Words: Dan Clare | Photographs: Gary Chapman
Mixed emotions surround the reincarnation of this legendary beast, from many different quarters. And whether you love it or loathe it, the fact is (and as the title points out)… the b*tch is back!
Creating a custom
This is one scooter I never thought I’d see out on the road again, so how did it come to be? For anyone unfamiliar with this particular machine, it first featured in the September 2007 edition of Scootering.
Then owner, Wayne Stanton (owner of other scooters such as Grim Fairytale and RatFink) had collaborated with Sean Brady to create the stunning machine, with its outrageous side panels and a seductive name. The scooter won a bunch of local shows and shot straight to fame across the web.
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The name of the scooter became so well known, I myself used it as a platform to create the Scooterotica scooter forum, and when I opened my dyno centre at the garage, we even changed the name above the door!
However, the infamy of the scooter overshadowed it, and Wayne was inundated with offers to sell it on, which he first resisted until one offer became just too much to turn down! After that, the scooter floated around a bunch of local owners for a while, before being sold on eBay, and relocating down south.
Eventually, the new owner contacted us at the garage and made a confession: “It’s a lovely scooter, but it’s too well known, and it’s not personal to me.” We understood completely, but were shocked when he asked: “Can you spray it over in red Martini race-paint colours?”
The request to spray over the legendary paintwork was a real blow. Yes, it was always nice to get a new job commissioned, and another chance to create a good-looking machine, but this one would then be gone forever. A compromise was then struck.
Sean asked the new owner if he could keep the old panels, and fashion him some new ones. He agreed. It was only the fact that the original legshieds were cut down and flared, with a one-piece footboard/bridge piece added, that meant they were too time-consuming to recreate.
The labour to fabricate a new pair would not have been cost-effective. So the side panels, horncast, mudguard and toolbox door were salvaged, and went on to adorn the walls of the garage outside my dyno room… a daily reminder of how the business evolved. The old machine was then duly sprayed over, and to be fair it looked amazing in its new race-paint livery. The machine was returned to its new owner, and that was the last we saw of her.
Time rolls by
As the years moved on, and the panels on the walls gathered dust, the era of ‘Scooterotica’ started to fade. I had diversified the business and was importing dozens of scooters from Italy and Spain, and had taken on a larger unit to house the machines.
I rented the unit from local scooterist Mark Nickell-Lean. I’d known Mark and his brother Gary for a number of years, so was pleased to be running my scooter garage out of unit leased by a fellow scooterist. Eventually, however, I received an offer I couldn’t refused.
The dyno centre was closed and all the machines were sold off so I could take up my position here as Editor at Scootering. That was the last I expected to hear from Scooterotica in any capacity, until…
Late in 2018 I received a phone call from Mark, to let me now he’d bought the old panels, and although it couldn’t ever be the SAME machine, due to the original chassis now being elsewhere, he did intend to buy a new chassis and recreate the beast as best he could. I’d say he’s done a great job, and also added a significant number of high spec components into the mix!
Whilst the original machine did have those wonderful one-piece legshields which were cut down, shaped and flared, it didn’t have high-spec components. The original Scooterotica was ALL about the design… the style, the looks and the lines.
It ran a basic Rapido engine and DJ pipe. Mark, however, knew he could at least do the machine justice with the specification, and really went to town on the spec sheet. A Quattrini 210 engine was built by Chiselspeed, fully ported, and set up on their dyno. It utilises a 7-plate LTH clutch, and Mark’s only regret is that he didn’t fit a 5-speed box at the time, something he intends to remedy very soon.
The suspension was also upgraded, and disc brakes fitted front and rear. To add the finishing touches, Mark had Trev at Midas Touch provide the shiny stuff. The frame and other parts were powder coated to match the original items, and scooter legend Rob Skipsey provided the registration service to get a decent-looking plate fitted.
Being a Harrogate scooterist, Mark remembered the furore at the time Scooterotica originally hit the scene. With its shocking artwork, saucy name and seductive lines, it had been an instant success.
Unfortunately, it was very much short-lived, and didn’t have time to mature before it was sold, passed round and sprayed over. Thankfully, Mark’s passion for scooters and his interest in this particular beast has been a godsend. Those old panels are off the wall, no longer gathering dust and now being rightfully displayed amongst the scooter shows up and down the country this year.
As ever, good scooters evolve over time. They are rarely a finished picture, and more often a work in progress. So Mark still has plenty of opportunity in the future, to pick up on some of the finer details of the original scooter, which I would love to see returned to this reincarnation of it.
Personally, I’d like to see the artwork on the front legshields back in place, because the two iconic robots on their knees are certainly missed, as is the one-piece bridge to match. I think also, perhaps, the angular legshield badges don’t quite do it justice either, but then again… maybe I’m just being picky?
Perhaps I’m just too close to this machine to ever leave it alone, and stop wanting it to be the best it can be. For now, however, I’m just delighted to see those dusty old panels off the wall and back on the scene.
Hopefully, it will pick up a few of the trophies it should have claimed the first time round. Who knows what the future holds?
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