Vespa is one of the most legendary motorcycles in the history in the World. It’s existence is timeless, starting from the old Vespa Era until the modern Vespa as it is today. However, behind its success as a scooter with the biggest sales in world history, Vespa also apparently has its own history, and it is said that it is also related to the people of Italy.
Vespa history began more than a century ago, about 1884. The Piaggio company was founded in Genoa, Italy in 1884 by Rinaldo Piaggio (at that time 22 years old). Initially, this company only produced ship equipment. But at the end of the century, Piaggio also produced Railroads, Train Cars, Truck bodies, Engines and Trains. During World War I, this company produced airplanes and ships. Then in 1917 Piaggio bought a new factory in the city of Pisa, in the Tuscany region of Italy. Four years later Rinaldo Piaggio took over a small factory in the city of Pontedera which is the city of Industry in the Tuscany area. Well, this factory in Pontedera which became the largest aircraft company center by Piaggio during World War II. However, at the end of World War II, this factory was bombed by allied aircraft.
After World War II, economic conditions in European countries were paralyzed. Piaggio’s company was later taken over by his own son, Enrico Piaggio. When the Italian economy was deteriorating, Enrico decided to leave the aeronautics business and then start to design inexpensive transportation. He decided to focus his company’s attention on the personal mobility problem that the Italian people needed.
Then join Corradino D’Ascanio, a talented aeronautical engineer who designed, conceptualized and flew his first modern Piaggio helicopter. D’Ascanio makes simple, economical, comfortable and elegant designs. D’Ascanio dreams of a new vehicle revolution. Taking an overview of aircraft technology, he imagined a vehicle built with a “Monocoque” or Unibody Steel Chassis. Front forks like tires land an airplane which is easy for tire replacement. The result was a design inspired by an airplane that had hitherto been different from other vehicles.
D’Ascanio then made the concept of a vehicle made with the body “Monocoque” or Unibody, front forks like airplane tires that were landing, plus 2-inefficient engines that were indeed famous at the time for fuel savings. As a result, a state-of-the-art design inspired by the aircraft is complete and ready to be developed into a mass product.
In 1945, finally created a brand-new prototype from Piaggio, named MP5 (Moto Piaggio 5) or also known as Paperino (Donald Duck). Like the initial design, this motorbike carries a mono frame made of steel with a rounded curve at the back.
Not only that, D’Ascanio also packed the MP5 with various advanced features at that time. Call it the gear lever which is operated via the left handle, connecting the transmission directly to the rear wheels (stripping off the final drive chain that was previously designed), and the front body is made wide as protection for the driver – both from dirt and accident. Uniquely, it turns out the staternya designed using the bomb component in the previous Piaggio Airplane, and the wheels were taken from the fighter aircraft wheels.
In the period 1946 – 1965, Or the Year of the Birth of the Vespa – The Year of the Departure of Enrico Piaggio Leaving the World, Vespa have already been produced in Italy as many as 3,350,000 units. If the number of Italian citizens at that time was around 167,500,000 – that means, one Vespa for every 50 Italian citizens.
Along with the increasingly “hated” 2-stroke motorbike because of the annoying exhaust noise & exhaust emissions that are less friendly to EURO regulations, finally the Vespa line also participated in experiencing significant evolution. The beginning of a radical change in the Vespa can be seen in the 1984 alert product, PK125 & PK50 Automatic Vespa, which uses an automatic transmission, minus the rear brake pedal, plus the functioning of the left handle to the rear brake lever (previously the gear shift lever). Don’t get me wrong, just a slight change in Vespa can be a big news, because Vespa is famous for its Originality Features & Functions, throughout the decades, significant changes are only in the Machine & Body Design.
In the next era, entering the millennium, Vespa began flooding the scooter market with modern products that are no less popular, some even made as “modern versions” of legendary motorcycles in the past, such as Vespa Sprint, Primavera, PX, GT & GTS.
Where the products in each era renew the tradition of innovation that was made before. At the same time marking evolution as the best-selling scooter in all corners of the world. But more than that, Vespa is not just a market phenomenon, Vespa is also a part of social history, where a scooter that is able to answer the needs of its people, is also able to answer the challenges of the world .