company_name = Vespa
company_type = Subsidiary
slogan = "Not just a scooter, a way of life"
founder =
foundation = 23 April, 1946 in Florence
location_city = flagicon|Italy Pontedera
location_country = Italy
key_people =
num_employees =
industry = Scooter
products =
revenue =
parent = Piaggio & Co. SpA
owner =
net_income =
homepage = []

Vespa is an Italian line of scooters manufactured by Piaggio.

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 — now Europe's largest manufacturer of two-wheeled vehicles and the world's fourth largest motorcycle manufacturer by unit sales.cite web | url= | title= Piaggio Group Launches Market Expansion Plans | work= Rider Magazine | accessdate= 2007-09-03 ]

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 as well as a singularly endearing and enduring shape.

As the first globally successful scooter, the Vespa has enjoyed prominence in popular culture and has come to symbolize stylish personal transportation.Fact|date=June 2008


Post World War II Italy, in light of its agreement to cessation of war activities with The Allies, had its aircraft industry severely restricted in both capability and capacity.

Piaggio emerged from the conflict with its Pontedera fighter plane plant completely demolished by bombing. Italy's crippled economy and the disastrous state of the roads did not assist in the re-development 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 for the masses.


The inspiration for the design of the Vespa dates back to Pre-WWII 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. The US military had used them to get around Nazi defence tactics of destroying roads and bridges in the Dolomites (a section of the Alps) and the Austrian border areas.

Pre-war Piaggio employee Aeronautical engineer General Corradino D'Ascanio, responsible for the design and construction of the first modern helicopter by Agusta, was given the job of designing a simple, robust and affordable vehicle for Ferdinando Innocenti, whose pre-war time focused metal tubing business Innocenti had suffered the same fate as Piaggio post-war. Innocenti defined a post-war vehicle to D'Ascanio that 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.

The design

D'Ascanio, who hated motorbikes, designed a revolutionary vehicle. It was built on a spar-frame with a handlebar gear change, and the engine mounted directly on to the rear wheel. The front protection "shield" kept the rider dry and clean in comparison to the open front end on motorcycles. The pass-through leg area design was geared towards all user groups, including women, as wearing dresses or skirts made riding a motorcycle a challenge. The front fork, like an aircraft's landing gear, allowed for easy wheel changing. The internal mesh transmission eliminated the standard motorcycle chain, a source of oil, dirt, and aesthetic misery. This basic design allowed a series of features to be deployed on the frame, which would later allow quick development of new models.

However, D'Ascanio fell out with Innocenti, who rather than a moulded and beaten spar-frame wanted to produce his Innocenti frame from rolled tubing, thereby allowing him to revive both parts of his pre-War company. D'Ascanio disassociated himself with Innocenti, and took his design to Enrico Piaggio to produce the spar-framed Vespa from 1946. [ [ History of Lambretta] Lambretta Club of Great Britain] Innocenti, after overcoming design difficulties and later production difficulties through his choice of a tubular frame, went on to produce the more costly Lambretta line of motorscooters.

The product

On 23 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 for a "motorcycle of a rational complexity of organs and elements combined with a frame with mudguards and a casing covering the whole mechanical part". [ Vespa - A Story of Success] ]

The basic patented design allowed a series of features to be deployed on the spar-frame which 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 in to 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 convert|8|in|mm|sing=on wheels that allowed a compact design and plenty of room for the rider's legs. The Vespa's enclosed, horizontally-mounted two-stroke 98 cc 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 cooling, but fan blades were soon attached to the flywheel (otherwise known as the magneto, which houses the points and generates electricity for the bike 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 mixture of two-stroke oil in the fuel produced high amounts of smoke, and the engine made a high buzzing sound like a wasp.

The name Vespa

The first prototype was given the initials MP5 and baptized "Paperino," the Italian name for Donald Duck, a nick-name given to it by the workers because of the strange shape it had. Enrico Piaggio did not like the design and asked D'Ascanio to redesign it - which he did with a more aeronautical-derived aerodynamic look.

