Time magazine is right when highlighting that Lambretta and Vespa are to scooter lovers what Triumph or Harley-Davidson are to motorcycle fanatics. If this is true, how would scooter fans react when learning that the real home of these stylish and fashionable brands is not Italy but India?
To be precise, it should be added that India has not become (again) the perfect market where to support Italian classical models manufacturing, rather to create something new out of them.
In New Delhi's Nitholi district, a local factory has been upgraded to become an innovative workshop dedicated to vintage-scooter restoration. There, several old Vespas and Lambrettas are patiently waiting to become "new" with the help of "Vespabretta"'s technicians, India's premier scooters restoration and spare parts specialists. As soon as this "made in India renovation" is completed, the new scooters are ready to be shipped to potential buyers all over the world, and especially in Europe, where scooters fans are said as being more numerous than anywhere else.
According to Sunny Anand, the owner of Vespabretta company, there is a special reason making India the best place to take care of old scooters: they have been popular in the whole country for ages, and people have grown up loving them and appreciating their appeal and qualities. Accordingly, the only place where they can be renovated by persons understanding the message these new scooters wll continue spreading is India and abroad.
Vespabretta's scooters won't be the first Italian motorbikes shipped by India. Vespas started to by imported by India in 1948, by Bajaj Auto, and twelve years later the India manufacturer started producing them in collaboration with Piaggio. Moreover, when the Italian company Innocenti closed its European shops in 1972, it was the local Scooters India Limited who bought its manufacturing rights and successfully started producing and selling Lambrettas.
Today, the legacy of this manufacturing past associated to the availability of spare parts, cheap labor, experienced mechanics and vintage models to be renovated has given India a huge advantage in managing scooter restoration market. For now, renovating a vintage scooter in Europe can cost as much as $6,000. The same work in India, including shipping, comes to about $2,000.