The history of Vespa began more than a century ago, exactly 1884. The Piaggio company was founded in Genoa, Italy in 1884 by Rinaldo Piaggio. Rinaldo’s business starts ship equipment. But at the end of the century, Piaggio also produced railroad tracks, railroad cars, body trucks, engines and trains. During World War I, his company produced airplanes and ships. In 1917 Piaggio bought a new factory in Pisa and 4 years later Rinaldo took over a small factory in Pontedera in the Tuscany region of Italy. It was this factory in Pontedera which became the center for aircraft production and its components (propellers, engines and aircraft). During World War II, the factory in Pontedera made P108 for two-passenger aircraft engines and bomber versions.
Post World War II, economic conditions in European countries were paralyzed. This Piaggio company was then taken over by his own son, Enrico Piaggio. At a time when Italy’s economy was deteriorating, Enrico decided to leave the aeronautics business and then start to design cheap transportation equipment. He decided to focus his company’s attention on the personal problems of mobility that the Italian community needed.
Then joined Corradino D’Ascanio, a talented aviation engineer who designed, conceptualized and flew his first modern helicopter Piaggio. D’Ascanio makes a design that is simple, economical, comfortable and elegant. D’Ascanio dreamed of a new vehicle revolution. By taking a picture of aircraft technology, he imagined a vehicle built with a “Monocoque” or Unibody Steel Chassis. The front fork like a tire landed an aircraft which is easy for tire replacement. The result is an airplane-inspired design that is currently different from other vehicles.
In 1943, an alternative construction was discovered. Initially it was an iron-frame motorcycle concept with a rounded curve like a tunnel. Surprisingly, it turned out that the part of the starter was designed using bomb components and the wheels were taken from the wheels of a fighter.
In order to optimize the shape and safety of its users, the manufacturer at that time was still considered as a “sidewalk” effort designing the foot cover board on the front. This project was directly led by Corradino d’Ascanio. Therefore, the patent was soon can they pocketed. As a result, the first product scooter motorbike appeared with the MP5 series (Moto Piaggio 5) or better known as Paperino. This vehicle is simple technology but has a very interesting shape.
This scooter is named MP5 (Moto Piaggio) or often called Donald Duck (Paperino) by its employees. But it turned out that Enrico Piaggio didn’t like this prototype. That’s why he entrusted Corradino D’Ascanio to reconsider and make something different and more advanced both in technical and design terms. D’Ascanio did not make changes to the Donald Duck scooter, but he created an entirely new vehicle, the Vespa!
Before the Vespa, the Donald Duck scooter had produced around 100 pieces. Today the scooter is in great demand and sought after by collectors all over the world.
In April 1946, this lightweight and versatile motorcycle was introduced to the public for the first time at a club of golfers in Rome. The shield installed the new Piaggio logo for the first time, replacing the emblem of the plane that was there before.
The magazine “Motorciclismo” and “La Moto” loaded this new scooter as the cover of their magazine and immediately aroused curiosity, shock and even skepticism in the community.
50 pieces came from the factory in Pontedera and offered at the official launching event. Vespa marketing, in the first months was carried out through the Lancia car dealer network. The first year has produced 2,484 pieces. This is the beginning of the most famous scooter adventure in the world. The price of this model is £ 55,000, while the deluxe version is priced at £ 66,000.
In the second series, Vespa 98 produced 16,500 pieces. Significant improvement compared to its predecessor, both in terms of aesthetics and technical-functional. The front has no door openings and is reduced in size to make wheel replacement easier. This is because in the period after the war, the road conditions were so bad that it was easy to leak tires. The starter lever has a more ergonomic shape making it easier to operate. In addition there are changes in the size and shape of the lights.
The silver metallic color reminds us of the Piaggio plane. The magazines published at that time reported that to be able to have a Vespa 98, enthusiasts had to wait (pivot) for up to eight months. As a result the black market appeared so that the Vespa was sold twice the official price, namely £ 55,000 for the basic model and £ 61,000 for the luxury model.
The “swarm silver” population that filled the streets of Italy brought an idea to Enrico Piaggio’s mind to produce more aggressive vehicles, able to accelerate quickly and become champions beyond most Vespa characters. The result was a Vespa 98 which won the best title on Monte Mario hill climb in 1947 ridden by Joseph Cautriumphs. The Vespa 98 Corsa (circuit) is made to meet the needs of speed in various competitions and represents the innovation and technology implemented by the Vespa on each product. Hand made body grafted on a steel frame with a dab mount suspension tube on the right, drum brakes and an air ventilation hole at the rear to cool the engine work are the most sophisticated innovations at that time. Not to mention the 3-speed transmission system, switches in the handlebars to the 17 mm carburetor type, plus the red laburan, becoming very imaginative, from the beginning of the birth of the “Bee” to the present.