When the second prototype called MP6, was shown to Enrico Piaggio and he heard the buzzing sound of the engine he exclaimed: "Sembra una vespa!" ("It resembles a wasp!") The name stuck.Cite web|url=|title=Vespa: City-Mobile, Italian Style|accessdate=2007-12-29|]

"Vespa" is both Latin and Italian for wasp—derived from both the high-pitched noise of the two-stroke engine, and adopted as a name for the vehicle in reference to its body shape: the thicker rear part connected to the front part by a narrow waist, and the steering rod resembled antennae.

"Ape" (pronounced Ah-pay), is Italian for bee. This was the three-wheeled variant used for commercial purposes, including the popular auto rickshaw.


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 reveal 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. But the road tests were encouraging, and even with no rear suspension the machine was more manoeuvrable and comfortable to ride than a traditional motorcycle.

Following its public debut at the 1946 Milan Fair, the first fifty sold slowly—then with the introduction of payment by installments, sales took off.

ales and development

Piaggio sold some 2,500 Vespas in 1947, over 10,000 in 1948, 20,000 in 1949, and over 60,000 in 1950. [ [ Vespa Scooter ] ]

The biggest sales promo ever was Hollywood. In 1952, Audrey Hepburn side-saddled Gregory Peck's Vespa in the 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. By the end of the fifties, Lucia Bosé and her husband, the matador Luis Miguel Dominguín, 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. [ DolceVita: Vespa's 50th ] ]

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, Brazil 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 resulted in further sales boosts: four million by 1970, and ten million by the late 1980s. Between 1957 and 1961 a reverse-engineered and partially redesigned version of the Vespa was made in USSR under the name Vjatka-VP150. [ [ Autosoviet: VYATKA ] ]

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. A cheaper spartan version was also available. 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.

Vespas came in two sizes, referred to as "largeframe" and "smallframe". The smallframe scooters came in 50cc, 90cc, 100 cc, and 125 cc versions, all using an engine derived from the 50 cc model of 1963, and the largeframe scooters in 125cc,150cc,160cc,180cc and 200 cc displacements using engines derived from the redesigned 125 cc engine from the late 50's.

The largeframe Vespa evolved into the PX range (produced in 125 and 150 cc versions until July 2007) in the late 70's. The smallframe evolved into the PK range in the early 80's, although some vintage-styled smallframes were produced for the Japanese market as late as the mid 1990's.

The 1990s and beyond

By the early 1990s, Vespa was in crisis. Its models were selling slowly; two-strokes were being withdrawn around the world due to environmental concerns; new Asian manufacturers were stealing market share with cheaper/lighter bikes; and cars were very cheap. As a result, sales had fallen and production in Europe had been pulled back to Italy. Vespa needed a miracle—and a new model, beyond the PX.

The ET model range stuck true to the wasp/aero design principles. It was lighter, more aerodynamic, had an automatic gearbox and could take a series of engines from a 50 cc in either two-stroke or four-stroke, up to a 150 cc four stroke. [ [ Tech Analysis 1997 Vespa 50cc ET2 ] ] Plus, it was launched when traffic congestion in major European cities was on the increase, so the smaller wheel size didn't matter. It was a complete success, and allowed Vespa to re-enter the North American market in 2001 with a new, more modern style.

When Vespa celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1996, more than 15 million of the scooters had been sold worldwide, making it the most successful scooter of all time. Other companies vied with Piaggio for market share, but none came close to emulating the success—or romance—of Vespa. The nostalgic image of Vespa, however, could not hide the fact that Vespa was making a loss.

Under new ownership

In 2003, the company found itself close to bankruptcy. Continual management changes and millions spent on many different plans and products had saddled Piaggio with crushing debt and left it vulnerable to competition from cheaper Asian rivals.

