Vespa – By Royal Appointment

What better endorsement for your product than to have members of the Royal Family as proud  owners?

That was the claim of Douglas (Sales and Service) Ltd during the 60s, that the Vespa scooters they imported and produced were ‘By Royal Appointment’.

The advert above is for the Bristol-built Vespa 150 Sportique model, the British version of the VBB150 that was produced by Piaggio in Italy. All Douglas scooters came with a 12 month warranty too, which was more than many rivals offered at that time.

A number of Douglas Vespa scooters sold in England during the 60s did featured a waterslide of the Royal crest on their legshields.

A Royal Warrant is valid for five years and while Douglas received one in the 1920s for their motorcycles, this one was awarded on behalf of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. It seems to disappear from Douglas adverts in the mid to late 60s suggesting it was awarded some time around 1959/60.

Interestingly, Douglas’ parent company Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co Ltd boasted it employed in total 13,000 people in Great Britain. Not all of this were involved in building Vespas in Bristol of course, but it does still hark back to the days when manufacturing in this country were at a peak…


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