Peaky Blinders Customised Lambretta Li125

Sex, drugs and ragtime music – Paul Douglas’ tribute to the hit TV series shows this unlikely combination translates into metal just as well as it does to the small screen.

You can change what you do, but you can’t change what you want

The man behind Peaky Blinders is Paul Douglas, who’s lucky enough to earn his living as the manager of a motorcycle dealership. With a lifelong love of scooters and access to some of the most powerful motorcycles on sale to the general public, it was only natural that he’d want to combine the two at some point.

‘Just enough’ spatter.

“The original plan was to build a Guy Martin themed custom,” explained Paul. “At the advance planning stage I realised it had already been done and to a very high standard. There was no point repeating that so I needed to rethink.

Blood will cause confusion if Paul ever takes a tumble!

“Although I’ve owned and built several customs over the years they’ve been mainly street racers and I was determined that this build would be a full blown muralled machine. Once I’d made that decision, to go with a Peaky Blinders theme, which is one of my favourite TV shows, was the obvious choice.

 

Set in Birmingham during the aftermath of the First World War, Peaky Blinders tells the story of the Shelby family and is multi-layered. On the surface it’s a straightforward and often violent gangland drama but look a little deeper and there are many sub plots including the damage inflicted to those who fought in the conflict, the breakdown of the British class system, women’s rights and political intrigue.

Although it received critical acclaim from the outset I must admit that before the photoshoot for this article it had bypassed me completely. If you’ve missed the TV show, starring Cillian Murphy, I’d strongly recommend it but be warned — it’s addictive and I’m not certain my wife was convinced that I needed to watch all three series back to back as research for this article…

 

When you plan something well, there’s no need to rush

For decades, Series 1 and 2 Lambrettas were regarded as the ugly cousins of the slimstyle model. More recently their ample curves and distinctive road presence have found a keen following, meaning that good examples are increasingly hard to find at a reasonable price. Paul said the basis for Peaky Blinders was particularly uninspiring: “One of the sales reps mentioned that he’d acquired a Series 2 frame and after a lot of nagging on my part he agreed to part with it. Then I gathered together the panel work and other components.

With the engine contracted out to tuning supremo Darrell Taylor and after the base coat had been applied by Paul Firth, it was to a local contact that Paul turned to for murals. “One of the best artists at the moment is Kev Thomas and he was my only choice for Peaky Blinders.”

 

Get yourself a decent haircut man, we’re going to the races

Having worked in the motor trade for most of his life Kev, based in Doncaster, has huge experience of vehicle refinishing but has only recently turned to airbrush work: “I was clearing out the garage a couple of years ago and found an airbrush that my son had got bored with. I tried my hand with it and was pleased with the results. My first commission was a helmet and things have grown from there. Paul’s shop took in a Judge Dredd themed Suzuki that I’d sprayed and he was impressed enough to get in touch and commission his Guy Martin theme.

Splash plate and rear mudguard by K2 before fitting

“I’d got to the stage of producing advanced mock-ups for the design when Paul got in touch to say that he wanted a Peaky Blinders scheme. I couldn’t have been happier as it’s my favourite show and I knew exactly how it should look.” Unfortunately there was a slight difference of opinion when he outlined his plans to Paul in greater detail.

“We both agreed that it should be in monochrome but Paul only wanted to feature the brothers whereas I was convinced that it should tell the whole story and that other characters should be included.” Fortunately the pair came to an agreement and in Paul’s own words, “Kev’s done a fantastic job, the best I’ve seen.” Show judges seem to agree with Peaky Blinders taking ‘Punters Choice’ and four second places at its debut in Bridlington last year.