In the late 40s, large motorcycle manufacturers assumed that the best way to advertise their vehicles was by participating in competitions held in a number of cities. The aim is to bring the general public closer to the automotive sector so that it can add potential new customers. Piaggio also designed a series of circuit scooters such as products in 1949 which were designed for this purpose from the start. In addition to advertising, the Vespa Circuito 125 is also useful as a trial to test new products which are then applied to standard products.
Vespa racing, made entirely manual by specialists from the Piaggio Experiment Division (R & D) and used in various competitions until the mid 50s. This scooter was driven by famous racers such as Dino Mazzoncini and Giuseppe Cau. Especially Giuseppe Cau, he won the race using a chronometer at Catania-Etna in 1950 and came first in his class (125cc), finishing third in the overall standings behind Guzzi and Benelli.
To promote the sporty image of the Vespa, Piaggio ordered its expert team to focus more on record keeping with the aim of perpetuating the tradition of excellence in the research the company had achieved before the war.
On April 7, 1950 on the Montlhery circuit in France, in 10 hours of testing with three drivers taking turns, Vespa won 17 world records. Included in the record time (an average of 134 km / h) of 100 miles, (an average of 129.7 km / h) of 500 miles, (an average of 123.9 km / h) of 1,000 km (average 124.3 km / h) within 10 hours and a distance of 1,049 km.
With a vehicle that is very similar to this (Vespa 125 dengan circuit ’with a alloy frame from 1949), the Mazzoncini driver also got brilliant results in the race on the circuit. Among them is the victory in the scooter circuit class in Genoa (Italy) which is a challenge between the Vespa and Lambretta.
This Vespa only produced 7,000 pieces. The Vespa U scooter is one of the most sought after by collectors. Created in 1953 as an economic model.
The letter “U” stands for utilitaria (versatile), because this model is indeed made to rival Lambretta. The price is set at 110 dollars. For the first time the Vespa made on the Italian market has lights on the handlebars and not in the front mudguard.
The Vespa sidecar was made between 1948 and early 1949, amidst the success achieved by the new 125 engine. This Vespa model was made after careful research. This scooter has a single sidecar which is supported by coil spring, making it more stable and comfortable for long trips.
At the end of 1954, Piaggio first launched the 150-cylinder Vespa which was also designed for the side car by emphasizing aerodynamic lines and elegance.
The side car is made of steel, manually installed and connected to a Vespa through a tube which is a unique solution from Piaggio. In addition, the gear box is also replaced to make it easier to get through uneven roads.
Its performance gets a lot of praise, even on snowy terrain and even steep slopes. The side car model combines comfort through the addition of windshields and luggage on the back, as well as security and practicality which is a guarantee of the name ‘Vespa’.
In the 50s, the French defense department assigned the Piaggio license recipient in France (ACMA) to make a vehicle for military use. The result was a very special Vespa, which was produced around 600 pieces from 1956-1959 at ACMA’s factory in Fourchambault, France.
The Vespa TAP is used on the Foreign Legion and the Parasut Corps, can be lowered by parachute and equipped with a 75mm rifle (without recoil), 6 ammunition, 2 fuel cans and a small wagon. Produced in two camouflage colors namely; green and sand color.
Even though it weighs 115 kg, the Vespa TAP’s performance does not diminish. It can even reach speeds of 66km / h, in the range of 200km when used in very unusual and unusual conditions.
When the Vespa reached its peak, Piaggio decided to enter the four-wheeled vehicle sector. The goal is also to produce vehicles that are cheap and can be used widely.
This time, again Corradino D’Ascanio is acting as the designer. He made a small Vespa 409. This car has a 2-stroke rear engine made in 2 versions.
Launched in 1957, Piaggio produces 30,000 units in its licensees in France (ACMA). In 1959 took part in a Monte Carlo rally. With a 2 stroke engine, 394cc, two “Spartan” seats and accessories, the Vespa 400 was the pioneer of a multi-purpose car that finally invaded European roads in the 60s.
