Piaggio Vespa



Vespa logo
First Vespa logo
Prototype name: "MP5" ("Moto Piaggio no. 5", 1944)

Prototype nickname: "Paperino"

First model name: "Vespa 98" (1946)

Category: Motorcycles

Corradino D'Ascanio
Corradino D'Ascanio
Feb. 1, 1891
- Aug. 6, 1981,
the Italian
aeronautical engineer
who designed
the first production
helicopter
and the first model
of Vespa scooter
Subcategory: Scooters

Prototype designers: Renzo Spolti, Vittorio Casini

First model designer: Corradino D'Ascanio

Producer: Piaggio & Co. S.p.A. (founded by Rinaldo Piaggio on January 24, 1884)

Prototype made in: 1944 - Biella, Piedmont, Italy

Production start: April 23, 1946Pontedera (Pisa), Tuscany, Italy

First price: 55,000 ITL

Prototype features: The inspiration for the design of the Vespa dates back to Pre-World War II Cushman scooters made in Nebraska, USA. These olive green scooters were in Italy in large numbers, ordered originally by Washington as field transport for the Paratroops and Marines. Motorcycle with bodywork fully enclosing the drivetrain and forming a tall splash guard at the front.
The MP5 "Paperino" prototype, in addition to the bodywork, included handlebar-mounted controls, forced air cooling, wheels of small diameter, and a tall central section that had to be straddled. A single-cylinder, two-stroke engine. Engine size: 98 cc. Continuous speed-variator gearbox. Chain transmission. Wheels: 4.00-10".
The MP6 prototype was presented in September 1945 to Enrico Piaggio, who exclaimed: «It looks like a wasp [Vespa]!». The absence of the engine cooling fan, the brake lever on the left side instead of the right, the horn under the saddle, the footboard’s aluminium laths, and the aeronautical symbol on the front shield are the most important differences between the MP6 and the future versions of the Vespa.

First model features: The motoleggera utilitaria Vespa, or light motorised runabout. The leg shield sported the new Piaggio logo, which replaced the former aeronautical emblem. 2-stroke single cylinder engine. Horizontal cast iron cylinder with press-fit light alloy head. Bore: 50 mm. Stroke: 50 mm. Capacity: 98 cc. Top speed: 60 km/h. Suspension: elastic, with spiral steel springs on the front wheel, and rubber buffers for the rear wheel and engine. Brakes: of the expansion type. Handbrake on the right side of the handlebar for the front wheel, and pedal on the right side of the floor for the rear wheel. Wheels: 3.50-8".

Interesting facts: The first 13 examples appeared in spring 1946; following its public debut at the Milan Fair, the first fifty sold slowly. With the introduction of payment by installments, sales took off.

Slogan (1950): «Vespizzatevi!» ("Vespa yourselves!")

Property: © Piaggio & Co. S.p.A.

Official website: http://www.vespa.com

Piaggio MP5 Paperino - right
Piaggio MP5 Paperino - left
Piaggio MP5 ("Paperino"), the first prototype of Vespa scooter (1944)

Piaggio MP6 scooter
Piaggio MP6, the second prototype of Vespa scooter (1945)

Vespa 98
Vespa 98, the first model of Vespa scooter (1946)

Vespa 98 patent
Vespa, figure from Patent (Dec. 27, 1949, filed June 19, 1947) granted to Corradino D'Ascanio

Vespa adv.
Vespa brochure (1946) by Martelli, Switzerland

Vespa postcard
Vespa Postcard (1951) by Giuseppe Lang, Genova, Italy. "Vespizzatevi!" (Vespa yourselves!)

Vespa advertising 1954
Vespa French advertising (1954) by Villemot. "Ne courrez plus... roulez Vespa... roulez Vespa" (Do not run more... ride Vespa... ride Vespa)

Vespa advertising 1955
Vespa French poster (1955) by Raymond Savignac

Vespa 70th anniversary
Vespa celebrates its 70th Anniversary (April 23, 1946-2016)