Andy’s scooter life from boy to man

Andy Saggers Spanish Lambretta Li150

Over nearly five decades, scootering has given Andy Saggers so much – his wife, Sandra; adventures all over Europe; friendship with Edwin Starr; and grass track racing fun, along with a few broken bones.

His fascination with the scooter scene started as a boy in the ‘60s – his older sister had a Vespa, and his father Arthur was a photographer with an office opposite The Chalet coffee bar in Gorleston, which opened in 1963 and is little-changed today.

“The Mods used to meet there every week, and they still do,” he says. “I started looking at the scooters then and thought ‘I would like one of those when I get a bit older’.

Scooterists The Chalet Gorleston
Scooterists outside The Chalet in Gorleston

“I bought my first scooter, a Lambretta SX200 for £35, in 1976 from an ex-Mod. I can still remember the registration number, UMM 36F.”

This was a period before the mod revival sparked by bands like The Jam and Secret Affair, and The Who’s Quadrophenia.

Sidewinders scooter club

“We formed the Sidewinders scooter club, just me and three other boys who had scooters, and then some other guys came along,” says Andy, 67.

Lambretta Li150
Andy’s current Spanish Lambretta Li150

“Sandra was a member too – she had a Vespa 150 – and that’s how we met, as friends at first.”

Andy used his Lambretta every day for work as an apprentice builder, working on Great Yarmouth’s new Marina Centre, since knocked down and rebuilt.

“I fell off a couple of times on icy mornings going to work, tools all over the road,” he remembers.

“Then the scooter scene started to pick up again, and we’d go all over the country.”

Andy and his mates would set off for rallies in places like Brighton, Scarborough, Cleethorpes, Southend, and locally in Yarmouth, all before the official national rallies began.

Great Yarmouth scooter rally 1976
Andy and friends in Great Yarmouth

“We had no mobile phones, no sat navs, and we used to get lost all the time,” he says, “plus lots of breakdowns, which is how I learned to fix my scooter. The AA didn’t do anything for you back then.

“At the time, you’d turn up and people were handing out flyers, so the next weekend you went to that one. There was nothing really organised, you just rode your scooter there, had a bit of a laugh with the boys and then came home again.

‘We slept in bus stops’

“We slept in bus stops and all sorts of places. I remember going to Scarborough with friends of mine, Roger and Danny, and we couldn’t find a guest house anywhere.

“We knocked on the last door and the lady said ‘I’ve got one room upstairs with two beds, I’ll put a camp bed up there, but if there’s any trouble you’re out’.

“We came back a bit drunk, Danny got in the camp bed and it folded up on him. He was shouting and bawling, and we were out on our ears and slept in a bus stop again.

“I remember in Brighton one year there was a band playing just up the road so we went and saw them. It was The Jam in the very early days and I said to my mate ‘these are going to go a long way’.

Brighton scooter rally
Andy (running with beer in hand, right) in Brighton

“I just fell in love with the whole scene.”

At around the same time, Andy, always an avid record collector, started DJing at local youth clubs.

“I then started DJing at some of the scooter rallies around the UK,” he says, “playing Motown and northern soul.

DJing with Edwin Starr

“Later on I did the Motown weekends at Pontins at Hemsby, and then at Camber Sands when it moved there. I got quite friendly with Edwin Starr, who used to really get the crowd going.

Andy Saggers with Edwin Starr
Andy (right) with Edwin Starr

“The Marvelettes were also there, plus Mary Wells, and Brenda Holloway. It was good fun.”

Andy still DJs today, and hosts a live show on Mixcloud on a Sunday night from his Soul Shack studio at home.

Andy Saggers Soul Shack studio
Andy’s Soul Shack studio

“People listen from all over the world, from Argentina, America, even Siberia,” he says. “Some English guys were there on a Sunday night. It’s mostly Northern Soul and Motown, some ‘60s mod, and sometimes some mod revival if I have a guest DJ come in.”

Back to the ‘70s, and Andy switched his SX200 to a Lambretta GP125, on which he took his test before buying the SX back.

There was a three-year hiatus from the scooter scene when he met and married an American girl, moving to the States with her in search of work.

Reunion with the Sidewinders, and Sandra

“It didn’t work out and I came back, and saw my GP in the local advertiser for sale, so I shot round and bought it back again,” he smiles. “We had a Sidewinders reunion where I met Sandra again, and we’ve been together ever since.”

