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Vesparado T-Shirt
mod vespa px scooter fully loaded
vespa px scooter classic mod
england vespa px scooter fly screen and lights


 The Vespa PX  was first presented in 1977 in Milan as the

nuova linea model (new line). The Vespa was built with two

drum brakes, a single-cylinder engine (aluminium head) and a

steel chassis, but has been improved with a new front

suspension and a revised rear axle for more stability. It was

distributed as Vespa P 125 X and as Vespa P 200 E with an

electronic ignition (E for Elettronica) and since 1978 as Vespa

P 150 X. The PX 80 appeared in 1981.


This electronic ignition was introduced to the other models,

which then were called Vespa PX 125 and Vespa PX 150 E,

and in 1982 the Vespa P 200 E was called  Vespa PX 200 E .

In 1983, the Arcobaleno series was introduced (marketed

outside of Italy as the Lusso series) with technological

innovations such as separate lubrication and fuel gauges. In

addition, the front brake pads were made to be self-centring,

the wiring was altered for ease of maintenance, the same key

was now used for the ignition and the steering lock, and

several minor adjustments were made to the body. These

included increasing the size of the glove box, increasing the

size of the mudguard, and a new horn grille.


In 1985 a sporty variant hit the market:

                                                             The Vespa T5 Pole                       

Position with almost 12 hp. In 1992, coinciding with the 50th

anniversary of Vespa, a scooter was offered with the T5 engine and the PX style body. This was marketed as the  Vespa PX   125 T5 Classic .


Vespa PX 200 Millennium (2003). In 2007, the production of the Vespa PX was stopped and the last were sold as Ultima Serie (last series), a limited edition with a windshield, a luggage carrier in chrome and chrome wheels with white walled tires. In 2010, the Vespa PX returned with a catalytic converter added to the two-stroke engine to meet the  Euro 3 emission   standards .


 Piaggio & C. SpA  via its subsidiaries designs, engineers, manufactures and distributes two wheeled motor vehicles and compact commercial vehicles under seven brands. Piaggio & C. SpA corporate headquarters are located in Pontedera, Italy. Piaggio's various subsidiaries employ a total of 8,129 employees who produced at total of 615,500 vehicles in 2012. Piaggio operates six research and development centers and operates in over 50 countries.


Founded by  Rinaldo Piaggio  in 1884, Piaggio initially produced locomotives and railway carriages. During World War I the

company focused on producing aircraft. During World War II the company produced bomber aircraft, but Piaggio emerged from the conflict with its Pontedera plant completely demolished by Allied bombing. Italy's crippled economy and the disastrous state of the roads did not assist in the redevelopment of the automobile markets. Enrico Piaggio, the son of Piaggio's founder Rinaldo Piaggio, decided to leave the aeronautical field in order to address Italy's urgent need for a modern and affordable mode of transportation. The idea was to design an inexpensive vehicle for the masses.


Aeronautical engineer  Corradino D'Ascanio , responsible for the design and construction of the first modern helicopter by Agusta, was asked by Enrico Piaggio to create a simple, robust and affordable vehicle. The vehicle had to be easy to drive for both men and women, be able to carry a passenger, and not get its driver's clothes dirty. In 1946 Piaggio launched the Vespa scooter (Italian for "wasp") and within ten years over a million units had been produced. The Italian language gained a new word, "vespare", meaning to go somewhere on a Vespa.

vespa logo badge





My dad's bought a 

vespa and wrote

'The Who'

on the back of all his



He's having a mod-life




Someone keeps

breaking the door

mirrors off my car.


The police think it's

someone with a vendetta.


Good, now we know

what scooter he rides

they might be able to catch the prat.



A Mod in a nightclub.


He asks a girl, "fancy a shag?"


She replies, "sorry, I'm on my menstrual cycle."


"Great," says the Mod,

"I'm on my Vespa,


I'll follow you home."



