Pakistan’s forgotten two-wheeled star

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Remember when you were a child you or someone in your family had one in the house, parked somewhere in the open, rust eating away it’s body and itself being covered entirely in dirt and grime. Yes, I am talking about the iconic Piaggio Vespa scooters. Those wide-bodied, two-stroke, single cylinder, kick start simple yet robust modes of transportation.

The Vespa comprised out of a uni-body, with a tall front splash guard and a flat foot board for foot protection and wide arches ending at the rear. One side in the rear had the engine while the other side was a storage compartment. The fuel tank was located underneath the seat. The engine was an air-cooled, single cylinder, two-stroke engine with a manual kick start coupled to a 3-speed manual gearbox without a clutch.

Did you know the Vespa is Italian and Latina for wasp. Upon the completion of the MP6 prototype, when it was revealed to Enrico Piaggio by his cheif engineer Corradino D’Acanio, Piaggio yelled ”Sembra una vespa!”  (”it resembles a wasp!”) thus, the name Vespa was born.

(click on thumbnail to enlarge)

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The Vespa had the best of everything, it was good looking, had decent storage space, had the capacity to seat two adults and gave good mileage at the time.  Why did people stop using these two-wheeled icons you say? Well, reason being after the mid-70’s Honda/Suzuki/Yamaha had started bringing in CD50 motorcycles which were more fuel efficient, weighed less than the Vespa and were cheaper to maintain. The decline of the Vespa started from there onwards.

But the enthusiasm of the iconic wasp did not die. Collecting and restoring older Vespa’s became a trend from the mid-90’s, it started off from Europe mostly England and neighbouring countries. The Vespa culture is still quite strong in that part of the world today.

Prior to the Vespa keeping trend, no one really like keeping these around in Pakistan. They would either break them apart and sell their parts or simply send them to the junkyard or give them to your local ‘kabari wala’  (scrap dealer) for peanuts. No one could really sell them off even if they wanted too just because it became ”an out-of-market” mode of transportation which had little to no ”market value”.

They held no value here soon afterwards parts, accessories and even whole complete Vespa’s were sourced from old cities like Karachi, Lahore and Multan and were exported. Sadly, Vespa’s are still being exported from Pakistan to Europe, America, Australia and various countries around the globe for the sake of earning money in foreign currencies. They are going by the containers loads, two even three containers at a time!

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There still are enthusiasts who are interested in collecting and restoring these in Pakistan, talk about being double-minded (hehehe). With labor being cheap and parts being easily accessible, restoring a Vespa is not that hard. Take the the Vespa Club of Pakistan for example, based in Lahore they are still saving and restoring scooters.

With all that said, there should be an act imposed for exporting anything with wheels out of Pakistan, seriously! We’ve already seen too many rare, vintage and classic’s being taken out of our motherland. We do not like loosing anymore.

It’s only a matter of time when you will seldomly see a Vespa vroomin’ it’s way down a road.

(click on thumbnails to enlarge) 

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22 Comments
  1. Usman Haider Sheikh says

    we also have one rusting in our garage since 2004(we bought a cd100), and it was started about 3 months ago in this 9 year period when honda's ignition switch failed, it started in 3rd kick after pouring gas in tank(only to prime the carb, started in first kick after that), and ran smoothly only thing that bothered was its weight as it was a long time after such heavy 2 wheeler was ridden.

  2. Mohsin Jamil says

    Good share

  3. Hassan Javed says

    Any way of getting in touch with the vespa club members in lahore.

  4. Fouad Hafeez says

    Great share. I don't think there's anyone (of my age, at least) who hasn't grown up with at least ONE ride perched between the driver and peering over the front cowl, with a favourite elder brother / cousin / uncle. It's a pity that these icons are departing the country to the West; where people are paying top dollar for them.

  5. Adeel Inam says

    we still have one 😀

  6. Shariq Raees Siddiqui says

    My Father had this beauty for over 40 years and sold it back in 2001 after i successfully learned how to ride a Vespa and repair its engine at home.

  7. Atif Naeem Siddiqui says

    Lovely and love of mine. …

  8. Muhammad Saleem Babar says

    Vespa is a very useful two Wheeler but the only reason for its failure probably was the introduction of motorcycles which is comparatively easy to drive and park.

  9. Wiqar Butt says

    i wanaa restore thizz old beauty……… any 1 interested to join us 🙂 Lahore

  10. Anonymous says

    @hassan javed, let me know abt Vespa club in lahore……..

  11. Muhammad Saad Farooq says

    vespa, my nana owns one and its standing in the garage for over a decade! in quite a good condition. This article reminds me of it and i am thinking to restore it

  12. Abdu Rehman says

    RESPECT

  13. Hassan Javed says

    waqar butt, i myself am looking to get in touch with them an have not found anyone yet

  14. Anonymous says

    Hassan Javed Please se the link to their FB page above in my reply……

  15. Omarjan Sikandary says

    I bought a Vespa Super in 1970 from Karachi for Rs 4250, and still running in reasonably good condition. Now as it is disappearing in Pakistan ,the availability of spares is becoming a problem.Most of the venders have switched over to bikes spares. My son has used it for 10 years and now I am waiting for my grand son to grow up and take over and drive it. Insha Allah.

  16. marium mazhar says

    if anyone has one of these lying around please contact me! I need about 6 vespas for an event in schol. we will pay the rent as well. (this way u will get a chance to make some money with ur old vespa)

  17. vespa provider says

    ms marium i have 12 vespas for rent, Rent will be 6000 per hour.

  18. Marium Mazhar says

    @vespa provider is the 6000 per vespa or is it for 12 vespas? And for how much time?

  19. vespa provider says

    this is for just one wheel of the vespa

  20. marium mazhar says

    how many wheels? (also kill yourself)

  21. Sanjay Natarajan says

    Now the era of gearless scooters has begun and Vespa is still being sold in India as a niche product – Vespa125
    Here, usually automatic scooters retail at aroung 55000 INR, the vespa being a niche product retails around 85000 INR…Only coz of its looks it sells here…
    For the same price, you could buy an apache….LOLzzz…

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