It's a 600cc upgrade, because why not?
Vespas have a special place in the hearts of Italians—a fact that most of the two-wheeled world probably knows. There’s a reason that modern Vespas evoke the spirit of classic Vespas, even as technology has evolved over time. The Vespa Elettrica, for example, looks like the best possible combination of that classic Vespa shape and the world as it is now.
If you’re going to mess with that shape, you’d better do something special with it. That’s apparently what Massimiliano Sgarbossa did with his Vespa 50 Special. The first Vespa 50 was also the last scooter designed by Corrado D’Ascanio, and upon its 1963 introduction, could be ridden by 14-year-olds with neither a license plate nor a driver’s license. The 50 Special, introduced in 1969, featured a few small cosmetic changes to make it even more appealing to the youth.
Needless to say, a 600cc engine upgrade was not among those ‘small cosmetic changes,’ but that’s where Sgarbossa’s mad plan came in, decades later. He said he paid €800 (or US $946) for the Vespa 50 Special, and €1000 (or $1,183) for the 1992 Yamaha FZR 600 donor bike that provided the 50 Special’s new power plant.
Mind you, he said it also took five months straight of working on the thing every night after he got home from his day job. It’s not clear how much he slept, nor how much additional money he spent on various bits, pieces, and consumables to make the whole thing go together the way he wanted. A suspension upgrade, swingarm changes, and a brake upgrade were also part of the build. We don’t know if he simply had those parts on hand from other projects, or if he had to source them from elsewhere—and if so, whether any money exchanged hands to bump the build cost up.
Does any of that really matter, though? Let’s put it this way: if you saw this scoot roll up next to you at a stop light, you’d just appreciate its utter insanity, right? You probably wouldn’t be running calculations in your head to figure out what it must have cost to build. Most likely, you’d live in the moment, smile, and maybe grab a photo or video to share with your friends if you could.