29th Mar, 2023 12:00

National Motorcycle Museum | Solihull, West Midlands

  Lot 101

1952 Vespa Douglas Rod Model

Sold for £4,025

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: Unregistered
Frame No: Not visible
Engine No: 0425274
CC: 125
MOT: Exempt

Please Note: This Lot has an updated estimate of £3,000-£4,000

  • Most hard-to-find original parts are present
  • In running order
  • Very rare early model dated April, 1952 (VVC Veteran Vespa club)
  • Great opportunity to finish to a superb standard

The first time a Vespa was seen in Great Britain was on the stand of motorcycle manufacturer Douglas at the 1949 Motor Cycle Show. The scooter was discovered in Italy by Douglas managing Director Claude McCormack, when the company was in the hands of the official receiver. The Vespa presented itself as a solution to the British company’s problems and a deal was made with Piaggio to begin production of the Vespa under license in Bristol, England, starting with the ‘Rod model’ launched in March 1951. The Rod Model was slow to market and featured the same eternal design as the 1949 Italian ‘Bacchetta’, save for the position of the headlight. Douglas were that far behind in development terms, they launched a year late and had only produced 300 scooters per month by 1952. The result in today’s international collectors market is that British-built Douglas Vespas have, in recent times, emerged with a really special rarity and collectability status. Only 11,848 Douglas Vespa Rod Models were produced from April 1951 and 1954 when the Model G arrived with its cables. It is believed only around 100 Rod models survive*.

We present here a self-restored 1952 Rod Model with most of the hard-to-find parts present. Our vendor informs us he has owned the scooter for around 10 years. With what appear to be original panels throughout, it presents well. The handlebars and rod connectors, levers, headlight rim and many other parts are the originals that the vendor had re-chromed. Extremely hard-to-find parts also include the original ‘fish’ exhaust, which he purchased as original NOS, the plastic Douglas leg-shield badge-insert appears to be original, with the Black aspect having peeled off over the years. We were unable to see the chassis number but believe it should be there under the thick paint. Other important parts, such as the original speedo drive, carburettor and engine are all present and we have seen the scooter ‘running’ at the time of consignment. This Rod Model could be finished off with a correct speedometer, seat and a few other details. With further improvement it could offer a new owner possession of a very rare, desirable and valuable machine.

For more information, please contact:
Paul Diamond
07768 313001


All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.

You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:


Auction: National Motorcycle Museum | Solihull, West Midlands, 29th Mar, 2023

Established in 1993, H&H has sold some of the world's most significant motorcars and motorcycles over the past 30 years. Trusted by over 75,000 clients worldwide, we are the longest established auction house of our kind in Europe. 

An auction of classic motorcycles & vintage scooters taking place at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, West Midlands on March 29th. 

Bidding will take place live at the venue, online via our website, by telephone and commission. 

Parking and entry into the auction is free for auction attendees with a catalogue, available at the door. 


Wednesday 29th March 2023, from 9am

To take part in the auction please click 'Register to Bid | Sign In' at the top of the page

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