Last night this Geezer

passed me a petrol bomb and said,


"Throw it at that Police car.


"I said, "Piss off Fuck face,

that'll run my vespa for a week."







 (Sting) VESPA 


vespa px union jack paul weller custom scooter




                                                      The  Vespa  has evolved from a single model motor scooter manufactured in 1946 by                                                                Piaggio & Co.S.p.A. of Pontedera, Italy to a full line of scooters and one of seven                                                                        companies today owned by Piaggio.


                                                      From their inception, Vespa scooters have been known for their painted, pressed steel                                                              unibody which combines a complete cowling for the engine (enclosing the engine                                                                      mechanism and concealing dirt or grease), a flat floorboard (providing foot protection), and                                                        a prominent front fairing (providing wind protection) into a structural unit. In 1944, Piaggio                                                          engineers Renzo Spolti and  Vittorio Casini  designed a motorcycle with bodywork fully                                                              enclosing the drive train and forming a tall splash guard at the front. In addition to the                                                                bodywork, the design included handlebar-mounted controls, forced air cooling, wheels

                                                      of a smaller diameter, and a tall central section that straddled the scooter.


                                                      Officially known as the MP5 ("Moto Piaggio no. 5"), the

                                                      prototype was nicknamed "Paperino" (either "duckling"

                                                      or "Donald Duck" in Italian). Piaggio was displeased

                                                      with the MP5, especially the tall central section. He

                                                      contracted aeronautical engineer  Corradino D'Ascanio 

                                                      to redesign the scooter. D'Ascanio, who had earlier

been consulted by Ferdinando Innocenti about scooter design and manufacture, made it

immediately known that he hated motorcycles, believing them to be bulky, dirty, and



On the 23rd of April 1946, at 12 o'clock in the central office for inventions, models and

makes of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Florence,  Piaggio  e C. S.p.A. took

out a patent  a "motorcycle of a rational complexity of organs and elements combined

with a frame with mudguards and a casing covering the whole mechanical part". The basic patented design allowed a series of features to be deployed on the spar-frame that would later allow quick development of new models.


 The original Vespa  featured a rear pillion seat for a passenger, or optionally a storage compartment. The original front protection "shield" was a flat piece of aero metal; later, this developed into a twin skin to allow additional storage behind the front shield, similar to the glove compartment in a car. The fuel cap was located underneath the (hinged) seat, which saved the cost of an additional lock on the fuel cap or need for additional metal work on the smooth skin. The scooter had rigid rear suspension and small 8-inch (200 mm) wheels that allowed a compact design and plenty of room for the rider's legs. The Vespa's enclosed, horizontally mounted 98 cc two-stroke engine acted directly on the rear drive wheel through a three-speed transmission. The twistgrip-controlled gear change involved a system of rods. The early engine had no forced-air cooling, but fan blades were soon attached to the magneto-flywheel (which houses the points and generates electricity for accessories and for the engine's spark) to push air over the cylinder's cooling fins. The modern Vespa engine is still cooled this way.


 The MP6 prototype  had large grilles on the front and rear of the rear fender covering the engine. This was done to allow air in to cool the engine, as the prototype did not have fan cooling. A cooling fan similar to that used on the MP5 "Paperino" prototype was included in the design of the production Vespa, and the grilles were removed from the fender. Piaggio filed a patent for the Vespa scooter design in April 1946. The application documents referred to a "model of a practical nature" for a "motorcycle with rationally placed parts and elements with a frame combining with mudguards and engine-cowling covering all working parts", of which "the whole constitutes a rational, comfortable motorcycle offering protection from mud and dust without jeopardizing requirements of appearance and elegance". The patent was approved the following December.


The first 13 examples appeared in spring 1946, and revealed their aeronautical background. In the first examples, one can recognize the typical aircraft technology. Attention to  aerodynamics  is evident in all the design, in particular on the tail. It

was also one of the first vehicles to use monocoque construction (where the body is an integral part of the chassis). The company was aiming to manufacture the new Vespa in large numbers, and their longstanding industrial experience led to an efficient Ford-style volume production line. The scooter was presented to the press at Rome Golf Club, where journalists were apparently mystified by the strange, pastel coloured, toy-like object on display.


