SCOOTERING – CAR PARK CUSTOM WINNER
‘She’s got soul, she’s worth her weight in gold’
With thousands of scooters on the Island it should be an impossible task to pick just one as this month’s Car Park Custom winner, but as soon as I knew ‘Bella’ was on the island the decision was easy. This isn’t just my pick for the IOW, it’s my favourite scooter anywhere. Although Bella rides high on the current trend of patination, it’s not just her looks that make her a winner, she sums up everything that scootering should be about.
Jane and her husband Tim are familiar faces at rallies across the UK and Europe, particularly Vespa Club events. Many people claim to be ‘dyed in the wool’ scooterists but few can match their devotion to the cause. When children came along it was a sidecar that provided family transport – not four wheels. They are both fans of the Rally 200 and Tim owns a very neat silver example ‘Little Bitch’ which has the rare distinction of being de-seamed by a previous owner and then re-seamed for Tim!
Based on a 1965 Motovespa 150S, a Spanish cross over model that brings together the curves of a GS with an SS style headset, Bella wasn’t intended to be finished in this scheme. “I own a custom Rally 200, ‘Batman’, which is a lovely scooter but using it every day is hard work. Just keeping on top of the chrome is a nightmare,” explained Jane. “The idea was to have something basic that I could use every day without too much effort. When we bought Bella she was covered in emulsion. Tim tried to strip that off and leave the original paint finish but it wasn’t possible so we decided to go for a bare metal scheme.”
The entire scooter was stripped using drill mounted wire brushes then, after a period of patination, the paint inside the leg shields and lacquer was applied by Tim. It was all done in their back garden using rattle cans, with smaller parts being hung off the washing line. Their son, Kyle, was enlisted to paint the flamenco dancer and Jane applied the sign-writing, taking inspiration from a favourite J J Barnes track. The seat was donated by a friend and was initially intended to be temporary, having started life fitted to a Spanish Post Office PX before being reupholstered by Jane. “It’s the most comfortable seat I’ve ever had so it’s staying put,” she says.
Bella was completed only days before the couple headed off for Vespa World Days in Croatia last year, although her first rally was actually Alp Days which the couple took in en route. In little over a year Bella has visited 12 countries and attended events all across the UK, with more adventures already planned. The phrase ‘countless miles’ is entirely accurate as although the standard P200 engine built by Tim has been reliable, the speedo hasn’t and is proving problematic to fix.
One irony of the build is that Tim thought his Rally 200 may at last get a look in now that it didn’t have to compete with Batman, but unfortunately for Tim that’s not the case. “The amount of attention she gets is incredible,” says Jane. On the IOW camp site passers-by routinely stopped to chat about Bella and numerous photographs were taken while parked.
Jane and Bella are deserving recipients of a year’s subscription to Scootering. They prove that a stunning scooter can be built on a budget and give a whole lot of pleasure. Surely that’s the very essence of scootering.
Scooter name: Bella Type: Motovespa 150S Owner: Jane Lightfoot Club: Smugglers (Redcar) and VCB Engine: Standard PX200 Paint: Tim, Kyle, Jane