Rusty unrestored Vespa sets new world record price

A 1951 Vespa scooter has set a new world record price of £10,925 – more than a new city car would cost.

The Vespa Douglas scooter has had just one owner since 1955, and is said to be one of the earliest produced in the UK under licence from the Italian parent company. It was even used to tour Scandinavia the same year by its owner.

Sold by H&H Classics at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on June 9, the £10,925 hammer price set a new world record for an unrestored Vespa of this vintage, and was well above the estimate of £1,500 to £2,500. For comparison, a new Dacia Sandero is priced from £7,995.

The Vespa scooter has had the same owner since 1955.
The Vespa scooter has had the same owner since 1955.

Although the rusty scooter is said to need ‘full restoration’, H&H said it was ‘solid and original’, and it even comes with its original registration documents.

Ian Cunningham of H&H Classics Motorcycle Division said: “The family had no idea of the potential value of a small collection of bikes and scooters that their father had put together. They initially asked me if the machines were even worth anything!”

Vespa was and remains headquartered in Italy, but demand was so strong for its scooters in the late 1940s that licensing agreements were struck for companies to produce Vespas around the world.

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The Bristol-based Douglas motorcycle company became Vespa’s UK partner to manufacture the scooters, although production in Britain didn’t start until April 1951.

The sale at the National Motorcycle Museum achieved a combined £1.2m, with some 83 per cent of items finding new owners.