Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Black & Polished Chrome

This little beauty was parked out one Friday night, so cue my usual response of 'Oooh, isn't she gorgeous!' and stop to take a few quick photos (while dodging the traffic so I could get all angles), leaving a couple of friends waiting patiently and rolling their eyes until I was done.

This one's a restored 150 Sprint, finished in black and polished chrome. It's a nice little mod, and looks fairly well looked after. There were a couple of tiny spots of rust visible in the corners, so I'm not sure if she was a properly done restoration showing a few little marks of age, or if she's an import that still bears the fingerprints of that particular history. Either way, a very beautiful little mod.

You can see the influence of that squarish headlight on the current LX S range - still not a fan of it as I reckon the round headlights suit the Vespa's shape better, but that's just my 2c. That chrome really brings out the curve of those hips.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Italians on Lygon

Turn the Vespa into a red GTS300 Super, and you've got my current and future bikes right there. That Ducati 1098 is divine - from that hawk-nosed styling and way the angles of the body wrap closely around the engine, to the slender hips suspended over a meaty rear tyre mounted on single-sided suspension... yes there have been close up paparazzi photos taken - I have addictions, it's terrible.

And besides, nobody, and I do mean nobody, does that red quite like the Italians. Ferrari has it down, Vespa, Fiat, Alfa (mostly), and Ducati. Red is another little weakness I have.

Pretty pair, aren't they?

Monday, September 28, 2009

London Vespa Bar

It honestly amazes me when sometimes, social media sites are actually able to be good for things other than updating people you haven't seen since high school, having a winge and exchanging procrastination-facilitating links like that awesome new video Gran Turismo 5's creators have put together as an ode to the new Ferrari 458 Italia.... ahem. I received a note on my Twitter account a while back asking about a photo that I took of the GTS300 on it's first weekend out that was featured on the official Vespa homepages as the community section header for a couple of months. The tweet was about a Vespa themed bar being set up in London, with the interest in using my image as a feature on one of their walls. Naturally I was rapt, sold them the image and they had it printed on canvas. It looks amazing - they sent me some photos which I've included below, and I post now wearing a big proud grin.

I'm going to have to go visit in person when I finally get over to England for a trip.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Basket Case

It's moderately common to see these old-school woven picnic baskets masquerading as top boxes on the old modders, but I love that someone's gone and added a basket to a new LX. It's just gorgeous, so Roma. Made me grin.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Latte and Long Black

The annual Melbourne Italian Festival was apparently on this past weekend, however me with my usual hopeless sense of direction couldn't find it. With no internet at my current place (joys of house-sitting for a fortnight) I decided to just follow my nose and hope for the best.

I of course didn't actually find anything, except for these this pair of PX200s. They were both kept in immaculate condition, with retro whitewall tyres and looking at the side of the black PX, maybe some engine mods.

A couple of years ago when I was waitressing (working my way through Uni) the garage across the road from the cafe had the regular visitor of a black PX200 with a tan seat just like the one above - watching as that beautiful little one arrived each morning was one of the things that made me fall in love with Vespas, and finally decide to get my first one.

This little Fiat was parked on Lygon St too...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Piccinini's Nest

How cute is that little one?

This sculpture by Patricia Piccinini was shown at Fed Square about a year ago. For those not familiar with Piccinini, she's an Australian artist who experiments with themes of biotechnology, genetic engineering, and future lifeforms. She's represented Australia twice at the Venice Biennale, and operates out of a studio with several assistants with an arrangements a la some of the old Italian painters - she produces the idea, and other people's hands sculpt and create the piece. I've been a fan of her work for a long time (since we studied her work when I was at school and I first came across her).

This work is called Nest and was created in 2006. Mediums used are enamel paint on fibreglass, leather, plastic, metal, rubber, transparent synthetic polymer resin and glass. Some of the parts, like the mirrors. taillights and dash, are actual Vespa parts she's sourced.

One time I turned up at Vespa House just as she and an assistant were leaving, and Frank filled me in about a new project she was working on. She's taken inspiration from the softer curves on the old ET4 for the feminine shape of the mother, and was interested in using the shape of the GT60 for a more masculine shape (used in another project which I'm not sure came to fruition - a pair of cock-fighting males).

It's amazing the tenderness she's created between the two - such an instinctual animal bond between mother and child captured so perfectly in fibreglass and resin.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A vinyled S

This little crowd-stealer was parked in the entrance of a cafe adjacent to Telstra Dome. The photos were taken on the day of the Adobe Roadshow back in Feb.

