Memories from the 1960's

Nigel seated on his Vespa SS180

Nigel seated on his Vespa SS180

Longstanding VVC member Nigel Buxton, now resident in Western Australia, sent Chairman Roger Smith a nice message thanking him for the latest VVC JOURNAL (No.80); in it he mentioned how after reading the Autumn issue it made him nostalgic and brought back memories of his days on Vespas both in the UK & riding solo across Europe.

Roger, being the kind sort of fellow he is, forwarded me Nigel’s email. Relaying my thanks, I asked Nigel if he had any photos he could send me, to which Nigel duly obliged. Sending me a couple of email replies along with these photos, below is an edit of Nigel’s correspondence which I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing with our members..

“Hello Paul;

Thank you for your email - good to hear from you.

Frustratingly my Vespa driving days are over & have been for some time. I developed a problem with the middle ear & sense of balance; walking a straight line is a problem at the best of times & riding any 2-wheeler is life threatening - to me & other road users! This doesn't stop me occasionally scanning the internet to see just what is available locally of course, but the best vintage machine I found was a rebuild over in Melbourne - how I'd love to get my hands on that! To the best of my knowledge there isn't even a dedicated Vespa club here in WA

Not much to go on I'm afraid, but I found a couple of old photos from the mid 1960's of two Vespas I had. The red one was a '160' & the yellow one a '180'; the latter was the bike I loaded onto a cargo plane at Lydd Airport, Kent & flew over to Zurich, from there driving overnight down to Nice to participate in a rally - the only UK representative, I might add.. Arrived on a Sunday morning fairly early only to be greeted by lots of other riders walking the promenade - they directed me to the hotel & I slept for a couple of hours before heading off to the VC gymkhana. Swiss team wanted me to travel West, on to Spain with them, but I had to go East along the Mediterranean coast line & into Italy to Parma, then up through Austria & into Germany following the Rhine to Cologne. From there into Holland [Nijmegen] to see pen-friends, before finally getting the ferry from Rotterdam across the Channel and back to UK. All done in a 2 week holiday, solo & without the aid of sat-nav; happy memories!

My days of serious riding go back to when Frank Brooks & Reg Gardner were in the Mid Sussex VC & got VVC off the ground, so that dates me a bit!

While I'm not suggesting any member is likely to bring a Vespa to Western Australia, if anybody is planning a holiday here, do let the membership know that I'd be happy to act as a contact & will assist where/when possible.

Safe riding.

Regards - Nigel Buxton - WA”

Nigel and Vespa GS160

Nigel and Vespa GS160

What a lovely story and how nice to receive this - thanks Nigel !

If any are of you are planning on visiting Western Australia any time soon and would like to take Nigel up on his kind offer, let me know and I’ll put you in touch. You can email me at and of course if any VVC members have similar memories to share I would love to hear from you!

Cheers - Paul Hart (VVC Editor).

PS Below is a period image, not of Nigel (at least I don’t think it is), of a Vespa disembarking at Lydd Airport..

Anything to declare sir..?   Well yes, we had a lovely time, didn’t we dear..?!

Anything to declare sir..?

Well yes, we had a lovely time, didn’t we dear..?!