The Little Engine Heard Around The World

The Vespa. 

A timeless, charming, and innovative machine that has been cemented into our lives. 

Whether that’s been from seeing them around town or in memorable movie scenes, experiencing their adventure first-hand or hearing about them from a friend, there is no escaping the grasp this unique vehicle has on society. 

What makes this little scooter, first made 76 years ago, such a timeless vehicle? Read on to find out! 

Brief History 

After a slew of negative impacts brought upon the country by WWII, Italy found itself in need of affordable and modern modes of transportation. After many trials and errors, vehicle manufacturer Piaggio & Co. perfected the idea they had in mind, and the Vespa 98 was born. 

First introduced to the public in 1946, its selling started off slowly, and with the introduction of payment installations, sales began to take off. 

Piaggio sold around 2,500 Vespas in 1947; 10,000 in 1948; and over 60,000 in 1950. Once Audrey Hepburn was seen riding one around Rome in the film Roman Holiday, Vespas became a staple in pop culture, and their sales rocketed into the 100,000s. (Another notable and memorable moment the Vespa had in pop culture? The Who movie Quadrophenia – how could anyone forget those crazy modifications?) 

And while the silver screen may have made them famous, it’s Vespas’ convenience, style and continuous evolution that has allowed this scooter to continue to thrive in popularity after 76 years. 

Convenience 

Easy – a keyword in the success of the Vespa. Its open frame makes it easy to get on, with the gearshift placed on the handlebars for easy maneuvers through urban areas, and wheel changes easily done on the spot. 

Described by some “not as a motorcycle, but rather a small two-wheeled car”, the innovative and thoughtful design accomplished what Piaggio & Co. set out to give to the public: an affordable, modern convenience that people can benefit from. 

Style 

A Vespa can suit any occasion or image. One can ride it in a skirt and heels; a suit and tie; yes, in shorts and a t-shirt too! Vespas give a sense of freedom, and allow people to make their own Vespa experience. No matter the occasion, a Vespa is sure to suit it. 

Evolution 

Since it first launched, Piaggio & Co. was determined to make Vespas great scooters, always thinking of ways to improve the mechanics and looks. The Vespa has evolved and improved throughout every decade starting in the 50’s, and to this day, Vespa is still held to the pillar of improvement, ensuring new models have up-to-date technology like F1-derived KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), which allows the electric scooters to turn the bike’s energy into electricity (thus charging the scooter!). 

What started out as a solution to transportation problems is continuing to doing so; Piaggio & Co.’s Vespa is addressing modern day issues like rising gas prices and  vehicle pollution through the creation of the eco-conscious model, Electrica (a zero emissions, long battery life scooter).

 Through innovative design, convenience, and customer needs at the center of its existence, it’s no wonder the Vespa scooter continues to make its mark on the hearts and minds of so many across the globe. 

Have a story you’d like to share? Drop us a line at contact@lepitclub.com.

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