In 1959 Piaggio came under the control of the Agnelli family, the owners of car maker Fiat SpA. 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.

Then came Roberto Colaninno: "A lot of people told me I was crazy. Piaggio wasn't dying. It just needed to be treated better." Piaggio's finances were in a bad shape, but its brand was still well-known and its products were featuring in more Hollywood films thanks to the Vespa ET4. In October 2003 Colaninno made an initial investment of 100 million euros through his holding company Immsi SpA 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.

Colaninno laid down some rules and made quick changes; all bonuses for blue-collar workers and management were based on the same criteria: profit margins and customer satisfaction. He didn't fire a single worker—a move which helped seduce the company's skeptical unions. Air conditioning was installed in the factory and he gave the company's engineers, who had been idled by the company's financial crisis, deadlines for projects. They rolled out two world firsts in 2004: a gas-electric hybrid scooter and a scooter with two wheels in front and one in back which grips the road better.

One of Piaggio's problems Mr. Colaninno couldn't fix from the inside was its scale. Even though Piaggio was the European market leader, it was dwarfed by rivals Honda and Yamaha. A year after rescuing Piaggio, Colaninno decided to salvage another Italian brand: scooter and motorcycle maker Aprilia. On July 11, 2006, shares of Piaggio & Co., became available to the general public through listing on the Milan [Italy] Stock Exchange or Borsa Italiana. Piaggio share prices, converted to US Dollars, may be found under the trading symbol: PIAGF.

Re-entry to North America

Piaggio first came back into the market in 2001 w/ the ET2 (two stroke 50cc) and ET4 (four stroke 150cc). In 2004, the PX (model year 2005) was re-introduced to North America to meet classic market demand. Growth in the US market and worldwide environmental concerns meant the 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 convert|12|in|mm|sing=on wheels, was introduced to handle the additional power. The bike in 2006 spawned a GTS250ie version, with an upgraded suspension and the new QUASAR (QUarter-liter Smooth Augmented Range) 250cc fuel injected engine, capable of 80+ MPH. 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 50 cc and 150 cc versions, while Europeans could choose a 125 cc.

Design icon

With its elegant lines and classic aesthetics, the Vespa is recognized as the epitome of Italian design. In recent years, many urban commuters have purchased new or restored Vespas. A shortage of available parking for automobiles in large urban areas and the Vespa's low running costs are two reasons for the increase in Vespa (and other scooter) popularity. The cultural use of the scooter as a recreational vehicle with a sub-cultural following in the USA/Canada and parts of Europe & Japan has also contributed to the rise in Vespa ownership. In contrast, the Vespa is considered a utilitarian vehicle for hauling products and sometimes up to 5 family members in much of Asia and Mexico

Vespa enthusiasts can visit the comprehensive Piaggio Museum & Gift Shop adjacent to the plant in central Pontedera, near Pisa, Tuscany. The permanent exhibition includes those items which toured prestigious venues such as the Guggenheim in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Also on display is, perhaps, the most famous Vespa of them all - the one personally customised by Salvador Dalí in 1962.

Global markets


Vespa's largest market by all measures globally is still Italy, but as a result of the Mod youth revolution of the 1960s, the United Kingdom is still Vespa's second largest global market - and at one point in the 1960s, its largest.

The appeal of the Vespa to the style conscious Mods was the weather protection - as opposed to their counterparts the Rockers, who rode classic British oily twins like Triumph Bonneville and BSAs, and needed to dress up in leather against both the elements and their oily bikes.

Mods would modify their Vespas, adding lights, mascots, accessories, various racks and crash bars (profusions of mirrors were NOT a 60's fashion it became one after the release of the quadrophenia album and film which featured scooters customised this way in the 70's). The whole phenomenon was dramatised with varying degrees of accuracy in Quadrophenia,the film based on The Who album of the same name.

