"1960 Vespa 400 cont'd"

It isn't hard to understand why the Vespa was not a big success in the United States. It was a small car when big was what sold. Its real advantage - awesome gas mileage - did not mean much in the US, where the fuel was cheap. Still, almost 1,700 were imported in 1959 and 1960. The price was $1,080, which included the folding sunroof and heater.

What makes this very distinctive car even more unusual is the mileage. After 35 years of existance, it has only 212 miles on the clock! It was delivered to B and J Distributing Corporation of Denver. It was never sold by the dealer and languished in a shed under an old rug until August 1994. The paint was shot and there were dime sized surface rust areas everywhere, but otherwise the car was intact. Owners Steve Sego and John Ker disassembled, cleaned, and repainted it. A replacement for a missing headlight bezel was located; Steve made molds for it and the tailights which were also shot. A new folding sunroof was also made.

Instrumentation, like the rest of the Vespa, is spartan. In addition to the speedometer, there is a fuel light (no gauge) and generator light. There are headlight and wiper switches, but no provisions for a radio.

Black and white Vespa When he bought the car in 1994, it was not owner Steve Segos' first experience with the Vespa 400. His brother George owned a new red 1960 model (cost $980, side view mirrors included) when they lived in West LA. George, his wife Julia and Steve would not hesitate to take the car on long trips even though the top speed limitation meant traveling in the slow lane and getting passed by almost everybody. George Sego owned the car shown here at Lake Arrowhead, for 4 years and 29,000 miles. It was trouble free even by modern standards; the only incident was when the accelerator cable broke and was fixed with a safety pin.

manual cover
The Vespa manual, almost as charming as the car itself.

Pebble Beach Winner!

For 1997, a special class was created for microcars at the Pebble Beach Concours D'elegance. 10 cars were invited, including this Vespa 400 which took 3rd place in its class. Thumbnails and photographs are available at the Microcars at Pebble Beach! page.

Vespa Parts Seekers:

Francois Binet informs us that he has Vespa parts available and can assist with Vespa 400 restoration/research information.
Email: MONIQUE.BINET@wanadoo.fr
In France, telephone 33 2 47263151, fax 33 2 47263915
I also recieved the following email:
X-From_: vespa400@club-internet.fr  Tue May  4 16:21:06 1999
From: "nicolas  courtonne" 
Subject: vespa400 news
Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 01:25:45 +0200
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Priority: 3
X-Loop-Detect: 1

hello my name is nicolas courtonne ,president of the french club ,"les 400 coups "club vespa ,member 
of the fiv ,federation internationale vespa,we collect everything about vespa 400 ,i have parts ,
special tools for vespa 400,you can contact us for technical question ,join the club or spare parts .
i will go to detroit (ford co) in june .contact us at 

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