Culture

Vespas in vintage 1950s Hong Kong photos

Jun 28, 2018

Hong Kong’s love for the Vespa has always burned bright, right from the '50s, when the iconic scooter started grabbing attention outside Europe.

The Vespa, which means “wasp” in Italian, retains its cult-like status due to its largely unchanged design elements.

In the '50s and '60s in the British colony, the colorful scooter was seen everywhere from race tracks to being deployed by the police force. Enthusiasts were already tinkering and modding Vespas, and the fandom was strong.

These images come from the Chu family, which ran Bowrington Motors, one of Hong Kong’s first Vespa stores back in the ‘50s. The collection of photos was later given to Hong Kong scooter specialist, Christian Keith, who runs a vintage Vespa store on the island.

A rider learns how to ride a Vespa, circa 1958.
A rider learns how to ride a Vespa, circa 1958. / Photo: Christian Keith
Members of the Vespa Club.
Members of the Vespa Club. / Photo: Christian Keith
The Hong Kong police force with their Vespas.
The Hong Kong police force with their Vespas. / Photo: Christian Keith
A miniature car, powered by a Vespa motor and custom-made in Hong Kong by the distributor for Vespa scooters, circa 1963.
A miniature car, powered by a Vespa motor and custom-made in Hong Kong by the distributor for Vespa scooters, circa 1963. / Photo: Christian Keith
Spectators watch members of the Vespa Club race in the New Territories, circa 1962.
Spectators watch members of the Vespa Club race in the New Territories, circa 1962. / Photo: Christian Keith
Albert Chu, owner of Bowrington Motors, balances on a Vespa on top of rollers used to teach learner riders, in Wan Chai, circa 1960.
Albert Chu, owner of Bowrington Motors, balances on a Vespa on top of rollers used to teach learner riders, in Wan Chai, circa 1960. / Photo: Christian Keith

Adapted from an original article on Post Magazine.