Spanish Lambretta Li150

Unlike today, scooters were cheap as chips at the time, and Andy bought and sold “too many” over the years.

“I just kept buying scooters,” he laughs, “and I’ve had so many it’s unbelievable. I remember picking up the Yarmouth Advertiser one day and there were two or three Lambrettas for sale, £15-20 each, so I bought them.

“I went out and bought an SX from Caister for £60. I took my friend over on the back of my scooter, and he rode the SX back. By the time we’d got it home, he said ‘I want it, I’ll give you £120 for it’. So I never even got to ride it.

“Then, all of a sudden, with a lot of people getting into it, the prices went sky high. “I remember paying £65 for a Lambretta GT200, and that’s a £10,000 scooter now – if only we had the foresight to keep them all…”

Lambretta Li150

Andy became well-known for being able to fix scooters, and an increasing number of people beat a path to his door to ask for help.

It led to a new career in his hometown.

Scooter repair shop

“There was a guy in Yarmouth who had a motorbike shop on the Haven Bridge, and he was closing down,” he remembers. “He had a few scooter spares there, so I said ‘can I take this over from you?’

“Me and a mate took it on and called it GS Scooters. We used to make TNT exhausts and sold quite a few. Lots of people still like them today if they can find them.

Lambretta saddle bag

“One year the AA came to me for spares because they were then setting up a team for the scooter rallies.”

After about three years, Andy went into the boat building trade, which he stayed in until retirement.

As well as the rallies, the DJing, and the repair shop, Andy took up grass track scooter racing in the ’80s.

“One or two of the boys with the Wasps Scooter Club started doing it, and I quite fancied it,” he says. “I had an old frame and a little 150 engine, so I put a 175 top end on it, added some knobbly tyres, and there you go, you’re away.

Andy Saggers Great Yarmouth Wasps
Andy (left) in his Great Yarmouth Wasps days

“We’d be up and down the country, to Oban in Scotland, Oliver’s Mount in Scarborough, Falmouth, Southend, Mersea Island, and we’d organise our own meet down here in Caister behind the greyhound stadium.”

So was he successful?

Broken bones, but fun

“No,” he laughs. “Lots of broken bones and other injuries, but no trophies, though I came close a couple of times.

Scooter grass track racing Andy Saggers
Andy in action

“I was winning a race at Yarmouth, and this Vespa’s panel came off and went under my front wheel. I was like a jet ski then, I couldn’t go anywhere, and just shot off the track into a muddy dyke and that was it.”

Despite injuries including broken wrists, ribs, and a bad leg injury from a kick start, Andy kept it up until the late ‘90s.

“It was good fun, we just enjoyed it,” he smiles.

The scooter rallies were briefly interrupted by the birth of the couple’s daughter Amy, who joined Sandra’s daughter Hayley, but quickly resumed.

Lambretta Li150 with trailer

“I was going to do the Lands End to John O’Groats run in 1988, but the day we were setting off Sandra went into labour, so I didn’t do it,” says Andy.

“We only stopped for a little while though, because Sandra used to drive the camper van so the little ‘uns came with us as well.

“We’d either camp or stay in the van, and they used to love it. They still love camping now.”

European scooter rallies

Once the girls had left home, Andy and Sandra embarked on the next phase of their scootering lives – European rallies.

“We really enjoyed them, and the ride over is nice as well,” he says. “We rode all the way down through the Rhine Valley, down as far as Stuttgart one year, and down to Clermont-Ferrand in France, and to the Beatsugar rally at Amiens, plus Belgium and the Netherlands.”

Andy Saggers scooter european rally
Andy on a European rally

After chatting to a French scooterist in the UK, he was also invited to DJ at the Northern Soul Club of France in Paris.

One rally to Germany on a Lambretta GP with a TS1 kit resulted in a decision to switch to a more modern machine.

“This scooter was tuned and was drinking the fuel, and on the way back the stator plate went the usual thing,” says Andy. “I replaced it and we got a few miles down the road and a friend’s Lambretta broke down.

“We were on the Autobahn, and luckily there was a slip road a few yards up, with a garage in a little village at the bottom.

