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BY MINH HUY

Usually the older a vehicle gets the less desirable it becomes. That trend holds no weight when it comes to classic Italian Piaggio scooters like the Vespa. With over fifteen million scooters sold and groups of enthusiasts popping up all over the world, the classic model Piaggio’s aren’t going anywhere.


What seems to be behind the increased popularity of these old scooters? The only plausible answer appears to be their aesthetic qualities. Piaggio scooters appeal to the younger generations because of their stylish appearance. For Piaggio drivers it isn’t about transportation. It’s about making a fashion statement.
A local enthusiast, a journalist named Ngan, comments “It gives the rider a feeling of pride. It makes a difference in the eyes of others. It’s impressive, generally”.


Another local enthusiast named Thang started a forum for Vespa lovers on the web at www.ttvnol.com. He said “If one owns this kind of vehicle, he or she should be proud and remember that they have possession of a piece of the past… something that many other people dream of”.


A decade ago these classic scooters were not in vogue and were much harder to locate. In fact, if a northern person was interested in owing a Piaggio scooter they had to travel to purchase one or to find spare parts. Today that situation is quite different. Scooter lovers in Hanoi can choose from many businesses that have classic Piaggio scooters for sale.


The industry surrounding classic scooters has burgeoned along with their appeal. On streets such as Lang, Thai Phien, Phu Doan, Han Thuyen or Cat Linh in Ha Noi, there are scooter-service shops. In HCMC, scooter repair shops can be found in many districts. One of the most reliable repair shops in HCMC is Saigon Scooter Center (SSC) on Cuu Long Street in Tan Binh District. SSC is run by Englishman Patrick Joynt. They buy old scooters and fix them up with high-quality spare parts to sell, as well as to handle repairs.


While Piaggio scooters are fashionable, there are drawbacks. They are temperamental, requiring extra maintenance and can break down frequently. If the scooter does break down the owner has to search for a mechanic that knows how to work on it. The classic scooters are more difficult to handle than lighter weight motorbikes. With no electric-starter they have to be kick-started. There are no automatic transmissions so drivers mush switch gears manually. And, as university student Thanh Hang mentions of her scooter “It consumes a lot of fuel”.


Still, problematic as the old classic scooters may be, their owners tend to beam with pride when they are asked about them. After all, scooter enthusiasts will remind people that ownership should be viewed as a hobby, and any hobby takes time and energy.

 

 
 
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