 

You’ve got to get what you want in your own way

With engine and paint under way Paul turned his attention to the fine details. “I’ve used Keith Newman’s K2 Custom Classics on several projects,” said Paul. “The quality and standard of service are second to none.” With Peaky Blinders as the theme there’s an obvious motif to use – the classic razor blade. Sewn into their cap peaks the humble razor blade gave the gang both their name and principle weapon of offence. From the rear mudguard to horncast badge via tap and choke levers K2’s accessories bring a sense of menace to the design with the polished stainless steel complementing the predominantly monochrome paintwork perfectly. Spattered across the design are splashes of red, blood red. Red seat covers lift the design perfectly. “Originally I’d planned for black seats,” said Paul. “They just didn’t look right though. I wasn’t convinced that red would work either but I’m very pleased with the result.”

Central image is so lifelike I wouldn’t be surprised if it looked up.

Bringing the whole project together was Chris Swift. A ‘hobby’ scooter mechanic, Swifty is the only man Paul trusts to bring his scooter dreams to life – high praise indeed from a motorcycle industry professional. Although he’s the owner and builder of several custom scooters Paul is a reluctant showman and at Bridlington he actually denied being Peaky Blinders’ owner to avoid too many questions! “Although the scooters are based on my ideas I can’t take all the credit as they’re a team effort,” he says.

On thing’s for certain Peaky Blinders is a stunning tribute to the shown – even Thomas Shelby would struggle to take offence.

 

 

MAN & MACHINE

Name: Paul Douglas

Job: Motorcycle sales manager

Scooter club & town: Rotherham SC

How and when did you first become interested in scooters: I think all 14-year-olds in 1979 were influenced by Quadrophenia – following the older lads who had scooters, trying to fit in with parkas and suede boots – good days.

First scooter: GP150.

Favourite scooter model: SX200.

Favourite style of custom scooter: Anything that just says time spent on it.

Any stories: Riding behind my mate Hodgy we took a corner too fast and came across a humpback bridge with no time to slow down. The scooters were all over the place before we both came off. Hodgy couldn’t stop laughing.

Favourite and worst rally/event: Favourite is Bridlington, worst is Mablethorpe.

Superb detailing courtesy of K2 Custom Classics.

What’s the furthest you’ve ever ridden a scooter: Whitby, very cold.

What do you like about rallies/events: Seeing all the custom scooters and I enjoy the night life but get sent home early – I’m not good at drinking!

What do you dislike about rallies/events: Moaners.

Still to add at the time of our photoshoot were panel handles made by K2 in the form of cut-throat razors.

Your favourite custom/featured scooter of all time: Top Gun.

If you had to recommend one scooter part or item of riding kit what would it be: Best helmet you can afford.

What’s the most useless part you’ve ever bought for one of your scooters: Stainless steel runner board protectors.

Paul was fortunate to secure straight, rot-free panelwork.

Name of scooter: Peaky Blinders

Scooter model: Lambretta Li125

Date purchased & cost: £1400 for spares.

Time to build & by who: Once we got all the bits together it took Chris Swift about three months but it was started 18 months ago just gathering parts.

Engine spec: Kit: Monza, Crank: 60mm, Carb: Dellorto, Exhaust: TT, Porting & Dyno by: Darrell Taylor.

Paintwork & murals done by: Base coat by Paul Firth and murals by Kev Thomas – fantastic job.

Is there any powdercoating: By Keith Newman at K2.

Is there any chrome: Quality Chrome Hull.

What was the hardest part of the project: Getting all the bits to fit!

Do you have any advice for anyone starting a project: Always dry build first!

Is there anyone you wish to thank: Chris Swift for putting up with all the crap I bought while he was doing the build. Kev Thomas for the best paint job I’ve seen. Paul Firth, Keith Newman, Stuart Gulliver, Ernie Richardson, and, of course, my wife.

PAINTING A BLINDER

If you’ve never heard of Kev Thomas don’t worry, such is his reputation that he’s not needed to advertise for many years. Although full resprays still pay the bills, Key is devoting an increasing amount of his time to custom work. A self-taught airbrush artist, his preferred technique is a mixture of freehand work and careful masking.

