Vespa Turning 70

1945prototipovespaNot a motorcycle but a 2-wheeler, you must respect a company (Italy’s Piaggio & C. SpA) that has introduced the Vespa seven decades ago ans sold over 18 million units worldwide since 1946. With for objective to compete with the motorcycles of the time by offering a 2-wheeler easier to ride and to maintain, Corroding D’Ascanio, an aeronautical engineer and inventor employed by Piaggio, designed the very distinct Vespa styling and all its features: step-hrough design, enclosed motor, foot controls on the handlebars, direct mesh drive, aircraft-style suspension setup, making tire changes very easy, very comfortable seat and great protection from wind, etc.

ArmaniVespaVespa always got great publicity or product placement ion movies like 1953’s “Roman Holiday,” “Quadrophenia,” “La Dolce Vita,” “American Graffiti,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley”, “Transformers”, etc.

Vespa -Italian for “Wasp” is honored with a a silver 1955 Vespa GS 150 parked in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In the United States, Vespa clubs are popular, especially around Los Angeles. There are currently 12 Vespa models for sale. From the Primavera 50 ($3,649) to the special edition Emporio Armani 946 ($10,999) the Vespa range of Vespa includes scooters with 50cc, 150cc or 300cc engine in a retro design body. Vespa’s largest future markets are Asia & Africa. (Top picture. 1945 prototype Vespa. Bottom, 2016 limited edition Armani model)

8 Responses to “Vespa Turning 70”

  1. 1 Woody's Apr 27th, 2016 at 9:02 am

    They really are cool little bikes, and handle very well in traffic.

  2. 2 KIrk Perry Apr 27th, 2016 at 10:27 am

    The only problem with the old Vespa’s was an O-ring that would dry-out and they’d leak oil like mad when parked for any length of time.
    I like ’em though. Wind will catch under the leg shields and move you to another lane, if a huge semi-truck passes you on the freeway. Thrilling.

  3. 3 bigitch Apr 27th, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    they are squirrilly on gravel roads, but were a hoot to steal and joyride when 50 years ago

  4. 4 Gym Apr 28th, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I’ve owned about a dozen of them. They handle well and bring smiles and waves from everyone. What this article fails to mention is how this small wonder changed the way of life of the average Italian and offered affordable first time transportation who otherwise might never leave their village.

  5. 5 Boss Hawg Apr 28th, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Gotta love ’em and Cushman, too!

  6. 6 Blackmax Apr 29th, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Not a big fan !!!
    But you gotta give credit where credit is due
    Making a product for 70 yrs. that people still want today
    is pretty damn impressive

  7. 7 mazz May 2nd, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Still stylin’ after all these years!!

  8. 8 Lugnut May 2nd, 2016 at 10:16 am

    It is one of the classic designs that will never be duplicated or replaced. It is in the same category as the classic toaster, the Eames chair or the 1911 pistol . When you see it , you know that it should have always been. Others may be more powerful or more nimble, but they can never be the Vespa.

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Cyril Huze