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?

Sunday, October 30, 2005
It is a four speed!
I just heard back from Bram this morning. The Vespa 150 I am getting is a four speed. He confirmed that the 150 Super badge on the rear is only that - a badge and not an indicator of the model (I'll probably be looking to switch that). He also wrote, "Your scooter is four speed. The manual book what I got only using 3 speeds. But almost similar with others. Some of Vespa 60's has 3 speeds specialy for VNB and VNB type but for your scooter is 4 speeds."

So, it looks like we're talking a Vespa 150 with Vespa 150 GS capabilities. All this was a relief to learn! Tomorrow will be two months since I purchased the scooter. Hopefully the next day, it will actually be here.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Vespa Detective
I've learned a bit more about my Vespa - some of it good news and some of it not so good.

I thought that my Vespa was a 150 Super. I got this impression because in the pictures I have received from Bram in Jakarta show a 150 Super emblem on the back fender. I thought that was cool, because to the uninitiated, "150 Super" sounds better than just plain old "150." Not so. Of the two models, the plain old 150 is more desired than the Super.

The 150 Super (VIN starting with VBC) was introduced in 1965, the VIN on my bike shows that it was built in 1964 and is indeed a 150 (VIN starting with VBB). 45,524 of the bikes were built that year. This bike was built near the middle of that run (the 26,594th 150 for 1964).

One of more noticable differences is in the shape of the rear side cowlings. The 150 is the classic curve while the 150 Super has a seam that takes away the curve. There is also a difference in the shape of the headlight.

The big thing I am trying to nail down right now is the gearing. Based on somethings I have read, the 150 (and Supers of that line) have only 3 gears. Higher end models and newer 150/150 Supers had 4 gears. On the eBay description for my bike it says it has a 4 speed manual transmission. However, everything I can read about that particular run of scooters says it should have a 3 speed. I have emailed the seller to get a confirmation of that. Of course, I won't send it back if it is a 3 speed!

Something else I have learned. The no frills 150 model of the Vespa had 8 inch wheels. The Vespa 150 GS had basically the same engine with a 4 speed and 10 inch wheels. So, just by adding 10 inch wheels, you can bring a 150 standard up look like a GS - only you won't get the 4 speed.

I guess a lot of this will clear itself up when the bike gets here...
Friday, October 28, 2005
Vespistis come out of the woodwork
This whole Vespatude experience is getting better and better - and I don't even have the bike yet! It is neat to see new doors open and experience meeting new people (or discovering a new side to people you already know). I can only imagine it will get better once I'm riding it.

Today I learned of a man who lives here in Greenville. He used to live in Italy and worked at the Piaggio (the makers of Vespa) plant back in the late forties and early fifties. He then left there to work in America as a technical drafting artist. Some of his work is on permanent display in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

I hope to get a chance to meet him in the next couple of weeks. I really would prefer to get the bike before making contact. I think it would be cool to drive it up to his place and have him give it a once over. Of course, that could also be scary! He may announce that my foreign job is a lemon!

Greenville, to me, was one of the last places I thought I would find Vespistis. Now they seem to be coming out of the woodwork. I even found there is a Scooter Club here in Greenville. However, I think I might be a little too much of a prude for them. It appears that often the "club scene" can be a pretty wild one!
One more Tuesday
I'm now told that the Vespa should arrive this coming Tuesday. Of course, I've been told that twice before. Somehow, I think that they are right this time - at least right about it coming next week.

The guys at Forward Air are laughing at me. I've called them once a day this week about paperwork, etc. They chuckled as they said, "We've got your number. We'll be sure to give you a call as soon as it gets in." Something tells me they will be keeping an eye out for the crate.

I went into a local motorcycle shop to get some two cycle engine oil for the Vespa. You wonder how motorcycle people will respond to a Vespisti. I went up to the counter and explained I wanted a high grade two cycle engine oil for a vintage Vespa. When I said, "vintage Vespa" the guy behind the counter said, "Cool."

Now I've got about everything I need.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Learning about international shipping
My disappointment over not receiving my Vespa when I thought I would has been somewhat blunted by the education I am getting from trying to find out where the scooter happens to be.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the shipping company tells me they have no way of tracking the crate because it came over on a boat. Why they couldn't track something on a boat as opposed to a plane didn't make much sense (still doesn't really). However, I think it comes down to price.

I was able to go to a container tracking site on the Internet. The plan to was to try to find the location of the container through the boat. I thought the container number went with the crate containing my Vespa. However, the container number goes with the BIG container stored on board the boat. That container could hold any number of items.