Facebook: Keys Custom Paints. Email: kevscustompaints@gmail.com

A ‘flat’ produced by Kev of the Shelby Brothers. “Although there’s a lot of space on a scooter for murals there are very few flat surfaces. Every image needs to be distorted in order to look convincing.”
“I draw the main components on water based masking tape by hand and then peel away layer by layer until it’s time to add fine details freehand.”
“I start by printing off the images I’m going to use and positioning them on the scooter. Once th design is finalised I use them as reference, first to produce a pencil drawing and then to fill in detail.”
“Each of the images is painted individually and then masked off, enabling me to build up the effect piece by piece.”
“Once all the murals are in place I apply around seven coats of lacquer, producing an exceptionally smooth finish.”

Words: Stan

Photos: Gary Chapman

Words of wisdom: Thomas Shelby

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Electric Vespa Reimagines Classic Italian With a Futuristic Twist

Vespa Industrial Design by Giulio IacchettiOver the years, the Vespa has become increasingly bulky, but Iacchetti’s proposed electric motor allows him to remove lateral side panels for a slimmed down version. This brings his concept back to the days when the Vespa graced the screen during the Golden Age of Italian Neorealist cinema. Yet, while cultivating this nostalgia, Iacchetti doesn’t lose sight of new technology.

A built-in smartphone holder recharges your phone while keeping it protected from the rain. And the speedometer, fuel gauge, and lights are accessed through a wireless app. At the same time, the designer maintains classic elements like the front circular headlight and cleverly integrates turn signals into the rear-view mirrors. Overall, Iacchetti has put an interesting twist on the Vespa, a classically Italian scooter born from the necessity for affordable transportation in post-World War II Italy.

Italian industrial designer Giulio Iacchetti has created a Vespa concept called Vespampère, which features an electric motor.

Electric Vespa Design by Giulio Iacchetti

Vespa Concept by Giulio IacchettiElectric Vespa Design by Giulio Iacchetti

The cantilevered seat is a nod back to early Vespa designs, while the model has integrated smartphone technology.

Vespa Concept by Giulio Iacchetti

Vespa Concept by Giulio IacchettiVespa Concept by Giulio Iacchetti

Vespa Concept by Giulio Iacchetti

The Vespa 98, which debuted in 1946, was a source of inspiration for Iacchetti’s revamped scooter.

Electric Vespa Design by Giulio IacchettiElectric Vespa Design by Giulio IacchettiIndustrial Design by Giulio Iacchetti

The Classic Italian Scooter With a Futuristic Twist

giulio-iacchetti-vespa-reimagined-1-1

Italian industrial designer Giulio Iacchetti gives a nod to the original 1946 Vespa with his concept for a sleek, minimalist electric bike. The beloved Italian scooter is reimagined as the Vespampère, with Iacchetti linking past and present for a forward-thinking vehicle designed for better riding in urban environments.

Over the years, the Vespa has become increasingly bulky, but Iacchetti’s proposed electric motor allows him to remove lateral side panels for a slimmed down version. This brings his concept back to the days when the Vespa graced the screen during the Golden Age of Italian Neorealist cinema. Yet, while cultivating this nostalgia, Iacchetti doesn’t lose sight of new technology.

A built-in smartphone holder recharges your phone while keeping it protected from the rain. And the speedometer, fuel gauge, and lights are accessed through a wireless app. At the same time, the designer maintains classic elements like the front circular headlight and cleverly integrates turn signals into the rear-view mirrors. Overall, Iacchetti has put an interesting twist on the Vespa, a classically Italian scooter born from the necessity for affordable transportation in post-World War II Italy.

Italian industrial designer Giulio Iacchetti has created a Vespa concept called Vespampère, which features an electric motor.

Electric Vespa Design by Giulio Iacchetti

Vespa Concept by Giulio IacchettiElectric Vespa Design by Giulio Iacchetti

The cantilevered seat is a nod back to early Vespa designs, while the model has integrated smartphone technology.

Vespa Concept by Giulio IacchettiVespa Concept by Giulio IacchettiVespa Concept by Giulio IacchettiVespa Concept by Giulio Iacchetti

The Vespa 98, which debuted in 1946, was a source of inspiration for Iacchetti’s revamped scooter.

