Vespa ad 1980s

The iconic Vespa is fetching a pretty penny in the resale market | Source: Vespa

Vintage Vespas: How the Iconic Italian Scooter has Become a Collectible

In the aftermath of WWII, the Vespa represented more than just a convenient and more affordable way to get around town. The sleek scooter also symbolised Italians’ “zest for life and a desire to embrace the future”. Pioneered by the Piaggio family in 1946, the humble Vespa was created from spare aircraft parts and named ‘Vespa’, the Italian word for ‘wasp’, due to the buzz of the first scooter’s 98cc engine.

Playing a starring role in the 1953 film Roman Holiday in which Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck cruise around Rome, the Vespa became synonymous with ‘la dolce vita’. Supposedly generating an additional 100,000 sales, the Vespa’s role in Roman Holiday illustrated how a practical mode of transport could also be fashionable and sophisticated.

Audrey Hepburn riding a Vespa in Roman Holiday | Source: WikiCommons

More than 75 years on, the Vespa has solidified itself as an Italian cultural icon and the moped of choice in terms of style and quality. Since its inception, Vespa has produced more than 19 million mopeds across the globe, including more than 30 different models.

Accruing a global community of Vespa-loving aficionados along the way, the brand continues to put forth new models. The latest is an all-white Sprint as part of the brand’s collaboration with pop star, Justin Bieber. Vespa has also collaborated with brands like Christian Dior, attesting to Vespa’s enduring reputation. However, it’s the older scooters that carry heavy price tags.

For some time now, old and rare Vespas have been fetching a pretty penny at resale, and not just in the scooter’s home country of Italy.

Across the globe, collectors have been watching prices of vintage scooters soar- particularly in the UK, across Europe and even in Australia.

Sandy Symeonides owns Scooter Meccanica, Sydney’s Vespa and Lambretta specialist workshop. An active member of the Australian scooter scene and a collector himself, Sandy said the GS 150 Mark 1 to 5 models are some of the highly sought-after Vespa scooters, along with any early wide body Vespa.

1956 Piaggio Vespa GS150 VS2
1956 Piaggio Vespa GS150 VS2 listed for £16,500 | Source: Classic Scooters UK

“Surprisingly, the newer (1979 to 2003) PX200 have started to escalate, due to their bullet proof build credentials,” Sandy said, noting that the PX200 has tripled in price in the last two years alone.

In Germany, a 1980 Piaggio Vespa PX200 listed on a resale site carries a price tag of €21,990, approximately A$32,380.

While the vintage Vespa market in Australia hasn’t quite reached European levels, prices are catching up. On BikeSales.com, a silver 2007 Vespa PX200, from the last batch delivered to Australia, is listed at A$11,900.

2007 Vespa PX200 listed on BikeSales | Source: BikeSales

Specialising in both Vespas and Lambrettas, Sandy said the Lambretta TV200 model is the unicorn for collectors. In the UK, where Lambrettas are particularly popular in the Mod scene, a 1965 TV200 reportedly sold for £14,700 at auction. That’s approximately A$26,000.

But prices can soar even higher. A rare 1947 Vespa 98 fetched more than A$61,000 at auction. A 1948 Vespa 98 believed to be the third scooter to have ever come off the Italian production line sold for €250,000, approximately A$366,000, taking out the title of world’s most expensive Vespa. The super rare scooter and piece of Italian motoring history is said to have been purchased by Spanish racing driver Fernando Alfonso.

Showing no signs of slowing, vintage scooter enthusiasts can reasonably expect prices of old, yet still sleek and stylish, Vespas to climb. After all, high-quality Italian design and craftsmanship are priceless.

Vespa 98, 1948
Vespa 98, 1948 | Source: Ruote da Sogno

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