GARY LINNING'S VESPA GS150
There are so many wonderful scooters on the scene today painstakingly restored by truly dedicated owners. We want to pay homage to these scooter heroes with our new 'Sensational scooters' feature and what better way to kick it off than with Gary Linning's stunning Vespa GS. Gary has been collecting and building the pedigree for many years and we are honoured to showcase both Gary and his trusty steed as our first instalment in the series.
We also hand over the reigns to the owners to tell us their story so grab a cuppa, click on the photos to appreciate the full glory of his wonderful machine and we'll let Gary take it away from here.......
I first became interested in scooters after the famous film, as I was at the age, where it made a massive impression on me & from there my love affair with the scooter began. Unfortunately it was some time after the film, I bought my first PX in British racing green, from MOTEC in Newcastle, where I used it daily to get to & from work. Soon after i bought my first 60's Vespa VNB, at the time I could not find a GS150, this was pre internet & my only source was the classifieds in the available scooter magazines. As soon as the VNB arrived, I knew immediately, I had made a mistake, I should have looked harder for a GS150 & so the search began. This was probably around 1998/99 when I had to visit my parents to gain access to the internet. Through hours of searching, I came across a white Vespa GS/3 Augsburg, which I had never heard off, in Lincolnshire a long way from Glasgow & after a lot of research & trying to translate the German scooter scene forums on the net, I was then convinced that a white GS/3 was the real deal, from then on the addiction started.
Owning a GS150, had its issues, availability of spare parts & my limited knowledge, led me to farm out the engine re-build, which also incurred its problems as, so called Vespa engine builders, did not know the GS engine either. So after a lot of time & wasted cash, i decided from then on that i will learn & do everything myself. I then found another GS150 engine which I meticulously stripped, photographed & labeled every part, so i could rebuild the engine myself. During this process I managed to find contacts all over the world, which i still have today & as I now had a spare engine, the process of finding a chassis began & knowing how difficult it was to find spare parts I soon began buying everything I could afford for the GS. My contacts would then be in touch more or less every week & so my collection of parts grew till I more or less had imported 4/5 complete GS150's all in bits & in weird & wonderful colours. To this day I still have not had a original silver GS150, I have been offered plenty but always found there prices to be a little high at the time.
My reason for buying, riding dealing in the GS is due to the complexity of the parts for each model from VS1- VS5, Messerschmitt, Augsburg, Misa, Cushman & of course Douglas, its a model that I learn something new every single day & would never say I am an expert, just have, some knowledge on the model which i am happy to pass on to others, when asked. I have owned over eight GS150's from VS4, VS5 & GS/3 & currently have four. Including a original Douglas VS5 with its original V5 & registration plate, unfortunately not original paint, so I am in the process of converting the 6v system to 12v & will soon put it up for sale. I would one day hope to own either a VS1 or a original Messerschmitt, which is extremely rare.
Having studied design at college, my influence's come from all sorts of products & with a lot of design, it is not just about what is on or around the scooter, its sometimes about the space in-between what you add, that also needs to be looked at, this also applies with colour. Certain scooters work in certain colours & others dont look so good, but then you add a second colour & they do work, its complicated & of course very personal. Accessories, again very personal, like front mudguard embellishers of which I am not a fan off, front rack, crash bars & badge bars for me the addition of lights ect. size is of importance, if the light(s) is too large, then it does not work, it becomes the point where the light becomes the focal point, where it should still be the scooter & the light/accessory are accents to force the eye to look at the whole scooter, this is a personal opinion, I also believe the accessory should have a function.
My GS150 & the process of the build & choice of colour. I always wanted to revert back to the white GS150 I first bought & through my search at the time, I found out that the Augsburg factory painted a few GS150's in the white used for the early German GS160's, I believe this was an option to try & sell more before the larger GS160 came out, as it was thought the smaller 150 engine would not sell once the larger engine was available. I was always going to fit chrome panels & mudguard, so I was not thinking off a second accent colour & would use the seat cover, touches of red on the accessories. As for the choice of accessories, which is always down to whats available & at what price, although I have been collecting this sort of stuff for years with a plan to build a 60's styled Mod GS. As i have said before the accessory should also have a function, crash bars to protect the chrome panels, rear rack to carry my tool bag & some small original period lights, not just to increase my visibility but also to increase the visibility of the scooter itself, of course there will always be things that will change over the next few years, when certain accessories become available.