The Sportique was a Douglas scooter produced in England and sold very well here in New Zealand. The Italian equivalent was the VBB1 and VBB2 models.
The original 150 engine was a 2 port, rotary valve design very common in Vespa’s from the 60’s. It has a 4 speed gearbox, 20mm carburetor and a small box exhaust under the floor. The original 6V electrics worked OK but the lights weren’t the best. The acorn type rear light was a classic design feature for this scooter and you could order it in different colours other than the pastel shades a lot of Vespa’s came in. The original seats were quite different to other Vespa’s at the time with a pointy front, an aluminum strip around the base of the seat and the luggage hook incorporated into the front of the seat and not on the frame. Some seats were made by Douglas or you could get ones from a company called Denfield.
This scooter was one of those ones that everywhere you looked, it needed something done to it. Some people would have just let it rot as the cost and time to fix everything didn’t make sense. If it was a GS, SS or a Rally scooter then yes you could hopefully recoup the effort when you sold it on. Nearly all of my scooters are cosmetically in the same condition they were when I got them. A lot of them have been modified and upgraded to suit my stature and riding style and some have just been tidied up with broken or missing things fixed or replaced.
The engine has been rebuilt with all the parts that wear out on these old engines replaced. It has been upgraded to 177cc by installing a DR cylinder kit. There aren’t a lot of upgrade options for these 2 port engines (basically they only have 2 ports in the base of the cylinder that supply the fuel mixture into the combustion chamber). Later model Vespas had 3 port engines and there are a lot more upgrade options available for them. The DR is a basic kit, made in Italy, well priced and relatively easy to install. They aren’t really a performance kit but are a solid upgrade for one of these engines if it’s in a scooter you aren’t using all the time. They can be noisy but are generally reliable if set up correctly.
The frame was originally a cream colour which had been repainted light blue at some stage. There were some dents, surface rust and missing paint patches all over it and it was in a sad state of repair. Most of the work was in sorting out the rust in the frame and the floor. Someone had also cut a hole in the floor cavity the cables run through (sadly quite common, if the outer cables need replaced in Vespas).
If it was going to be restored you would just get the frame media blasted and then panel beat it as required. Then you would get it painted in an original colour and call it done. It’s quite an expensive process to go through for a scooter that probably isn’t worth the time and effort – as she who must be obeyed has mentioned a few times now…
I think it deserves to be rejuvenated as it has lasted this long and I can do the work and bypass most of the expensive stuff.
Hopefully Sante will bring me some more parts…
1962 Sportique update 1