Last Page - Cultural Icon: The World's Most Coveted Scooter?
Photography by Courtesy Of Bonhams
Quadrophenia may be one of the most famous movies nobody ever saw. Or maybe it was just me. In 1979, the year the movie version of The Who's seriously good '73 rock opera came out, I got a job at Motorcyclist. I was too busy gorging on new Yamaha RD400s, custom-fitted Bates leathers and free faceshields to be much of a pop culture consumer. The only culture I was concerned with was the suspicious bacterial broth percolating in the Motorcyclist Mr. Coffee machine since Editor Bob Greene mysteriously keeled-over at his post years before. That was the office legend, anyway.
So Wikipedia, which should know, says that Quadrophenia (the movie) was once ranked as the 35th best British film of all time. So it's possible that it doesn't suck a great deal, or maybe not at all. Set in '64, Quadrophenia follows the story of young Jimmy Cooper, an amphetamine-addled, scooter-riding Mod who runs afoul of a gang of motorcycle-riding Rockers in the seaside town of Brighton. Teen angst, steamy alley romance and fines of 50 quid ensue. A despondent Jimmy then wisely decides that life on a Lambretta-even one with a lot of rear view mirrors-isn't really worth living, and appears to ride tragically off the cliff (on a different scooter) at Beachy Head. Roll credits.
Apparently somebody did see the film, because the very Lambretta Li 150 Series 3 used during much of the film was recently auctioned off for a cool 36,000 (about $56,000). That's a lot of coin for not much more than a self-consciously precious tarted-up scooter. Must have been a swell movie. I probably should have gone to see it. But alas, there were free gloves to inventory...
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