Electric Vespa Design by Giulio IacchettiElectric Vespa Design by Giulio IacchettiIndustrial Design by Giulio IacchettiGiulio Iacchetti: Website | Instagram
h/t: [designboom]

Mods v Rockers- The battle of the Tribes

via Mods v Rockers- The battle of the Tribes

BMW unveils “extremely fast” concept electric motorcycle

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  • BMW Motorrad Concept Link’ uses electric battery packs, and even features a reverse gear
  • Has a touchscreen dashboard, and can be paired with a new smart motorcycles jacket that can change settings on the bike with a swipe on its sleeve
  • Can integrate with online calenders to automatically set destinations, and project directions onto windscreen

BMW has super-charged the race towards zero-emission biking by unveiling its latest concept electric motorcycle.

The BMW Motorrad Concept Link uses radical electric battery packs stored in its base, features a reverse gear to make parking easier, and a seat that adjusts itself to suit each rider’s bottom.

Its touchscreen dashboard can even be connected to the rider’s online calendar so it always knows where it needs to go every time it is started.

BMW claims the concept is “extremely fast” though designers have not yet revealed stats to back up the claim.

concept electric motorcycle

Concept electric motorcycle could kickstart new era of biking

The German automotive superpower hopes the concept could kickstart a new era of motorcycle design.

BMW Motorrad’s Alexander Buckan said: “The technical realities of electric drive – such as the flat energy packs in the underfloor and the compact drive on the rear wheel – allowed us to create a highly distinctive design which shapes a new segment.

“The resulting expressive power of the vehicle is absolutely new for BMW Motorrad and breaks with all conventional viewing patterns.”

BMW says the concept blends fast acceleration and easy handling.

Due to its low overall height, getting on is easy too, from the side or even from the back.

A reverse gear ensures that it is easy to manoeuvre, making it ideal to park in tight city spaces.

Electric concept motorcycle

Electric motorcycle projects data onto windshield

Instead of a classic instrument cluster, speed, navigation and battery information is projected onto the windshield directly in the rider’s field of vision.

Secondary information is displayed on a panel below the handlebars.

Programmable, touch-enabled buttons on the handlebars allow the rider to access functions without having to loosen grip.

The concept is the latest in a series of vehicles designed by BMW to showcase the future of transport.

Lambretta’s New 2018 V-Special Scooter

After years of associating the Italian company with aftershave and t-shirts more than with what it knew to do best, Lambretta got resurrected and finally revealed a new neo-retro scooter. World, meet the V-Special – the brand’s first 21st-century scooter.
this-is-lambrettas-new-2018-v-special-scooter_4

The new Lambretta V-Special should be exactly what you’re looking for if you are a man who likes retro-styled scooters but thinks the Vespa looks more suited for girls.

The design, created by world renowned KISKA (KTM and Husqvarna) in collaboration with the Italian Lambretta community is a synthesis of classic design elements with modern interpretation. The masculine machine is issued with the vibrant type names V50, V125, and V200.

As the name suggests, the V50 version is powered by a 49.5 cc 4-stroke air-cooled engine that puts out a maximum of 3.5 hp. It is Euro4 compliant, has an electric starter and can bring you up to a speed of 45 km/h.

Subsequently, the 125 cc puts out 10 hp while the larger 200 cc cranks about 12 hp. All models use a CVT and a belt driven final transmission.

Only the V50 comes with a rear drum brake, while the other two are fitted with front and rear disc brakes which are commanded via a combined braking system to be more user-friendly. Other features include LED lights, 12 V charger, glovebox, luggage hook, large luggage compartment under the seat, side and main stand, and an LCD instrument panel with Bluetooth connectivity.

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One of the features Lambretta introduces is the double layer side panel. It encompasses an ingenious 1.2 mm steel semi-monocoque architecture inspired by the aeronautic industry. The sides are covered with panels that can be delivered in different shapes and colors. And word is the company will also offer an all-electric version next year.