This is the best expression of the legendary Vespa 150 Gran Sport, both in terms of frame and engine.
The Vespa 150 GS VS5 was produced in 1955 with the VS1 model which had an external control cable not inserted into the handlebars, with die-casting casting (a solution that began to be applied to VS2).
Compared to the previous version, this model is equipped with a typical speedometer fan and chrome tail lights and integrated brake lights.
In this new design, there is also a crestina on the front mudguard. Important improvements are also seen in the brake system with an auto vent drum. The engine is mounted with a high turbulence head.
The Vespa 150 GS VS5 holds the record for the number of units that the Vespa has produced between 1958-1961, up to 80,000 units.
This is the most popular Vespa for young people. Steady, easy to drive, exclusive and charming in terms of aesthetics. This model takes the form of a large cylindrical model line. Since its first appearance, this Vespa was promoted by Piaggio with slogans in advertisements namely “Young, Modern and … without documents.”
Based on Italian highway regulations in 1963, this Vespa may be driven by young people at least 14 years old without a license plate and without a SIM. The engine is completely new, and the cylinder is no longer horizontal, but 45 degrees. The design of the last scooter was signed by Corradino D’Ascanio.
Like a moonstone in the history of the Vespa, from 1964 to the present, Vespa 50 has been produced by more than 3 million units.
Like other motorcycle manufacturers, Piaggio also conducted studies to make military vehicles in the 50s.
The model that came out in 1964 came from Vespa 50 with changes to the frame to reduce its size. Because it is a pipe steering column and the wheel can be quickly removed and adjusted to the left pocket. This type of Vespa remained in the form of a prototype after going through several negotiations between Piaggio and the Department of Defense.
No doubt, the Super Sprint 90 has the most original design with a solid line of shapes. This model was produced by Piaggio since 1966 because it has speed, very strong spring / release and amazing steering.
Equipped with a reduced size windshield and luggage box between seats and handlebars. The spare wheel, like the Vespa GS 1955, is stored in the middle of the footrest.
Along with the success of the Vespa 90 SS, Piaggio also made the 50cc version sold in foreign markets, especially in Switzerland and Germany.
The SS 90 model, such as the Vespa 50, is one of the most sought after collectors because of its value as a gem suitable for collection.
Derived from the 125 VMA1 model, since Vespa 125 was first released ‘Primavera’ immediately succeeded. Its characteristics are easy to drive, fast, agile and strong, no wonder the Vespa Primavera name is so famous in the 60s.
“With a Vespa, we can” that’s the campaign to win the hearts of young people over the age of 16 at that time. They love sports and nature, and don’t want traffic to be their obstacle to keeping promises with their friends.
With the main feature of a longer frame, the pillion can be more comfortable sitting on this vehicle.
After the success of the Vespa Super Sport 180 series, Piaggio marketed a 180cc scooter with a completely new engine and frame, which actually came from the Sprint ’66 model, but with aesthetic changes in the handlebars and seats.
Until now, the Vespa 180 Rally is still the most successful model in terms of aesthetics and functionality. During the period 1968-1973, this model produced 26,000 units.
A new name and style that is also new to the Vespa 125 Pole Position, which came out in 1985. The lines are bolder in shape. The spoiler, windshield and digital tachometer increase the sporty character. For this model, Piaggio faces a difficult challenge because it has to compete with Japanese products. The T5 is equipped with a new engine that provides 5 pourings so that its performance is better than other Vespa models with the same cylinder.
This model is identical to the speed and big name of Formula 1 racers, and Nelson Piquet is a special witness.
Facing the third millennium, Vespa does not lose its character. The lines are elegant, sweet, easy to recognize and give a sense of security, always different from ordinary motors.
At the same time, Vespas are also innovative in technology. Always provide comfort and affirm the highest quality it has, namely; more ability than ordinary motors to meet current trends and demands. This secret is what makes it a famous vehicle, liked and widely spread from time to time. Really, it’s like a two-wheeled ‘time machine’.
The new generation of Vespa is available in 3 versions.
The Vespa ET4 is equipped with an environmentally friendly 4-stroke 125cc engine.
Vespa ET2 with a 2 stroke engine that is modern, reliable and equipped with a carburetor.
Vespa ET2 injection, supported by FAST (Fully Atomized Stratified Turbulance) engine, the first motor that has a 2 stroke engine with direct injection system, allows you to reduce fuel consumption by up to -30% and emissions by up to -70%.