I've been aware for a good few years now that VVC member, Gary Linning, has had what can only be described as a liking, bordering on obsession, for Piaggio's most iconic scooter. I'm sure Gary won't be offended by me saying that, as he explains below…
“I first became interested in scooters after the famous film, as I was at the age where it made a massive impression on me and from there, my love affair with the scooter began. Unfortunately my parents strongly objected against me ever getting a scooter, so it was some time after that I first bought a PX, and soon after I bought my first 60's Vespa, a VNB. At the time I could not find a GS150, this was pre-internet and 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 and 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 of. Located in Lincolnshire, it was a long way from Glasgow and after a lot of research and trying to translate the German scooter scene forums on the net, I was then convinced that the white GS/3 was the real deal. From then on the addiction started.
Owning a GS150, had its issues; availability of spare parts and 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 and wasted cash, I decided from then on that I would learn and do everything myself. I then found another GS150 engine which I meticulously stripped, photographed and 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 and 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 and so my collection of parts grew, till I more or less had imported 4-5 complete GS150's all in bits and in weird and wonderful colours. To this day I still have not had an original silver GS150, I have been offered plenty but always found their prices to be a little high at the time.
My reason for buying, riding and dealing in the GS is due to the complexity of the parts for each model from VS1- VS5, Messerschmitt, Augsburg, Misa, Cushman and of course Douglas. It’s a model that I learn something new about every single day and would never say I am an expert; I 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 and currently have three, having just sold a VS5. I am now on the look out for another in original factory paint and you never know I may end up trying to purchase every single model.
I know and understand that my vision and taste of what a GS150 should look like will not be to everyone’s liking. I also designed and built a manifold so that a P-range engine could be fitted to a GS frame, without having to cut the frame. I did this about 15 years ago and at no point have I damaged any original parts during these builds, especially on the clear powder-coated GS, which was built and converted over 6 years ago. I chose this finish as the paint job on the original purchased GS was so bad. I had to strip it and during this process liked the look of the scooter the way it was and so the process of keeping the look and trying to protect the bare metal began. I also build and alter the exhausts to get the most from them”
A big “thank you” to Gary is in order I’d say; a handy guy to know for GS advice I reckon.
I get a lot of satisfaction sharing stories of other folks’ Vespa passions, builds, restos, journeys and so on - please do keep these coming and I hope Gary’s words and excellent photos inspire you to put fingers to keys and email me with your stories at email@example.com
Thanks Gary ; )