1962 Sportique


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This scooter has spent some time outside and is almost at the point of no return. It mainly has surface rust but water damage has found its way into the frame and various components of the scooter. It didn’t run when I got it and the previous owner said it wouldn’t kick over sometimes but would start if pushed but then would jump out of gear. Certainly, classic symptoms for vintage Vespa’s and coupled with poor maintenance and storage meant it’s days were numbered.

It has been looked after at some stage and was relatively complete with an original Douglas seat in pretty average condition. It also had a full size screen at some stage. It had no serial plate, number plate or history of registration/WOF so its options are pretty limited at this stage.

It’s been in my storage for a while now and it’s time to get it running again. The original owner had wanted to fix the engine but retain the patina and keep it as a rat bike, however once I stripped the engine and discovered the cause of the problems the cost was more than he was prepared to spend. The main drive shaft bearing on the selector side was absolutely shagged and the drive shaft could move around quite a bit. Thankfully the bearing seat seemed intact but the best option was to strip and refurbish the engine.

Depending on how poorly maintained they are, the real work to get them back into shape is in the frame, cabling, wiring and the fuel system. Then there’s suspension, brakes, tyres, seat and the front fork. For quite a compact machine, there are a lot of things that need checked, cleaned, adjusted or replaced. Store them in an unsuitable environment and they will just quietly disintegrate.

Generally with vintage Vespas the 150cc engines are reasonably straight forward to refurbish, with the correct parts, tooling and experience. Some older Wideframes, SS, GS and Rally motors certainly have their quirks. If you get an engine already stripped as a box of parts with little or no information about its previous condition, be prepared for some issues. Also the price of good OEM parts or NOS ones for vintage Vespas is just stupid and giving a customer an estimate still requires a bit of time looking to see what parts are available and from where.

Two of the biggest distributers are based in Germany so freight to NZ is expensive and sadly quite slow. Ebay has some good sellers that offer free freight and know what they are doing but generally the products on that platform are of poorer quality and advertised to fit every Vespa scooter made. To be fair some traders will send a replacement or offer a refund but this can be a pain if you are waiting on parts or trying to schedule builds for customers.

Hopefully it will be ready for summer.