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 70's however, the lack of development cost Vespa, and like other markets the sales fell off drastically in the economic boom 1980s. Then Vespa introduced the trendy automatic ET2, London introduced the congestion charge - and partly with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's indirect help from his BBC2 series - sales suddenly leapt. [ [ Vespa - it still has that buzz] Sunday Times - March 13, 2005]

North America

Much as Vespa had used the Cushman Army scooter as inspiration for its original design, Vespa in turn also made scooters for Sears and Cushman post World War II. [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]

Imported by Morton Colby of the LLM Group , the Sears models were 3 and 4 speed 125 cc Vespas rebadged as Sears Allstate Cruiseaires. Innocenti also distributed their Lambretta brand via Montgomery Wards catalogue at this post WWII 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.

Bankruptcy of Vespa's American importer due to two expensive product liability lawsuits, increased competition from Japanese manufacturers, and certain states passing so-called "green laws" caused a withdrawal from the US market in late 1981.

During 1981-2001, despite an absence of United States domestic sales, Vespas continued to have a core group of enthusiasts who kept vintage scooters on the road by rebuilding, restoring, and adding performance enhancing engine parts as the stock parts would wear out.

Vespa returned to the US market in 2001 with a new, more modern style ET series, in 50 cc two and four stroke, and 150 cc four stroke. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, U.S. scooter sales increased fivefold over six years, swelling from 12,000 units in 1997 to 69,000 units in 2002. Vespa sales in the U.S. increased 27 percent between 2001 and 2002. 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 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 Vespa scooter model ever, the 250 cc engined GTS250 available in Europe with ABS.

Rest of the world

Vespas acquired popularity beyond Europe and North America. In India, Piaggio transferred Vespa technology to Bajaj Auto. Bajaj used to sell in North America in the early 1980s but later withdrew from the market due to litigation threats from Piaggio.

Another Vespa clone producer in India was LML Motors. They were a large Piaggio parts provider and licensed to manufacture for the P series of Vespa scooters to the Asian markets. LML had manufactured a range of Vespa P series clones using their Piaggo/Vespa molds and machinery. Production of LML scooters has ceased after worker strikes and discontent at the LML factory progressed to a management lockout on March 7, 2006.

Though dominated by Honda and Japanese makes, Vespas are also widespread throughout Southeast Asia. Motor scooters remain economical forms of transport in the congested cities of Asia and there is a large manufacturing base of parts and accessories. The resurgence in interest in vintage motor scooters has also spawned the scooter restoration industry, with many restored Vespas being exported from Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia to the rest of the world. This has created controversy amongst scooter enthusiasts as the quality of the restorations vary greatly.


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 created — along 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's
*Automatics Class
*Specials Class
*Stock Class: Large-frame Vespa and Lambretta 180 & 200 cc scooters.

Vespa models

There have been 138 different versions of the Vespa - today there are five models in production: the classic, manual transmission PX; and the modern CVT transmission S, LX, GT, and GTS.

