As some owners of Vespa Rally 200s may have heard, there have long been suggestions that in 1977 a limited edition version of this scooter was sold in silver to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, but is this actually true?
Back in the 1990s I purchased a Vespa Rally 200 from Glen and Stuart of the Speed Demons SC, who at the time were running a little cottage industry shop from one of their grandmothers’ houses. I think I swapped it for a rather tired Pinasco kitted PX200 that had been finished in Suzuki Pepsi race colours.
Back from black
The Rally was kind of matt black when I got it, but hadn’t been done well. A simple case of washing it revealed most of the previous colour, which was silver, so I grabbed a rattle can of silver paint from the shed, covered over potential rust zones and began my first of many years of happy scootering on a Rally 200.
As an aside, I still think the Rally 200 is the best Vespa ever made and proudly own another one today. The only fly in the ointment is the poor quality metalwork which I’ve been led to believe is the result of industrial action in Italy during the 1970s which also led to the Alfa Sud cars having a less than gleaming reputation and rusting away before you could say ‘ferrous oxide’.
Anyway, eventually, after at least one new floor, a badly abused engine and a flying rear wheel which caused me to cartwheel it two up, the time came to sell UGW 209S. I was sad to see her go, but hopefully the new owner was kinder to it than I was.
Rumours and Quadrophenia
During the latter part of my ownership of UGW 209S, a number of people mentioned this almost mythical ‘Silver Jubilee Limited Edition’ Vespa to me, suggesting mine may have been one of them. However, the best evidence I could come up with was that the Vespa 125 TS, which was nigh on identical to the Rally 200 except for the engine, was finished in silver.
Fast forward to the 21st century and a few years ago I spotted a Rally 200 being advertised via an online auction with a sales pitch suggesting it may be a ‘Silver Jubilee Special’. With some of the numberplate visible I knew it was only a couple of numbers away from mine, a fact confirmed after a little time on the DVLA website. Having recently bought myself another Rally 200 however, I left it at that.
Until the Strictly Scooters rally last month that is, where lo and behold the same scooter was in the custom show there. I got talking to the owner of UGW 205S, also called Andy, who until then was also unsure about the jubilee link. So we set about like a couple of anoraks debating the story, Andy even managing to add that a Union Flag sticker or badge may well have been attached to the legshields when new.
Incidentally, the 125 TS and Rally 200 are the scooters believed to make up the five or so that were used as the GS Ace Face rode in Quadrophenia, although the only scooters to have surfaced since with any traceable history to this have been two Rally 200s (see Scootering December 2008 and February 2009). One of those scooters once belonged a chap in the North West named Gilly. That was VOY 802S and according to DVLA was registered on November 15, 1977 in north west London, the local DVLA office to Sterling Scooters which supplied the Vespas for Quadrophenia. My old Rally, UGW 209S, was registered on August 17, 1977, and Andy’s UGW 205S (both south east London numbers) was registered September 28, 1977.
Interestingly, both of our S-reg Rally 200s have Femsatronic ignitions. However, 1977 was the year the new Vespa P-range was launched, and the Rally 200s immediately prior to the P-range had Ducati ignitions, so were the ‘silver’ Rally 200s an old batch that had been hanging around for a while? Did Douglas Sales & Service create a Vespa Rally 200 Silver Jubilee special edition to get rid of old stock? Or was it just a dealer special at the time?
So dear readers, can anyone out there shed any light on this story? Please get in touch by writing to us at the address on page 5 or emailing email@example.com if you have any information relating to these scooters, or even better if you have any evidence that can substantiate what we still don’t know to be fact or fiction.