Mod Max

Take a ride on the wild side with In­done­sia’s Vespa gangs, who have trans­formed their scoot­ers into post-apoc­a­lyp­tic char­i­ots

Southeast Asia Globe - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy and words by Muham­mad Fadli

Meet the In­done­sian Vespa en­thu­si­asts tak­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tion

to a whole new level

Ar­guably the globe’s most iconic scooter brand, Vespa is of­ten seen as the epit­ome of Euro­pean cool, all gleam­ing chrome and retro stylings. But for a size­able num­ber of In­done­sians, they rep­re­sent some­thing no­tably less pol­ished.

The archipelagic na­tion is home to hordes of Vespa en­thu­si­asts bound by a love for what can only be de­scribed as ex­treme DIY mod­i­fi­ca­tion.

Look­ing like they’ve just rolled off a Mad Max movie set, the ec­cen­tric pis­ton­heads are mostly in their early twen­ties and use what­ever ma­te­ri­als they can get their hands on to trans­form their Ves­pas into rugged sculp­tures. These works of art are then proudly show­cased at fes­ti­vals across the coun­try.

Some scoot­ers have more than 20 tyres at­tached to them. Oth­ers are adorned with buf­falo skele­tons, elec­tri­cal poles, bam­boo and fake Gatling guns. Some en­thu­si­asts go even fur­ther, re­build­ing their Ves­pas from trees, or re­fash­ion­ing them into strik­ing four­wheeled con­trap­tions.

The pas­time has wide ap­peal: more than 7,000 Vespa en­thu­si­asts from across the coun­try came to­gether to cel­e­brate the 20th Plat­inum An­niver­sary of Bali’s 450strong De­wata Scooter Club in Oc­to­ber 2015, and the club’s Face­book page boasts more than 9,000 mem­bers.

For this mot­ley and re­bel­lious crew, made up largely of met­al­heads, punks and Rasta­far­i­ans, cre­ativ­ity has no lim­its. The orig­i­nal Vespa is sim­ply a start­ing point.

Clock­wise from top left: Bolot, from Ban­ten, with his pink-hued Vespa; also from Ban­ten is Neo, who's fa­mous around the ar­chi­pel­ago for his cus­tom made ‘tree Vespa' and has a huge fol­low­ing on In­sta­gram; a buf­falo skull ac­ces­sory; a tired rider...

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