Sunday, July 22, 2007

Vespa History

The Beginning

Piaggio logotype

Vespa’s timeless design comes from an equally timeless company — Piaggio has been a distinguished innovator in the field of transportation for nearly 120 years.

Piaggio was founded in Genoa, Italy in 1884 by twenty-year-old Rinaldo Piaggio. Rinaldo’s business began with luxury ship fitting. But by the end of the century, Piaggio was also producing rail carriages, luxury coaches, truck bodies, engines, and trains.

Early image of the Piaggio & C. factoryEarly image of the Piaggio & C. factory

With the onset of World War I, the company forged new ground with the production of airplanes and seaplanes. In 1917 Piaggio bought a new plant in Pisa, and four years later it took over a small plant in Pontedera in the Tuscany region of Italy. It was this plant in Pontedera which became its new center for aeronautical production (propellers, engines and complete aircraft).

During World War II, the Pontedera plant built the state-of-the-art P 108 four-engine aircraft, in both passenger and bomber versions. However, the plant was completely destroyed by Allied bombers due to its military importance.


Enrico Piaggio, son of founder Rinaldo Piaggio, surrounded by VespasEnrico Piaggio, son of founder Rinaldo Piaggio, surrounded by VespasPiaggio came out of the conflict with its Pontedera plant in complete ruin. Enrico Piaggio was at the helm, having taken over from his father Rinaldo. Concerned about the disastrous state of the roads and the Italian economy, Enrico decided to focus the Company’s attention on the personal mobility needs of the Italian people.

Enter Corradino D’Ascanio, Piaggio’s ingenious aeronautical engineer who designed, constructed and flew the first modern helicopter. D’Ascanio set out to design a simple, sturdy, and economical vehicle that was also comfortable and elegant.

Vespa advertisementD’Ascanio, who could not stand motorcycles, dreamed up a revolutionary new vehicle. Drawing from the latest aeronautical technology, he imagined a vehicle built on a “monocoque” (French for “single shell”) or unibody steel chassis. Furthermore, the front fork, like a plane’s landing gear, allowed for easy wheel changing. The result was an aircraft-inspired design that to this day remains forward-thinking and unique among all other two-wheeled vehicles.

Upon seeing the vehicle, Enrico Piaggio remarked “Sembra una Vespa!” (“It looks like a wasp!”) This was a real two-wheeled utility vehicle. But it did not resemble an uncomfortable and noisy motorcycle. The steel frame’s shape protected the rider from road dirt and debris. It emanated class and elegance at first glance.

By the end of 1949, 35,000 units had been produced. Italy was getting over its war wounds and getting about on Vespas. In ten years, one million were produced. By the mid-fifties, Vespa was being produced in Germany, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Spain and, of course, Italy.

Vespa logotypeVespa logotype

Vespa advertisementVespa has lived on from one generation to the next, subtly modifying its image each time. The first Vespa offered mobility to everyone. Then, it became the two-wheeler of the post war economic boom. During the sixties and seventies, the vehicle became a symbol for the revolutionary ideas of the time. Advertising campaigns like “He Who Vespas, eats the apple”, and films such as Quadrophenia have symbolized eras in our history.

Vespa Historical FilmVespa Historical Film (7,45 MB)And the story continues today with the new generation of Vespa models, represented by the Vespa ET2 and Vespa ET4. Vespa is not just a scooter. It is one of the great icons of Italian style and elegance, and with more than 16 million units produced, is well known throughout the world. For more than 50 years, Vespa has fascinated millions of people and given the world an irreplaceable icon of Italian style and a means of personal transport that has become synonymous with freedom.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Manual, How to Restore and Maintain Your Vespa Motorscooter

1980 Vespa P125X - Dark Blue Immaculate!

If you are looking for a Vespa that is both reliable AND vintage, look no further! This super super clean 1980 Vespa P125X has nearly flawless original dark blue paint, as does the matching factory option top case. Runs great! Recently serviced and always stored inside. New tires. And only 2900 miles on the speedometer. All of the locks function. Titled.

This Vespa is being sold on consignment, and as such is sold as is. However, we have put this scoot through our safety inspection and it passed with flying colors.

Scoot Richmond will NOT ship scooters. Come and check out this handsome Vespa in our Richmond Virginia showroom, and bring your helmet so that you can ride it home today!

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1976 Vespa TS125 White - Gorgeous Original Paint!

This Vespa TS125 is a fairly rare model in the US, as it was sold only in Europe. This model is really very interesting, with its Rally frame, side panels, fender and glovebox, and its 125cc 3 port engine. Comfort and maneuverability are yours with its ten inch wheels with relatively new tires. This scoot has the great big Euro round headlight. Titled. and...that handsome white paint? It's all original, straight from the factory. Zero rust on this bike (anything you see in the floor area in the photo is a is totally rust free). That is not something you see every day, and makes this scoot a perfect candidate NOT to restore cosmetically. It is only original once!

This Vespa currently runs, shifts into all gears, and all of the lights are functioning correctly. The tank is clean and the tires are nearly new. However, it is probable that this Vespa will need an engine rebuild at some point in the near future. Give us a call or drop us a note and we can give you more information.

Sorry,Scoot Richmondreally truly does not ship scooters. We will not ship a scooter even if you arrange carriage, even if you build the crate, even if you pay us a million dollars...unless you come and check the scoot out in person before hand. Call us crazy, call us what you will, but that's the way it is.

The Scooter Glove Fitted Cover - P, PX, Stella

This medium duty fitted cover hugs your bike tightly, and goes on and comes off in a flash. It has a pocket in the back which hides out of the way if you do not have a rear rack, and pops out magically if you do. Finally a cover for those of you with rear racks. It comes with a small bag to stuff the cover in, so you can toss it in your glove box.

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