Lambretta Locomociones Li150

“It was a Sunday afternoon, and we pulled up on the forecourt and started stripping the scooter. “A German guy came past on a BMW, stopped and said ‘this is my garage, do you want me to open up? Anything you need?’ He was very helpful – got us WD40 and emery cloth so we could clean the piston up.

“By the time we’d finished we had the whole village standing round us. My mate was working one side and I was working the other side, and I said ‘if this doesn’t start, we’re going to be a laughing stock’. But first kick, it started up, and the whole village was going ‘ja, ja’, clap clap.

“When a couple of Vespa GTSs went past us, and my wife looked at me and said ‘that’s what we want’, especially if we were going abroad.

Lambretta wheel with Neckarsulm rally badge
Neckarsulm rally badge

“We thought if we’re going to do these miles we need to do it in a bit more comfort, with a bit more reliability.”

They bought a Vespa 300 GTS in 2007, and “absolutely loved it”.

“You can just munch the miles on that, a really nice ride,” says Andy. “We recently parted with it and bought a 250 GTS, which I feel is probably better than the 300.”

Spanish Lambretta Li150

Andy’s most recent acquisition is the scooter you see in these pictures, a 1961 Spanish Lambretta Li150 Series 2.

“I’d always wanted a Series 2, and I’ve always liked the Spanish scooter, and we were walking around Arminghall classic car and autojumble one Sunday,” he says. “A friend of mine had a couple of them on his stand, and I asked him if they were for sale.

Spanish Lambretta Li150 with PAV 40 trailer

“He’d just sold them both, but he showed me a photograph of this one in Spain, and said I could have it for £1,500, delivered to my door with a NOVA certificate.

“Sandra said ‘yeah, you can have it’, so we bought it.”

That was in early 2020, just before Covid struck, and it wasn’t until 2022 that Andy was able to get the scooter delivered to the UK.

Lambretta Li150 restoration
The Lambretta when it arrived

“It looked as though someone had started to do a dry build restoration on it in Spain, so it came apart fairly easily, but the engine was absolutely shot to bits,” he says.

Lambretta Li150 panels

“The casings were fine, but nothing in the engine was salvageable, so everything in it is all brand new. It’s fitted with a 198 Mugello kit.”

Lambretta Li150 engine
Engine rebuild
Lambretta Li150 frame
Stripped and under restoration

When it came time to choose a colour, Andy studied a book on the Spanish Lambretta factory, and plumped for a two-tone butterscotch and brown.

“Those colours were on the badge above the factory gate, and I liked the combination,” he says. “When I looked through the book, I discovered that they are Spanish scooter colours, but they never did them together.

Lambretta Li150 restoration
Coming together

“Someone said I should call it ‘cappuccino’, someone else said ‘Angel Delight’.”

It took a year to restore, his first journey to a classic bike meet in Norfolk.

Andy’s last restoration

“It’s been a good restoration, I’ve enjoyed doing every bit of it, but it’s the last one I’m going to do,” he adds.

The Lambretta is complemented with a colour-coded, fibreglass replica PAV 40 trailer, acquired in 2022.

PAV 40 trailer

“I did a swap with a guy in Lincolnshire,” says Andy. “I had a GP-bodied trailer that he wanted, and he had the PAV-bodied trailer I wanted.

“I’m just a trailer person! I’ve got a Volkswagen camper at home with a teardrop trailer that I built myself from scratch. I just love building them. This one isn’t on the scooter all the time, but if I go to a show I’ll put it on.”

Lambretta trailer hitch

These days, Andy and Sandra don’t do the number of rallies as they used to, and the Li150 will only be used locally.

“I think it’d be a bit of a hike if I took that to Europe – I’m too old to ride that far now,” he says. “Leiston (Suffolk) is about as far as I would take it. Having said that, it will be going over to the Euro Lambretta at a racetrack south of Paris next year, but it’ll go behind the van.”

But one thing’s for sure, Andy will never be without a scooter.

Andrew Saggers Lambretta Li150

“It’s just a way of life, and I just love it,” he says. “I love tinkering with them, and as soon as I get on it I just feel good. It’s the style, the sound, everything about them.”

Scooter stories is a series of articles exploring the lives and experiences of scooterists and collectors. Click on the Scooter Stories category link to read more.

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August 8, 2023