Historic models

* Paperino - the original prototype made in 1945 at Biella
*AMCA Troupes Aeról Portées Mle. 56 - A Vespa modified by the French military that incorporated an anti tank weapon.
* VNC Super 125
* VBC Super 150
* VLB Sprint 150
* VBA Standard 150
* VBB Standard 150
* 125 GT
* V9A
* VNB 125
* Vespa U - U is for utilitaria (English - economic). 1953 model with a price of 110 mila Lira, 7,000 were produced
* GS 150
* SS180
* GS160
* Standard 90 (3 spd)
* Standard 50 (3 spd)
* SS50 (4 spd)
* SS90 (4 spd)-90 SS Super Sprint
* 150 GL
* 90 Racer
* 125 TS
* 100 Sport
* 125 GTR
* 150 Sprint
* 150 Sprint Veloce
* 180 SS Super Sport
* Rally 180
* Rally 200
* 125 Nuova (VMA-1T) - Prelude to Primavera
* Primavera 125 also ET3 (3 port version)
* PK 50
* PK 50 XL
* PK 50 Roma (Automatic)
* 50 S
* 50 Special
* 50 Special Elestart
* 50 Sprinter / 50 SR (D)
* 50 Special Revival (Limited to 3000 Italy-only numbered units, released in 1991)
* COSA 1 - 125cc, 150cc, 200 cc
* COSA 2 - 125cc, 150cc, 200 cc
* P80 / P80 E (France)
* P80X/PX80 E (France)
* PK 80 S / Elestart
* PK 80 S Automatica / Elestart
* PK100 S / Elestart
* PK100 S Automatica
* PK100 XL
* PK125 XL / Elestart
* PK 125 S
* PK 125 E
* PK 125 automatica (automatic transmission)
* P 125 X
* PX125E/Electronic
* P200E
* PX200EFL
* PX200 Serie Speciale (Limited to 400 UK-only numbered units)
* T5 / Elestart (5 port engine 125 cc P series)
* T5 Classic (5 port engine 125 cc P series)
* T5 Millennium (5 port engine 125 cc P series) (Limited to 400 UK-only numbered units)

Recent models

* ET2 50 - 2stroke
* ET4 50 - 4stroke
* ET4 125 (Euro Model)
* ET4 150 (Euro Model)
* ET4 150 (US model)
* GT 125 (Granturismo 125)
* GT 200 (Granturismo 200)
* PX 125
* PX 150 (reintroduced to US and Canadian Markets in 2004)
* PX 200

Current models

* LX 50
* LX 125
* LX 150
* LXV 50 (60th anniversary variant of LX50)
* LXV 125 (60th anniversary variant of LX125)
* GT60° 250 cc Limited Edition. 999 produced worldwide in unique colours and each one receiving a commemorative badge, personalized with the owner’s initials. Features the front fender mounted headlight, shared only with the GTV 250.
* GTS 125 (Not available in USA)
* GTS 250ie
* GTS 250ie abs (Not available in USA)
* GTS 300 Super (2008) (Not available in USA)
* GTV 125 (60th anniversary variant of GTS 125) (Not available in USA)
* GTV 250 (60th anniversary variant of GTS 250) Features the fender mounted headlight as a tribute to the original Vespas.
* PX30 125 (A limited edition, only 1000 produced to celebrate the 30 years of the P range [ [ Scooter Infos : Essai du VESPA PX30 125 ] ] )
* S50 and S125 new model 2007, introduced at Milan Motorshow November 2006


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 kilometer at an average of 171 km/h

Vespas in popular culture

Famous Vespa riders

This is a list of famous people who have owned or ridden Vespas (not just for career or publicity purposes).

