Vespa Allstate: Julian Rosenberg

Julian Rosenberg

I think I was still at school, about 17, when I bought it. We lived in Titirangi and they (Len Prager, previous owner) lived in Laingholm.. He was a recent American immigrant.

It was a great bike for me. I went to Wellington on it, from Auckland, in eight and a half hours. I did that trip more than once. Sometimes it would feather the spark plug, but apart from that it was full throttle the whole way. Sometimes two up with a girlfriend. I had a 150 as well, I had a lambretta, and I think a 150 super, it had chrome bars and was quite a flash looking thing – pretty beat up but quite styley. I had lambrettas which I took the bodywork off, a 150 with a fixed front mudguard. We used to take the side panels off, mudguard off, and race around. It wasn’t mod – it was more rugged and elemental. I had a friend, Dick Tosswill, who had one of the first vespas, with the really rounded pods and the stand alone headlight, either an early Italian one or a Douglas. But he also had a lambretta which had the exposed tube frame. But I was always very fond of the vespas. They did me proud. I remember going to a remote beach in Coromandel, Otama, on the way to Opito Bay, and you had to reach it by going over a road called the Black Jack Road, which was steep gravel, single lane road, which went down a razorback. Two up with my girlfriend, and a tent and food.

I got into a big slide on the shingle on the Kopu Hikuai Road (Waikato) before it was sealed, and we drove along the beach and spent an idyllic week on the beach – there was nobody there. Now it’s all houses. Totally unrecognisable. I threw the bike in the bushes, and we took the tent further down the beach.

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