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Sunday, December 13, 2020

The British-made Douglas Vespa scooter models

Most people only know and even consider the Vespa brand scooter to be a scooter that is only produced in Italy. This assumption is neither wrong nor 100 percent correct as well. Because in fact, there are the Vespa scooters produced outside of Italy, such as in England, France, Germany Russia, and many other countries in the world.
1951 Douglas Vespa Rod. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2DMAgn2)
And here's the Douglas Vespa, the Vespa scooter models ever produced by the British manufacturing company named Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd. The presence of Vespa Douglas scooter began when the British company headquartered in Kingswood, Bristol, England, which is known to have been producing motorbikes since 1907, and in 1948, the company was effectively bankrupt after having suffered a decline in business significantly.
1953 Douglas Vespa G Model. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3qBlVz2)
However, the condition of the company slightly improved, when at the same year, Claude McCormack, Managing Director of Douglas returned to England after taking a vacation trip to Italy and caught sight of a Vespa scooter while in there. Immediately he make a memorandum of understanding with Piaggio that generally consists an agreement to build the under licensed Vespa scooter in Bristol.
Piaggio had shown off a Vespa scooter model at the Douglas booth in the Motorcycle Show at Earls Court in 1949. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/2VQNKVY)
It seemed then that the deal looked to be going well when the Italian manufacturer had shown off a Vespa scooter model at the Douglas booth in the Motorcycle Show at Earls Court in 1949. Two years later, the scooter model was really produced by Douglas to be pricisely in April, 1951, shortly after the entire manufacturing infrastructure was completed.
1954 Douglas Vespa GL2. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/2VQhhix)
Initially, all Douglas scooters were built intact in England. The Douglas foundry churned out items such as engine bearers, clutch covers and cylinder heads, whilst from the machinery shop came gear clusters, brake drums and much else besides. And most of the pressing items were made by Pressed Steel, a workshop based in Birmingham, England.
1955 Douglas Vespa 42L2. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3mX2IFI)
But after the British company introduced the Douglas 152L2 scooter model, all scooter parts were supplied directly by Piaggio from its factory based in Pontadera, Italy. Meanwhile, the Douglas factory in Bristol only had assembled them becoming a scooter.
1956 Douglas Vespa 92L2. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3mUjsO4)
During the production periods that rolled ranging from 1951 to 1965, here's several types of Vespa Douglas were successfully produced by the Brit company, as follows:
  1. Douglas Rod, is a Vespa model which refers to the retro term for gear shifting. This scooter model takes the specifications of the 1949 Piaggio Vespa scooter model. And the Douglas Rod model was produced between 1951-1955 with only 125 units ever built.
  2. Douglas G Model, is a continuation of the previous model with a cable gear change. This Vespa Douglas model uses a two-stroke 125cc capacity engine and was produced between 1953-1954.
  3. Douglas GL2, is an update of the Piaggio 1949 model, especially from the twin chassis and ports on the engine. This model uses a two-stroke 125cc capacity engine and was produced from 1954-1955.
  4. Douglas 42L2, is a new model that has applied the headlights to the handlebar sector and The model was produced in 1955-1956.
  5. Douglas 92L2, is a modification of the Douglas 42L2 model by carrying a larger fuel tank. This model was developed in 1956-1959.
  6. Douglas 102L2, this is a Vespa 92L2 but has a 150cc capacity engine imported directly from Italy. This model was produced in 1957.
  7. Douglas 152L2, is a completely new model with a 150cc capacity engine. The rear is constructed in two parts, as well as the engine carrier which is attached to the crankcase. This model was produced from 1959 to 1960.
  8. Douglas Sportique, is the last generation of Vespa Douglas scooter. This scooter model carried a 125cc capacity engine and was produced from 1961 to 1965.
Clearly, Piaggio were expecting too much for a big-scaled production from Douglas. They gave Douglas not only the UK market but also large areas of the globe covered by Commonwealth countries e.g. Canada, Australia, East Asia and Southern Africa. They were to be disappointed, due to it could not compete in the market.
1957 Douglas Vespa 102L2. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3oxqzMB)
In 1965, after successfully assembling around 126,230 scooters, the entire production process of Douglas scooters had been ceased. After that, Douglas became the sole importer of Piaggio-made Vespa scooters to England. There various scooter models such as the GS 150 and others were imported directly from Italy until 1982.
1959 Douglas Vespa 152L2. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3lU7cvD)
It seems that Piaggio has to accept the reality of the situation namely that the British market has been irreparably compromised by their decision to go with Douglas instead of exporting the scooters directly to British soil and those good relations continued until the demise of Douglas in 1982.
1963 Douglas Vespa Sportique. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3oxrkVX)
That's it, and if the article above is still considered inadequate or inaccurate, or if you have additional information related to the Douglas scooter models, please don't hesitate to let us know via the comments column below this article.
Kept spur your adrenaline on the power of the two-wheeled monster and stay alive with true safety riding. May God will forgive Your sins and so does the cops..... *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | VETERAN VESPA CLUB]
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  1. The Vespa pictured as a 102L2 . Reg WZ 2405 is actually a Continental and not a 102L2 . I own this scooter it’s a VL3 manufactured in Italy and assembled in Bristol by Douglas

    1. Thanks for your information. We hope that the next time you stop by here and give a comment, please don't forget to also write down your name.