The seller of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Vespa says it’s “Nothing but ITALIAN COOL!” We’ll be the judge of that, and of course, of its asking price.
With a price tag of a mere $1,200, the 1991 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon we looked at last Friday seemed for many of you aggressively, if not foolishly priced. The rub however, lay in one particular foible the seller revealed in his ad. That was a non-functioning speedo/odometer. Not a big deal perhaps, but big enough to engender much debate over whether or not that broken part would prevent the car from passing Vermont’s automotive safety inspection, an issue as that’s where the car was being offered.
In the end most of us don’t live in Vermont and the idea of a solid 740 Turbo Wagon for so low an asking swayed the vote, which came in with an overwhelming 90 percent Nice Price win.
The Who’s rock opera Quadrophenia is set not in Vermont, but against a backdrop of the Mod/Rocker rivalries youth in the UK back in the 1950s and ‘60s. The defining differences between each group centered on their music and their motorbikes. The Mods listened to Modern Jazz, Ska and Soul, and rode scooters, typically festooned with mirrors. Rockers listened to bands like The Who and were an extension of the Café Racer culture that arose in Britain following WWII.
The distinctions continue to this day, albeit in a less overt manner. You yourself may fall to one side or the other, and that allegiance may influence your opinion of today’s 1969 Piaggio Vespa 150 and its exceptionally twee little sidecar.
The Vespa was the template from which arose almost all of scooterdom. Piaggio’s little two-wheeler was not the first, but its design, featuring a side-saddle horizontal single and fairing protected step-through frame would serve as the model for many that followed. The fact that the company remains solvent today, over 135 years after its founding, and still produces models similar to this 50-year old edition speaks well of its relevance.
Let’s start off however with that model year. The seller claims this to be a ’69 150, but elements of the bike, most notably the tail lamp housing and Vespa 150 script up front belie that. Those elements indicate that the bike may in fact be even older.
Now, parts such as light housings and badges can easily be changed, and this scooter does seem to have had a refresh at some point in its life. The black paint looks to be in terrific shape, as does the upholstery on the saddle. That biscuit-colored material is matched over on the side car’s seat and arm rests. A tear is noticeable on the side of the bucket seat, but that’s the only mar that’s obvious. The tiny tires seem to have plenty of tread, although it’s not discernible how old they might be in the pictures. With three of them on the bike, it might also be nice to carry a spare.
The side car mounts to the bike in two places—a large under-floor pipe and a mid-frame strut. The strut appears to hamper access to the starter pedal but that shouldn’t be something to which one couldn’t adapt. The side car itself rides on six rubber springs at the back and a pivot point up front.
If this is in fact a ’69, then the engine should be a 145.5-cc two-stroke single with magneto ignition. When new, that was good for 7.7 horsepower at 5,000 RPM. With a top end of around 60 miles per hour, you wouldn’t—and in certain states couldn’t—take this on the highway. Still, for around town jaunts this should prove both fun and efficient. Hell, your dog could even come along for the ride.
The seller claims 3,187 miles on the odometer, and says the bike both runs great and looks great. According to the ad, its title is clear. He’s seemingly flexible on his price, but has set the negotiation starting point at $7,500, so let’s work with that.
What do you think, is this Mod but not modern Vespa/side car combo worth that $7,500 asking? Or, does that price make this a scooter you would scoot away from?
H/T to EdHelmsBakery on the Twitter for the hookup!
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