It looks like some big investments have been poured into the company as the plans don’t stop here. Alongside the contemporary range, Lambretta is working on the re-introduction of its most iconic classics – the GP 200 and the SX 200 in Euro 4 and electric versions.

Lambretta is anticipating on the requests of a segment of die-hard Lambrettisti that wish to extend their collection with upgraded versions. Currently, the global market is flooded with replicas of classic Lambretta’s from China, India, and Thailand.

Lugano-based Innocenti SA, the mother company of Lambretta has recently announced that it will take a strict stance on all copycats and their distributors avoiding free riding on the repute of Lambretta.

 

Vespa SEI Giorni (2017) | First Ride & Review

 

Vespa is an Italian manufacturing icon and symbol of the Italian renaissance after the second world war. This scooter became famous worldwide thanks to the movie ‘Roman Holiday’, a romantic comedy directed by William Wyler in 1953 where Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn did a little sightseeing around Rome on a Vespa 125 low light. The far-fetched story between an American reporter and a young princess eclipsed the sporting image of the Vespa built some years earlier and some 375 miles away from Rome, where Piaggio’s scooters were under the spotlight due to an unexpected international motorsport triumph.

Vespa SEI Giorno review

 

The International Six Days Trail, 1951

The 26th edition of the ISDT was held 18th – 23rd September in Varese, Northern Italy. Usually referred as a sort of Olympics of Motorcycling, with trophies for best six-rider national, four-rider junior national, three-rider women’s national, three-rider club national and three-rider manufacturing teams. This competition mixed off-road and on-road routes and a track session at the Monza circuit. The race was won by the UK team (Rist, Viney, Alves, Stocker and Ray) although the most unexpected result came from the Piaggio Squadra Corse. In fact, rather amazingly, their tiny Vespa 125, specially prepared with a larger Dell’Orto SS23P carburettor, high performance exhaust and two petrol tanks was able to win 9 individual gold medals. They also earned Piaggio the Industry Gold Medal, as the only Italian team to win the trial. After this unexpected triumph, the Piaggio’s were produced in a limited edition, only around 300 units, obviously destined for the regularity competitions sold at four time the price of standard Vespa 125.

Luckily the new Sei Giorni isn’t so pricey: £5399.

Vespa SEI Giorno review

The ‘Sei Giorni’ isn’t a new model but a clever refurbishment of the GTS 300 launched in 2006 for the 60th anniversary of the Vespa. Some of its styling details such as low headlight, chrome handlebar and the small dashboard with a white background remind us of its ancestry. Coated in a charming and almost military-style matt green which contrasts nicely with the all-black rims wheels and silencer, the Vespa Sei Giorni show off its sporty spirit with the burnished windshield, black number plate and one-piece saddle which is lavishly made in dual leather and piping with white stitching. As every respectable special edition, the Vespa Sei Giorni has its identity shown on the metal plate with the serial number struck on the leg shield. Despite its racy look, the Vespa Sei Giorni pampers its owner with some attentive details such as a wide helmet compartment, USB port and the storage compartment in the leg shield back plate maybe not really in racing style soul but certainly useful.

 

 

Vespa SEI Giorno review

The press launch of the new Vespa Sei Giorni was held in Varese, on the same roads where 66 years earlier, the 125 won 9 gold medals. Even though it was a long time ago, Varese hasn’t changed too much. There are always mazes of narrow and steep roads that link the lake to the highest part of the city, named Campo dei Fiori. In short, it means that you can reach the highest point starting from the lake in 15 km and with 1000 metres of difference in altitude. Seated on the Sei Giorni I was impressed with its eye-catching finishing. Seat, grip, dashboard, handlebar switches, paint, everything looks really attractive. Turn on the engine, I am surprised how unintimidating it is, maybe too much for a single seat scooter with black number plate.

Although its single cylinder 4-stroke, 4- valve, liquid cooled it has lost 1hp after the Euro-4 treatment, it is still capable of putting out 21.2 HP at 7750 rpm with the respectable hit of torque of 22 Nm at just 5000 rpm. On the open road, the Vespa gets quickly from 0 to 45mph. The game’s over when the speedometer shows 75mph but the impression is that it could be faster with a different final ratio.

