late-50's Detroit behemoth, but all packed into a 50cc moped. I love it. Sold for $2185, and most certainly worth it.
Sorry guys, it has been quite awhile since I have posted on the blog. You know how it is, life has been pretty hectic, and I have not had a lot of time. But I'm back now, and hopefully posting most every day.
So, I have been working on my friend's SX200 over the holidays. I had previously done quite a bit on it in order to revive it from its decades long slumber. I had gotten it running ok, but it had one residual issue. It would run with the key in the "ignition on" position, but as soon as I put on the lights, the ignition would die. I first thought that the problem lie in the key switch. After talking to some folks about the issue, it seemed that I should look in another direction. Bad grounds can cause ignition problems with a old/weak ignition system. This scoot still is on the all-original points system. I checked the spark, and it is consistent, but not the biggest fattest spark I've seen.
With all that in mind, I set to work on the electrical system. I basically went through it from back to front. I took all of the connections apart, and cleaned all of them. Certainly tedious work, but with electrical stuff, you really have to be methodical. The photo above is of the rear light, and the wiring connections. I cleaned all the wires, the connector, the bulb, and the bulb connector tangs. I did the same with the junction box, the headlight connectors, etc.
Here is the high/low switch. It is really in rough shape. When I took off the cover, the switch fell apart in my hand. It is still operable, so I cleaned it all out, and put it back together. The action on it is not super-positive, but it does work. Best to keep it, since it is the original switch. At some point when it totally craps out, then it will be replacement time.
After cleaning every connector, I started the scooter, and it worked! Yay! It really was just bad connections in the wiring. I feel like I generally have a good understanding of electrics, but this one was, and still is a bit of a stumper. I thought that the ignition and the lighting circuits were separate, running from separate coils on the stator plate. I have no idea why poor grounding on the lighting circuit would have any effect on the ignition. In any case, the results speak for themselves. This scoot is back on the road!
Merry Christmas everyone from your friends at Scooterlounge. We hope a nice shiny scooter is under your tree this year!
I have not had any time to work in the garage recently. But I dug up this photo I took of a Vespa Sprint that I worked on several months ago. It was having problems with flooding and poor idle, as well as a headlight that had vibrated apart. After some fiddling, I traced the running problems to a faulty float housing on the carb. A new one of those did the trick, and she ran great. I took the headlight out, and did a little surgery on it. I got some heavy duty adhesive, and got it all back together and rattle-free. I may have done some other work on the scooter too, but it was so long ago now that I can't remember.
The bag that is on the seat probably costs more than the scooter does...
A friend of mine has a nice Vespa Primavera ("Sears" VMA1) that has been sitting for awhile after being restored. It would start, but would not idle properly. So he brought it over to the garage for a little fiddling...
When it got to me, it would start and idle, but would not rev out properly, and seemed to bog when I got on the throttle. All points lead to the carburator.
Last weekend I got some time to work on a few scooters that had found their way to my garage. First up is the PX150 that is the daily ride of Steve, one of the Scooterlounge backbone support team. It seems that something strange had happened, and although the motor would start and it would go through the gears, the scooter would not move. Steve suspected that something in the clutch had given out. Time to find out...
I'm just back from a week vacation for the Thanksgiving holiday. I have some projects lined up in the garage for the weekend. Hopefully I will have some time to get to them. If I do, expect some fix-it posts coming up next week!
I've beenw working on an SX Lambretta recently. It has some big, and some little things to attend to. One of the little things was that it was missing the rear frame badge. It isn't a big deal, but it is these little details that really pull a scooter together. This is a job that just about anyone can do. I got a nice reproduction badge from Jet200. Then, I had to pull the frame holder. It is held on by two nuts under the frame. In typical Lambretta fashion, it isn't just two nuts, but the whole assembly uses a stupid amount of parts. There is the frame holder with two studs, two nuts, two flat washers, two lock washers, and two clips that make the nuts have a flat surface to tighten up. Silly really...
Of course, even the easiest jobs get complicated on an old vehicle. This was no exception. One of the studs had problems with the threads (or was it one of the nuts?). So the nut had a hard time coming off. When it was off, I had to dress the threads on the studs with my handy metric die set. Replaced with a new nut, and she's good to go.
Here it is with the new badge,ready to install. I could have polished the aluminum, but opted not to. The whole scooter is very original, and has slight patina all over. If I start polishing, it won't ever end.
So you want a 60's Vespa Allstate? Well there are at least four of them on eBay right now, so it is a great time to be looking.
The one above, in Ohio, looks pretty decent, especially for the $1600 buy-it-now
Another one, in Massachusetts, looks quite nice and original, bidding starts at $2000.
Then there is this one, in Seattle, which looks like it was in perfect shape, until the recent owner took a spill on it. Buy-it-now for $2100.
Finally, this one in Missouri, looks tatty but complete. It is $1550 or best offer.
Yup, there are lots to choose from, all around $2000 or less. The Allstates are a good place to start off in the scooter hobby. They are cheap, look good, and are assuredly not "fake restorations." On the other hand, you often find all kinds of crazy farm-engineered bodges on them. Usually they are easy to sort and get back on the road. Take your pick!
I've been very busy recently with work and life, and have not had a lot of time to get into the garage. I was able to steal a bit of time to work on an SX200 that has found its way onto the lift. It is a fantastic scooter, probably the best un-restored SX that I've seen. It spent most of its life in the dry desert of Arizona. That is great to stop rust... it is as dry as a mummy's tomb there. However, the heat and dryness does a number on any rubber bits. I'm replacing a lot of those things on this scooter. I started off with the legshield trim. It was hard and cracked. I started by removing the clips at the top and bottom of both sides. Surprisingly, the bottoms were easy to get off, but the tops were stuck. I had to pull out my very useful hand-impact driver to get them off. One even required a generous application of heat before the retaining screw would budge. Once I had the clips off, the trim came off easily.