Since the release of the first Vespa in 1946, the moped has been through a whole slew of different incarnations and achieved immortality in Italian culture. A trip to Rome, Naples or Milan would not be complete without swarms of these two-wheeled contraptions ferrying Italians about the town. They’re lightweight enough that you could get around a historic city centre, while still offering enough storage space to be practical, and enough seat to be comfortable.
The iconic nature of the brand has made the Vespa incredibly desirable among collectors. The design was ground-breaking, and certain models are prized extremely highly. Over the years, more than 19 million scooters have been sold in 83 countries around the world. They’ve all been made in the same place: the Piaggio factory in Pontedera, Tuscany – just down the road from Pisa.
The company has resisted the temptation to outsource production to other parts of the world, and this has helped the manufacturer to retain distinct standards for quality, and the iconic status that makes them so valued by those who know what to look for. As we come up to the 75th anniversary of the Vespa, we’re sure to see a spike in interest.
How did Vespa come to be?
At the end of the Second World War, the Piaggio factory, which had been making planes, was demolished. Enrico Piaggio, the son of the company’s founder, Rinaldo, took the decision to move away from aeronautics. He wanted to do something to address the country’s transport crisis, by empowering the common man to get around during a time when public transport was scarce and unreliable. After an unsuccessful prototype, the company came up with the MP6. The legend goes that Enrico himself came up with the name, remarking that the vehicle, with its enclosed engine at the rear, resembled a wasp.
Piaggio have made available a trio of special editions to mark the occasion. These are limited-edition variants of the Primavera 125 (which comes in at £4900), the GTS Super Tech 125 (which comes in at £6100), and the GTS Super Tech 300 (which comes in at £6650). They’ve each been given a special 1940s-inspired paintjob, which is sure to provoke post-war nostalgia. To make the release even more special, customers will also get a special silk scarf and a postcard which explains how the manufacturer has spent the last three quarters of a century.
If you’re planning on investing in a new Vespa, then it’s vital that you protect yourself against damage and theft. Specialised scooter insurance provides an economical way of doing this, especially if you’re insuring multiple vehicles at the same time.