However, maximum speed isn’t important stuff, especially for a scooter. The Sei Giorni is incredible fast whether you dash around the snaking roads or on every kind of paved surface thank to an impressive suspension setup. Riding this Vespa along the old trial stage of the Six Day race, from Palace Hotel to Sacro Monte, I was surprised by the suspension response, it’s able to absorb the potholes and large cracks founds on this mountain road. If you are riding with a little more vigour, the noise of centre stand is scraping the tarmac reminds you that we aren’t in 1951 and your licence driving is in danger. For this reason, I cannot say that it’s a defect of the new Sei Giorni but simply a warning message. On the contrary though, I have no doubt that a responsive brake is needed. I’m also unconvinced about the dashboard readability. It looks lovely but like its ancestry is too small for the view of a middle-aged man like me.

 

 

Vespa SEI Giorno review

Could the 2017 Vespa Sei Giorni win the Six Days Trial today?

This is the question that I had in mind while riding this Vespa along the Varese route. Left, right, left, downhill, brake, u-turn, I keep an eye on my rear view mirror and I can see my photographer getting smaller and smaller. He’s riding a T-Max and he’s really in trouble trying to follow me on these narrow and crazy roads despite his Yamaha having double the amount of power and I am not at all a fast rider. He uses the power to his advantage and reduces the gap only on the straights. The Vespa boasts perfect balance and you can focus on the next turn confident that it will digest the change of direction and any obstacle with ease.

I turn off the engine and we are safe back at the hotel and I reflect, thinking that if the Vespa Sei Giorni could win again, then the next Six Days will have to be held in maze-like location like Varese.

Vespa SEI Giorno review

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

ENGINE
Type Single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 4 valves, electronic injection
Engine capacity 278 cc
Bore x Stroke 75 mm x 63 mm
Max power at crankshaft 15.6 kW (21.2 HP) at 7,750 rpm
MAX Torque 22 Nm at 5,000 rpm
Fuel system P.I. Injection (Port Injected)
Ignition Electronic, with variable advance
Cooling system Liquid
Lubrication Wet sump
Gearbox CVT with torque server
Clutch Automatic centrifugal dry clutch
VEHICLE
Load Bearing Structure Sheet metal body with welded reinforcements
Front suspension Single arm fork with coil spring and hydraulic control
Rear suspension Double hydraulic shock absorber with four-position spring preload adjustment
Front brake Hydraulically operated 220 mm stainless steel disc – ABS
Rear brake Hydraulically operated 220 mm stainless steel disc – ABS
Front tyre Tubeless 120/70 – 12″
Rear tyre Tubeless 130/70 – 12″
DIMENSIONS
Length/Width 1950/770 mm
Wheelbase 1375 mm
Saddle height 790 mm
Fuel tank capacity 8.5 litres
Emissions compliance Euro 4
PRICE £5399
INSURANCE QUOTE Click here for an insurance quote

 

Photo credit: MILAGRO

The Eco Buzz 1 electric scooter.

 

Coming soon: Buzz 1 vintage-style electric scooter

Yes, it does like an original at first glance. But at second glance you can obviously tell it isn’t. It’s the all-new Buzz 1 electric scooter.

A new name meets old-fashioned styling. This is, of course, based on the Vespa of 50+ years back. That’s the big selling point and the brand identity. But certainly not the only selling point.

The finished version of this prototype scooter isn’t going to sell on looks alone. It needs the technology to match. This scooter packs in lithium-ion polymer batteries, regenerative electric braking and hydraulic disk braking (so braking boosts the battery), a removable roof system with solar panels (although to be honest, the roof looks a little odd), a slow reverse gear for easy parking and a weatherproof shell and steel tubular chassis.

