This old derelict is pretty much the same as the scooter that saw me through college. Somewhere along the line I upgraded to a bigger better model, but this is the one I drove forty miles in the freezing rain every morning to get to my 7 AM Freshman philosophy class. I picked this particular one up from a guy who had a basement full of scooter in various states of restoration, and this one was just too hopeless to bother with. I got it mainly for it’s sculptural qualities, and as a memento of days long gone by. I like to think that if I had kept the older one, it would be in better condition than this one; but it just isn’t so. In fact my girlfriend got run off the road by an old lady in a Cadillac and might have been killed, but luckily she was uninjured. The scooter was a dead loss though. I put those scooters behind me and moved on to the wonderful world of Volkswagen vans until one day I saw an exhibit of Italian design in the Guggenheim museum in New York. Thus began an obsession that lasted for a few years as I sought out the perfect scooter. I tracked down a P200 which was far more powerful and fancy than anything available back in my day.
Very nicely painted to resemble a wasp which is what the word Vespa means in Italian, it ran like a dream, had plenty of power and had oil injection so I didn’t have to hand mix the oil in with the gas. I drove it around for a couple of years, and slowly accepted that it really wasn’t a very appropriate mode of transportation for me. And the cars scared the pants off of me sometimes when they nearly crashed into me, so I sold it without too much regret. I picked up the red one a few years later, just to mark that place in my life where a scooter would go. And to satisfy my strange love of what to me are very beautiful lines. The Vespa was a scooter that brought the Italian working class up after WWII. The ability to change the tires easily, the skirts that kept mud and rain off the driver and the capacity to carry small amounts of cargo made it the perfect commuter vehicle for men and women alike.