Friday, May 15, 2009

Infinite desires versus finite resources

As anyone with an old scooter knows - they are addictive. No sooner was the Troll running and the Heinkel packed up waiting to go than I began prowling the internet to see what else was available out there. There aren't many odd scoots on the market in Australia, and even less in Perth, but these past couple of months has seen some interesting activity.

The Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon

This super rare 1958 Silver Pigeon came up on ebay in Perth a couple of months back. It had been fully restored but wasn't currently running as there was a problem with transmission and electrics. There was no interest in it the first time it was posted on ebay and I only came across the listing 5 minutes before it expired. A month later it was posted again and this time I made enquiries. The owner wouldn't let me inspect it but I put in a bid anyway. Unfortunately I was pipped at the post and missed out. I've always wondered who out there bought it.

The Fuji Rabbit S601 Superflow

This scooter came on the market in the eastern states only days after the Silver Pigeon action finished. It was originally posted at $4000, but quickly dropped to $3500. Way back, when I first purchased the Heinkel and was debating buying a second scooter, I was tossing up between the Troll and a Fuji Rabbit Superflow. My brother recommended the Superflow as it has nicer lines and more chrome, but there was 'apparently' more work to do on the Rabbit while the Troll was 'running'... supposedly. I've always remained partial to Rabbits, but I just couldn't get excited by this one. It was fully restored and running, which should have made it a no brainer. Being superficial, I'd say it was just a matter of the purple colour and the red and black powercoating on the chrome trim (why oh why?). It ended up passing in with no bids. It was relisted a couple of weeks ago and again passed in with no bids. That's an omnious sign for a odd scoot fan - it's a small market out there. I know I'll never recoup my costs on the Troll but then that's hardly the point is it?

The Puch R125

Simultaneously with the Rabbit, this rare 1958 Puch was posted on ebay. Unlike the Rabbit, this really sparked my interest and I made enquiries. I watched the auction for while and as there appeared to be no interest I determined I would buy it. Unfortunately for me there was a sudden flurry of interest for this scooter and it quickly went over my price limit. I'd be delighted to see the outcome of this restoration.

The two Puch's

The week after the first Puch was sold these two 1961 Puch Alpines came up. Perhaps because the Puch fans' blood was up there was serious interest in these two. I really would have liked to have bid on these but as there were serious bidders in play I let them go (to a good home hopefully). It was pleasing to see some real interest in Puchs.

The 1955 TWN Tessy

This lovely restored Tessy was posted on the Scootersales website. It too had been advertised for several months. I assumed it had already been sold when I stumbled over the ad for a second time. Out of interest I contacted them but it had in fact already sold, they'd just forgotten to take down the ad. It sold for $4000.

The 1958 Cezeta

After the Puchs' were sold my interest diverted back to the Rabbit Superflow, which was then being listed a second time, this time at $2000. The lack of interest in the Rabbit actually tempted me to make a bid for it, but then this 58 Cezeta appeared on ebay. The Cezeta is right up there in the desirable scooter stakes and I immediately initiated enquiries. I was seriously intending to buy this scooter and had even sourced a repair manual (in Italian) but after pressing the seller for some more details he finally confirmed that the engine was seized, so I let it go. Someone else picked it up at the last minute for the asking price of $700.

With the exception of the Tessy and the Rabbit, all the other scooters were restoration projects and sold for under $1000. If I was going to buy another scooter it would have to be either very cheap or completely restored but most importantly, extremely cool. Shelly had been quite clear with me that three scooters was more than enough, but then kind of left a door open by musing that "maybe I should buy something more interesting next time. I mean, the Heinkel and the Troll look pretty much the same." Really!? Anyway.... I was pretty sure I could get the Cezeta past my wife, but the others would have been a bit more of problem.

Other Business
It was inevitable I guess that I'd start looking motorcycles as well. I'd been a regular browser through 'Just Bikes' and 'Motorcycle Trader' magazine. My interest was always drawn to unusual vintage bikes, mostly English marques such as Ariel, BSA, and Triumph. Some 6 months ago I spotted an Ariel Leader. Although it hadn't been ridden in years it was in really good condition and still running. At $6000 it was kind of out of my price range, but I eventually gave in to temptation and made an enquiry. Unfortunately it had sold that week. Damn! But the Ariel was shortly followed by a Velocette Vogue. The Vogue had been fully restored and was the same price but I ended up passing it by. Shortly afterwards a DMW Deemster hit the market. I initiated enquiries but it was quickly snapped up. All these unusual vintage English bikes are rare in Australia. Their respective stories are quite interesting and I'll do a bit of a write up about them later.

After many months of seeing this Ariel Leader advertised in the back pages of the Just Bikes magazine I decided to make a call. It's been a slow process negotiating a deal. Again, it's situated on the east coast so I'm buying 'sight unseen' and it all comes down to trust. It's cheaper than the other bikes I've enquired about but still over what I am looking to spend. Basically if I do go ahead with this purchase it's gonna mean the Heinkel project is put off till next year as I'll have spent my repair budget. But, these bikes don't come up for sale very regularly so sometimes you've just got to take the plunge.

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