Remember these? It’s an Italjet Velocifero, snapped this lunchtime outside Sweetings in The City. These were launched in the mid 90s, and sold for about five years. Jamie Oliver had one, Patrick Cox designed a limited edition one and Oasis were given one each by their record company. Never common and rare now, they were (and still are) real head turners – a proper retro-modern scooter which pre-empted and may have even inspired the Vespa ET2 and Aprilia Habana.
However. If you rode through light drizzle on the way back from the showroom, you’d arrive home astride a pile of rust. At night, those cute twin headlights meant you looked like a faraway car – more or less guaranteeing vehicles pulling out on you. The 50cc engine could be outrun by a pensioner on a mobility scooter. Spare parts were a mere figment of Italjet’s imagination, customer service diabolical and accessories furiously expensive. That tiny pillion seat? A hundred notes. Those passenger foot pegs? About the same. And these are prices from almost twenty years ago.
Early examples came with 8″ wheels – and no less a figure than a senior Italjet salesman warned me not to buy one of those. So I didn’t, or the later 10″ version for the reasons I’ve given above. A colleague did and he later added a sticker saying ITALJET ARE USELESS F****** IDIOTS to his number plate.
Pretty though…..I think the big problem is that the UK just isn’t small-scooter friendly; not the towns, not the terrain, not the roads, not the other road-users, not the majority of pizza-delivering teeny-tossers who ride them – and not the weather. Other than that………….!
Now, a twist-and-go scoot with larger wheels and an engine over 175cc, increasingly I think they make more sense than what I ride (ie a Yamaha X-Max left me for dead on the Clerkenwell Road last week!).
This is Jamie Oliver’s wife’s Velocifero. He found his old model on EBay and had it restored, complete with airhorn.
Wow – that might explain why it was parked outside a restaurant. Thanks, Poululla!
And some maxi scoots have a carpeted boot!
Here is the proof…