When We Were Mods – Part I

Part I – My Scooter

This is a machine that changed my life…

This is the 1977 Vespa Rally 200 that I bought in April of 1982 for $300 when I was a senior in high school.

Before I bought this scooter I had never heard of mods, but by the time I graduated two months later I was already changing from a punk/rockabilly kid to a clean dressing, soul music loving mod.

Two mods at my high school – Mark Hackworth and Rodney Sheppard (Rodney later went on to be the guitarist for Sugar Ray) – took it upon themselves to instruct me in the proper way to be a mod – dress sharp, stay out all night, listen to the right music, and always go, go, go…


Above: (from left to right) Mark Hackworth with one of my friends at the time, Jeff.
Photo by David Shelton.

I turned 18 the same week I graduated from high school, and the next week I rode my scooter 35 miles (by freeway) from Irvine to Hollywood with a friend of mine named Jeff to go to the On Klub and see The Untouchables.

After The Untouchables played that night I joined a group of scooters headed to a party “just around the corner” and ended up getting a grand scooter tour of Hollywood and LA all they way down to the party in Santa Monica.

The party was still going at close to dawn when I got back on my scooter and rode 30 miles down the 405 freeway to my job in Irvine, just in time for work at 7:00 am.

And so it began, over 30,000 miles (before my speedometer died and I lost track) of scooter riding around Orange County and Los Angeles from the summer of 1982 through the spring of 1984.

Lots of crazy adventures, broken brake cables, blown-out tires, paint jobs, accessories, lights, mirrors, stickers – when my scooter finally died in 1984 I knew everything about that machine – inside and out.

It was because of my scooter I entered a whole sub-culture of sharp dressing, great dancing, scooter riding people that would be my life for the next two very important years of my life….

Next:

Part II – Orange County Mods 1982/83
Part III – Clubs, Bands and Music
Part IV – The Untouchables and the LA Mods
Part V – Fliers, Buttons and Other Memorabilia

Gallery of Images – My Scooter

10 thoughts on “When We Were Mods – Part I

  1. Awesome post. Thanks for taking the time to write your story. I’d always been curious about the early ’80s L.A. mod scene—my predecessors(I got into it in ’85)! Looking forward to reading the rest.

  2. “..dress sharp, stay out all night, listen to the right music, and always go, go, go..”

    LoL, total rule of thumb. That was me at 15. Especially the “listen to the right music” part–I totally put on my blinders to any music that wasn’t quintessentially “mod” when I got into the scene.

  3. Jon, that’s my brother Jeff [ on the right – black jacket] in the picture above with Mark.

    I’m in the picture at Pizza Pete’s wearing the yellow cardigan on Jeff’s new P220E [looking about 14 years old – cos I was!].

    We lived near Atlanta & Brookhurst in HB and everyone used to come over, hangout in our garage and somehow I became the local, and unpaid, mechanic. Fixed Greg Mccormak’s, Roman’s & Curtis Murill’s scooters on more than one occasion.

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