15th Nov, 2023 11:00

National Motorcycle Museum | Solihull, West Midlands

  Lot 128

1951 Vespa Douglas Rod Model
Owned by the Marquis of Anglesey

Sold for £6,325

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: Unregistered
Frame No: 0610798
Engine No: 0610798
CC: 125
MOT: Exempt

  • Genuine 'barn find'
  • Many hard to find original parts present
  • Very rare early model dated as June 1951*
  • Early features with aluminium panels and fender

* Source VVC Veteran Vespa club

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 external design as the 1949 Italian ‘Bacchetta’ save for the position of the headlight. Douglas were that far behind in development terms launching a year late and only producing 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*.

This very original early example, number 798 off the production line. It was found in the kitchen of a large outhouse during restoration works to one of the properties owned by the current Marquis of Anglesey once known as ‘The party house’. The history of the Marquises of Anglesey is fascinating. We are told that it belonged to the late 7th Marquis, the grandfather of our vendor. The outhouses are being cleared of numerous items collected over the last century and this scooter is one of them. The scooter is quite solid and would be a candidate for full restoration. There are no documents as they could not be found. We noticed that the original Green paint is still under the brushed-on over-paint. The original speedometer is present and displays only 2,131 miles covered, as well as a period switch and the floor runners all appear to have their end caps. In our opinion this is a superb basis for restoration. Original parts are available with patience in the market and good replacement parts are also readily available. Possibly, once repainted in the correct Metallic Green, one would have a very rare and desirable machine. The prestige of an aristocratic former owner is also interesting.

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, 15th Nov, 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 and the only one owned and managed by its employees.

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


Parking and entry into the auction is free for auction attendees with a catalogue.



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