Coming soon: Buzz 1 vintage-style electric scooter

Fast charging of the scooter take just 12 minutes, although it probably needs an overnight charge for any distance. Talking of which, the maximum distance right now is around 240km, with plans to boost to 400km. Top speed depends on the model you go for, but is up to 120km/ph.

There’s more detail and more images on the website, with a contact form if you want to know more. Details in relation to price and sales are said to be following this year.

Find out more at the EV Concepts website

Cheers to Kurt on Facebook for bringing this one up.

Coming soon: Buzz 1 vintage-style electric scooter

Coming soon: Buzz 1 vintage-style electric scooter

Coming soon: Buzz 1 vintage-style electric scooter

Coming soon: Buzz 1 vintage-style electric scooter

Top 10 Most Creative Scooters Ever Made

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Sometimes you come across a vehicle, whether on the road or online, that blows your mind. Over the past century you can see the creativity of scooter designers increasing as new models are produced, each more wonderful than the one. So, take a look at these 10 unusual scooters and wonder how anybody came up with such creative designs!

10. Cezeta 501The Type 501 scooter is Cezeta’s first scooter, with a unique design that was very popular among youngsters: the long seat is perfect to carry two persons. At 2 metres the “torpedo-like” scooter is much longer than regular scooters in those days, holding a pretty large luggage compartment since the fuel tank is located above the front wheel.

9. Salsbury Motor Glide de LuxeThe Salsbury scooter brand brought the first generation of scooters to America. This 1938 Motor Glide de Luxe was featured with an automatic instead of a manual transmission.

8. Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon C-10After World War ΙΙ, scooters were used to help reconstruct Japan – they were so important to the country that a Silver Pigeon was presented to the Emperor of Japan in 1948. This Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon C-10 from 1946 was the first in a long line of successful scooters. The design was based on a scooter brought from the United States by a General Motors engineer.

7. Honda Juno KThe 1954 Juno K was not only the first Honda scooter but also the first in a number of other areas as well. It featured the first electric start, the first fibre-reinforced plastic body construction, first turn-signal lights and a full windscreen with a tilt-back sun-shade. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, former Honda vice-president Kihachiro Kawashima says the bike was a ‘splendid failure’. Too expensive, too heavy and the engine got too hot too soon. Still, it’s quite an awesome collector’s item now!

6. KYBELE Cyber scooterThis scooter looks like something from the future; like it belongs in a city with flying cars and robots. The KYBELE Cyber scooter actually started off as a Honda Fusion, customised into this futuristic vehicle by the Japanese firm Gull Craft.

5. Vespa Stretch ScooterThe family-version of the scooter: with 4 seats it is supposedly ideal to drive your kids around. Vespa South Africa subtly refers limousines, by calling it a stretch scooter. A pretty creative vehicle, but how sturdy is it?

4. Lambretta RecordThis little red devil broke the world record of speed in the scooter category back in 1951, going an astonishing 201 km/h on ‘the flying kilometre’. The ‘red bullet’ is indeed as fast as it looks! The record was set by Romolo Ferri when he beat the Vespa Torpedo, his greatest competition at the time.

3. Piaggio Ape Calessino 1953A scooter and a covered wagon all in one. This vehicle really takes you back to ‘La Dolce Vita’ of the 1960s! While the driver takes you around Rome or Toscana, you and your lover can sit back and enjoy the ride. This classic scooter is still very valuable as a 2016 Catawiki auction shows: a Piaggio Ape Calissino 150cc from 1953, perfectly restored, was sold for £20,622.

2. Lambretta TV 175 with Volkswagen Bus SidecarThis is definitely one of the cutest and coolest scooter sidecars on the planet. Not quite suitable for camping however.

1. Vespa 150 TAP with canonOnce you have seen this scooter, you have seen it all; it doesn’t get much more creative than this! The ‘Bazooka Vespa’, introduced in 1956, has a rifle mounted to it and only about 500 of these scooters were ever made. They were parachuted into war zones and hidden in hay-bales. With a top speed of 40 mph these scooters were faster and more mobile than most vehicles on the battlefield.