However, the road tests were encouraging, and even with no rear suspension the machine was more comfortable to ride

than a traditional motorcycle. Following its public debut at the 1946 Milan Fair, the first fifty sold slowly. With the introduction of payment by  installments, sales took off. Piaggio sold some 2,500 Vespas in 1947, over 10,000 in 1948, 20,000 in 1949, and over 60,000 in 1950.


                                                                                         The biggest sales promo ever was Hollywood. In 1952,  Audrey                                                                                                     Hepburn  side-saddled Gregory Peck's Vespa in the feature film                                                                                                 Roman Holiday for a ride through Rome, resulting in over 100,000                                                                                               sales. In 1956, John Wayne dismounted his horse in favor of the

                                                                                         two-wheeler to originally get between takes on sets. As well as                                                                                                     Marlon Brando, Dean Martin, and the entertainer Abbe Lane had                                                                                                 become Vespa owners. William Wyler filmed Ben Hur in Rome in                                                                                                 1959, allowing Charlton Heston to abandon horse and chariot                                                                                                     between takes to take a spin on the Vespa.


                                                                                         Vespa clubs popped up throughout Europe, and by 1952, worldwide                                                                                           Vespa Club membership had surpassed 50,000. By the mid-1950s,                                                                                             Vespas were being manufactured under licence in Germany, the                                                                                                 United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Spain; in the 1960s,                                                                                                           production was started in India, and Indonesia. By 1956, one million                                                                                           had been sold, then two million by 1960. By the 1960s, the Vespa—                                                                                           originally conceived as a utility vehicle had come to symbolize

                                                                                         freedom and imagination, and as a result four million by 1970, and                                                                                               ten million by the late 1980s.

Improvements were made to the original design and new models were introduced. The 1948 Vespa 125 had rear suspension and a bigger engine. The headlamp was moved up to the handlebars in 1953, and had more engine power and a restyled rear fairing.  One of the best-loved models was the Vespa 150 GS introduced in 1955  with a 150 cc engine, a long saddle, and the faired handlebar-headlamp unit. Then came the 50 cc of 1963, and in 1968 Vespa 125 Primavera became one of the most durable of all models.

vespa px scooters haynes manual 1978 2012


In 1959 Piaggio came under the control of the  Agnelli family , the owners of car maker Fiat S.p.A.. Vespa thrived until 1992 when Giovanni Alberto Agnelli became CEO, but Agnelli was already suffering from cancer and died in 1997. In 1999 Morgan Grenfell Private Equity acquired Piaggio, but a quickly hoped-for sale was dashed by a failed joint venture in China.


By 2003, the company found itself close to bankruptcy. Continual management changes and great sums spent on many different plans and products had saddled Piaggio with debt and left it vulnerable to competition from cheaper Asian rivals. Despite this, the brand was still well-known and products like the  Vespa ET4  were gaining positive publicity. In October 2003 Roberto Colaninno made an initial investment of €100 million through his holding company Immsi S.p.A. in exchange for just under a third of Piaggio and the mandate to run it. Chief executive Rocco Sabelli redesigned the factory to Japanese principles so that every Piaggio scooter could be made on any assembly line.


In 2004, the company introduced  a gas-electric hybrid scooter  and

a scooter with two wheels at the front and one at the back. Piaggio

acquired scooter and motorcycle Aprilia in 2006, and in that same

year Piaggio shares were launched onto the Borsa Italiana with the

listing symbol PIAGF.


