Taking a step back in time and reminiscing on our younger days, it’s easy to look back longingly and lovingly at the scooters we adored, and maybe even owned at some point.
Even though they had their shortcomings, here at BikeMatters we often find ourselves wondering ‘why don’t they bring that model back into production’ or ‘we wish that model was still around!’ Well, after a long conversation with the team we thought… you know what, we’re going to relive those glory days and honour those past models in a new article!
We know there are many scooters we’d love back in production but, for this list, we’re limiting it to just ten. We’ve reached out to three well-known names in the scooter game, Andy Gillard (ScooterNova), Iggy Grainger (ScooterLAB) and Ali Richards (Diary of a Detour) to get their choices and we’ve even included a few extra special wild cards nominated by you on social media to create a legendary list of the scoots we wish were still in production.
1. Vespa Primavera
Our first stop today is with Ali Richards from Diary of a Detour as she starts our list off with the Vespa 125 Primavera. Now the modern-day Primavera is available, there is no denying this, but for Ali, it's that Primavera of old that she adored.
“I bought a Primavera when I turned 17 and it’s the one scooter, I wish I hadn’t sold. It was powerful enough to go a decent distance two-up, and I rode it to Great Yarmouth and Newark in 1984, both over 200 miles from home. I loved the storage in the side panel, the circular headlight and the small frame size was perfect for me as I’m fairly petite!”
2. Lambretta GP200
Moving onto her next choice, Ali explains that “if the GP200 was still in production, then it would fly off the shelves. Bertone’s classic design was streamlined and stylish. The single colour, combined with stripes on the side panels and iconic paint splat on the leg shields made it instantly recognisable. It delivered on speed as well as style and is still the favoured model today among the scooter fraternity.”
3. Vespa T5
Her last choice is one manufactured from the mid-1950s, Vespa’s sporty T5.
Ali admits that she “wasn’t a fan of the T5 when they first came out, but now I would jump at the chance to buy one if they were still in production. They had much more oomph than a standard PX125 and, in hindsight, the design was a classic.”
The T5 is actually a standout model for more than one of our journo’s. Andy Gillard, also owned four or five over the years and loved each and every one of them! He goes on to say that “it’s such a shame that, today, a ‘sport’ version of the popular Vespa is little more than different stickers and colour-coding rather than an engine that can still excite the rider.”
4. Moto Rumi
Andy then goes on to talk about the Italian manufacturer, Moto Rumi. Founded by Donnino Rumi, they had been producing small-capacity sports motorcycles since the early 1950s.
He starts with the “Formichino (Little Ant in English). It featured an all-aluminium monocoque body and 8” wheels which were later increased in size to 10”.
“With success on the track with mechanical improvements to increase the performance of the little engines, this for me and many others is the appeal these scooters had. If you’ve never heard a small capacity air-cooled 2-stroke twin cylinder thrashed in anger, you may not understand why some of us get dewy-eyed over these relics, I’m lucky enough to have ridden a couple and they don’t disappoint!”
He finished by saying that even though “they may not be the fastest old scooters out there, or the ones with the largest torque to brag about, they’ll catch the ear of any enthusiast long before they arrive. And they look out of this world too!”
5. Triumph Tigress / BSA Sunbeam 250
His walk down memory lane finishes with the Triumph Tigress and BSA Sunbeam 250.
He tells us that “not many people realised this but, once upon a time, there once was a British scooter industry. In fact, first time around it was post WW1. Then, after WW2, another scooter boom was on the cards and, while British manufacturers were late to the party, they soon jumped on the bandwagon.
Unfortunately, most either tried to fit scooter-like bodywork around a current production motorcycle already in their stable or, created a bit of a behemoth around a proprietary Villiers engine. Many had their appeal, but few really cut the mustard.”
Triumph eventually managed to get their act together and the result was a 175cc 2-stroke and 250cc 4-stroke scooter. Both shared the same bodywork and were named the Tigress. Alongside this, they also badge-engineered a BSA version, the Sunbeam.”
While the smaller capacity 2-stroke had an engine based upon the BSA Bantam motorcycle, the 250cc was a twin-cylinder with more than enough power. In fact, rumours were that it was detuned after initial road tests because they saw top speeds exceed 70mph!
Production began in 1959, which was right bang in the peak of the post-war scooter boom, so, with styling that was actually quite good and an engine that out-performed their Lambretta and Vespa rivals, it should have done well. However, when it came to the build quality, it wasn’t very good.
