Vespa & sidecar for sale – Buyer beware!

Vespa sidecar.

Vespa sidecar.

It was a combination of the £4,995 price tag and the headline of a ‘1965 Vespa PX 150’ that caught our eye… and set alarm bells ringing!

Of course having ridden Lambrettas and Vespas consistently since the 1980s and being what some may describe as ‘scooter anoraks’, these alarm bells may ring more easily for us than others, so here’s a little more detail;

Piaggio didn’t launch the PX until 1977, so the first clue is that somebody doesn’t know their Vespas. Presumably that includes whoever age-related this combination for its first registration in September 2014, and DVLA.

The big claim however is in the seller’s description that reads, “This has come from a collection that has been stored away from brand new in 1965.”

To us that sounds like the seller is claiming this Vespa sidecar outfit could very well in original, unridden condition. If true, then what a nice thing to own, right? But what if it’s not?

Vespa sidecar outfit

Vespa sidecar outfit

Elsewhere in the sellers description they state that this Vespa outfit has only done “11 miles from new” which they proudly show with a photograph of the speedometer that not only counts in kilometres, but looks like a cheap modern repro item too.

Repro Vespa speedo?

Repro Vespa speedo?

It also says it has “all documents and a variety of spares” and the photos show a packet of leftover gaskets with a photocopy of a something perpetrating to be a workshop manual!

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And that’s before our anorak eyes reach the obviously cheap aftermarket seats and budget light switch, the latter not even having all of its buttons in the same colour, let alone the correct colour!

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If you want to find out more, here it is on ebay here. But before you go, we’d like to say we often see eBay reposts on the internet forums, blogs and social media sites, but please remember, just because it may attract plenty of cooing from some quarters, or its shiny looking, that doesn’t mean it ain’t a lemon. Sadly, the old adage of ‘buy from a local dealer’ can’t always safeguard you either (as seen here), so all we can advice is to do plenty of research before parting with your hard-earned cash.

As for this ‘beauty’, in our opinion we reckon it’s an Indian scooter, a Bajaj manufactured Vespa VBB 150 from 1965 (and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long a you know what you’re buying in advance), probably fitted with what appears to be a Cozy sidecar and restored in India before being sent over in this condition to sell in the UK.

As we said, it may not be a bad bike, but we’re pretty sure it’s not what it’s advertised as and as such in our opinion it is way overpriced.

16 thoughts on “Vespa & sidecar for sale – Buyer beware!

  1. Excellent report, I was in the middle of doing research on this for the vet club over here and found your report so thanks for saving me some work fella, keep up the good work

  2. Hi Guys, just a little follow up on this, I have actually purchased one very similar to that shown, i had it imported from India and am delighted with it, but and here’s the BUT i only paid £1300.00 for mine, which is a lot cheaper than the £4995 in that shop, as I say I’m happy with the price and the product it certainly gets a lot of attention where ever I go!

    • Personally we’d run away! The seller doesn’t even know what model it is and there are visual warnings too. If really want a combo and don’t know what to look for then check out your local official Vespa dealer for a bike then contact Watsonian Squire for a sidecar. Good luck!

  3. Hi. Great report. It looks as if someone bought the bike from India and made up the ridiculous story of it being some sort of 11 “mile” NOS scooter. I run a Vespa and Lambretta restoration shop in Los Angeles, CA. A gentleman recently brought an identical machine into the shop, only this one has the sidecar hanging off the right-side. The sidecar by the way looks like a Cozy, but I believe it is actually an Inder-brand sidecar or some other Indian knock-off build. Not bad, but fit and finish is not nearly as nice as a Cozy, which itself is not that nice to begin with. Our customer here purchased the combo off of eBay and was only into it $2000 US including shipping. Of course, as soon as fuel was put in, it leaked out of the bottom of the tank into the frame and out of the chassis seams, melting the super-cheap paint job in the process. It also took extensive modification to the headset control tubes to get the bike to shift into fourth gear, and for the throttle tube to be actuated without requiring two hands worth of force. The cheap switch mentioned above does not fit all the way onto the perch either, so it hangs loosely off with an ugly gap. We tried to modify it to seat properly on the perch, but then the horn lead grounded out constantly, so we put it back the way it was. Also, the frame is almost certainly Bajaj or some aftermarket Indian re-press, but it is stamped with an Italian VBB frame number, but I am 100% sure that it is not any factory stamping. Bajaj used their own unique prefixes, and the only Italian-sequenced Vespas in India were VBA models. Also, the font and spacing is all wrong. Again, not a bad machine for the money, but buyers should be aware that A: these are not authentic Italian bikes, and more importantly, B: these should be considered project-bikes and not completed turn-key restorations. That said, they seem to be selling for “project bike” money, so all in all they don’t seem like too bad a deal as long as you know what you are getting into and you aren’t falling for some fraudulent flipper.

    • Thank you for your post Matt, sounds a very interesting ride indeed. As for pointers, looking at your website the first essential to begin with is to get your licence and get practicing. Having ridden scooters and sidecars over the years I can confirm they are far different to riding a solo scooter/ bike. And if you are going around the world, you will need to be practicing off road as well as on. Remember, lifting a loaded scooter out of a ditch will be hard enough, let alone a combo.
      Next, choose your scooter. We’d suggest a 4-speed 2-stroke Vespa PX150. It may not be the fastest but should will plod on forever, the engine is fairly basic so easy to repair, spares will be available in places like India, Taiwan, Africa and Brazil, and the tyres are easy to change if you get a puncture. You can also fit the same wheel to a matching Squire sidecar.
      By the way, a chap named Bob Currie rode a Vespa and sidecar around the world in 1965, heading out across Europe the Middle East to Australia, then over to the Americas. Not sure how much of Asia he covered though, it has been a few years since we met.
      Feel free to email us if you have any more queries, and please keep us up to date regarding how things are progressing. Good luck!

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