I think they've gone a bit vinyl crazy with the Italy-coloured stripes, but for once the lines actually compliment the S' shape quite nicely. I get a kick out of seeing cafes/shops that use Vespas as drawcards. Often, you see the old classic models in the window, probably because the shop bought it cheap after someone else spent a fortune importing from Vietnam and found the brakepads were made from packed grass. The other half of the time you see the newer models, but not done tastefully - eg. they'll just be parked on the street and have a whopping great laminated printout pegged to the front. But this one's a looker. Almost makes me wonder if Vespa had donated it for the high-pedestrian football season the area will have.

I'm still waiting for the S' square headlight to grow on me.
Hasn't yet.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I want to be an air hostess

What, free travel and accommodation aren't enough? Now the airlines are offering their staff Vespas too? Some people have all the luck.

"In a first-of-its-kind pilot event, Vespa will show its scooters to 3,000-plus employees of Continental Airlines at Newark Liberty International Airport, part of an alternative personal transportation program for the airline's Liberty-based employees.

Continental Airlines is offering scooter-only parking in its employee parking lots and touting the scooters with six monthly drawings for a free Vespa LX 150 scooter and employee-only discounts for the entire range of Piaggio or Vespa scooters. --Karl Greenberg"

Article source: Vespa Gets Frequent Flyer Miles, thanks to ScooterDiva

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Vespa Experiment

I loved the idea of The Vespa Experiment the moment I read about it. Three musicians, in partnership with Vespa and Greenpeace, are touring the Califorina coastline for two weeks, going from place to place with only their Vespas, instruments and camping equipment. Oh, and a film crew that will be following and documenting their trip. Probably so they can no doubt pay back in ad value the gift of their Vespas. The idea is to promote the green factor for Vespa.
primary mission is to send a message to stop global warming by using the power of music. Co-founders Jason Reeves and Brendan James will be joined by their friend and ally, Amber Rubarth, on this purposeful journey. Supported by Greenpeace, the three musicians will ride Vespas up the California Coast, honoring the natural beauty of the West and performing at traditional (club) venues, as well as on mountaintops, beaches and town centers. For two weeks they will engage their fans in thought-provoking ways, through music and honest dialog, while living as simply as possible by camping along the way. In a modern twist, they will film a documentary as they travel, posting daily footage to the web so fans at home can follow along. Fans will be able to communicate with the artists in a communal dialog as they seek to change the world together. "

But what a wonderful idea - Vespa has always been revolutionary, left of centre and clever with the way they've promoted their brand, and this experiement really suits their flavour. I've linked to their MySpace page above, and here and here are a couple of articles discussing the experiment. They also have some wonderful photography in their MySpace gallery that's worth a look. For all you twitterers, they're also tweeting.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Super lives up to its name

I found a very well written review of the GTS 300 Super by Susan Carpenter from the LA Times. It describes the niche the Super has amongst the rest of the Vespa lineup, and is really worth a read.

Article: Vespa GTS 300 Super lives up to its name

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Melbourne Art Fair

Is it completely weird that I love it when I get to park next to another Vespa? A very bright and shiny little PX200 and my GTS300 outside the Melbourne Art Fair I got tickets to this Sunday.
It was an interesting event - alot of stuggling artists, and then the few that obviously paint as a retirement gig. And the emphasis on the painting medium was a downside - don't get me wrong, I love Dali and Caravaggio and associated followers, but if you label it an 'art fair' surely you've got to be able to open your eyes to a more egalitarian distribution of mediums? Where was the digital? Where were the designers? There was a gorgeous steampunk inspired piece though, and had a nice chat with a guy about one of Dali's influences that painted 400 years before him. That was great. Plus I kinda got kicks out of watching the heads turn to these two beauties as the art purchasers passed them with their wrapped up canvases.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vespa Chopper

I found something on Youtube today that really highlights the versatility of the Vespa frame. Shows that if you have one solid good idea, you can do almost anything with it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Conga Line

I'm on my way home, walking back to the Vespa, and what do I find? It had made some friends. Matching friends, with matching top boxes, and even an unamused shopper. The middle one's my old LX150 (it had a custom black seat on it), and I think the others were an LX125 and a GTS250.

Friday, April 10, 2009

eBay find

I found this gorgeous little resto up on eBay - 1966 Vespa 150cc Super. I've developed a recent soft spot for the 150 Supers, since they were the original Vespa to bear the 'Super' name, and hence the one that mine owes it's heritage to. See those hips, and that air-intake vent on the right flank for the engine?

With any resto of course there's always the trepidation of where it's come from, and what its history has been - eg. I've been told never to buy anything from Asia, because they'll have been run to death and repaired with whatever is on hand at the time. This one's a little beauty though. I hope she's a good one, and hope she finds a good home.

I've got it in my head that I'd like the project of buying an old one and restoring it myself - when I have my own garage to make a mess of. This would be the base model I'd start form.

