Being a lover of classic scooters for such a long period of my life, I had always aspired to one day own what I perceived to be the best scooter of all. The Vespa GS160. Having worked my way along the Vespa chain for a good few years to end up with a fantastic professionally restored burgundy VBB with 10 inch wheel conversion (thanks to a certain reputable North London dealership), I decided that, with my 30’s fast approaching, it was perhaps time to bite the bullet and trade up to that dream scooter. As luck would have it, I managed to tick the box in a short period of time. However, as it was effectively found propped up in a mate’s garage, it raised a question in my mind that I know is pondered by so many fellow/potential scooter riders on the scene: what sort of condition should/would you opt for when owning a classic scooter?
Let’s look at the options here. The first one, and to be fair the most popular through the years, is to fully restore the scooter to it’s ‘original glory’. This means (hopefully) finding someone, if not yourself, skilled enough to strip and rebuild an engine, as well as someone to paint the bike. Now, here’s where us peacocks will tend to deviate from the standard and opt for ‘off spec’ colours which can look fantastic and will certainly gain the attention it deserves as it parades, rider in charge, along the promenade. This is great and is wonderful to see people’s imaginations dictate the final aesthetic. Queue the Brighton Rideout trophy judges….
The next option, and perhaps not sitting so well with a few I’m sure, is the ‘original condition’ scooter. This is where my aforementioned comes into the picture. Finding something that is either a ‘barn find’ or ‘daily rider never touched’ is becoming more and more of a rarity these days. Especially when you bring into the equation the provenance (original log book and number plate). Yes, I will admit the above paragraph fits neatly into reason but there are also people realising that these hairdryers we adore are in fact worth more with the scratches, paint flaking and hand painted names/numbers on the panels from the 60’s. A condition that, once restored, will never be present on the scooter again.
I found that the ‘patina’ on my scooter immediately set it apart from other GS’s and, while not perhaps the most eye-catching in a parade, did certainly gain a few nods or comments of recognition along the way. Most citing a certain book published by Richard Barnes…
Still, using the machine on a daily basis with an original engine (10000 miles in total) meant not being too precious about the overall condition as, after all, they were designed to be ridden!
Another option that is again increasing in popularity is the ‘Rusteration’. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it does what it says on the tin. Find a scooter, no matter the condition (usually fairly well preserved original condition scooters). Then degenerately restore it, if that makes sense. Add your own patina to it. Rub the paint off and leave to oxidise until some rust appears. Hand paint the panels with a brush really badly… effectively knacker the scooter. Usually most decide to then add a racing type engine which in my mind only adds to the comedy value when you decide to ‘race for pink slips’ with that chap on one at the lights…
As you can see, I am slightly biased with my comments here. Having owned scooters from the first two categories, I can say that I have immensely enjoyed them regardless of the condition. However, with prices quite high against the current climate, it is perhaps a question more people will ponder when it comes to the winter scooter purchase. Concours restoration is time and wonga in a big way but ultimately your personalised scooter to cherish for many years. Ride the original find and you can, if you’re not careful, end up spending a lot of money just keeping it on the road but the benefit of having an unmolested machine straight out of a time warp can have its advantages. Rusteration: Spending money to make it look like an original condition scooter? Hmmm..
Powered by Max Banner Ads