FLCL - Haruko's Vespa SS 180 Scooter

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Boomerjinks

Well-Known Member


Haven't posted since the posters hit the internet in a big way... my apartment has been filled with cardboard tubes for two months now! I never could have thought this would happen. I'm currently working on getting the posters printed on mounted canvas or a higher-quality framed material and holding an auction for a local charity, but that seems like it might not come to fruition for a few months yet.

Anyway, I wanted to share another thing I've been working on.


It's a 1965 Vespa Super Sport 180, identical in almost every respect to this one from the 2000 anime FLCL from Gainax.








Last summer I decided to fulfill one of wife's long-standing dreams of having a scooter. She would often talk about wanting a Ruckus or a superbike, but she would more frequently fawn over how cute a classic Vespa looked. She's also a pretty avid cosplayer, the kind of girl who spends hours dying and styling wigs, who has completely taken over the second bedroom of our apartment with rolls of fabric, buckets of resin, and all manner of crafting accessories.

I started a secret savings account last July and I've been putting little things into it since. eBay sales, tips from when we use the movie cars as charity limos, stuff like that. In February I reached my goal and started officially looking for a starter body. The SS 180 is a pretty sought-after type of scooter, it's not the rarest or most valuable, but it's really popular. Originally I planned to build a clone by buying a late 70s P-series scooter and swapping out the parts to make it into an comparable look-alike of an SS. At the end of February I lucked out. Someone in Arizona was selling an SS, the exact body type that I needed. The exterior was kind of rough, but mechanically it was sound. The original engine had been removed and replaced with a more powerful, more reliable, and easier to maintain engine from a P200. This made the scooter undesirable for a collector, but ideal for someone who wanted to turn it into a nerdmobile. I guess the meme of "and nothing of value was lost" might apply here!

So I made up a story about going snowmobiling across the divide with my brother as a cover to keep my wife from asking too many questions. I grabbed a good friend to tag along and we departed for Flagstaff, Arizona.

We drove through the night, planning to sleep in Socorro, but stopped in Albuquerque to visit Walt's car wash from Breaking Bad. That was pretty cool.


After leaving Socorro we headed west to another place I've been dying to visit for years, the Very Large Array.


Most famous for it's role as a location in Contact, Terminator: Salvation, and a handful of other films, the VLA is a set of 27 dishes arranged in a Y-shape that act as one large radio telescope. We hit the visitors center, watched the little video and looked at the exhibits, and I picked up some VLA swag for my nerd friends back home. The staff saw the car and got pretty excited (we must have been their only visitors in a while), and they let us drive around the access roads of the facility for some neat photo opportunities. Great people, awesome place. You should go.

Near Holbrook, Arizona we came across an old Route 66 Wigwam motel that had classic cars parked in front of each room to add to the atmosphere.

So it looks like Radiator Springs is a real place!

After that was Meteor Crater.


Which is pretty ******* amazing. I was a bit disappointed that it felt like a tourist trap thanks to it being privately owned, but the crater itself is worth seeing. VERY cool.


We arrived in Flagstaff around 4pm and made our way to seller's house. He ran over the details of the scooter, things like modifications, damage, behavior, all the good stuff.


At this point, I had never driven a motorcycle or scooter by myself. Now that I think about it, the only two-wheeled motorized vehicle I'd ever been in control of had been a Segway! He took me around the block on it, gave me a quick lesson, and I tried it myself. It almost got away from me at first (the P200 engine is a ******* MONSTER for this thing), but I figured it out and took my first ride in a neighborhood in Arizona. We loaded it up into the back of the Magnum, it fit perfectly. This was a huge relief as, eyeballing the space back there, it didn't look like it would fit. The measurements the owner gave me before I left were well within the confines of the car, so I had to trust the math.



The fuel take was pretty empty, but it still reeked of gasoline, something we'd have to endure for the next 12 hours. We went home by going north through Utah. Moab, Grand Junction, Vail, and back in Denver by 2am, which was pretty good!


After getting it hope and secreting it to a friend's garage for storage away from prying eyes, we stripped it down and got it ready for paint. Kind of sad to see the flat black go, that looked REALLY cool... :(





A week later it was ready!


Initially I'd planned to get the scooter 100% complete before giving it to my wife. But she is pretty particular about her cosplay stuff, her favorite costumes are the ones she made completely from scratch. For her it's more about making them than wearing them. So I changed my plans and decided to unveil the scooter early so she could be a part of the assembly process, thereby turning it into something she helped make. When she first saw it, she didn't quite understand. She thought it was just someone else's scooter that would be perfect for a Haruko FLCL scooter. When I stated that it was hers, she looked at me confused, shoved me, and started crying.

God. Damn. Adorable.

