Italiawesome: Vespa Sprint Desert Racer

Every once in a while, a vehicle crosses your path that defies description, classification, and– in rare, special cases– common sense. The bike you see here is such a vehicle. Meet the Vespa Desert Racer, and get ready to do a bit of head scratching, because this is a bike that absolutely, positively, should not exist.

That’s not to say this bike isn’t awesome. It’s just that the world is not ready for this level of awesome. Consider the kind of energy that the people behind this build– a speed shop called Supacustom based in Melbourne, Australia– built this 2016 Vespa Sprint to be just as capable off-road (above), as it would be on a high-speed run across the salt flats of Lake Gairdner during Speed Week (below). Consider that, then think of how many useful things could have been done with that kind of talent, time, and money.

Hell, the Supacustom guys could have probably cured a disease or put a satellite in orbit with the time and resources they spent on the Vespa Desert Racer. And God bless those mad, Aussie bastards for building this thing, instead!


Vespa Desert Racer | Salt Flats

As you can imagine, turning a Vespa Sprint into a go-anywhere race machine is no easy task. To get from A to B,

“One of the challenges of this project is finding, adapting and fitting parts that will take the VDR to Desert racing stardom,” explains PS Imports Director Paul Chiodo. “As far as aftermarket scooter parts go; desert racing / off road components are not high on manufacturer’s priorities. For this reason, we have had to improvise and pick the best option that will work – often with heavy modification. As our parts started to arrive the anticipation started to build, and we soon found that each part created its own series of problems.”

You can see the usual off-road build staples, below– from Renthal bars to adjustable shocks, blah blah. As you can see from the studio photos below that …


Vespa Desert Racer | Build Photos

Custom intake ...more
Dirt tires on a Vespa ...more
Adjustable shocks ...more
Glassing in the frame ...more
Performance exhaust ...more
Renthal Bars, Vespa Desert Racer Parts Kit ...more


Vespa Desert Racer | Studio Gallery

… there was a lot of fabrication done on the frame and chassis to get the custom exhaust plumbing routed, the intake manifold built, and just– I mean, the whole thing is hand-built, at this point. And there is definitely nothing else like it.

What do you guys think? Is the Desert Racer set to dethrone the last “World’s Most Perfect Vespa” I wrote about, or is this still old-think stuff that has to bow to the new Elettrica EV? Let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


Source | Images: Thai WeBike.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.

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