by Kevin Kocur
Scooters Invade Paris Car Show
Yes, I’m talking about Paris, FRANCE—home of the Eiffel Tower and far too many mimes. With electric cars being all the rage lately, it’s no surprise that at least three automakers brought concept electric scooters to this year’s show. Renault previewed the Twizy, which is more car-like compared to the traditional-looking scooters displayed by Smart (eScooter) and Mini (Scooter E Concept). Rumor has it that Honda will soon be offering an electric scooter, as will Suzuki, who is teaming up with big-name electronics manufacturer Sanyo.
Scooter Races a Big Hit at Cokato
In early October, scooterists took over the Stockholm Motorsports Park in Cokato, MN. OK, maybe “took over” is exaggerating a bit, but there were a lot of them! The scooterists were there to watch the first-ever (and long awaited) scooter races at that facility. The weather was good and the racing action was hot, with huge racing names like Devries and Hedstrom, who was piloting a Bajaj Chetek sporting Gumby and Pokey livery.
Still, he was no match for Jedi Matt and his vintage Vespa, who took first in the 150+ class. Other classes included stock and modified 50cc scoots and an under-150cc class. I really hope that scooter racing becomes a regular thing next summer. I love the smell of 2-stroke oil in the morning.
No, Not the Almond Company
There’s no mistaking it: Vinashin Motor’s Diamond Blue 125 is an almost carbon copy of the modern Vespa LX. Produced by the subsidiary of a Vietnamese state-owned shipbuilder, the Diamond Blue 125 has all the styling of the LX, including the familiar-looking hexagon cutout on the plastic horn cast. This hasn’t escaped the notice of Vespa’s parent company, Piaggio, who went on to say that this isn’t the first time that Vespas have been copied and consumers will always be able to tell the difference between a real Vespa and a cheap knockoff. But there’s more controversy over the Diamond Blue then just its plastic-shelled “tribute” to Vespa twisties. Honda Vietnam is upset over the Blue’s 125cc motor that, allegedly, is assembled in China by the Sundiro Honda Motorcycle Co. Honda Vietnam claims that this particular motor isn’t produced by any Honda subsidiary anywhere in the world. Retailing for a little over $2,500 US, don’t expect the LX clone to be coming stateside anytime soon.
What’s In A Name?
Scooters India Limited is up for sale. The Indian government is looking to part with the manufacturer, who had been making Lambretta scooters as late as 1998 and builds the Vikram three-wheeled utility vehicle. Buyers are already popping up and include automakers Mahindra and Tata (Nano scooter, anyone?) Even Piaggio is considering the purchase. But buying SIL doesn’t guarantee one the right to resume the production of Lambrettas. It seems that SIL may not be the only company with rights to the name. In fact, several organizations are claiming rights to the Lambretta name, including Lambretta Consortium, Lambretta Global and Lambretta USA.
This Cat’s On The Move
If you’re thinking of heading over to Blue Cat Motors, bear in mind that they’ve abandoned their old digs. Possibly the result of having grown tired of living in the shadow of a giant water tower, they pulled up roots and have settled into their new home at 460 North Prior Ave in St Paul.
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