We brought the Vespa home and wiggled it into the elevator and up into the apartment. Work started immediately.

And it was all back together Friday night!

Saturday was spent getting it running smoothly again.

Things left to do for the scooter:
- bar-end turn signal lights
- the "blade" that attached to the front suspension
- replace a few gray seals with black ones
- add the ignition switch on top of the headpiece
- replace the legshield beading the original, fatter trim
- fix the horn

Things left to do for us:
- motorcycle safety class
- gear shopping

My wife cosplayed as Haruko back in 2007, so now she's in super go-mode to get that costume back up to her standards so she can wear it on the scooter at the next con!

A terribly fun project that will make for a terribly fun summer!








 
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jackdoud

Sr Member
Re: FLCL - Haruko's Vespa

Damnit Kevin, you guys have all the fun in CO! Why am I not closer to where you live?

Oh, and nice scooter. :thumbsup
 

shenphong

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: FLCL - Haruko's Vespa

Beautiful! I'm an avid motorcyclist and had worked in a custom bike shop for a few years...the last 2 months of my job was working on the owner's wife's old vespa. Those things are great around town and me being a fan of FLCL, kept thinking that I would do a project like this. I've seen the idea thrown around a lot on the net but this is the first well done version I've ever seen.
 

Kerr Avon

Master Member
Re: FLCL - Haruko's Vespa

I could never make head nor tails out of FLCL, but that's a nice replica!!!
 

deadbolt

Sr Member
Re: FLCL - Haruko's Vespa

Wow that looks great, awesome work!

It's nice to finally see someone building some fooly cooly stuff! :thumbsup


-Carson
 

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Boomerjinks

Well-Known Member
Re: FLCL - Haruko's Vespa

Wow that looks great, awesome work!

It's nice to finally see someone building some fooly cooly stuff! :thumbsup


-Carson
I scoured the internet for months and I don't think anyone with an SS 180 has ever put the P! sticker on theirs. Lots and lots of yellow PXs, Metros and Buddy's with the sticker, though.

I keep trying to coax friends to start a scooter gang with me. A local dealership has nearly a dozen screen-used Stellas from Larry Crowne for sale... CHEAP!
 

Boomerjinks

Well-Known Member
Re: FLCL - Haruko's Vespa

Got this accomplished between yesterday and today.



Cklinejr made some intense modifications to the right control switch to make it work with the turn signal, and AJ Quick has been a lifesaver with letting me use his workshop for pretty much everything for the last week or so.

Vidya!
FLCL Vespa - turn signal install - YouTube
 

deadbolt

Sr Member
Re: FLCL - Haruko's Vespa

Wow that's too cool..Awesome work! Really cool to see you added the handlebar signals, those are a couple of the coolest parts on Haruko's Vespa! :thumbsup :thumbsup


-Carson
 

Boomerjinks

Well-Known Member
Re: FLCL - Haruko's Vespa

Wow that's too cool..Awesome work! Really cool to see you added the handlebar signals, those are a couple of the coolest parts on Haruko's Vespa! :thumbsup :thumbsup
Interestingly enough, NOT available on original SS 180s. After talking to some scooter mechanics in Englewood for a few hours, we determined that the headpiece of her scooter is an SS180, but that the handlebar "twist grips" are from a 60s or 70s Vespa Rally.

It's nice to know that the original "production" Vespa is at least as much a frankenscooter as this one is.
 

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Darph Bobo

Well-Known Member
Re: FLCL - Haruko's Vespa

Super Fooly Cooly! I love FLCL! :love The first episode is just so bizarre and random! I showed it to my wife (back when we were dating), she...really din`t know what to make of it! :lol

So far yours is the only Vespa I would want! :cool
 

Boomerjinks

Well-Known Member
Re: FLCL - Haruko's Vespa

On-schedule! Going to paint and attach the wheel blade tomorrow!



 
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Raizer04

Member
Re: FLCL Vespa - It's FINISHED!!

The fact that you have a cool enough wife that loves anime AND modding makes you LEGEND....wait for it.....
 

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Weaselhammer

Sr Member
Re: FLCL Vespa - It's FINISHED!!

Awesome gift idea, and really thoughtful how you did it. The Vespa looks great and It's exciting to see such a cool and iconic prop from such a great Anime ! Does it have the aftermarket Gundam part she used to fix it ?
 

CaptainEO

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: FLCL Vespa - It's FINISHED!!

I don't even watch Anime and I want one! Very well done, it turned out beautifully! :love
 

Wes R

Legendary Member
Re: FLCL Vespa - It's FINISHED!!

That is very cool. I love the show even if most of the time it makes no sense no matter how many times I've seen it. I am amazed how many FLCL fans popped up in this thread.
 

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