"Hey buddy! Wanna buy a scooter?"

last updated 6/7/2008

How can I make this page more helpful to you? Click this: maxo@iname.com.

New, 10/22/2007: an update on Vietnamese restorations and some link clean-up, stuff like that.

New, 10/30/2007: WSJ article from Oct 27, 2007.

New 6/7/2008: thoughts on gas prices.


"I'm not gonna pay a lot for this muffler!"

(Remember the Midas Muffler ads?)

Since I started this page years ago, classic scooters have become a whole lot more expensive. Now I say you shouldn't have to pay more than $1000 for a working scooter, nor more than $250 for a clunker. I still hear about amazing deals ("this guy had it in his garage, and he needed room, so he sold it to me for $125"), there are lucky finds. But they are rare. And anyway, luck is out of your control, but your effort isn't. Number one rule: PERSISTENCE PAYS.

If you want a restored, beautiful classic, expect to pay from $2000 to.. well… to too high! Fix it up yer damn self. It's more fun. Nudge.

Note, too, that since I started this page years ago, gasoline has become more expensive... by a HUGE amount. Part of the reason scooters took off in post-war Europe and are still so popular in Asia and other places where gas is expensive (and the weather is favorable) is because of their efficiency. Well, not only is Vespa back in business in America, but Genuine Scooters are selling classically-styled scooters as part of Scooterworks in Chicago (see below), and further I read today that Fiat is looking for an American partner to build and sell their new version of the iconic "cinquecento" (five-hundred"). What's old is new again... since oil hit $137/bbl and gas is at $4.00/gal and shows no signs of slowing. It's the 70s all over again! Scoot carefully. And scoot to save money.

John Stafford at the Baltimore Bombers SC page has some good advice on buying scooters: Baltimore Bombers Home Page

The Den of the Lambretta has some good advice on buying scooters. Visit them for some tips and some 4Sale listings.

"And they'll tell two friends…"

(Remember the Faberge Organics ads?)

Ask around. Most of the scooters I have purchased I have learned about by word-of-mouth. Put the word out there, by email and so forth, that you want to own your own scoot. You'll get one.

Dead-tree listings

Every week around your town there's an auto deals magazine, right? I know there is, wherever you are in North America, because it is an American rule: Auto-Hunter, the Want-Advertiser, Auto Sales Weekly, you make up a name, there is one out there. And there is always a Scooters and Mopeds listing, or at least scooters to be found in the motorcycles section. Use it. (My bet is that this rule applies in other countries as well.)

One that I can recommend: If you like NSU, BMW, Heinkel, Zundapp, or other German scoots or motorcycles., you might be interested in contacting Deutches Motorrad Register, managed by W. Conway Link of 8663 Grover Place, Shreveport, LA 71115. His quarterly newsletter is interesting, fun, and useful. Classified ads offer great bikes and best of all, parts for our German two-wheelers.

The web and other e-media

The biggest favor I can do is to point you toward some good existing listings of 4sale and 2buy (rather than try to maintain yet another one!) so here are a few:

If you are new to scooters, find someone with experience to consult with. It's easy to go wrong, just as with any vehicle purchase, especially if you are new to the whole business. Which brings me to...

A note on Vietnamese and other Asian restorations

In the last couple of years, a lot of scooters have turned up for sale on eBay and Craig's List... from Vietnam. There are millions of Italian scoots in SE Asia, and a pretty big business in restoration has grown up around Saigon. Some of them even look pretty spiffy! But, my gawd, the horror stories about these restorations! Home-made parts, kilos of Bondo-like filler, even dangerous things (cracked welds, bad brakes, undersized or parted cables, painted-over or hidden casting failures). WATCH OUT.

This is not to say that there are no good restorations coming out of Vietnam, but the overwhelming majority seems to be crap. (The name for them in the scootin' community is "viet-bodge.") I have heard good things about a guy named Randall at ScootRS, for instance; and on Oct 27, 2007, the Wall Street Journal profiled Saigon Scooter Centre at which British ex-pat Patrick Joynt is doing the same kind of work as ScootRS.

India may yet become a player in the restored scooter game. I have been contacted by at least two firms who seek to establish a market presence in the U.S. I wish them well, and hope that they lead with quality and let hundreds of buyers make them successful.

