California 2001 Registration Changes
I have never had trouble before with any DMV registration procedures. Usually you end up pointing out the serial numbers to the VIN confirming person, the write a few things down, and then you pick up your plate. Other than being a pain in the ass to do, the process was quite easy.
Somewhere between the registering of my Lambretta Li 125 in February this year, and the registering of my VBA in June the DMV started a new registration process for any motorcycle (and possibly, car) that has been dropped from the computer system. Usually old Vespas are not in the system because they have been deep in garages for many years. I don't know how many years it takes to get dropped, but we just tried to register a P200 which was last registered in 1998 and had to do the same process as noted below.
If you followed a link from a registration page, the information is still valid. You will need to follow all the steps listed there and at that point you will not get a plate, but you will get a temporary operating permit (see below). You must also get an authorized VIN verifier to look at the VIN numbers on the bike at the DMV. This is to be carried with you whenever you use the scooter. I found one other interesting point. Sometimes if I want to work on a bike for a few years I will get it registered in my name before I start pouring $$ into it. You can do this without a verification, but you MUST fill out a non-operation permit REG 102. I didn't and found they wanted registration fees from the day I registered the bike which was 2 years before I got it on the road!
In addition to this, the newest step is to have a CHP inspection. I fail to understand why this is necessary but you will need to get the bike to a CHP office which will do exactly the same VIN verification process as the DMV. In fact, they use exactly the same form!! Anyway - once this is filled out you can return to the DMV and get your plates and registration stickers.