Andiamo, amici!

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted a vintage Vespa scooter.

Years ago, when I was really, really poor, I'd longingly look at pictures of old Vespas and think, "if I only had the money..."  Then, when I had a big-girl salary, I started to think, "if I could only save enough money, maybe someday". Then, a few years ago, I actually started looking at them in earnest - realizing that I could probably swing the money if I didn't blow my tax return on something stupid like bills.

For about four or five summers I've trolled the Internet for restored Vespas, hoping that the right one would fall in my lap. Unfortunately, I'd done a lot of research and I found that most of the "restored" scooters online were Frankenstein monsters - cobbled-together parts from various models and years. So, I started looking for people who did restorations so I could actually control what I got.

It was quite an adventure, let me tell you.

To cut to the chase, I ended up going with a restorer in Vietnam. Vespa purists will now be screaming their heads off because, from what I've read, the Vietnamese restorations are often pretty badly done and they are generally jazzed up with a bunch of extra chrome that was not found on original Vespas. However, I liked the guy I was dealing with, he provided a number of references that turned out to be very good, and he has been nothing but professional since day one. And the icing on the cake is that the entire bill, including shipping, was $1,500 less than what I would have paid for a similar quality restoration in the U.S.

By the time I was ready to send him a down payment, I knew (pretty much) what I wanted. My preference is for the older VBB models - these were built from 1958 through 1967 and have the bicycle-seat shaped seat with the pillion for a rider. I wanted the spare tire mounted in the front well as they were originally (many restorations replace the front-mounted spare with a glove box). And, I wanted a front and rear rack so I could tote stuff - like my dogs in a basket. What I didn't know was what color I wanted and, let me tell you, that ended up being the hardest decision of them all.

The issue was that I could have, quite literally, any color I could conceive of. So, as I thumbed through the Pantone color book, every other swatch appealed to me for one reason or another. I vacillated between variations of yellow, blue, green, and even orange. In the end, I settled on two colors - a beautiful light greenish-blue (Pantone 331c) or an olive and cream two-tone paint job. Cassandra offered up these words of wisdom, "You want to feel like you're on holiday every day you ride it" which sealed the deal for the green.

 I also changed my mind about 10 times regarding the seat covers... but that's another story of frustration.

The scooter is on a freighter headed for Los Angeles now. Once it's on American soil it will be transferred to a truck that will deliver it to the Milwaukee customs office. I expect it will be delivered in about a week. And I can barely contain myself, I'm so excited.

My 1961 Vespa VBB (with floor mats for some reason...)

You know those "bucket lists" everyone talks about? Well, I get to check one off mine now. I highly recommend fulfilling a wish... It's a great feeling.

- Alex

1 comment:

  1. You are such a lil' hipster chick! So cute! To bad you couldn't ride bad boy out to visit us ;)