The sight of motorised Italian scooters on the streets of Singapore don't usually provoke sideways glances. But these vintage Vespas are different. They're fitted with customised sidecars and form a fleet of fetching scooters now providing fully escorted tours of the compact island city state.
The tour company is the brainchild of British-born, former Hong Kong resident Simon Wong, whose Singapore Sidecars have been turning wheels and heads since its inception last year.
Singapore became a financial powerhouse and labour was cheap, Vespas were manufactured there. Nowadays the nearest equivalent is the bespoke business of Singaporean Johnny Chen who builds stylised, egg-shaped Vespa sidecars, many of which are supplied to Wong's fledgling outfit.
The ride can be a bit of a knees-up for the more statuesque westerner with the sidecars a cosy, though not uncomfortable, squeeze. But the tours certainly provide a different perspective on Singapore, visiting sights such as the fashionable Kampong Glam neighbourhood, the stately Civic District and, coming soon, even the city's Formula One Grand Prix circuit (when not, of course, operational).
The tours are offered to guests by the city's Fullerton Hotel, vintage in its own right having once been Singapore's General Post Office dating to the 1920s. The Fullerton group will later this year open its first hotel outside of Singapore when it assumes control of the existing 416-room hotel at Sydney's own historic GPO.
Wong is hoping that the Fullerton's arrival Down Under may provide an opportunity for a two, make that three-wheeled, Singapore spin in Australia with a Sydney Sidecars business taking to the streets of that city.
A tour with Singapore Sidecars starts from $S160 a person an hour.
The writer was a guest of the Fullerton Hotel and Singapore Sidecars.