Many people know about the eureka moment when Enrico Piaggio exclaimed "Sembra una vespa!" (it looks like a wasp!), not only giving an observation of the design styling, but also giving a name to this new exciting form of transport. The Vespa has now reached another milestone in the colourful history of a very individual vehicle, 75 years young!
The year that the Vespa was launched was during a period where most of Europe was still recovering from the Second World War. Enrico had the vision of giving the people a clean, cheap, and reliable form of transport. The Vespa proved to be popular and was soon being manufactured in other country outside of the Pontedera factory in Italy.
Piaggio's aeronautical background helped influence the modern design of the Vespa, not to mention some of the borrowed part and paint. The original Vespa came in an aeronautical grey which was left over paint from the now ceased production of bombers from the Pontedera factory. That same grey was reflected in the 60th Limited Edition Anniversary model GT60, a model which looked back to design motives of the past and a nod to the original Faro Basso.
In 1952 the Vespa rode into Hollywood fame in 'Roman Holiday' with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, sales of the modern looking motorcycle soared as the Vespa became the quintessential romantic Italian brand. It's was to go on to be loved by Italophiles and people whom admired its clean, sleek, and practical design. Popular amounts the modernist youth of the sixties, the Vespa offered continental style, that complimented their tailored suits, or designer outfits.
In 1996 for the 50th anniversary the Vespa PX T5 Classic was manufactured with PX styling with a sporty T5 engine.
In 2001 for the 55th anniversary of the Vespa, Piaggio produced a new ET model. The newly designed automatic engine, as well as the Millennial Edition of the classic PX. The new ET2 and ET4 had a new variable speed transmission, which would become part of the entire Vespa range. The new LEADER (Low Emission Advanced Engine Range) would become part of the new series of large frame Vespa the Granturismo or GT model.
For it 60th anniversary the GT60 was released, along with a new series of QUASAR (QUArter-liter Smooth Augmented Range) Engines. This engine would go on to power the GTS series of bikes, until the recent release of the HPE Engine.
For the 70th anniversary a special edition PX was produced with a 150cc Euro-standard 3 engine. This would be the last of the PX series to be produced as the engine would fail to meet Euro 4 standards. The 70th anniversary also saw the release of a special limited edition blue Vespa Primavera and Vespa GTS.
In 2016 the Vespa 946 was also released. The 946 was a new design that paid homage to the classic design of the original Vespa. The 946 is still in limited production.
On it 75th anniversary Vespa is about to release a new limited series of Vespa Primavera and GTS, in a limited edition gold.
Vespa loves to celebrate an anniversary!