*Ursula Andress - one of her payments was a Vespa []
*David Arquette [ [ Arquette sitting on his vintage Vespa] ]
*Mario Batali [ [ mario batali sur Flickr : partage de photos ! ] ]
*Jay Kay - frontman of Jamiroquai [ Recently became the owner of the second Vespa]
*Jean Paul Belmondo [ La Vespa ya es adulta mayor ] ]
*Lucia Bosé (and her husband, the matadorLuis Miguel Dominguín) [ La ´avispa´ más moderna - Sociedad - ] ]
*Marlon Brando
*Matthew Broderick - Owns Several Bikes GTS 250, 1963 GS160, previously rode a GT 200 in New York (See entry 29 March 2006, more than halfway down the page) [ [ Matthew Broderick - Latest News ] ]
*Sandra Bullock [ - Sales of retro 2-wheelers scoot ] ]
*Charlie Chaplin - his daughter was photographed with his scooter []
*Gary Cooper []
*Salvador Dalí added his own touches in 1962. Dali's Vespa features the name of his muse and companion Gala as well as his infamous signature. Believed to be the most valuable Vespa currently in existence, it is on display at the Piaggio museum in Pontedera []
*Robert De NiroCite web|url=|title= DRIVING; My Life, My Vespa|accessdate=2007-12-29|]
*Gérard Depardieu
*Leonardo DiCaprio [ [ Vespa - the sublime scooter ] ]
*Simon Donald
*Britt EklandCite web|url=!OpenDocument|title=Britt Ekland|accessdate=2007-12-29|]
*Harry Enfield
*Henry Fonda []
*James Gandolfini - has been seen riding a grey Vespa, and has also injured himself when he crashed his Vespa (see a quarter down the page). [ [ Gawker Stalker: Celebrities Like U2 ] ] [ [,2933,194228,00.html - Vespa-Riding Gandolfini Collides With Taxi - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment ] ]
* Zac GoldsmithCite web|url=|title=EXCLUSIVE: £300M TORY'S BEDDING PAL OF HIS WIFE|accessdate=2007-12-29|]
*Cary Grant
*Gary Hall, Jr. -the three-time U.S. Olympic swimmer and gold medalist rides a black ET2.
*Charlton Heston - rode one while filming Ben Hur in Rome [ Photogallery - TrovaCinema - la ] ]
*Dennis Hopper - his pillion was Steve McQueen, and they crashed it into a car door in New York. Neither had a licence [ [ Kevin Braddock | Writing ] ]
*Milla JovovichCite web|url=|title=Vespa 01|accessdate=2007-12-29|]
*Jay Kay (frontman of Jamiroquai) has a new Vespa Vintage GTV 250 scooter, and also owns the limited edition Vespa GT60, with only 999 in the collection worldwide [ [ CELEBRITIES ENJOY THE VESPA RIDE: News from Piaggio ] ]
*David Koch - limited edition GT60 [ [ Vespa GT60° ] ]
*Jane Krakowski - owns a gray LX150 Excalibur []
*Ashton Kutcher - around Los Angeles, it costs him $6 a week in gas [ [ Kutcher's New Roles Not In Hollywood, Actor Is Now A Husband, Stepfather And Student Of Kabbalah - The ShowBuzz ] ]
*A. G. Lafley, Chairman & CEO of Procter & Gamble - has several vintage models [ [ P&G: New and Improved ] ]
*Matt Lauer - bought a Vespa soon after doing a story on the reintroduction of the brand into the USA [ [ MSNBC - Today Show Video Front Page ] ]
*Jude Law [ [ Law riding a vintage Vespa] ]
*Jay Leno - has three
*Ralf Little
*Chris Martin of Coldplay and his wife Gwyneth Paltrow [,3604,1529413,00.html Don't commute, scoot | | Business ] ]
*Dean Martin [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]
*Darren McMullen the MTV Australia VJ claims they have the panty peeling powers of a Ferrari [ [ SMH Why the Girls Love Darren McMullen] ]
*Jacques Nasser - has two
*Jamie Oliver [ [ The Scotsman ] ]
*Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin [ Scoot Around!] ]
*Sarah Jessica Parker [ DRIVING; My Life, My Vespa - New York Times ] ] - rides the same Vespa(s) as her husband, Matthew Broderick
*Steve Price - Australian radio presenter [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Radio star Price charged with drink driving |date=April 16 2007 | publisher= | url = | work =The Sydney Morning Herald | pages = | accessdate = 2007-04-15 | language = ]
*Anthony Quinn - and his son Francesco
*Lisa Rogers [ [ Rogers sitting on her pink Vespa (photo used in Piaggio UK brochures)] ]
*Mickey Rourke - arrested in November 2007 for operating his Vespa under the influence of alcohol.
*Donald Rumsfeld [ [ Yeas & Nays - Move over, Hummers: Rummy's a Vespa guy - ] ]
*Jerry Seinfeld - has more than one Vespa [ [ VespaPress ] ] [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]
*Kevin Spacey
*Steven Spielberg [ Is This Why Gregory Peck Was So Cool? - New York Times ] ]
*Tori Spelling [ [ USA TODAY Latest news ] ]
*John Wayne - originally rode one on set between takes, later drove one on the streets [ Scooter news and reviews, published by Frank Giovinazzi ] ]
*Julia Savicheva - (famous Russian singer. ride'in Vespa Lx125)
*Raquel Welch
*Andrew White aka "Whitey" from the Kaiser Chiefs []
*Owen Wilson has a Blue Vespa LX [ [ Modern Vespa : Movie stars don't need boots ] ]
*Tiger Woods - has two Vespas on his convert|155|ft|m|sing=on yacht "Privacy" [ [ Tiger Woods' Christensen 155 Megayacht Privacy - Power & Motoryacht - Shhhhh ] ]
*Reese Witherspoon on a black Vespa on a movie set [ [ Modern Vespa : Reese Witherspoon rides a Vespa in Penelope ] ]
*David Duchovny purchased Vespa to deal with limits of Electric car [cite web | title=David Duchovny's Electric RAV4 Has Him Feeling Tethered | date=2008-08-10 | url= | accessdate=2008-08-27]
*John Hickenlooper rides his Vespa to promote environmentally friendly traveling; his Vespa became a symbol during his campaign for election as mayor of Denver, Colorado
* Duff Goldman, celebrity baker/cake decorator