The container was taken off the boat and unloaded by October 12. At that point I lose it. The crate would have been loaded on a train or truck for the overland trip to Greenville. My guess is it was put on a train to be delivered to Atlanta and then trucked to Greer. So somewhere out there on a train or a truck - or in a warehouse, is my lonely Vespa.

I think I might already have a name for it "Heebee." Say what? Well, my kids like to watch the old Herbie movies. Child Three is just learning to talk and when he sees me about to put on the DVD, he jumps up and down and exlaims, "Heebee! Heebee!" It's one of those memories I don't want to forget and tying it to this little number will help me do that. We'll see... something else might come along more appropriate.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
V for inVisible
Wouldn't you know it. I had just about finished this post earlier and Internet Explorer crashed on me! Now I'm retyping it. It is the imperfect ending to an imperfect day.

I thought the Vespa would be here today. Unfortunately, V-Day vanished.

I called over to Forward Air and learned that the bike had not arrived by lunch. I also learned that it might not arrive today, tomorrow or even this week. I'm just going to have to be patient.

I went ahead to the Customs Department to make sure I had all the papers filled out correctly. You would expect to get some sort of run around from a government agency, but they were very helpful. I'm sure they could have made life miserable for me because I didn't know half the things to put on the forms. They just took them and basically did the work for me.

Now I just wait for Forward Air to call me. I then call Customs. They go inspect the crate and then call me back. I then go to Customs, fill out a final form, and then go pick up the bike at Forward Air. Someday...

Big thanks to Mike at Sunshine Cycle Shop. He gave me the low down on some things I didn't know about the bike. For instance, this Super has been supered. The original Supers came with 8 inch wheels and the 150 engine. This one has been adjusted to sport 10 inch wheels and a kit has boosted the power of the engine. Instead of the two port cylinder, it now has a five port cylinder block and Del'Lorto carb.

Sunshine has serviced my pedal bikes for years. Little did I know that Mike would end up helping me with this motorized one.
Hold your horses
Looks like I might be in for more waiting.

I talked with the guys at Forward Air just a couple of minutes ago. The crate has not arrived there this morning. The guy I talked with this time says that it could be today, tomorrow, or even next week. They have no way of tracking it because it came over on a boat (why that is, I don't know and didn't ask). Anyway, he has my name and number. I'll just continue on and await his call - though I may go ahead over to Customs to get my paper work filled out. I had already planned to take the afternoon off.

What a bummer...
Today is Vespa day!
It is Vespa day in the Pait household. After a very long wait, the little bike is supposed to arrive here in the Upstate and I'll be bringing it home. It is almost like Christmas for the kids. Child Two got up this morning and one of the first things he said was, "Today is the day we get the Vespa."

Last night I went and traded vehicles with my brother-in-law. He has a GMC Z71 pickup truck. It is very nice. I'll be driving it out to Greer to pickup up the scooter. I THINK the crate will fit in the bed of the truck...
Monday, October 24, 2005
Finding Vespa
I decided to make contact with the warehouse that is to receive my Vespa. Of course, I turned to Google to see what I could learn. "Land Air Services, Inc." showed up with a location somewhere in Tennessee, but it didn't have anything here in the Greenville area.

The phone book had nothing as well. However, the shipping notification form I received had the company listed at 161-A Johns Road, Greer, SC. I decided to drive over there and make visual confirmation. When I got to the location (finding it was a story in and of itself), I found that it was an empty building.

I then went around to the businesses surrounding the empty location. "Land Air?" the person I asked would say while turning to the person who walked in the room because they heard the conversation. "Isn't that the place over..." After several stops I ended up on the other side of I-85.

Then I recalled on the Internet that I saw a press releases that mentioned something about Land Air and Forward Air. So, the next place I stopped at, I asked if they knew where Forward Air was. This time we did find it in the phone book. I gave them a call.

"Yes, we used to be Land Air," the nice guy on the other end replied. "The owners went through a divorce and the company split between Land Air and Forward Air." The good news is that anything that was scheduled to go to Land Air in Greer goes to Forward Air.

We'll see how it all comes together tomorrow...
Thursday, October 20, 2005
It's confirmed!
Just got word this afternoon that my Vespa will arrive here in Greenville on Tuesday, October 25. Now, I just need to find a customs broker and get it out of the warehouse before I get charged a warehousing fee. I imagine there will be some broker fee as well. Either way, I'm just glad to know it will be here soon.
A scooter story
Here is a cute little piece in the Hood County News:

Goodbye pickup, hello fuel-efficient scooter
“When gas got to $1.90, I started thinking about an alternative,” he said. “Half-jokingly and half-seriously, I told my wife (Beth), ‘When the price hits $2, I’m going to buy a bicycle.’ Everything I do is within three miles of the house.

