Vespa, the iconic Italian scooter maker, celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2007. It produced two anniversary-edition scooters on its GT platform, the GTV and the GT 60. The GT 60 was designed as a collector’s item: Only 999 were made, and of those, only 250 were exported to the U.S. Original owners received a 60th-anniversary leather case that held a leather document wallet and key fob; a metal plate with the specific number of the scooter in the series, which was also engraved with the new buyer’s initials; and a hardcover book on the history of Vespa. The scooter came in exactly one color: Vespa’s 1947 prototype gray, with Vespa’s beautiful Italian finish.
In homage to the company’s original scooter, the round headlamp is mounted on the fender. The round instrument panel, set squarely in the center the dash, is easy to read and boasts a clock, fuel gage, speedometer, odometer, and temperature warning light. The standard side panels are curvaceous, irresistibly reminding a viewer of Italy’s luscious postwar actresses.
Regardless of the retro styling, everything about the GT 60 (in terms of mechanics) is up-to-date. Mechanically, the scooter is indistinguishable from the 2007 GTV, Vespa’s other anniversary release. It has the same the Quasar engine, which stands for Quarter-liter Smooth Augmented Range, that Vespa introduced along with the GT series in 2006. The 244cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine is the largest one Vespa sells in the U.S. The engine works in conjunction with a belt-driven continuously variable transmission for smooth, easy shifting.
Like all Vespas since 1947, the GTS 250 has a steel frame and monocoque, making it a heavy 322 pounds. The suspension system is correspondingly heavy duty (for a scooter): It has a single front arm with adjustable rebound damping, so it can be tailored to a rider’s weight (or the payload weight) and dual rear shocks—a steel twin-sided swing arm and an adjustable spring pre-load. The brakes, 8.7-inch discs front and back, are up to the task of stopping the scooter efficiently.
If a rider wants to gussy up the icon, he or she (and make no mistake, Vespa’s marketing specifically targets young women) can purchase an optional chrome kit and a Shedoni suede seat and backrest, though the standard seat, which is 31.1 inches high, is a plush two-piece leather one for the driver and passenger.
Interestingly enough for such a retro-styled machine, Vespa eliminated the kick starter with this design; ignition is strictly electric. The scooter has a top speed of about 75 mph, and the manufacturer estimates that it gets 65 miles per gallon. The gas tank holds 2.4 gallons. With 21.7 horsepower and 14.9 lb-ft of torque, the GT 60 will go from zero to 31 mph in 3.9 seconds and reach 50 mph in 4.2 seconds. It will leave other vehicles sitting at a stoplight once the light turns green, and it’s more than up to cruising on the freeway.
But let’s be honest here. If you buy one of the 250 GT 60s originally available in this country, you’re probably not going to risk your collector’s item on the freeway. You might, however, take it out for a short spin just to collect admiring stares and envious compliments.