SHOWNOTES: I guess that most of you have seen the Vespa that I use for my Podcast logo. It is a red 1967 Vespa 180ss that I got back in 1998, when I was relatively new to scooting. In late 1990 I started looking for a new scoot and the 180ss or the GS kept coming up, but as I read more I was attracted to the style of the 180, the large frame and unusual trapezoid headlight. I also found out that it was a very difficult scooter to find and was cautioned that if I did fine one it better be complete, because parts, especially side panels were hard to some by.
I was an early adopter to buying everything on the web and by that time was purchasing everything from pet supplies to housewares to medication to groceries, yes groceries, anyone remember that? As usual, thanks to the Wayback Machine I can even show you the page where I first saw my scooter advertised. Look here. The shop was Performance Scooters in Toronto. They assured me that the scoot was complete, waiting for paint and had the original engine rebuilt, tested and waiting to be installed. I was excited to have located what sounded like an original bike, so I haggled a bit and settled on $2400 USD.
To make a long story short, a crate arrived twelve weeks later and the scooter was even more beautiful than I had expected. The engine work was perfect, with the rebuild having been done to period specs, just as I had talked with them about. In addition, it had an accurate trim package and belched out beautiful puffs of 5 percent, 2stroke smoke on the second kick. Now some of you who have been around for a while might be thinking, Performance Scooters, that sounds familiar, but isn’t there another story about them? Like most historical accounts it is tough to go back and sort out fact from fiction, but I consider myself lucky and think that I was probably one of the last customers who dealt with Performance before they started to get into trouble. Performance went into bankruptcy on November 8, 2000. Even when I was dealing with them they werestarting to have trouble. So what were some of the signs? First and foremost, it was a lack of customer service, a common problem with a business that is struggling and usually the thing that finally brings them down.
Although there are many reputable scooter dealers these days, I would suggest that there are still a number of scooter businesses that are hanging on by the seat of their pants and you should take this into consideration when you look at buying a scooter or ordering parts. The best measure of good customer service is the relationship a business owner has with their customers. Look for someone who is open and honest and follow your gut feeling. A dealer who doesn’t make things right, puts you off or consistently doesn’t deliver on their promises is someone to avoid. Ask your friends, ask on the forums and don’t think â€œthey won’t treat me that way.â€ I was just lucky with my web purchase, but honestly wouldn’t do it again. Think about it, I plunked down big money for a scooter unseen from someone I didn’t know. Why not just ask someone punch you in the face and take your money?