A Vespa with a Royal Connection
Vistors can roll back the years with a very special two-wheeler which once belonged to one of the most prominent members of the Royal family.
Evocative of the Mod culture of the 1960s, Vespas were the two-wheeled stars of the classic British film Quadrophenia and are an enduring symbol of teenage rebellion and carefree youth.
They also became the ‘must have’ fashion accessory for any self-respecting Mod, with around two million Vespas sold in 1960 and sales shooting up to the four million mark by 1970.
In more recent decades, the Vespa continued to cement its reputation as a design icon, particularly in Italy where they represent adventure and romance.
It is also a symbol of regeneration, providing low-cost reliable transport for people to get around easily.
Our collection has a special Royal connection with these iconic Italian Scooters, as the proud owner of a 1963 Vespa Sportique which once belonged to the Queen’s younger sister, Princess Margaret.
Permanently on display in our upstairs gallery, its wasp-like shape and curved bodywork are the epitome of the classic Vespa.
Our chairman, Bill Bewley, says: “Just the mention of the word Vespa conjures up all kinds of images of 1960s Mod-culture and their customised machines.
“Many people are surprised to find out that Princess Margaret’s Vespa is here on display, but if you think about it, she certainly had a rebellious streak!
“Of course, it’s just one of a wide range of two-wheeled wonders we have on permanent display.
“Other vintage scooters on show at the museum include a rare British Swallow Gadabout and a Lambretta Xi150 Special.
“There is also a Grigg Solo motor scooter stretching back more than 100 years to 1920.
“Plus, we have a collection of almost 100 motorcycles, including a display of racing superbikes on loan from Isle of Man TT hero John McGuinness – better known as ‘the Morecambe Missile’.”