1959 Sun Wasp ‘Scooter de Luxe’ 175cc

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1959 Sun Wasp ‘Scooter de Luxe’ 175cc with Electric Start

(Now sold)

I sold the Sun Wasp in 2010.

This Sun Wasp is a handsome beast. When I owened it, it was in good running order.

The paint was not original; it was painted many years ago by the previous owner.

The previous owner had it for 23 years, and he restored it mechanically. There were two new batteries, the dynastart worked well, a new coil was fitted, as well as new shock absorber rubbers. The seat was restored, and various other bits and pieces were renewed as necessary over the years.

With such a competitive scooter market by the late fifties, not many were sold, so today the Wasp is a very rare machine.

There were minor cosmetic changes during its few years of production. The advert below compares both Standard and the de Luxe (compare the slightly different side panels), and the one below illustrates the de Luxe.



The 175cc engine is fitted with a 12 Volt Siba ‘Dynastart’ electric starter. (Two 6v batteries are fitted to the scooter; you can see them further down the page).

To start the Wasp, turn the ignition switch one notch to the right (turn two notches for the lights); the ignition light illuminates. Lift up the seat and push down on the petrol tap from above; tickle the carb. If you need to open the choke, pull the lever toward you. Press the dynastart button on the dashboard.


As well as rebuilding the carb – with parts easily obtained from Villiers Services – my mechanic also rebuilt the gear linkeage (below). The scooter is now serviced and ready to use.


Gear selection (3-speed) involves a rather curious arrangement, which invariably becomes a conversation point when anyone looks at the scooter. As you can see above and below, there are two pedals on the right. To select 1st, 2nd and 3rd from stationary position (after pulling in the clutch) you press down on the outside (offside/ right hand side) pedal. To come back up to 2nd and 1st gear you press down on the middle pedal.



Phoenix Works, Aston Brook Street, Birmingham 6

Sun was an early bicycle manufacturer. James Parkes & Son operated a brass foundry, making light fittings among other things, in Alma St, Birmingham.  When local companies started requesting bicycle lamps and other components, Parkes started supplying the new bicycle trade. The company moved to Aston St in 1887, and became Sun Cycles Fittings Co, and later SUN CYCLES & FITTINGS Co Ltd.

That part of Birmingham became a centre for British bicycle and motorcycle production. To build a motorcycle in the early days required finding the various components, usually from other businesses in the area. so, for example, in 1912, Precision engines from the nearby factory of Frank E. Baker Ltd were fitted to Sun motorcycles, and Sun frames and components were used in Precision motorcycles.

The company had a good reputation for innovation, in 1936 developing lightweight sports bicycles. They also made a bicycle called a Sun Wasp (1936 example illustrated below).

A Villiers-powered autocycle was also produced. In the 1950s various 2-stroke motorcycles were marketed by Sun, including a Sun Wasp 197cc.

Like most manufacturers of the day, Sun tried to cash in on the new scooter craze, fielding a 98cc Sun Genie.

The Sun Wasp came out in 1959, around the time that the company was taken over by T.I/Raleigh. There were two models, the Standard, with a kick-starter, and the de Luxe which had the Siba electric starter.

Despite assurances that Sun scooter production would continue as before the takeover, Raleigh did not promote it as much as their own Roma scooter. Compare the contemporary black & white adverts for the Sun, above, with the luxurious Roma ads below.



There was a large document file with the Wasp, including a workshop manual, road test and original 1959 logbook. It was supplied new by Wileys of Wakefield, on 28th December 1959, to Mr. Jackl Ingham of Eastmoor, Wakefield. It had a V5C registration document, and I MOT’d it before it was sold.

There were also a few boxes of useful spares, including a good coil (new one already fitted), carb float, the original metal side ‘flashes’ and various other parts, above. And I spotted some new foot pedal rubbers in the box below among all the other bits.





Road Test by Bob Currie, Motor Cycle Magazine, 10 December 1959