Symbolising freedom on two wheels, the iconic Vespa scooter is still a hugely popular mode of transport for many enthusiasts the world over. Launched in 1946 by Italian engineering and aeronautical company Piaggio, the Vespa (‘wasp’ in Italian) scooter design was forward thinking and radical. A pressed steel ‘unibody’ construction with a 100cc 2-stroke engine driving the back wheel, small 8” wheels, a handlebar mounted gearchange and reasonable weather protection for the rider added up to a nimble, practical and economical machine that appealed to riders of both sexes, and from all walks of life. By the 1950’s and into the 1960’s the Vespa scooter continued to grow in mass appeal, and with sales booming, were being manufactured under licence in many parts of the world.
Whilst the basic design remained largely the same, development of the Vespa scooter continued throughout its lifespan. Smallframe Vespas featured engines up to 125cc, whilst largeframe versions included 125, 150, 160, 180 and 200cc engines, offering superior performance, better equipment and greater comfort. Current Vespa scooters offer modern standards of refinement and engine technology, but still retain much of the charm that first made them famous.
Produced in huge numbers, there are still many classic Vespa scooters for sale today, and a cheap Vespa can make a great restoration project for the enthusiastic scooterist.