Wednesday, June 30, 2010

PCAS! - Vespa 150 Restoration

By:Bijoy Kumar Y

Prevention of cruelty against scooters? Well, call it whatever you want to call it, I do have a soft corner for old Vespas and Vespas made in India under license from Piaggio. Whoa, that includes scores of Bajaj 150’s/Supers/Chetaks/Cubs; Priya 150’s and even LML Vespas and the odd Vespa PL 170’s. But primarily I am concentrating on rescuing Bajaj 150’s and Priya 150’s that has the look and feel of the original from the 1950-60’s complete with the curvaceous Wasp-ish rear-end that gave it the Vespa tag. What makes me love them – the simplicity of design, the classic origins, the numerous movies and lore and all of the above. Actually, more than anything else a Vespa 150 or a clone is a piece of art in itself. And me, I think of unloved, abandoned examples as blank pieces of canvass that can be used to express my mind. I know, psychedelic scooters are done to death already but what the heck, I have just started!

The process is simple as it happened with Roxanne and Alice – a Bajaj 150 and a Priya 150 that came my way. Identify the scooter, pay a maximum of Rs 4000 for it, then do the essential repair and body work and paint it for another Rs 6000 and you get a piece of art that can do the milk-run.

Roxanne was supposed to be a Lamborghini edition but I couldn’t get the right stickers and hence decided to settle for a checkered-tape that lend the scooter a degree of sportiness. But when Alice was given the matt black and red paint job that was inspired by the black and red that makes up Ferraris I was also determined to get the livery right. So one flank of the scooter pays homage to the Formula One car (F2009) while the other apes the road-going supercar. Painstakingly cut and paste Italian tricolore and a prancing horse (ok, that was a bit blatant but what the heck!) later we had a scooter that, in my eyes, looked just perfect. Cost? Rs 10,000 only including the donor scooter.

Sadly, the scooter is not going to be mine and I felt the tug in my pump when it was time to let her go. Alice will ferry my friend Vishal to the starting points of various half-marathons and training sessions as I embark on the next project that revolves around a theme of WWII aircraft, nose-art (semi-naked women, of course) and overall a riveted look. After that I will start considering an installation art exhibition on Indian Vesp-art!

I am loving it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vespa to begin third innings in India by 2012 | Automobile World

Vespa to begin third innings in India by 2012 | Automobile World

Vespa’s Indian re-entry.

The Board of Piaggio has approved a proposal to invest around 30 million euros (Rs 170 crores) over two years to set up a manufacturing plant with an annual capacity of 1.5 lakh units in India. The Italian manufacturer wants to take advantage of the lucrative Indian scooter market, the Indian two-wheeler market being the second largest in the world.
Piaggio also plans to establish boutique showrooms for selling the range of Vespa scooters. Piaggio would first roll out the Vespa LX 125 scooter by the end of 2012. Then would gradually bring in more powerful scooters.
Piaggio is bullish about the Indian scooter market and is hoping to sell around 1.1 lakh units in the first three years and estimating revenues from the scooter business to touch Rs 400 crores in these three years.
Piaggio Vehicles India Pvt Ltd, which is currently manufacturing three- and four-wheeled small LCV’s, is the segment leader in leader in three-wheeled LCV’s. The company’s plant is located in Baramati, Maharashtra and the future Vespa scooters could also be manufactured here in addition to the proposed new factory.
Vespa is about to make its re-entry into the Indian two-wheeler market and its the LX 125 which has been given thevespa_lx_125charge of leading Vespa’s attack on the Indian scooter market. The LX 125 is a 125 cc gearless, automatic scooter similar to the Honda Activa, whose engine produces 7.65 kW of max power and 9.6 Nm of max torque.
The Vespa LX 125 will be loaded with features such as a front disc brake and an electric starter. The scooter will be one of the more powerful scooters in the Indian market and hence fuel efficiency will be on the slightly lower side.
The Vespa LX 125 faces a tough job of re-establishing the Vespa brand name in the Indian two-wheeler space and with the presence of established rivals such as the Honda Activa, Honda Aviator, Hero Honda Pleasure and the Suzuki Access. It is not going to be an easy ride for Vespa in the Indian market.
Vespa LX 125 Technical Specifications
Engine and Transmission
Engine: Single-cylinder LEADER 4 stroke with electronic injection
Capacity: 124cc
Power: 7.65 Kw / 8250 rpm
Max Torque: 9.6 Nm / 7250 rpm
Cooling: Forced Air Cooling
Starter: Electric and kick starter
Transmission: Automatic
Suspension, Brakes and Tyres
Front Suspension: Single sided trailing link with hydraulic shock absorber
Rear Suspension: Hydraulic shock absorbers with preload adjuster
Front Brake: 200mm disc brake
Rear Brake: 110mm drum brake
Front Tyre: Tubeless 110/70 – 11?
Rear Tyre: Tubeless 120/70 – 10?
Dimensions and Weight
Length: 1770 mm
Width: 740 mm
Height: 1140 mm
Weight 114kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 8.5 litres