Vintage Italian Scooters
April 3, 2018 1:09 PM   Subscribe

A collector is putting a huge collection of scooters up for auction. The auction begin on 8 April in Vienna. Here's the link to the auction catalogue
posted by MovableBookLady (19 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
If you buy a few Lambrettas, you can have a rocking twist dance party.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:22 PM on April 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

hummina hummina

posted by adamgreenfield at 1:24 PM on April 3, 2018

So, this is how the 5th/6th ska wave stars, innit? I can see the oi from here.

I'm actually really thankful I didn't follow my high school rude boy ambitions to get a Lambretta or Vespa and go tooling around SoCal on it. Those old step through frames are really flimsy and squirrelly in turns, and in general those scooters aren't really designed even for the speeds you need for SoCal surface streets. And with the way I like to zoom around on a bike, I surely would have ended up road pizza at some point.

Also they were stupid expensive in the 80s and 90s. A clean Lambretta was going for multiple thousands USD at a time when you could go buy a brand new Sentra or Civic for like five thousand.

Seeing a whole bunch of these scooters even in project states for a couple of hundred is just totally alien and weird to 1988 me.
posted by loquacious at 1:34 PM on April 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I still want a metal P200E.
posted by rhizome at 1:59 PM on April 3, 2018

Notice this is an auction. Those scooters aren't going for a couple hundred - that is the starting bid.

There have been a couple of large estate auctions in my area, lately, where the estate included 50 or 100 motorcycles. It was stunning what some of the stuff went for. People came from all over to those auctions, and bid the stuff up super high, well beyond what it was worth. The people I know who "won" the bikes they bid on, are all sorry.

I'm sure scooter auctions are similar. You'd have to be really knowledgeable AND have great self control to do well when buying at auctions like this. Way too easy to get carried away, when everyone around you is getting carried away. The only way you are going to get a great deal on a scooter in an auction, it will be a less famous auction that doesn't have enough scooters to draw the scooter lovers, and you'll stand there all day in the rain waiting for them to finish auctioning the furniture and dishes, before you get a chance to bid on the scooter.
posted by elizilla at 2:09 PM on April 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

To be contrary: I was a ska kid in high school, and I'm glad I fulfilled my ambitions to get a Vespa many years after I graduated college and finally had the money to do so. I took a motorcycle course to get a license, and started off with a hefty Vespa GTS 250 just to get used to two wheels. From LA, I rode to both Mexico and Canada, had the time of my life.

Then I decided to really fulfill my dream and get a "classic" 2 stroke. I hate to call it vintage because what I got was a gray market (originally from Italy) all metal Vespa PX125 that's early 80s but to the non-scooter-nerd eyes, it definitely looks like an "vintage." However, I still do eventually want to get an orange Rally 200.

I found a deal to get a stock PX125 for just $1300. Had to clean the carb to get it working again, but it reliably starts up on at least 3rd kick. It doesn't cost me much because I did my extensive homework to know that the P/PX series are the most reliable and least of the money pit situations. I just tinker with it and I've considered putting a Polini kit to make it faster but even my previous mechanic told me as neat as it sounds, it's hard to find a clean build and to keep it stock. I only ride it around my parent's back yard and around the block -- I don't have as much time for it so it's registered non-op now. But years ago I would take leisurely trips to coffee shops, the market, around town, etc and I would always get stares and compliments. It definitely "looks cooler" than my big 250, but my modern is also like 10x more practical (more storage, better mileage, fuel injected, etc).

Anyway, elizilla is right about scooter purchasing. It takes a fair amount of knowledge to not get duped on a scooter sale. The rare "barn find" of vintage scooters is that... extremely rare. It's difficult to find a legitimate deal that you didn't hustle to first or are willing to cross many state borders to take yourself first. People falsely cite "vintage scooter" and may mark up clean scoots for way above what they are really worth. Majority are money pits, and it's a hobby not an investment. And to go further, there are many "viet-bodges" of scooters imported from Vietnam that are not as mechanically sound as those that were produced in America or imported from Italy... even the mass produced "modern" Indian 2-stroke Vespas are more reliable but those are rebrand in America by either Genuine Scooters (the Stellas are actually great) or Bajaj Chetak.

