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Scooter UK

Scooter UK

For many Britons, the idea of driving a scooter is a very exciting one. For years, the scooter was seen as the post-war pinnacle of driving. When the economy was shot after 1945, it was down to innovators to help people progress post-war. That is why the scooter became so popular. Low cost, affordable, and easy to drive; they made the ideal alternative to buying an expensive car. For anyone who is looking to buy a UK scooter, you have many options to take a look at today. The main thing you need, though, is knowledge!

Before you buy a scooter, let us show you just why the scooter is one of the most popular innovations of modern times.

The 1890s

So, while the scooter is seen as an innovation from Italy in the Second World War era, it’s actually a lot older than that. Indeed, the first scooters came to be in 1894!

The first model is often a controversial subject, with various groups arguing for or against this particular kind of scooter. For UK scooter drivers, though, the accepted history is that the 1894 Hildbrand & Wolfmuller was the ‘first’ scooter.

It was driven using a 1490cc two-wheeled solution, capable of producing around 2.5hp. Some argue, though, that it is more akin to the first motorcycle as opposed to the first moped. However, the step-through nature of its look and design ensures that, for many, this is seen as a scooter.

Another common option for the plaudit of first scooter came in 1902. This was more like a car, though, with the 1902 Auto-Frauteuil being very much unlike any kind of scooter we have seen today. It was more like the kind of car you would see a kid driving in a nursery or school play. However, for many, it was seen as a solid option. The other alternative is the classic Autoped, made in Germany, the United States, and the former Czechoslovakia. This was more like a standard kids scooter that you stand up, though, than the kind of scooters we are thinking about.

The 1910 to the 1930s

The first kind of vehicle that came along in the 1910s, though, came in late 1910. 1919, to be exact. It was British made, and was known as the ABC Skootamota. It was very popular thanks to the two-wheel design, and it was seen as the ‘first British scooter’ design to have come to fruition. For many, it was a revolution. By 1921, though, the Unibus had come along; far more like a traditional scooter than anything that came before it.

Indeed, it had a protective bodywork and also a leg shield – something previous models did not have. This makes it more and more like the standard scooter that you would think of if you imagined their design today. However, by the 1930s, things were changing – other models were beginning to appear.

The 1930s was a period of pre-war, with the world heading towards global calamity once again. Yet while the rise of fascism and the opportunity for many insidious people to take control took place, the automotive industry at least enjoyed some innovation. We seen the famous Rock-Ola come along in the 1930s. This was a classic machine of the Buck Rodgers style, and alongside the Moto-scoot became the scooter of choice for many US citizens.

It was also the beginning of the brand era for scooters. Big names like Powell and Salsbury would exist long before and after the Second World War. While much was destroyed, they remained happily intact.

The 1940s

After the war came to an end, there was a European-wide desire for cheap, affordable transport. People had just gone through a ludicrous level of hardship. This was the opportunity for people to want a little luxury in their life – and so it came to be. While top quality names in Japan, such as Honda and Fuji, got into scooter development, it was in Italy where some of the largest advancements came to take place.

Thanks to the Genovese firm Piaggo, we seen the birth of a special scooter industry. They were known for creating top quality trains and aircraft, but produced the Vespa. The most famous scooter of all, becoming the most popular scooter for UK drivers and those in Europe, it was a true game-changer.

It led to the development of the Lambretta, a Milanese company. They started to sell all across Europe, and across the rest of Europe other options appeared. The likes of Panther and Dayon appeared in England, while Peugeot got into scooter making in France. Messcherschmidt in Germany got involved, too, and this led to various different scooter styles appearing all across the continent. Soon, they were appearing worldwide.

To the present

For Britons, though, scooters are often mostly commonly associated with mod culture. Seen as the pinnacle of 1950s Britain, many men from London got into the lifestyle of their European mates. They started to listen to new kinds of music, wore different clothes, and started to drive scooters. Cheap, affordable, and independent – just what a working class desperate for change from the wartime era were looking for.

Italian scooters became the go-to for many young British men. By the 1970s, the ‘Quadrophenia’ inspired era was very much alive. The film captured the 60s mod and rocker era perfectly. Mod revival bands such as The Jam came along, and everything started to change. By the 1980s, though, the scooter scene was far more diversified. The 1990s seen that continue, with the Vespa making a big comeback with their new four-stroke engines.

With the rise of ‘Cool Britannia’ in the 90s, too, scooters enjoyed a resurgence along with Britpop music. It was a reimagining of the 60s mod era, only done with a more modern twang. From the likes of Oasis and Blur to The Stone Roses, they helped to form an entire culture of their own.

Today? Scooters are as popular and as diversely driven as ever. From football fans decorating scooters in club colours to old-school mods, we see scooters driven by everyone. While once a fashionable way to drive for a certain kind of person, today scooters are made for everyone and anyone. So, if you worry you don’t ‘fit in’ with the scooter culture, think again!

The 60s are gone – today, scooters are for everyone and anyone. Without that long history, though, they’d never have become as popular as they did.