Piaggio first came back into the market in 2001 with the ET2 (two

stroke 50 cc) and ET4 (four stroke 150 cc). In 2004, the PX (model

year 2005) was re-introduced to North America to meet market

demand for the classic Vespa design. Growth in the US market and

worldwide environmental concerns meant a need for larger and

cleaner engines, so Vespa developed  the LEADER 

(Low Emissions ADvanced Engine Range) series of four-stroke

engines. The larger Granturismo frame, with larger 12-inch

(300 mm) wheels, was introduced to handle the additional power.


The bike in 2006 spawned the iconic  GTS-250ie  version, with an

upgraded suspension and the new QUASAR (QUArter-liter Smooth

Augmented Range) 250 cc fuel-injected engine, capable of 80+

mph. As of the end of 2010 the GTS 250 had been replaced by the

GTS 300 which has a 278cc fuel - injected engine. In 2005, the ET was withdrawn from Europe and North America and replaced by a new small-frame scooter, the LX range. These were available in the USA in 50cc and 150cc versions, while Europeans could choose a 50cc, 125cc and a 150cc.


This resurgence in interest in vintage motor scooters has also spawned a scooter restoration industry, with many restored Vespas being exported from Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia to the rest of the world. There is a  Piaggio Museum & Gift   Shop  adjacent to the plant in central Pontedera, near Pisa, Tuscany. The permanent exhibition includes those items which toured venues such as the Guggenheim in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Also on display is a model personally customised by Salvador Dalí in 1962.


Vespa's largest market by all measures globally is still Italy, but as a result of the  mod subculture  that developed in the 1960s, the United Kingdom is still Vespa's second largest global marketand at one point in the 1960s, its largest. The appeal of the Vespa to the style-conscious mods was the weather protection. Their counterparts, the rockers rode classic British motorcycles such as Triumph Bonneville and BSAs, and needed to wear leathers against the elements. Mods would modify their Vespas, adding lights, mascots, accessories, various racks and crash bars. A new lifestyle evolved in the UK, with thousands attending scooter rallies.


The dominance of the Vespa declined through the 1970s, as small car ownership increased and cheap and reliable commuter bikes like the Honda Super Cub hit sales. Despite the introduction of the more modern 'P' range in the 1970s, the lack of development cost Vespa, and like other markets, the sales fell off drastically in the economic boom of the 1980s. Then Vespa introduced the trendy  ET2 , London introduced the congestion charge and—partly with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's indirect help from his BBC2 series—sales suddenly leapt.


As Vespa had used the Cushman Army scooter as inspiration for its original design, Vespa in turn made scooters for Sears and Cushman after World War II. Imported by Morton Colby of Colby General Tire Company, 662 E. Fordham Road, Bronx, New York, the Sears models were 3-and 4 speed 125 cc Vespas rebadged as Sears Allstate Cruiseaires.

Innocenti also distributed their Lambretta brand via Montgomery Ward's catalogue during this post-World War II period. These were the premier brands of scooters, bringing premium pricing to many, including farmers, whose link to the outside world was via purchases made in these catalogues. Cushman sold rebadged Vespa scooters as Cushmans, but many Cushman dealers refused to market a "foreign" machine. However, collectors prize the  Cushman Vespa  because it is relatively rare.


The 65 " Vespa Boutiques " scattered throughout the U.S. gave scooterists a place to buy, service, and customize Vespa scooters, and outfit themselves in everything from Vespa watches and helmets to Vespa jackets, T-shirts, and sunglasses. Vespa restarted its American sales effort, opening its first boutique on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, Calif. In light of vastly-increasing US sales, Vespa developed the GT, offered as a 200 cc four-stroke and a 125 cc variant in Europe. In 2004 Vespa reintroduced a modernized PX 150 to the US. In the fall of 2005, Piaggio offered their largest-selling Vespa scooter ever, the 250 cc-engined GTS250, available in Europe with ABS. In 2009, Vespa released the GTS 300 which can cruise at 65–70 mph (105–113 km/h).




