The Asian Scooter Chop Shop owners are doing OK it seems.
Over the last few months I've been helping a few clients figure out what model scooter they actually have bought and am assisting them to decide if it's worth spending more money looking for parts and fixing Asian bodge jobs.
I hate to hear of beautiful old scooters going to the scrap heap because they are beyond repair after their "Asian Restoration". It started as a hobby to help people find the parts and point them in the right direction but it has to be one of the most disheartening hobbies a person could have. Every week I get a call from someone asking for help with their newly purchased Classic Vespa from over the waters. Faked GS's, other scooters with a decent old 50's 150cc engine but totally faked body and bits to make it look like an old 'wide body'.
It makes my heart sink every time I hear the stories of how much people paid in good faith only to get their dream scooter and discover it's a pile of poo.
In the last few months I've come across a fake GS in Perth, a fake 'wide frame-handle bar' model in Melbourne and a very very bad resto job discovered underneath the shiny paint, many panels all welded together.
My heart bleeds for the people who own these scooters. What can they do other than either cut their losses and scrap them after spending $3000-$5000 on a "classic" or hang the expense and try their hardest to find the parts no matter how long it takes.
I'd assume most people don't have the extra money to spend on something they've discovered is a shiny turd. Even if they did have the money, try to find someone to help you after you've muttered the words " Asian Imported Scooter". They won't want a bar of it. Most of these shops now have a clear disclaimer on their websites regarding their inability to deal with your Asian scooter.
You'd also imagine that after this soul crushing discovery you'd have a very bad taste in your mouth and would be more likely to roll the scooter into a corner of the shed and leave it there.
So one ponders....exactly how many unregistered un-roadworthy old "Frankenscoots" are actually out there in old sheds across this land, and for that matter, all across the planet.
I know of a guy who has a 'naked' one in his living room for his daughter to play on, useless for everything else as the VIN # is missing...cut out and another patch put in. Game over!
What will happen to these old beauties? It makes me sad to think that there's so many little Asian chop shop business completely decimating the classic Vespas of the world, 'restored to death' as I have often put it.
Don't be totally disheartened though, the parts are out there to fix them up, takes a lot of research and looking and asking and most of all..patience and money!
My own SS180 project is a very very slow one as I'm still on the hunt for a couple of parts to replace the Asian modifications, if anyone has an SS180 Carb box and air manifold elbow thingy I'd be keen to hear your price.