Hippy Chic – Vespa SS180 from Eddy Grimstead

East London Lambretta and Vespa dealer Eddy Grimstead was one of the best when it came to marketing scooters.

Early on in the 1960s he produced his Lambretta Imperial dealer special, but it was probably the ‘Grimstead Hurricane’ Vespa that became based on the SS180 when that was launched in 1965, which was the most well-known.

Bored out to a 200cc, fitted with an (optimistic but impressive!) 100mph speedometer and finished in a unique two-tone paint scheme, this was a necessary part of being a scooter dealer at the time. Sales were dropping but, like any good businessman, Eddy adapted by selling Honda scooters and mopeds and later on diversifying into the car market too. Eddy sadly passed away earlier this year, but there’s a great interview with Eddy in Scootering magazine back in 2000.

By the late 1960s the Mods had moved on – so naturally, Eddy did too. As can be seen from this advert of his from 1967, he made the decision to try the hippy market, albeit I presume he was aiming at the usual fashion bandwagon jumpers who will buy anything with next season’s colours rather than the penny-less students hitching a lift from one free music festival to another!

Whether these psychedelic scooters took off I don’t know, but I’d be interested to hear from anyone who purchased a Vespa or Lambretta painted like this from Eddy Grimstead back in the 1960s, or indeed who knows anyone who did. Peace man…

Eddy Grimstead advert, 1967.
Eddy Grimstead advert, 1967.

18 thoughts on “Hippy Chic – Vespa SS180 from Eddy Grimstead

  1. I Remember when Exchange & Mart was 6d ( 2.5 p new money) Thursdays was king the new edition came out EG always had seductive ads for spotlights ( 6 volt !! they did not work very well but looked good) front racks ,back racks mirrors and all kinds of bling to make your ride look good ( in my case a 1966 TV 175 lambretta) As an old crumbly OAP (ouch that hurts !) I am unable to afford the £7000. 00 plus tag on an origional TV 175 so have just bought an Italian import Li 125 for £2000.00. I remember Eddy with affection of the time I was glued to E & M.l I related the sentiment it earlier today with Essex Classic Scooters, who knows maybe the the next Edddie?

  2. I had an SS 180, there were two with the Richmond mods, it was fast and handsome, two-tone red with chrome bubbles. Memories.

  3. Back in the late60’s Eddy had a showroom on the Eastern Avenue A12 junction with Beehive lane.

    I bought my first used Lambretta Li150 S2 there late August 1967 as I turned 16. I believe it cost around £25.00 which was 5x weeks wages for me back then.

    Beehive Lane was a busy rat-run shortcut across the Eastern Avenue between Ilford and the Woodford Avenue avoiding the Gants Hill roundabout. Living at Clayhill at the time, I used to fly through Beehive lane twice a day on my Li150 to work, stopping outside Eddy Grimsteads showroom to gaze at the dozens of Lambrettas arranged along the pavement as I waited for the traffic lights to change.

    On the way home I would stop at the tiny self-service garage along Beehive lane to fill up with a gallon of 100 octane leaded and a shot of oil for half a crown a gallon ( 12.5 pence in todays money !)

    Thank you Eddy for starting me on the road to independance and some amazing times on my cherished Li150

  4. I remember buying my Vespa GS160 around 1965 from Eddie Grimsteads in Burdett Road. Quite a way in those times to travel from Fulham (where I lived) but the paint schemes at Grimsteads were legendary. Mine was turquoise and white and something I always remember with affection. Some of the happiest times of my life on that bike with girlfriend on pillion. Furthest we got was to Margate.

  5. I owned a Vespa GS160 with copper plated bubbles purchased from Garratt Lane Autos, Tooting, in 1964. I then bought a Hurricane SS from Eddy Grimstead in 1966 finished in magenta and white with chrome bubbles and front mudguard. It was ‘beautiful’ and very much admired and lusted after by my peers. Of course I added lots of chrome extras. If only I still owned it. I search for original SS180s, particularly Hurricanes, from time to time but they are so rare.

  6. Bought my hurricane from beehive lane in 65, white green and chrome. Went everywhere on it, just purchased ss in process of replicating my old one HLL920c

    1. Thank you for your comment Ian and please keep in touch regarding your Hurricane replica, we would be very interested to see it once completed!

    2. i bought same colour scheme SS in 1970 for £80,paper round money…wish i had not sold it,,,happy days

  7. Feel so proud of my Dad and the quality and service he gave to his customers…… he was a very loving and caring father too and we miss him very much. RIP Dad…. lovely reading these comments from his admirers. He left us a legacy of beautiful memories…… xxxx Debbie Cameron (ne.Grimstead) http://www.justagreatlife.com

  8. Yeah… ss180 cool Scooter
    I had a 1965 back in the late 60t. Red and chrome..with all the mirrors lol i even stuck a wall’s Philips fuel injecter on it …later on
    My mate had the Hurricane ..cream with green flashers
    Get times

  9. I purchased a sx Lambretta that come from grimsteads , still in original red with chrome side panels tool box lid and bridge piece . One owner from new and I have original bill of sale that says it’s red from new which must mean it could be a imperial . It also has sx 200 forks disc brake .hasnt run since 1972 as someone knocked him off and he never road again . Not sure what to do with the scoot at moment as I have three others but what a cracking British scoot .

    1. Hi John Great story would you interested in selling it? I’d love to see some pictures if you’ve got any, Bob (bobm659@gmail.com)

  10. I bought a GS160 from Burdett Road in 1965, the cost including tax and insurance, was £112. Did Eddy Grimstead sell vespas in Hornchurch or anywhere else in Essex, in the 60’s?

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