Vespa PX to return?
September 9, 2010
With rumors swirling that the 4-stroke LML Star/Genuine Stella sales are sparking a P-series competitor from Vespa, our pals at French site Scooter-Station asked Jean-Philippe Dauviau, Marketing Director of Piaggio France “Will the PX be produced again?”
Dauviau answers that several markets have requested it, and it’s likely, though it wouldn’t be a 4-stroke.
Rumors of a 4-stroke P have circulated since the 1980s, so one wonders why Piaggio has been unable to engineer such a bike. If demand was insufficient over the last 30 years, it’s no surprise they wouldn’t bother now. LML managed to build a bike that Piaggio seems to think is impossible, for far less than Piaggio would charge for it. LML sales are good in a few markets, but it’s still a niche product, especially in France and Italy. We’ve been arguing on forums for months now that it’s even LESS likely than ever that Piaggio would put out a 4-stroke P, and this looks like proof that we’re right. If anything, we can look forward to yet another limited edition of mildly more eco-friendly (ironically, probably reed-valved like the original Stellas) 2-stroke PX150s (in white, red, or black!) targeted at the Brits and Germans and ridiculously overpriced here in America (and–hello 1985!– not available in California).
Oddly, we’re starting to agree with Piaggio. They’ve moved on, let LML have that market. As Dauviau points out*, the modern Vespa is superior in every way, aside from simplicity and tradition, and a 4-stroke engine and partial tube frame blows the simplicity/tradition argument anyway. As far as styling, the P-series is no VBB or GS, and the modern Vespa S and GTS are both proof that the design of the modern Vespa can evoke the past AND break new ground in reasonable balance. Sure, we vintage Vespa fans don’t want to see things that way, but the compromises required to manufacture and import scooters these days will never allow our dreams to come true anyway. That’s what vintage Vespas are for in the first place, remember?
*Dauviau’s statements echo one of our all-time favorite Vespa foot-in-mouth debacles, and in hindsight, we’ll admit Sambuy’s opinion had merit, it was the timing of his argument with the release of new PXes that cracked us up, and if Piaggio does reissue the PX, it will be making the same reactionary mistake again. (In that light, I fully expect Bajaj, who has repeatedly slammed “nostalgia” and recently officially discontinued all scooter production, to announce a retrotastic Chetak any day now.)