La Dolce Vita on wheels

He has lived adventures on all continents, he has been a movie star that Gary Cooper, Marcello Mastroiani, Audrey Hepburn, Athony Perkins, Gregory Peck and Ursula Andres have climbed. It’s just seven decades of style and freedom.

The origin of Vespa passes by land, sea and air. In 1884, Rinaldo Piaggio founded a furniture company for ships, later also for trains and in World War II aircraft. The vehicle incorporates many of the parts of the fighter plane. Piaggio was a great aeronautical builder in Italy, although a declared enemy of the Duce, he was the creator of a great bomber in Mussolini’s time.

At the end of the war he recycled his business to create a new motorcycle, but with the materials he used in airplanes. The bodywork was from the fuselage engine of the plane, the front wheel and suspension came from the tail skate of the plane and even the paint was the same as that of the bomber. The revolutionary motorcycle was an innovative proposal, with a gear change on the handlebars, front suspension and bodywork that protected the rider from mechanical dirt and wind. Unlike traditional motorcycles, the driver was sitting on the motorcycle, not with the motorcycle between his legs, which facilitated its use for women with skirts and even for priests with cassocks. It should be remembered that in the first Vespa advertisement a woman in a skirt appears driving.

It soon became a cult vehicle. The cinema that enlarged the legend contributed a lot to this. Her presence on the big screen made her more attractive and glamorous. No other motorcycle model has starred in so many memorable scenes of the seventh art as the Vespa. An icon of two wheels that was of the ‘dolce vita’ in Rome and later in the world.

With the premiere of Holidays in Rome (1953) with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, it became a commercial phenomenon. Then he signed up for the movement underground with Quadrophenia, in the seventies, together with American Graffiti (1979). Later, Raquel Welch, Charlton Heston, Gary Cooper, Paul Newman, Antonio Banderas and Matt Damon joined the Vespa. TO Rome with love the Woody Allen y Under the Tuscan Sun, they also resorted to the use of this charming vehicle.

Vespa’s date of birth is April 1946, when it was patented and production started to skyrocket. Right now the sales figure reaches close to twenty million motorcycles sold. It was increasing in displacement, from 75 to 125 200 cc. Faced with success, he was not short of imitators from Russia to India.

Vespa also demonstrated its spirit of adventure, although the city is its natural space, and Rome its capital. Tours were made of the Arctic Circle, Japan, Greenland or Tierra del Fuego. In 1952 the Frenchman Georges Monneret traveled from Paris to London on an amphibious scooter, and Dalí himself decorated a scooter that went around the world in 1962 with the Spanish pilots Santiago Guillén and Antonio Venciana, which took 79 days. Today this Vespa 150, painted by Dalí, is considered a work of art and, as such, rests in the Piaggio museum in Pontedera, which can be visited on line

The Italian adventurer and writer Giorgio Betinelli made great trips on Vespa from Rome to Saigon, then from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego and another great trip from Chile to Tasmania, passing through Asia and Africa. The passion for Vespa spread throughout the world and numerous Vespa clubs were created. In international meetings around 5 thousand fans come together who worship this particular vehicle.

Seven decades later, the type motorcycle scooter, continues to be renewed with technology, with alliances such as Dior, improving with ABS brakes and the Elettrica version has already been born, without emissions and with a new horizon. Before, it underwent numerous transformations such as sidecarAs a motorcycle car, even the Vespa helicopter appears in James Bond. In total it has generated more than a hundred models. The house celebrates its birthday with its 75th anniversary model, Primavera model in limited edition. A means of locomotion that conquered the streets and highways of the world, becoming one of the great emblems of Italian industry.

75 years later, the design of the aeronautical engineer and inventor Corradino D’Ascanio maintains its validity and its power of seduction. Legend has it that D’Ascanio hated motorcycles, when the industrialist Enrico Piaggio commissioned him to create a low-cost vehicle for a Europe that was coming out of the World War and when he was shown the D’Ascanio prototype and his assistant, also a designer, Mario D ́Este, Piaggio exclaimed “How beautiful, it looks like a wasp ̈.