Who doesn’t know Piaggio Vespa motorbikes? Since it was first launched in 1946, this motorcycle has attracted millions of people and become loyal to it.
The old Vespa scooters model is still hunted by many because of its historical value, while the latest models are selling well on the market, including in the motorbike world , although some models are sold at unreasonable prices – like the 946 Bellissima released at a very expensive price.
The Vespa really captivates anyone who sees it, it’s no exaggeration if this type of scooter is said to be a cross-generation motorcycle From old to young, it’s not strange to ride a motorcycle with a design that looks like a bee / hornet – in language, Vespa in Italian means wasp.
The success now being enjoyed by Italian companies does not come quickly. Let’s look at the short history.
It all began with a 20-year-old young man named Rinaldo Piaggio who founded the Piaggio company in Genoa, Italy, in 1884. Initially, as quoted by Autoevolution, the company’s main business was making locomotives and spare parts. His business then developed into the production of rails, carriages, engines and truck bodies. Even in World War I Piaggio also produced airplanes and seaplanes.
In 1917, Piaggio bought a new factory in Pisa and 4 years later took over a small factory in Pontedera in Tuscany, Italy. This factory in Pontedera became the center of aircraft production and its components. During World War II, this factory produced the P108 bomber aircraft.
Towards the end of the war, the two factories were damaged by a bomb but Enrico Piaggio, Rinaldo’s son, managed to rebuild it.
After the war, in the midst of a bad Italian economy, Enrico decided to try to make alternative low-cost vehicles besides cars that could be affordable for all levels of society.
Piaggio then produced a scooter named MP 5 or better known as Paperino – Italian for Donald Duck – because of its strange shape. Enrico disliked the model and then recruited Corradino D’Ascanio, an aviation engineer and creator of helicopters while still working for the Agusta company, to fix it.
Birth of Vespa
D’Ascanio, as written by Gizmag, actually doesn’t like motorbikes because they are considered uncomfortable and dirty. He then tried to apply his expertise as an aircraft maker to a motorcycle to be produced.
As a result, he changed the position of gearshift and clutch in the left hand, the position of the rear wheel that was directly rotated on the engine, the front suspension of a typical monoshock aircraft to facilitate wheel replacement and the front protective design that protects the driver from splashing water.
The prototype motorbike was named MP 6 and later changed to a Vespa because Enrico Piaggio saw its shape similar to wasps.
On April 23, 1946 Piaggio & CSpA filed a patent for their latest scooter and then introduced it to the public.
The diverse response to the Vespa was received by Piaggio because of its unusual shape, but Enrico decided to continue producing 2,000 units of the first Vespa with a 98cc engine.
Motorbikes were first introduced to Italian socialites at a golf club in Rome and the general public saw their shape for the first time on March 24, 1946 at Motor magazine and then on the cover of La Moto on April 15, 1946.
At first many were skeptical about this Piaggio scooter, but it seems people really like it.
In 1946 there were fewer than 2,500 scooters circulating in Italy, but after Vespa introduced the latest 125cc engine, the number of exploded sales became more than 10,000 units.
After success in the country, Piaggio began exploring markets outside Italy. Germany became the first country to get a license to produce Vespa in 1950 and the following year the scooter was produced in 13 countries and sold in 114 countries, including in Asia and America. At that time Vespa’s production had reached 171,200 units.