“The last time I filled up the Ranger, it was $50. I looked over at the guy next to me with an Escalade (SUV), and he was over $100 and still going. I said, ‘This is ridiculous.’

“I didn’t follow through on my threat to buy a bicycle at $2, but when it got to around $2.25, I saw a news report about Vespa scooters, what kind of mileage they got and how they were selling. I thought, ‘That’s not a bad idea.’
There is also a cute little picture of this guy picking up his little girl at school -- and he doesn't even have a sidecar.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Vespa News
Okay, I don't have my bike yet, but that doesn't mean there aren't other things going on in the Vespa world. I did a Google News search on Vespa today and found some interesting stories.

Could you catch me in a skirt?

I found this little number at They write:
The covers are apparently popular in Italy and France, allowing riders to keep dry and warm in bad weather, without needing winter kit. The Vespa design is specifically made to fit neatly and snugly on the metal-bodied LX and GT scooters.
Now, maybe if they would just call them kilts.

And on the gas front...

How Does $10 A Week For Gas Sound? Try A Scooter

$10 dollars a week? I have figured that with my Vespa, it will cost me a dollar a week to drive to and from work.

Pain in the gas§ion=Style&storyid=133620
V is for Vespa. The Italian motor scooter company’s latest pitch is, “Stretch that single gallon of gas a week or more” — around 65 miles to the gallon. “We’ve gone from selling one, two, three a week to that many a day,” says Bill Rush, who opened Little Rock’s Vespa dealership earlier this year.

Most people are looking for a way to zip around economically, he says. (And maybe hoping to look as breezy as Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck did on their scooter in Roman Holiday).
And then there is this poor girl...

Scooter's 'do not ticket me' sign not working

She is making a mistake, but it does bring to mind something I was thinking about last night. What if cities were to create designated areas for parking scooters? It could encourage more scooter ownership and help with parking in congested downtown areas. I'm not a big fan of "do what the europeans do" but in this case, I think they are on to something.

Hmmmm, I wonder where I will be able to park my Vespa in downtown Greenville?


Gas prices are just right

Yep, an article written by yours truly. I may be a Vespa owner, but I am not a SUV hater. More than that, I am a free market kind of guy.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Patiently waiting...
Today was the day I was supposed to get my Vespa. Hopefully there won't be another delay and I'll have it next Tuesday. There may not be much posted here at Vespatude until then. There isn't anything to post.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Bad news on the shipping front
I finally called the shipping company after no one responded to my email after several days. I almost wish I hadn't called them. What I learned is that the crate was delayed in Los Angeles due to customs. It won't be here in Greenville until October 25.

I can't say I was overly surprised. I figured that could be the case. Thing is, it could possibly be delayed again once it reaches the final customs check here in South Carolina. Adrianna, my contact at Phoenix International, says she thinks things should be okay.

Now I just have to wait for the shock of what all this red tape is going to cost me. She is supposed to be sending me the forms and such sometime next week. I'm guessing it is going to cost me several hundred dollars.

Not exactly the kind of news I want to hear on a cool and overcast day. It really bums me out.
It's contagious
I came across this story today in the Miami Herald:

Fuel-conscious are discovering scooters, smiles
Leah Stahl said Clark's skill as a mechanic helped bring her into the scooter crowd. Stahl said a friend gave her a broken-down scooter about eight years ago when she was a student at Columbia Art School, and Clark and fellow Gem City Roller officer Ryan France helped her get it running this year.

''We didn't charge her for the work; we did it for fun,'' Clark said. ``We're all about getting more scooters on the road.''

The original 125cc engine of Stahl's 1979 Vespa was replaced with a 177cc engine, and she now uses it to commute to her job as a photography teacher at Sinclair Community College.

Leah's husband Darin took a few rides on the Vespa and was hooked, so the couple recently purchased a new 150cc Stella scooter for him to ride.

The Stahl's next door neighbors were the next on board. Sara Smith rides a new hot pink Stella scooter, and her husband Adam Smith bought and restored a 1959 Allstate scooter.

''I was a chopper man before this,'' Smith said of his days riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Kyra Stahl, Leah and Darin's 2-year-old daughter, completes the set with a two-foot-long, battery-powered, plastic Vespa that she rides on the sidewalk in front of the Smith and Stahl homes.
I wonder if I will have any converts once I start driving about town? I have noticed a couple more scooters out there in recent days. However, I have yet to see a vintage scooter. On my way to prayer meeting last night, I did see a vintage Mini - which is almost a scooter!
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
This title is a title
The title is here! DHL delivered it this morning. I got the title, bill of sale and some other custom papers, etc. Now, if I can just figure out when the Vespa it belongs to will arrive. So far, I have not heard from the shipping company.

