This is the story of my '64 Vespa 150 - how it became mine and how it has given me a new vespatude.  I'll be recording the neat places I visit, the different things I do to make the Vespa my own, and - oh yeah - those reactions I get from both friends and strangers.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Thursday, November 17, 2005
A man with a vespatude
Renato Moncini retired to Greenville after a varied career that took him from the Piaggio factory in Pontadera, Italy, through the Italian air force, a stint with NASA, and finally Daniel Construction. In some ways, his life has come full circle. During his first years in the United States, he did not have a scooter. Now he has four of them in his basement after selling or giving away another four over the last few years.

I met him just the other day. Mike wanted me to meet him. So, we jumped in the little red car and headed over near Paris Mountain to Renato’s home. From the front it appears to be a typical ranch home. Once you go around the back you will notice arched columns for the parking area and iron scroll work along the basement windows and various gates.

A terraced brick walkway takes you around the rear of the home to the door of the basement. Part ways down you pass a small fountain. All of this was built by the man who lives here. “Wow” was the only thing I could think as we approached the door.

Above the door was an old sign that read, “Vespa Servizio.” We walked right in to find Renato working to raise some duct work up between the floor joists so it would no longer hang down into the basement. It was obvious by all the projects laying around that this was a man who was always into something!

He welcomed us with a smile and an Italian accent. We checked out his bikes and it didn’t take him long to start talking about his days in Italy at the Vespa factory. I noticed he enjoyed talking more about the people he has known than the bikes he has ridden. Every bike he talked of had a person connected with it.

He certainly knows the bikes though! One of the bikes is a 1950’s bicycle handle model. As you look at it you simply see a very well restored bike – all parts looking original. Mike told me that what is incredible is that some of the parts Renato made himself by melting down PVC and molding it into the various switches and trim pieces that were not readily available.

It was a short encounter – though I hope the first of more to follow. The thing I walked away with most was not the impressive knowledge of the bike, but rather that focus on relationships. The love of the bike is best used when it leads to a love for the people who ride them.

My favorite Moncini quotation? “Driving automatics is like having a beautiful plate of pasta and someone else chew it for you!”


August 2005  
September 2005  
October 2005  
November 2005  
December 2005  
January 2006  
February 2006  
March 2006  
April 2006  
May 2006  
June 2006  
July 2006  
August 2006  
September 2006  
October 2006