Sales Cool

A friend sent me a link to this article yesterday, and from the looks of it, we're starting to see the cooling of the Australian motorcycle market after its massive growth in 2008. It says that the FCAI has released stats that we've seen a 15.5% drop on motorcycle sales than in the same quarter last year.

All of last year we were seeing articles like Bike sales boom as market splutters, reading that scooter sales had risen 7.6% in 2008 due to the obvious things like the fact that it only takes $7 to fill the petrol tank on a scooter, and that the green conscience was kicking in. There also could have just been an abnormally large quantity of mid-life crises going on, which I hear is a viable hypothesis in a country with an aging population.

In Vespa related fiscal flavored news, I've also heard that the price drops we've had recently in the Vespa range (that whole 'Summer of Vespa savings' marketing shebang) are coming to an end, and prices are going to be bumped back up to what they were. Why Vespa would go down the path of discounting in the first place I'm not sure, (hey, I can't complain too much since I bought my 300 during the sales period), but it seems as soon as you start discounting a brand to boost popularity, you devalue it. Vespa's always been such a strong brand, I'm slightly at a loss as to why they went down that path.
But I guess, in the words of the dealer who told me that little snippet of news, 'Now's the time to buy!'

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Vespa Kong

I'm not a huge fan of the ET2&4 body shapes - they're too soft, and the oval headlight does nothing for the design. It's just made them date quickly imho, which is something almost every other Vespa model has managed to avoid - they go straight from hot new thing to design classic. But this TV spot is just too quirky (and slightly cadbury?) to pass up.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vespa Wizard

This gorgeous little '72 Lambretta I found up the top of GPO in the city. The GPO is a building which houses some really great boutique clothing stores, and up on the second floor, looking out over the people passing below, was this little beauty in the window of Belindas. The sign in the front says it's a restoration done by The Vespa Wizard. He's got some nice scoots on his website, and the great thing about it is he also tells their stories.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Taxi Vespa

The rule with this blog is that anything that makes me smile gets a photo taken, and this one definitely did.
This little beauty I found parked outside the local 7-eleven. It's GTS 250 with taxi vinyls added. I quite like the brighter oranges and yellows they've released the 250s in.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Bambina

As a first post, I couldn't really pass up introducing my Bambina. I've only had her for a bit under 2 months so far, so she's fairly new. (I did have an LX150 for two years prior, but he's gone off to live as a get-around for a lovely greek man on an island in the Seychelles.)

My ride's a Vespa GTS 300ie Super in Rosso Dragon (or Red, in non-copywriter speak), and to my knowledge was the very first Red 300 sold in Australia. I picked her up 2 days after she came off the ship from Italy (I was without a Vespa for month and boy was it a long wait!). Props to Frank from Vespa House in Melbourne for pulling out all stops to get her in early for me.

Background on the 300 - it's the largest displacement Vespa has ever created in its' lineup, sitting at 278cc (up from 248cc for the GTS 250ie). They're also the first liquid cooled engine Vespa's ever made. Very similar body type to the 250, but it's slightly extended/lower slung in the front and tuned up for a sportier ride.

Some subtle design revisions were added in homage to the original '69(?) 150 Supers too - the gorgeous air intake vent for the engine on the right flank, blacked out wheels, and a grill-style front. And I'm not 100% sure, but I think the hips might be wider. (She really does have a big behind.) They've got the Super badging on the rear and front wheel. Also, there's a purely analog instrument panel - none of that ugly digital they had on the Granturismo and still have partially on the 250s. Also, no rear rack for a cleaner line (although that does mean you'll need to add one of those if you add a Top Box).

Real Stuff - the throttle's super sensitive, and it took me a week to get used to her after my previous LX150. I chatted to a GTS 250 driver I see sometimes on the way to work the other day, and found out the 250 has a flat spot in the throttle (he'd driven both), which the 300 doesn't.

She's got torque galore - first drive I took her on she just glanced at a steep hill and ate it for breakfast. No making sure she's in the right spot to start on it.

Frank's said to be very careful with her especially when U-turning because of that torque, and I've managed to spin the rear wheel on start-off without intending. The balance is perfect, and I like the extra weightiness of the beast. However, she does have a tendancy to get a bit warm when idling for a while. Run the engine at max down the highway and no troubles, but sitting in traffic you don't get air coming in over the radiator, so the temp guage creeps up. Vespa's answer to this is a great big noisy fan in the front which keeps her cool.

Photos were taken with my sister's little point-and-shoot digital first weekend out. It was raining a bit, so it was a day of creeping out in between the showers. The last photo, the mono one, was the feature on's March Community Photos Page, and they also used the shot on several country homepages (incl. Italy and the UK) and on the Facebook group promo.

I smiled. Alot.