Miscellaneous Vespa related articles

History of the Vespa Scooter

First launched over 50 years ago, the ever-so stylish Vespa remains at the cutting edge of modernity and fashion.


The trendiest two-wheeled vehicle in the history of mankind happens to be the Vespa. Born as a low-cost product for the masses, this utilitarian scooter became a style statement in itself, able to influence fashion in successive decades since its birth in 1946. Over fifty years have passed since then, when a two-wheeled vehicle, so completely new as to be revolutionary, was presented at the Golf Club in Rome by an Italian company with a 110-year history in the transport field, Piaggio. Called Vespa, its concept and name were the fruit of Enrico Piaggios intuition, while its structure took shape on the design table of Corradino D'Ascanio, aeroplane and helicopter engineer. Received at its birth with mixed reactions - from enthusiasm to diffidence - Vespa would very soon become a myth: a myth constructed on over 15 million scooters produced and sold throughout the world, which have served not only to motorise entire countries, but also to unite people of diverse languages and cultures.

Vespa is a word - rather, a concept - which is absolutely international, and which represents the dreams and the desire for freedom of entire generations. Vespa is not a scooter; it is 'the' scooter. The very name Vespa evokes memories of youth; transports the mind to thoughts of free time, beautiful weather, the pleasure of driving in the open air with the sun and wind on the skin - as shown by Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, riding a Vespa around the Colosseum in the 1952 film Roman Holiday, or the sensual Anita Ekberg escaping the paparazzi in the famous shot from Fellini's masterplece, La Dolce Vita.

It isextraordinary that the Vespa, having been involved in so much fashion, never passed out of fashion. At first it was green and not wondrously beautiful, a symbol of transformation from war to peace. Then it became white and elegant, a product that imposed the stile italiano: from necessity to style, the recipe for the good life. Then it dressed itself in silver and was transformed into a myth of elegance, youth and adventure. The young man riding it was - and is - a modern Prince Charming, the fiancé that every girl would like to have; the exciting 'Latin Lover' who takes female tourists pillion on the beaches of Emilia Romagna. But communication initiatives were not restricted to the cinema: effective mass advertising campaigns were invented, like the one based on the slogan 'Vespizzatevi' (Vespa yourselves!) Piaggio also succeeded in creating a spontaneous customer organisation: Vespa Clubs, for example, with their own magazines and facilities. The Italian union of Vespa riders was born in 1949 and the same year, Miss Graziella Bontempo from Naples was elected the first Miss Vespa. The Vespa had been consecrated as a recognisable symbol of Italian-ness: joyful, popular, uninhibited.

Truly an Esperanto among objects, the Vespa, initially presented as solid (it is still made of metal), long-lasting and adventurous, appealed to pioneers during the '40s and '50s. In the 60's it reflected the Italy of change, of pleasure-seeking children, and was transformed into a toy with real performance, expressing novelty, modernity and anti-conformism. In the '70s and '80s it turned into an object of nostalgia; and in this decade, with technological innovations and the 1996 launch of the sleek new Vespa ET2 and ET4, it has become revolutionary, riding with all its appeal intact into the third millennium. For very many people, the Vespa is the perfect combination of style, design and elegant functionality. The Vespa is timeless: it transcends the capriciousness of fashion.

S 50 4V

The unique style of the Vespa S cleverly combines historical references and cues in a modern interpretation of the most youthful and sporty spirit of the Vespa. The minimalist styling of the Vespa S 50 4V traces its origins back to legendary models of the 1970s, such as the 50 Special and the Vespa Primavera.

Advanced technology and retrostyling are the trademarks of the Vespa S 50 4V. Keeping with Vespa tradition, the sheet steel body is a load-bearing element. In addition to superior strength, this design also ensures exceptional rigidity, translating to excellent road holding and precision control.

The 50cc, four-stroke, four-valve engine is quick and responsive. Thanks to the adoption of the new four-valve timing system,the Vespa S 50 boasts low consumption and emission levels.

GAS MILEAGE: 85-90 mpg         MAX SPEED: 39 mph

MSRP $3,299
*Price is MSRP, and excludes tax, title, license, options, handling, pre-delivery, and destination charges. Specifications and MSRP are subject to change without notice. Actual price determined by dealer.

LX 50 4V

From the same pedigree as the first Vespa prototype built by Piaggio in 1946, the Vespa LX 50 4V is more than 60 years in the making. Witness the evolution of style, comfort, and performance with the core values of Vespa that never change: steel monocoque chassis, passion, individualism and integrity.

Timelessly elegant design and a compact steel body come together to create a nimble Vespa that stands out in congested urban traffic.

With a  legendary style, Vespa has always been in constant technological evolution. With the introduction of electronic fuel injection, the robust and reliable 4-stroke, 4-valve, air-cooled engine powering the Vespa LX 50 4V offers proverbial fuel efficiency and low running costs, gaining even better performances both in power and torque that are now available at lower engine speeds.

GAS MILEAGE: 85-90 mpg         MAX SPEED: 39 mph

MSRP $3,399
*Price is MSRP, and excludes tax, title, license, options, handling, pre-delivery, and destination charges. Specifications and MSRP are subject to change without notice. Actual price determined by dealer.

LX 150 IE

The Vespa LX 150 i.e. is the heir of a truly unique legacy, created for getting around the city on a technologically modern scooter that shows off a individualistic style.

The modern stylings of the Vespa LX harken back to the most classic Vespa design forms. The round headlight, the wide, protective steel legshield, the new, wider and more contoured saddle, and the new chrome detailing on the rear view mirrors and mudguard are all drawn from the history of the world’s most famous scooter.

The body (which also serves as the monocoque chassis) is made entirely from steel for greater sturdiness and riding precision. The wheels, 11” and 10” each, a classic front disc/rear drum brake system, a suspension layout featuring the hallmark front link arm, and an adjustable hydraulic monoshock at the rear complete the technical makeup of the Vespa LX 150 i.e.

The Vespa LX 150 i.e. high-tech electronic fuel injected engine delivers smoother power progression in the relentless stop-start conditions of urban riding. The impressive capabilities of the 150cc engine will shine through as any roader hits the road to get out of town.

GAS MILEAGE: 70-75 mpg         MAX SPEED: 59 mph

MSRP $4,599
*Price is MSRP, and excludes tax, title, license, options, handling, pre-delivery, and destination charges. Specifications and MSRP are subject to change without notice. Actual price determined by dealer.





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