Vespa gives out 100,000 tickets

This is a unique advertising campaign. According to, the campaign dreamed up by Guerrilla Marketing went around Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa putting tickets on the windshields of over 100,000 motorists. Turns out some of the "marketers" ended up being arrested.

The citation reads, "Driving a difficult to park, gas guzzling motor vehicle instead of a stylish, easy to park and economical Vespa scooter."

I'm not so sure that this would be a good move here in America. It is one thing to see a flyer on your windshield. If you're like me, you just grab it and toss it (in the trash can, of course). However, to see something that looks like a ticket is another situation. I don't think I would be in a very good frame of mind to receive the message after that!

The campaign is supposed to counter that response by offering the ticket holder a free Vespa-branded helmet with the purchase of a new Vespa and complimentary two-wheel driving lessons. I still wonder if that would be enough to overcome the bad experience of seeing the ticket in the first place.
Monday, October 10, 2005
I guess it can handle my briefcase
One of the reasons I got a Vespa with a sidecar is so that I could carry more stuff. I also think it will be really cool to take my little kids for a spin around the neighborhood. I would feel better about them being in the sidecar instead of sitting on the passenger seat behind me.

Well, appears that people carry all kinds of things on the little bikes! I came across this picture today on the site le Monde en Scooters. Needless to say, if these guys can haul a satellite dish - I should be able to carry my briefcase!

I'm starting to get nervous. Today means it is seven days before the bike gets here. Of course, that is when I am told it will be here - it could be later than that. I plan to contact the shipping company tomorrow for an update. Another thing to make me nervous is I saw a negative feedback entry for my seller for the first time on eBay today. The buyer said that he bid on a '65 and got a '64. However, if you look at the auction page it plainly says a '64.

Guess I'll just have to wait annd see.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
People are reading
I walked into a meeting yesterday. As I walked through the audience (it was a large meeting), I heard, "The Vespa isn't safe." It took a second to register what I heard. I stopped and looked back at the speaker with a puzzled expression. A couple of thoughts hit me in those few seconds.

My first thought was, "What? Does he know something about the frame or engine that I don't know? Is it going to crack apart while I am riding down the road?" My second thought was, "How does he know I'm getting a Vespa?"

"I've been reading your blog," he said. Well, that answered my second question. "What do you mean that it is unsafe?" I asked. "You'll get run over on that thing." Whew, what a relief. At least he didn't give me a tidbit of information I haven't heard before.

Is it really unsafe? First, I have to make the point that I am one of those crazy people who will ride a bike on a road. I realize that there are people who don't want to share the road with a bicycle rider, but the bicyclists has the right to be there. However, I have had very few problems over the years. I anticipate the same with my Vespa.

Also, the fastest I have gotten with my bike (it is a mountain bike) is up over 40 mph. The Vespa will reach 55 mph and in the place where I got my bike over 40, the Vespa could hit over 60. So, in the places where I will be taking the scooter, I will be able to stay with traffic - most roads I will travel have limits of 30 mph to 45 mph. On campus, the speed limit is 20 mph.

So, is it safe? It is as safe as any other type of two-wheel transportation. Understanding your limitations and staying within those parameters help improve your safety. I feel pretty confident that if I use the same awareness and caution that I use on my bicycle, I will okay on the Vespa.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Got the helmet...where's the Vespa?
Here Child Two models my new helmet. Wow, I never knew there were so many different levels of helmets. I ended up getting a mid-range one.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 goes live!
Over at my primary blog - - I had started collecting quite a few entries centered around my recent purchase of my Vespa. I then discovered that Piaggio was actually sponsoring blogs on their Web site. I made contact with them to see if I might be able to become a sponsored blogger. I got a nice reply, but they weren't planning on adding to their list of bloggers.

Oh well, so what to do? Of course, start my own blog! was born. It has taken me a couple of days to create the template for Now it is done and you should see posts here from time to time. The posts you see listed here from the past couple of months were taken from is the story of my '64 Vespa Super - how it became mine and how it has given my a new vespatude. I'll be recording the neat places I visit and the different things I do to make the scooter my own, and - oh yeah - those reactions I get from both friends and strangers. It's all about that scooter state of mind!
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Two things on the Vespa front
1) Yesterday I sent the final payment to Bram in Jakarta. The Super is now "mine" and I should be receiving the title, bill of lading and other necessary documents in the next several days. Then comes the fun of figuring out what I have to do to make it legally mine here in the U.S. of A.

2) I bought my helmet. I'll take a picture of it and put it online at some point. I got a half shell open face helmet. I couldn't get any other kind to work. Any helmet with sides on it pushed my glasses askew.


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