Vespas in film

The first fictional character highly associated with Vespa to have mass public attention was American newspaper reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), in the Hollywood film Roman Holiday. Audrey Hepburn's character rode in Italian side-saddle style as a passenger. The Vespa featured highly in publicity for the film, and in the original poster, assisting greatly in marketing of the brand globally.

Other media featuring Vespa riders have included:


This is a list of films that feature a Vespa for more than one sequence [ [ Vespa Scooters - Vespa For Sale ] ] [ [ Scooters Spotting ] ] :
*"Absolute Beginners" - Directed by Julien Temple, starring David Bowie and Patsy Kensit
*"American Graffiti" - Directed by George Lucas, starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard and Harrison Ford. The character Toad crashes it into a vending machine in the opening minutes.
*"American Pie" - Directed by Paul Weitz, starring Mena Suvari. Ridden by Paul Finch
*"An American in Paris" - Directed by Vincente Minnelli, starring Gene Kelly
*"Alfie" - both the original with Michael Caine and the re-make with Jude Law [ [ Paramount Pictures and Piaggio USA Partner to Support Launch of Alfie and Vespa(R) Granturismo 200 ] ]
*"Austin Powers" - Directed by Jay Roach, starring Mike Myers
*"Avanti!" - Directed by Billy Wilder, starring Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills-Both the Vespa and Ape are in this film
*"Barcelona" - Directed by Whit Stillman, starring Taylor Nichols and Chris Eigeman-They are seen throughout the film on the street, and most notably one of the tradeshow girls is riding one
*"Beyond the Sea - Kevin Spacey takes Kate Bosworth for a ride on a Vespa to escape the press. In what appears to be the result of popping the clutch, Spacey pops a small wheelie on the Vespa.
*"Bob the Butler" - Ridden by Bob
*"Bourne Ultimatum, The" - Directed by Paul Greengrass, starring Matt Damon and Julia Stiles-A Vespa is used for transportation around Tangier, Morocco by a CIA-contracted asset. It is later used to deliver a bomb
*"Breaking and Entering" - Directed by Anthony Minghella, starring Jude Law and Juliette Binoche- Ridden by Ray Winstone and Rafi Gavron
*"Caro diario" and Palombella rossa - Directed by and starring Nanni Moretti
*"Chak De India" - Shahrukh Khan - Coach of Indian Women's hockey Team
*"Chasing Liberty" - Ben Calder (played by Matthew Goode) rode around Prague with Mandy Moore.
*"The Conversation" - Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Gene Hackman and Harrison Ford
*"The Darjeeling Limited" - Directed by Wes Anderson, starring Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Adrien Brody-Vespa Ape
*"Dick Smart, Agent 2007" - features a flying and submersible Vespa, termed by the factory as the "Vespa Alpha"
*"Empire Records" - Ridden by Debra, and is sold to raise money to save the store.
*"Encino Man" - Ridden by Stoney
*"Europa di notte" (Europe by Night) - Directed by Alessandro Blasetti, starring Domenico Modugno
*"Evolver (film)" - Directed by Mark Rosman, ridden by Ethan Embry
*"Fool's Gold" - Ridden by Matthew Mcconaughey & Kate Hudsons characters
