Around Sussex on a Scooter


Dave Parker's Neco Abruzzi

I solved my mid-life crisis with this great retro-styled scooter which I first saw reviewed in Classic Scooterist Scene. It's constantly being mistaken for a 1960s classic Italian designed Vespa; it's actually a new Neco Abruzzi. The spare wheel holder if a fake - it's a very useful lockable storage space. I thought I'd take some photos around Sussex with backgrounds that could easily be back in 1960! Enjoy.


Neco Abruzzi - Sussex sunset

Evening rides are very peaceful with the roads quiet. This picture was taken on the road from Hurstpierpoint to Henfield



60s style Neco Abruzzi scooter south of Partridge Green

Between Partridge Green and Ashurst on Bines Road. A lovely early Spring Day.



Retro scooter, Neco Abruzzi - the open road

Ready to continue the journey with a clear road ahead. I've seen a few traditionalists on the web scornful of the Neco. I've also had some complimentary comments when riding and also from motorbike enthusiasts online. Bernhard Ernst from Germany for example would like one but apparently they are not on sale there.



Retro-styled Vespa-like scooter in Blackstone

The peaceful village of Blackstone, east of Henfield. My scooter is only 50 cc but 4 stroke and is not too noisy so should not disturb the peaceful evening!



Dave Parker's Retro-styled Vespa-like scooter

Another peaceful village and an unchanged view of the pub at Slaugham.



Neco Abruzzi scooter climbing the south downs near Steyning

I thought I would test the bike up some hills. This trip was to the top of the South Downs on the Bostal Road - in the background is Steyning.



Biking up the south downs on a classic 60s style scooter - bostal road near Steyning

No problem making it to the top and a great view!



Dave Parker's Neco Abruzzi scooter - Coombes near Steyning

Between Steyning and Shoreham is the hamlet of Coombes



Round Sussex on a Neco Abruzzi - the old cement works from Coombes

And across the river the disused cement works. The chimney is still used as a navigational aid by planes landing at Shoreham Airport.



Neco Abruzzi Italian styled scooter - Henfield Cricket Ground

The cricket ground at Henfield.



Retro-styled Vespa - like scooter in Ashurst opposite the Fountain Inn

The Fountain Inn at Ashurst.



Dave Parker visits High Beeches garden on a classically styled Neco Abruzzi scooter

High Beeches garden between Handcross and Crawley Down - well worth a visit. I've bought a chain to keep the bike secure (just in shot on the front wheel) They are widely available, for example from Amazon. For a couple of pounds you can also get a lock that fits over the bike's brake disc - useful for when you don't want to carry the heavy chain.



High Beeches

High Beeches garden in early May with the blue bells in bloom.



Vespa styled Neco Abruzzi - Staplefield

On a trip to the beautiful National Trust Nymans Garden, I stopped for these photos of Staplefield which is a mile of so south. Cricket is played on this green.



The Italian look of the Neco Abruzzi scooter and the village of Staplefield could almost be mistaken for 1960!

Another view of Staplefield.



Nymans

The garden is just up the hill towards Handcross; it was a fantastic day and Nymans garden looked almost as good as the bike.



Country road and a scooter

Between Wineham and Warninglid, the finger post sign could be back in the 60s.



Country road and a Neco

A little further down the road. Note, I have added a small (26 litre) topbox. It's just big enough for my helmet and more importantly will keep a 3 or 4 person curry or pizza warm for a mile or so on the way home although the papadom may need to be split in half! The one i've linked to costs just over 30 from Amazon and is a doddle to fix to the bike's rack.



Country road and a Neco Abruzzi

After lots of rain everything is green.



Vespa look-alike

A peaceful spot near Ardingly.



Neco Abruzzi in the snow and ice

The bike starts first time even in the snow and ice. I have a small solar panel (10 from Amazon) connected to the battery during the winter. It works a treat!



