Vespa, the Italian manufacturer that has been making scooters since 1947, introduced its GT line in 2006, and in 2007, it brought out a special, and especially luxurious, 60th anniversary edition of the GTS 250, dubbing it the GTV 250. The scooter proved sufficiently popular, so the company has kept it in the GT lineup ever since.
Vespa dropped out of the U.S. market in the 1980s because its machines could not meet the fuel-emissions standards of the day, but since then the company has implemented a number of changes, including replacing the old two-cylinder engines with singles. The GT series introduced the Quasar engine, which stands for Quarter-liter Smooth Augmented Range, and the GTV’s 244cc displacement engine is the largest engine Vespa sells in the United States. The engine works in conjunction with a belt-driven continuously variable transmission.
At 322 pounds, the GTV is also physically large—at least, for a scooter—and the suspension system is correspondingly heavy duty (again, for a scooter): 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.
With 12-inch wheels front and back, braking and cornering need to be done with a little more care than you’d need with larger wheels, but the scooter is always quick and nimble in traffic, reflecting its origins as an urban commuting machine.
Given its status as the luxury marque of the GT line, it’s no surprise that the GTV comes with a raft of options. It was only available in two colors in 2007, aviator gray and Portofino, but you could add a full chrome kit and a windshield. The standard features, though, are quite nice. A small windscreen is well placed and well designed to direct the wind away from the rider’s face. The handlebars are chrome. Its basic two-piece seat, at 31.1 inches high, is leather, not plastic, and every rider comments on how comfortable that seat is.
Standard underseat storage could be better; it will not accommodate a full helmet. But a rear rack is standard, and you can add a top case and a top case bag—as well as a top case backrest—and a glove box is also standard.
While the mechanics of the scooter are important, of course, a big part of the Vespa GTV’s appeal is the way it looks. As befits its 60th anniversary status, the 2007 model features lots of retro styling. 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.
The scooter has a top speed of about 75 mph and Vespa estimates that it gets 65 miles per gallon. That means you can cover some distance on a 2.4-gallon tankful of gas. It’s quick when the traffic light turns green, and drivers can take it on the freeway for short hops as need be. After you wheel it into a tiny parking spot, stand back and enjoy the compliments its charm and unique good looks earn.