The humble scooter, which rode off into the sunset after the mad rush for cars and bikes began about 15 years ago, is making a comeback, with Delhi emerging as a hub of vintage scooter restoration.
Just ask Varun Katiyar, a 24-year-old IT student and founder of the Delhi Scooter Club, which helps enthusiasts get together and ride through the city. “Youngsters are rediscovering the joy of riding vintage scooters,” said Katiyar, who restores such vehicles and is often seen at junk markets looking for discarded two-wheelers.
In fact, the restoration business is booming, with not just Delhiites but also expats and scooter dealers from the US, Europe and Australia making a beeline to convert old scooters into new. About two dozen restoration workshops have cropped up in the city.
“I restore and ship about 100 scooters abroad every year. Lambrettas are sought after in the UK, while Vespas are popular in France,” said Sunny S Anand, owner of Vespabretta in west Delhi.
He explained that Delhi became a restoration hub because vintage scooters — two-wheelers produced before 1978 — are easily available here and in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
“Restoration costs between Rs. 50,000 and Rs1.4 lakh,” said Deep Puri, who runs Vintage Auto World in east Delhi.