Retro Neco Abruzzi at Southdown booking office

When not riding my Scooter, I am often on the rota as a volunteer driver of the vintage buses at Amberley Museum. Of course, in the 1950s and 1960s it would have been common for drivers and conductors to ride to the depot for their shift on a scooter or motorbike. This picture really does look authentic and could be from 60 years ago!



Retro Neco Abruzzi at Amberley

The following dozen or so pictures were all taken at Amberley Museum. Most of the exhibits and buildings are local and seamlessly fit in with the theme of a ride around Sussex.



Retro Neco Abruzzi outside Southdown Bus Garage

A view of the bike outside the Bus Garage containing many fine vehicles, all in working order, the oldest, a petrol-electric Tilling Stevens (in the left of this photo, registration IB 552) over 100 years old. Perhaps too early, even for a Vespa? In any event it's 102 years older than my Neco!



Retro Neco Abruzzi at Amberley

The country garage with Bedford van. Veteran and vintage vehicles (including motorbikes) can be seen at the museum on 'special' themed days.



Retro Neco Abruzzi needs petrol

Time to fill up? My Neco averages 110 miles per gallon (measured over the first 2000 miles) so not much profit for the garage owner.



Retro scooter at Amberley's country garage

Another fine view of the country garage with Mobil, Dunlop and Shell branding. The retro Neco looks entirely at home in this view.



Neco Abruzzi at Amberley Museum's country garage

Still early morning with a hint of mist, the Bedford van can be seen in the garage and behind, a a single-decker bus from the 1940s.



Retro Neco Abruzzi alongside James Bond's railway from a View to a Kill starring Roger Moore and Grace Jones

Amberley's industrial railway was the set for much of the James Bond film, A View to a Kill starring Roger Moore and Grace Jones. A close inspection of the green wagons shows a 'Z' on each. The Z was for Zorin, the evil criminal featured in the film. The tunnel used in the film (the mine entrance) is a few hundred yards away.



Retro Neco Abruzzi at Amberley

A view of the scooter, the garage and, to the right, the railway sidings.



Retro Neco Abruzzi at Brockham station

Brockham station (Amberley), railway and Neco scooter.



Retro Neco Abruzzi at Amberley

Another view of the points lever and crossing. To the right of this picture, the railway branches into the tunnel mouth used for the James Bond film. Near this spot there used to be a 'three way' point. Quite a complex arrangement even for this guage of railway. It was moved during a track re-alignment.



Retro Neco Abruzzi AA box 1970s

This AA emergency phone box looks typical of the 1960s or probably 1970s.



Retro Neco Abruzzi AA box 1950s

An earlier style of AA box. Luckily my scooter has not had need of any form of rescue! I've done 2,500 miles at the time of writing this and the bike has been totally reliable (except for trim bolts working loose and falling off). I have kept the bike serviced with gear and engine oil changes as specified by the manual - and there was a lot of gunk that came out with the spent oil so it's probably this that has kept it reliable. I've added a page describing the routine maintenance and light bulb changes I've done.



Retro Neco Abruzzi at Amberley

Lots of retro interest here; the lovely old red phone box, the steam roller trailer and the village telephone exchange. Oh, and the Neco!



Retro Neco Abruzzi at Amberley

The railway is in the background; the building is the local telephone exchange, an old mechanical exchange still used to link the couple of dozen lines to various buildings across the museum.



Neco Abruzzi - Dave Parker

For other scooter owners who find this page, I have added some tips on basic maintenance for a Neco Abruzzi some of which is not covered very well in the manual.


Incidentally the picture at the top is a bit deceiving; while riding I always wear full safety gear and reflective clothing. On the subject of safety, I found this in 'The Motorists Handbook and guide to the motor trade' published 1962 (very apt given the scooter's 60s styling). There is a section on 'road training year' a safety initiative of the time. A poem (quoted by E Rees-Pryse but I think Burma Shave may have been the original author) reads:

The story of Jonathan Day
Here lies the body of Jonathan Day,
Who died disputing the right of way,
He was right, dead right, as he drove along,
But he's just as dead as if he'd been wrong.




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