The “Bazooka Vespa”

 “Not just a scooter, a way of life.” This is the slogan of the iconic Italian brand Vespa, most suitable for the world’s number one scooter producer.

The company was founded by Rinaldo Piaggio in 1884, and at first, it produced carriages, switching to aircraft production years later. In 1917, the company expanded their facilities by building a new plant in Pisa. In 1921. Piaggio acquired another factory in Pontedera, where they produced bomber plane engines. This factory became a strategic target during the Second World War, so on 31st August 1943, it was destroyed.

After the war, Enrico Piaggio, Rinaldo’s son, established the new Piaggio company in April 1946, in Florence, and built a new factory with the help of the Allied forces. Enrico saw the need of the masses for an affordable and small vehicle, which can be used on the damaged Italian roads. Inspired by the Cushman motorcycles, which were dropped by parachutes by the Allied Forces, in 1944 Enrico ordered the Piaggio engineers to design a scooter. They created a prototype named MP5, better known as Paperino.

Enrico was not satisfied with the looks of the scooter, so he asked the aeronautical engineer, Corradino D’Ascanio, for a redesign. In 1946, the MP6 model was created, and when presented to Enrico, it was immediately called “Vespa” by the owner himself. The Italian term “Vespa” means “wasp,” and its name was given due to the looks and the sound of the vehicle. On 23rd April 1946, the scooter was patented in the Central Patents Office in Florence, and the production began. The Vespa was an instant success, and it became famous soon after the launch. 13 years since the creation of the Vespa, there were one million scooters sold. Today, this number has increased to over 16 million. Many other manufacturers tried to copy the Vespa and produce their scooters, but none of them had the beauty and durability of the Italian scooter.

Vespa 150 

Vespa has had many models through the years, used for many purposes. However, there is one model which will remain known as the most dangerous scooter ever made: the Vespa TAP 150. Ordered by the French military in 1950’s, Vespa TAP 150 was produced by ACMA, the licensed French manufacturer of Vespa models. The model was first introduced in 1956 and enhanced in 1959. The TAP 150 was planned to be used in the Indochine and Algerian conflicts by the Troupes Aéro Portées (TAP), hence the name of the model. Three companies entered the competition: Valmobile 100, the Bernardet 250 and the modified Vespa. The Vespa won, so approximately 500 pieces of this model were assembled by ACMA.

The TAP 150 had a reinforced frame, a 146 cm³ single cylinder, two-stroke engine and could develop a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour. The TAP was equipped with an M20, a light anti-armour cannon, which could penetrate an armor with 100 mm thickness, thanks to the HEAT warhead attached to it. The Vespa was supposed to serve only as a transport method for the cannon, although it was possible to fire the gun while mounted on the scooter.

This artillery was not very useful against the tanks in the Indochine conflict but proved itself as quite useful against lightly armored targets in the Algerian War. The TAP was constructed to be dropped in pairs from a plane with a parachute. The bikes were mounted on palettes and protected with haystacks. One of the scooters carried the cannon, while the other carried the ammo, so they were operated by two men teams. The TAP 150 was ready to be used instantly, and due to its mobility, it was a very effective weapon. A trailer carrying additional items was often attached to the moped, and it also had a tripod for the cannon. The Vespa TAP 150’s construction was very cheap, with an estimated cost of 500$, so it was the perfect weapon for anti-guerilla warfare.

Vespa 150 TAP 

The Bazooka Vespa was not the first military motorcycle produced by Enrico Piaggio. At the beginning of the 1950’s, he introduced Vespa Force Armate to the army. Although the bike met the NATO standards, Enrico Piaggio himself quit the negotiations in 1952, stating he does not want to deal with the state and the military. The Vespa TAP 150 was used only in Indochine and Algeria and, after that, it was dismissed from service.

Today, the Piaggio group is one of the largest producers of motorcycles in the world, with more than 70,000 employees and operations established in over 50 countries. Piaggio owns eight different motorcycle brands, but Vespa is the jewel in their crown, still faithful to their traditional design and incomparably beautiful to any other scooter.