More Four Stroke Vespa PX Rumblings

SIP Scooter Shop reports that they have a reliable source confirming that Vespa will be showing off their new 4-stroke powered PX series scooter at the upcoming EICMA show in Milan this Fall. The Genuine Scooter Company LML-made Stella 4-Stroke has recently made it to dealers around the country. But will the new PX come back to America? Would current Vespa dealers want it? One thing that many will be interested in is the design of the engine. Will it be unlike the LML and fit into the classic Vespa frame?

File it all under RUMOR until we see it rolling around Rome.

Vivo Stella-to-“GS” Conversion Kit

Vivo Scooters in Edinburgh, Scotland is selling parts and kits to convert P-series Vespas and the LML Star (Genuine Stella, 4T or 2T) to a vintage-looking style. A chintzy-looking fiberglass kit was available from another manufacturer a few years ago, but this one features (mostly) metal parts and seems to be better-designed. Vespa purists may scoff that these kits could be used to fool inexperienced consumers, but considering the cost of a Stella plus $1500 for a painted kit, it doesn’t seem cost-effective as a ‘scam.’ I like the Stella the way it is, and I certainly don’t get the point of disguising a vehicle as something it’s not (especially when the real thing is readily available at a lower price) but I can accept Stella owners wanting prettier cowls and maybe ditching the ugly P-series-type horncast, and it’s always nice to see options like this available.

Check out Eric’s Modern Buddy thread for all the pros and cons arguments you’d expect.

Larry Crowne Opens Today

Larry Crowne opens today nationwide. Read our review here and enter our Larry Crowne t-shirt, $25 gas card, and notebook giveaway, which ends tomorrow (Saturday).

If those stakes aren’t high enough for you, Fandango’s Larry Crowne Sweepstakes offers a 150cc Genuine Buddy St. Tropez as the grand prize.

Genuine Scooter Co. has a marketing relationship with the studio, but PiaggioUSA’s marketing department couldn’t resist getting in on the action. Piaggio’s marketing department emailed a letter to dealers bragging about the appearance of Piaggio and Vespa scooters in the film, and praising Vespa Dallas’s group ride to a screening, with a link to a local news video.

Vespa Offers Limited-Time Customization

Vespa USA is currently offering custom paint at selected dealers. It’s an interesting idea, but of course got us wondering how it’s done. Here’s our train of thought:

  • Wow, really? That would be neat.
  • Why would it be only for a limited time?
  • I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that LML is offering custom color combinations on their new Stars in Europe.
  • Would you have to order it from the factory and wait nine months?
  • They can do patterns and graphics!? Is is a vinyl wrap? There’s no way they are they doing it at the factory, they have factories all over the world now, it would be logistically impossible.
  • Ah, there are limited participating dealers, the dealers have to work with someone locally.
  • That seems like it’d be really hard to manage costs and quality.
  • Hmm, looks like the local painter is obligated to warranty the paintwork.
  • Anyway, I bet it’s expensive as hell.
  • It starts at $4300? isn’t that less than MSRP for an LX150?
  • Yes, a 2011 LX150ie is $4599! Is $4300 JUST FOR PAINT?
  • Ahhhhh, that price is for a 2010 LX150 (not a 2011 LX150ie). with one color.
  • Even so, painting a scooter properly starts at several hundred bucks, how can they be eating that much money, even on a past-date scooter?
  • They must have an awful lot of 2010 LX150s to get rid of.

Scootering has a long tradition of customization and “dealer specials.” In most cases, these dealer specials were pretty rinky-dink, they looked good on the showroom floor and set themselves apart from the competition, but the paint was rarely applied carefully or even professionally, often peeling or chipping on the ride home. Most replicas of vintage “Dealer Specials” you see today were far more professionally done than the originals. The “limited-time” nature of this deal begs the question, “How is this different from any other time you’d go to a dealer and pay them extra to repaint your bike.” We’re guessing the answer to that question is a) Vespa’s trying to find a novel way to unload old bikes, and/or b) There are enough steps for this process to go wrong that Vespa and/or the dealers don’t want to commit to a longer plan.

I admit I don’t know much about painting modern Vespas, but I know you can’t paint an old one well without lots and lots of time and money. Looking at the list of dealers, I don’t see any of the dealers I’m most familiar with, the guys that have a lot of experience with scooter restoration. These guys know it’s not hard to find someone to agree to paint a scooter at a reasonable price, but just about impossible to convince them to paint another one, even at twice the price. We wonder if these local painters are body shops that have done touch-up work for dealers but don’t realize what they’re getting into. It’s an interesting idea and it’d be great if it is marginally affordable and if the work is good. We’ll see.

200cc LML Star at Italian dealers in July

Motoblog reports Italian dealers will get the 4-stroke 200cc LML Star in July. Three versions and 20 colors are in the works. Anyone disappointed, as we were, by the discontinuation of the 2-stroke Genuine Stella 150 model will surely concede that it was the right decision if it means a 200cc manual-transmission metal-bodied classic scooter is on the way.

Vespa’s Worst Co-Promotion Ever

If you need more proof that VespaUSA is very nearly criminally clueless: co-promotion with Havaianas flip-flops.

I know, people ride in flip-flops all the time. But to PROMOTE that? To ENDORSE it? That’s just plain irresponsible. I’d love to see a flood of tweets to @Havaianas and @VespaUSA from safe scooterists. And as @scooterism points out: “Aside from safety, this is why drivers don’t take us seriously.” (thanks, Eric, for leading the charge!)

And don’t give me “Havaianas makes other shoes” and “You don’t have to wear them on your scooter,” Havaianas is famous for flip-flops, the ad shows flip-flops and a Vespa, their “Make your own” system only offers flip-flops, and the “other shoes” they make are also totally scooter-inappropriate anyway. On top of that, the copy says “You can stay in-style in your Make Your Own Havaianas and be eco chic on a brand new Vespa!” which certainly implies that you’d do both at the same time.

Ciao, Paris. Avec une Primavera

SIP-Scootershop posted this video on Facebook that makes vintage scootering en Paris look almost as cool as Bryan’s photos. It’s an advert for a scooter rental shop in Paris, called Ciao Paris. Modern Vespas are offered but the option of the tried and true smallframe makes this a unique opportunity. If only the Bedells had known, some clutch repair tips could have been forthcoming.

Mod Photo Mystery

Also via Scooterism: Help Sandra find the photo of her brother Raymond Kelley used in countless books, ads, and such. I don’t have my copy of Richard Barnes’ Mods handy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the original source. Sandra refers to a book “Mods” in the story, but I think that’s a newer book that features the NME cover. As neat as it would be to see Sandra reunited with a good print, it’d be even better to see the original photographer pick up royalties from the frequent and probably unauthorized reproduction of his work over the years, and hopefully get a chance to exhibit or publish more prints from that period!

“Scooter Commuter,” 1962

It is absolutely mandatory that you watch the Rank Organisation’s “Scooter Commuter” film from 1962. A lot of the pitch is still true today, but more than anything, it’s just heartwarming to see such well-shot footage of vintage Vespas and Lambrettas (and Corgis, and Bonds, and more) in action back when a silk scarf was all the head protection you needed. It’s like watching Quadrophenia without the baggage and overwrought bass noodling.

Amerivespa NOLA Promo Video

Amerivespa 2011 is June 16-19 in New Orleans, and the New Orleans Scooter Cooperative seems almost TOO eager to host this year. They’ve created this great promo video (that I can’t embed, and you might not be able to see, because it’s on Facebook). if that doesn’t make you want to head down to NOLA and party, I don’t know what will.