The eternal beauty of two wheels design in the legend of Vespa

Il logo storico della Vespa

That of Vespa is the story of a timeless legend. Not just a scooter but a way of being, a piece of Italian design that romantically entered the lives of so many people and we can still find it in many people’s passion for vintage. Its history dates back to the end of the Second World War, when Enrico Piaggio identifies in the idea of building a consumer product at low cost the solution to revive the Italian production. The first result, however, misses the target. Piaggio doesn’t like the prototype motor scooter, called “Paperino” (Donald Duck), and it entrusts engineer Corradino D’Ascanio to the task of revising the project to create a more beautiful and evolved product. D’Ascanio designs a completely new vehicle, it is simple but elegant, and also robust and cost effective.

Modello Vespa 98

It’s got a characteristic body, the gear lever is on the handlebar, and an original wheel-motor group with the propeller on the rear wheel. The support arm recalls the front bogie of a plane, probably out of the engineer’s experience in the aeronautical field, and it allows an easy wheel replacement. The prototype was presented in September 1945 to Enrico Piaggio, who exclaimed: “it looks like a wasp.” Since this episode, Vespa has become famous throughout the world. Prior to becoming such, about one hundred specimens had been produced, now sought after by collectors from all over the world.

In the following years, variants and new models mark the evolution of the first Vespa. In particular, the model 125 of 1951 becomes very popular because it is protagonist of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck’s romantic getaways in Rome in the famous film “Roman Holiday”. Vespa 125 was also launched in a limited “Six Days” series.

Vespa dll'Italia con amore

Among the most collectible scooters, there’s Vespa U, realized in just 7 thousand pieces. The U stands for utility because it was produced in 1953 as an economic model, marketed at a price of 110 thousand liras. Its special feature is the front light: for the first time the light is on the handlebars rather than on the front fender.

Another gem in the history of Vespa is the 150 GS model. Known as the most beautiful scooter ever produced in the world, it is the dream of vintage Vespa fans. Equally precious is Vespa Dalì, the one that was decorated in ’62 by Salvador Dalì as a tribute to his wife and muse, Gala.

And then again the Super Sprint 90, the 50 Special, the 125 Spring, the 100 Sport… Appreciated all over the world, the Special is back in 1991 in a limited edition (3 thousand pieces), in order to recreate the magic of the sixties legend and it finds a prestigious location in the Museum of Modern Art exhibitions, in New York. Vespa 50 Special Revival was donated to the Piaggio Museum “Giovanni Alberto Agnelli” by Christa Solbach (President of IVF, International Federation Vespa Club).

For more informationFor anyone who wants to learn about this beautiful story of Italian design, you can visit the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera. Opened in 2000, it was designed by the then president of the brand, Giovanni Alberto Agnelli. The collection includes more than one hundred models that reflect the creative excellence developed in more than a century: from the most beautiful and rare Vespa, to those “streamlined” to beat the speed and regularity records of the fifties, the extraordinary stainless steel train, expression of the technology achieved by Piaggio in the thirties before the invention of Vespa, to the more recent Ciao and Ape.

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