Esther, our beloved scooter and additional member of the Just Property team, is a 1962 Vespa GS 160 mk II finished in white and has been lovingly restored to the finish you see her in today. The GS160 is possibly the scooter most closely associated with the mod era, and this was most notably seen in the film Quadrophenia, as everybody knows, the film is based upon the 1973 album produced by The Who of the same name.
Esther was developed from the new 125cc VNA model of 1958, in much the same way that the GS 150 evolved from earlier 125 models. Consequently, there are almost no common parts between the old and new GS other than the headset and the horn. Whilst the engine design was clearly derived from that of the 1958 model 125, with the bearer and crankcase cast as one unit, it was stronger and larger. The new engine was designed with future capacity increases in mind, and was the basis for the power unit for the P200E. Having said that, it was not a rotary valve unit in its GS application - a little surprising since the 150cc VBA model (introduced two years earlier) had a rotary valve engine.
Although the power output was the same as for the GS 150, it was achieved for 1000 rpm less. This greatly reduced stress on the mechanical components and helped reliability.
The rear part of the frame was dimensionally similar to the 125, but the front leg shield pressings were more curved. The headset was identical to that of the GS150 VS5. A novel approach was taken towards the sighting of the spare wheel. The side panel that formerly housed the toolbox was made detachable, allowing the spare wheel to be housed inside it. This idea was a great success, and top-model Vespa's have had their spare wheels situated there ever since.
The GS160 represents a high point in the story of the Vespa .The styling was at least as good as the preceding GS150, and it incorporated many design improvements which made it a much more practical machine to use. The GS160 was not as dominant in its market as its predecessor was since there was now some effective competition in the shape of the Lambretta TV series three. It remains, however, the supreme scootering symbol of its period. Piaggio made just fewer than 60000. In addition, about 2500 were assembled in Germany, and a few kits sent out to New Zealand.
So, please come in and meet Esther in George Street, you can keep up with her exploits on twitter, she will also be out and about during the dry days helping beat us the busy roads and our traffic warden friends!!