Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jewelry is not usually my thing...

...but if you know someone with a charm bracelet, this could be just the thing.

Mint green enamel. The wheels spin, and tiny crystals make up the head and tail lights.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SCOOTERS: SIZE DOESN'T ALWAYS MATTER - Opening June 18, 2011 at the Peterson Automotive Museum

Scooter lovers, mark your calendars. The Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, already one of our favorites, is opening a long overdue installation of one of our favorite modes of transportation.

"Scooters: Size Doesn’t Always Matter will take museum visitors through a fascinating chronological tour of motor scooter development beginning with the simple Autoped of the mid-1910s to the alternative power vehicles of today.
 Over 90 vehicles will be on display in this colorful and quirky exhibit of miniscule motoring. The exhibition opens June 18, 2011, and runs through May 28, 2012.
 Smaller, more affordable, and easier to maneuver than motorcycles, motor scooters offer an efficient and stylish means to run quick errands and travel short distances. Scooters will show how this genre of motor bike has evolved from simple tube frames with motors to the sophisticated, comfortable, aerodynamic vehicles of today. The exhibit will also illustrate how scooters have been adapted to business and industrial uses, how they have been utilized by the movie and television industry, and how Southern California was once a major scooter manufacturing hub. 
Wild or tame, foreign or domestic, old or new, scooters continue to offer a viable and economical alternative to other more traditional vehicles in our motoring landscape and provide a desirable means for free spirited motorists to boldly express themselves without saying a word."

                                                   Scooters form around the world will be on display

CURATOR'S TOUR (We'll  be attending this)
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gordon R. Howard Gallery
 Join Petersen Museum Curator Leslie Kendall as he guides you through Scooters to explore the unique two-wheeled vehicles that have spawned cult-like followings in some countries and mobilized others. Reservations recommended for all programs.  Call 323-964-6347, email  for more information or to RSVP.

 1958 Rumi Prototype photo courtesy of Mario Artavia

                                                     1955 Allstate, sold by Sears, manufactured by Vespa

                                                                       1962 Fuji Rabbit

Thursday, April 28, 2011

1979-84 Haunts I Miss

When I was able to stay up late: Plimsouls, Great Buildings, The Last, The Quick, Salvation Army and  20/20 at the Starwood, Hong Kong Cafe and Madam Wongs; Jim Lauderdale, Rosie Flores and other Barn Dancers at the Pal; Oki Dogs, Perogi's at Gorkie's or a Chinese Chicken Salad at Canters. What fun!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some (Vespa) Scoot History

Piaggio hasn't always been in the scooter business. Founded by Rinaldo Piaggio in 1884, Piaggio actually began by producing luxury ship fittings, truck bodies, engines, locomotives and railway carriages. During World Wars I and II, the company focused on producing aircraft in it's Pontedera, Italy plant.

With the end of WWII, Italy's crippled economy, and the disastrous state of it's roads, auto production was an especially difficult challenge. Enrico Piaggio, the son of Piaggio's founder Rinaldo Piaggio, saw an opportunity to address Italy's urgent need to kick-start it's economy and produce a modern and affordable vehicle.

Enrico brought in aeronautical engineer Corradino D'Ascanio, famous for designing the first airworthy helicopter. He was now tasked with nearly as formidable a job by being asked to create a sturdy, simple and affordable vehicle that was easy for both men and women to drive, was passenger capable; and could keep it's operators clothes clean.

Inspired by a small motorcycle made for parachutists, the first prototype was known as the MP5 and nicknamed “Paperino” (the Italian name for Donald Duck). Historians say Enrico was unhappy with this design however, so Corradino was sent back to the drawing board and soon came up with the second prototype.

He soon came up with the MP6, at which Enrico happily exclaimed, "It looks like a wasp!".

In 1946 the Vespa (Wasp) was launched. Within ten years, over a million units would be produced.

My scoot, like the one in this ad circa 1980, is a 1979 Vespa P200e. Garaged for more than 15 years, it was overhauled several years ago by Mike at NoHo Scooters in North Hollywood. At more the 70 miles to the gallon of regular gas, my little wasp can take me a long way on it's small 1.48 gallon tank... and with gasoline in Culver city at $4.29 a gallon and rising, it will likely find itself on the road again soon.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Enjoying life under 65mph.

When reliability and form trumps speed, you see the world a little differently. Come visit us often for scooter culture, random "retro" and contemporary pop phenomena and a few other things as they pop into our little brains.