It’s a shame because out of them all, I reckon this British scooter could have made it!”
6. Gilera Runner 125/180
Filling us with nostalgia, ScooterLAB’s Iggy Grainger brings the Gilera Runner 125/180 to the party.
“Without a doubt, one of the main protagonists of the automatic scooter revolution was the Gilera Runner. Overnight it changed the perception of auto-scooters, suddenly you could buy a fast two-stroke with good looks and long-range ability! Not only was it quick but it was also very tuneable, meaning those hooligans of the auto scene could turn this thing into a missile.
It also shared its liquid-cooled, single-cylinder Piaggio engine with (and lead the way for) the iconic Italjet Dragster. In turn, the acceptance of these modern twist-and-go scooters with the classic scooterist meant that four-strokes like the Vespa GTS 125/250/300s would also gain in popularity after the two-strokes were slowly phased out.
You don’t see too many early Runners around these days, they gained a bad boy reputation amongst the less salubrious members of society, and many were stolen, crashed and trashed. However, the model has started to make a comeback in the last year or so with prices spiralling for original body panels and complete machines. It makes this modern classic a collectible scooter to own and one I wish was still in production!”
7. Vespa PX 125/150/250
His second choice was one that will be on many of your lists – the Vespa PX!
“No city or town in Europe (and indeed most of the world) would have been complete without the distinctive engine note of a Vespa PX. Sadly, once again, this golden era of simple and affordable two-stroke transport is a thing of the past.
With classic lines and Italian styling, the Vespa PX won the hearts and minds of millions of people. It crossed social divides, cult movements, continents and can still be seen loaded with luggage for a weekend away at the seaside.
The PX has a character all of its own, a loyal fan base and will forever have a space in my garage. Once the cities only hum to the sound of silence we’ll yearn for these machines of yesteryear.”
8. Lambretta SX200
Hitting the market in early 1966, Lambretta’s SX was part of a project created by Innocenti, the Special X, whose aim was to design a model that screamed quality and attention to detail.
It took inspiration from its predecessor, the TV 175/200 Series III, and through the cowl’s unique large arrow flashes, front mudguards, angular horn casting, and all-important badges of honour, the styling was sporty and the SX200 stood proud.
Alongside this, its engine was, basically, a refined version of the TV200’s. During production, a few tweaks were made though, including shortening the gears for better acceleration. It gave a good dose of power and was able to hold its own – I’m sure there are many of you that have more than a few teenage memories riding one of these beauties!
Even though not many were made, it was a quintessential model and one of the reasons why it is still regarded as one of the finest scooters produced – hence why it’s featuring on our list today.
9. Lambretta Li150
Lambretta’s Li150 Series l was first released in 1958 as a way to help cope with the demand for faster scooters. With its bright and contrasting colour schemes, it was a favoured scooter and if your teenage year were spent riding one, you’d have probably relied on it quite heavily to get you to and from work.
As the model progressed and more variations were released, the Series ll reached every corner of the world and went on to sell more than any other Lambretta, and the Series lll was the first to feature a square speedo.
With all its ‘Lambretta-bility’, this iconic model was a huge success and helped set the future for the brand, so, we had to include it!
10. Vespa SS90
With only 5,300 units manufactured and less than half surviving, Vespa’s SS90 is an extremely rare model and, therefore, sought after by a lot of people.
With its 88.5cc air-cooled engine, narrow and aerodynamic front fairing and padding on the dummy tank to allow the rider to crouch low and reduce drag at higher speeds, this buzzy little two-stroke, AKA the ‘Super Sprint’, was developed by Vespa as a sporting variant.
With so few released and not many circulating the restored market nowadays, it’s become a lost treasure of sorts so, if you are lucky enough to get your hands on one, our advice is to hold on to it tight!
The Last Stop!
It was great to look back and recall those scooters that felt amazing to ride all those years ago and, if you were to ride them now, would bring back nothing but memories of the good old days! Disappointingly though, I’ve got to transport us back to the present and bring this list to an end!
This doesn’t have to be the end though; we’ve heard the personal preferences of our guest journalists but now I want to know what you think. Which scooter do you wish was still in production? Let us know in the comments below.
Last but not least, if you are thinking about getting yourself one of these beautiful scoots, or perhaps you already own one - make sure to get a classic scooter insurance quote with Lexham!
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