Like I always do when the scooter is in the shop, the other night I found myself perusing the interwebs first for answers and then for scooters for sale. My brain always wants to plan for the worst case scenario, which is handy in some instances but more often than not just tends to be overkill. I realize this, but it’s rather soothing to think that whatever call I get from the shop, I probably won’t be caught entirely off guard because it’s likely something I’ve already spent a bit of time worrying about.
After some time on my old standbys Cycle Trader and Scooter Finder, I somehow ended up in the fascinating world of online salvage auctions. It’s pretty common knowledge in the scooter world that it doesn’t take much damage for an insurance company to total a scoot – especially true on the Vespa because repairing the cowls and that steel monocoque frame are pretty spendy fixes. Still, it was interesting to see bikes that actually looked really decent sporting salvage titles. I saw a 2016 Settantesimo GTS mis-labeled as a Sprint and the current bid is $550. It has cowl damage but otherwise looks good. $550?!
EDIT: On further study I think this is a Primavera Settantesimo, not a GTS, but still. Not a Sprint.
Then I saw another GTS that had some damage to the cowls but was loaded down with accessories, and the current bid was only $225 for an auction ending in a matter of hours. The value of the stuff you could just pick off that bike with a few hand tools was just nuts. Front and rear chrome racks, crash bars, OEM windscreen, topbox and seat. If I had a spare few hundred it would be so tempting to just try and buy it for the parts – it’s in a city not far from me and the topbox alone is worth the price if you can get it that low.
A lot of this stuff is certainly too good to be true. I’m sure there’s an annoying amount of paperwork to even deal with a salvage title and then there’s having to ship or go get the thing, wherever it is. And of course, wondering how honest the listings are – how do you mislabel a Primavera GTS as a Sprint, anyway? A Sprint headlight is square, a GTS headlight (and all other modern Vespa styles) is round. Not to mention that it doesn’t take much research to figure out Vespa never even made a Settantesimo Sprint – just Primaveras and the GTS in the America, and the PX150 in Europe. Another bike labeled a Sprint very clearly showed the Primavera badging. It should make you wonder if those salvage titles are even for the right bike, you know?
Just for fun, I took the listed VIN for the Not-A-Sprint GTS Settantesimo and plugged it into Carfax. Sure enough, that VIN belongs to a 2016 Sprint 150. Shady, shady, shady. I used that particular online auction site’s Contact Us page to send them the following message:
What do you do about listings where the title information on the VIN provided does NOT match the photos? You have a listing for VIN ### (link) and it’s labeled in the listing as a Vespa Sprint. The VIN lookup shows that number belongs to a Vespa Sprint, but the item in the photos is NOT a Sprint, it’s a Vespa GTS. Can the seller be contacted about this discrepancy before bidding? Those are two VERY different models with different engines and body styles, not even remotely close. Thanks.
I’m curious about their answer. I’m not about to start salvage hunting and piecing bikes together, but it was an amusing way to pass an hour and distract myself from dwelling on the fate of my own scoot while I wait for the news.
EDIT #2: The auction place said they could get me the seller’s info to discuss the discrepancy but they won’t do anything about the listing, even though the VIN on the listing clearly does not go with the scooter in the photos (Primavera or GTS or whatever). Hm.