And to close out my scooter nerdery... it's not a Lambretta, it's a Lambroken. ;)
posted by xtine at 2:28 PM on April 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

I WANT ALL OF THESE! I used to live in Vienna and went to Dorotheum often. It's one of the oldest auction houses in the world and has a fascinating history.

I have a Stella which isn't quite vintage yet. And did I mention I want all of these!?
posted by misterpatrick at 2:39 PM on April 3, 2018

1970 Antihero: laws-a-mercy, that Lambretta ad is a hoot. Thanks for digging it up.
posted by MovableBookLady at 2:43 PM on April 3, 2018

I've contemplated buying my sister's scooter from her- a 1962 Sears Allstate. Made by Vespa, they're nearly identical except for some minor and one pretty crucial difference: no front fork dampener. Since I can't imagine riding the lousy streets of Oakland on what is basically a rolling pogo stick, I'm probably not going to buy it. They can be retrofitted with a Vespa fork if one can be found, apparently, so I haven't given up all hope.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:11 PM on April 3, 2018

The only thing that would ever tempt me away from the solid reliability of my PX-via-India (as a second bike, mind) would be a Heinkel Tourist, to the amusement of my gearhead friends who roll their eyes at my cranky never-ever-ever-German stances (which similarly make exception for NSU), though those bikes will all be in megabuck territory before the end, now that people have all gotten wise to the worthiness of such things (sigh].

The Lambrettas all just remind me of the sadness I felt when my longtime Lambretta aspirations were dashed by the sad reality that the bikes that blow up on group rides are always either hopped-up bikes (ew) or Lambrettas. So gorgeous, though.
posted by sonascope at 5:17 PM on April 3, 2018

I was a ska kid in high school, and I also wanted an Italian scooter. Ideally a GS or a Lambretta 150.

Then I realized that I was 6'4", and would look like a circus act on a vintage Italian scooter.

I almost look like a circus act on a large Dutch bicycle.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:30 PM on April 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

*looks at the Vespa GL, Vespa GT-R and Fuji Rabbit Superflow gathering dust in his shed*

*wipes away tear*

It's been 10+ years since I went on a proper ride. Kids and work and middle age all got in the way.

Those are some really pretty bikes.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 7:22 PM on April 3, 2018

1963 CZ 505 or 1984 Jet 200?

Choices, choices...
posted by Big Al 8000 at 7:25 PM on April 3, 2018

That 1962 Allstate is a Vespa VNB sans shock absorber and add an Allstate badge; otherwise, they are identical. Changing forks is a straight swap. Easy peasy.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 7:27 PM on April 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

My dad once drove a little silver Vespa from Florida to North Dakota, and tells a story about cruising along a long downhill, towards a long uphill, and passing a scooter headed the opposite direction. He wanted to stop and chat because how often do you see long-haul scooterers in the Midwest in the early 1980s!? But he knew if they’d stopped to chat, they’d both have a hell of a time making it up their respective hills. That Vespa’s name was the Silver Surfer.
Years later, he refurbished another Vespa, that became my high school summer cruiser and I called her The Slammin Salmon. He sadly had to sell it when money was tight a few years ago, without my mom every taking her for a spin (the original dream was to have my mom be a scooter-babe— we got our motorcycle licenses together when I was 16 and she was 45.)
Clearly neither my dad nor I are allowed to look at the link because we would promptly fly to Italy and buy the lot.
posted by Grandysaur at 8:59 PM on April 3, 2018

Lot 37V. Tales were told of my young dad impressing girls riding one such (albeit dark green) Lambretta in the streets and about the hills of Bologna, circa 1958.
posted by _dario at 9:49 PM on April 3, 2018

You should all buy scooters cause they are as fun as hell. And then we could have the first ever Metafilter Scooter Rallllllyyyyyy!!
posted by vespabelle at 10:13 PM on April 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

You should all buy scooters cause they are as fun as hell. And then we could have the first ever Metafilter Scooter Rallllllyyyyyy!!
posted by vespabelle

posted by hypersloth at 8:11 PM on April 4, 2018

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