 VESPA PX 125 


nice vespa px 125 scooter custom

Piaggio first licensed the production of Vespa scooters in India to Bajaj Auto in the

1960s. In 1971, Piaggio's license was not renewed as a part of Indira Gandhi's

privatization programs. After the collaboration ended, Bajaj continued to produce

scooters based on the Vespa design, namely the  Chetak .


Another Vespa partner in India was that of LML Motors. Beginning as a joint-venture

with Piaggio in 1983, LML, in addition to being a large parts supplier for Piaggio,

produced the  P-Series scooters for the Indian market . In 1999, after a protracted

dispute with Piaggio, LML bought back Piaggio's stake in the company and the

partnership ceased. LML continues to produce (and also exports) the P-Series variant

known as the Stella in the U.S. market and by other names in different markets. In the

2012 Auto Expo held in New Delhi, the iconic Vespa re-entered the Indian Market.

Piaggio unveiled its range of scooters at the Expo. This became the first such venture

of Piaggio in India without a local partner.


 Danmotor Vespa Indonesia  (DMVI) was a joint venture between Indonesian interests

and the East Asiatic Company, which was based in Denmark. Between 1972 and 2001

it produced Vespas under licence for the Indonesian market. In 1976 approximately 40,000 units were produced giving DMVI the third biggest share of the Indonesian scooter market. Government tax incentives allowed these scooters to be exported to Thailand at less than the domestic market price, so that they would be economically competitive. DMVI only built 90cc and 150cc models. From 1972 onwards the company was located at a purpose-built factory in Pulo Gadung. This was greatly expanded in 1977 to also manufacture sub-components, following a government decree that a higher domestically-built proportion of these should be used. Sub-components were also bought from other Indonesian manufacturers after their quality had been approved by Piaggio.

vespa px scooter jakarta

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Vespa and Lambretta scooters were raced

competitively against motorcycles, often winning the races. In the mid-1960s,

motorcycle engines became larger and faster, and a gap was createdalong

with varying cc classifications. Since the 1980s,  Vespa and Lambretta racing 

has grown into a serious sport in the United States. There are various classes

in the United States, depending on the racing association.


They are generally:


  •   Small Frame Class:

                                       Open class up to 152 cc

  •   Automatics Class

  •   Specials Class


There have been 34 different versions of the Vespa. Today five series are in


                  the classic manual transmission PX and the modern CVT

transmission S, LX, GT, and GTS.


 The Vespa 946  is a scooter announced by Piaggio, to be sold under their

Vespa brand starting in July 2013. Piaggio presented the retro-futurist Vespa Quarantasei concept, based on the 1945 Vespa MP6 prototype, at the 2011 EICMA motorcycle show. The final production version, renamed the Vespa 946, appeared the following year, at EICMA 2012. The 946 will be fitted with Piaggio’s new air-cooled, three-valve, single cylinder engine, with a claimed output of 11.7 hp (8.7 kW) for the 125cc (7.6 cu in) displacement version, and 13 hp (9.7 kW) for the 150cc (9.2 cu in) version.


One-offs and special machines:


  •   Montlhéry – produced in 1950 to break world records on the French circuit of the same name. It smashed 17 records in   10 hours.

  •   Torpedo – 1951 125 cc special with counter-opposing pistons. Dino Mazzoncini set the world record on the kilometre at    an average of 171 km/h.

One of Vespa's first slogans was "La Dolce Vita"-"The Sweet Life".


vespa chrome logo
piaggio logo
warning do not mess with my vespa
vespa scooter with trailer
military vespa scooter
vespa poster scooter product range
piaggio vespa grand sport
Vespa PX Poster
row of classic vespas
Wolves vespa

 The material on this site does not necessarily reflect the views of What If? Tees. 

 The Images and Text are not meant to offend but to Promote Positive Open Debate and Free Speech. 

 The material on this site does not reflect the views of What If? Tees. 

 The Images and Text are not meant to offend but to Promote Positive Open Debate and Free Speech. 

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