As I wrote above, it is in your best interest, if you are new to scootin', to find someone with experience to help you buy!

Last suggestion: consider a NEW bike, too: the Stella, a Vespa PX-clone from India, built for Genuine Scooters (Chicago, Ill) or the Bajaj (also Indian built, with various dealers in the U.S.). These have older, though not exactly classic, styling, with modern reliability and better safety. The Stella has had a rough couple of years becuase of labor action at the LML factory, but at the time of this writing (June 2008), they are selling once again.

Shop List… (see below)


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Shop List. (Items may be out of date… email me and I'll fix 'em.)

NOTE: these are shops I have, personally, done business with, and like; unless otherwise noted.

Atomic Scooters
Contact: Gator or Naomi
Address: 10805 Riverside Drive, North Hollywood, CA 91602
Phone: (818) 752-8136
Specialty: Vespa


Boston Scoot
759 Boston Road
Billerica, MA 01821
phone: 978-663-7450
fax: 978-670-9800
toll free: 877-37-SCOOT
email: bostonscoot@rcn.com
www: http://www.bostonscoot.com/
owner: Jason Ciolfi
Specialty: Vespa, Lambretta


Casa Lambretta
Casa Lambretta USA, Inc.
2403 N.E. 2nd Ave #B
Miami, FL 33137
1-866-Lambretta
Fax: (305) 576-2806

http://www.casalambrettausa.com/
Specialty: Lambretta

I can personally attest to the quality of their service.

casa lambretta USA


Domi Racer Distributors, Inc.

Accessory Mart, Inc.
P.O. Box 30439
Cincinnati, Ohio 45230
phone: (513) 871-1678
fax: (513) 871-6684
email: domiracer@fuse.net

www: http://www.domiracer.com/

Specialty: European and British

Boston scootist Eric P. reminded me I didn't have these guys. Silly moi, and thanks, Eric.

Domi Racer

Garner's Classic Scooters
Contact: Randolph Garner
Address: P.O. Box 234, Cleburne, Texas 76033
Phone: (817) 645-3478
FAX: (817) 645-1319
Specialty: Vespa, Lambretta, Cushman, Mustang


Greg Clauss Studios
Contact: Greg Clauss
www.claussstudios.com
Specialty: Reproduction parts for rare scoots

Clauss Studios & Manufacturing


JavaSpeed

Contact: Woody Woodbury
Address: 1284 North Main St. Providence RI. 02904
E-Mail: woody@javaspeed.net
Phone: 401-270-9485 (same for fax; repeat call until they flip fax on)
E-mail: woody@javaspeed.net
WWW: www.javaspeed.net
Specialty: Good coffee! Bajaj, Malaguti dealership.

JavaSpeed


Scooters Originali
Contact: Gene Merideth
Address: P.O. Box 105, Montclair, NJ 07042-0105
Phone: (201) 783-3573
FAX: (201) 783-8610
E-mail: innocenti@delphi.com
WWW: scootersoriginali.com/
Speciality: Lambretta, Vespa


Scooterworks USA
5410 N. Damen
Chicago, IL 60625
info@scooterworks.com
www.scooterworks.com
Specialty: Vespa parts, Vintage Vespas, Accessories, Lifestyle items and new
Stella scooters

Scooterworks


Vespa Classics*
Contact: Sam, et alia.
Phone: 
  • UK - 07914334271
  • Intl. - +447914334271
  • E-mail: info@vespaclassics.com
    WWW: http://www.vespaclassics.com/
    Specialty: Vespa
    Vespa Classics dot com

    *I have no personal experience with this company.

    Lambretta Works*
    Contact: 
    Address: 6244 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92115
    Phone: (619) 229-0201
    FAX: (619) 229-9157
    WWW: www.lambretta.net/
    Specialty: Lambretta, Lambretta Performance
    Lambretta Works

    *fomerly West Coast Lambretta Works. Under new ownership as of summer '07.


    Weston Scooter Parts
    Contact: Nigel Cox
    Address: Weston-Super-Mare, UK
    Phone: +44 (0) 1934 614614
    FAX: 
    WWWl: http://www.lambretta.net/
    Specialty: Lambretta, Lambretta Performance, History