*"Jessica" - Ridden by Angie Dickenson's character
*"Get Smart" - Ridden by Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway.
*"L'avventura" - Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, starring Gabriele Ferzetti and Monica Vitti
*"La dolce vita" - Directed by Federico Fellini, starring Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg
*"Le Notti di Cabiria" ("The Nights of Cabiria") - Directed by Federico Fellini, starring Giulietta Masina-Two Vespa faro basso models are featured in a key scene
*"Little Man Tate" - Vespa allstate ridden by Harry Connick Jr.
*"Lizzie McGuire" - Hilary Duff's character Lizzie rode one with Paolo in Rome in "The Lizzie McGuire Movie"
*"The Happy Road" - Directed by and starring Gene Kelly
*"Il Bidone" ("The Swindle") - Directed by Federico Fellini, starring Broderick Crawford and Giulietta Masini
*"The Interpreter" - starring Nicole Kidman []
*"Of Love and Shadows" - Directed by Betty Kaplan, starring Antonio Banderas and Jennifer Connelly
*"Over the Hedge" Ridden by the pizza deliverer.
*"Professor Nachtfalter" - Directed by Rolf Meyer and starring Johannes Heesters and Gisela Schmidting, it was the first movie to feature the Vespa
*"Quadrophenia" - Directed by Franc Roddam: musical with songs by The Who, starring Sting
*"Revenge of the Pink Panther" - with Peter Sellers
*"Roman Holiday" - with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn
*"Rome Adventure"/Lovers Must Learn- Directed by Delmer Daves, starring Troy Donahue, Angie Dickinson and Suzanne Pleshette [I was looking for this film under the original first title "Lovers Must Learn" and it did not show up on netflix etc. "Rome Adventure" does. "Rome Adventure" also shows up on the poster and I think it is more confusing to list it first as "Lovers Must Learn" as it does not show up in poster/movie searches. I am putting this here so people don't think I deleted the original title and for the justification of putting "Rome Adventure" first. Feel free to delete this explanation once it is noted. I am not adding a new movie, just a title adjustment.]
*"Runaway Jury" - Rachel Weisz character Marlee rides an ET4
*"The Russian Dolls [] " - Cédric Klapisch, starring Romain Duris.
*"The Spy Who Loved Me" - Ridden by Vivienne Michel
*"Saved!" - staring Mandy Moore and Mary Louise Parker. Ridden by Patrick.
*"Saving Silverman" - Ridden by Darren Silverman
*"Spaceballs" - the character "Princess Vespa of Druidia" is named after the Vespa scooter
*"The Talented Mr. Ripley" - Starring Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow
*"The World of Suzie Wong" - Directed by Richard Quine, starring William Holden and Nancy Kwan
*"The Day Of The Jackal" - Vespa GS shown in the first shot and shown in many shots through the film.
*"Transformers" - Megan Fox's character drives an LX50.
*"Chhoti Si Baat" - A 1975 (Hindi) Indian film. Asrani riding a yellow Vespa 150 in many shots in the movie.


*"Araña" - Ridden by Anya Corazon a Marvel Comics character
*"Gintama" - Ridden by Sakata Gintoki
*"Glamorama' - Ridden by Victor Ward
*"Honey and Clover" - Ridden by Mayama Takumi
*"Mastermind Excello" - Ridden by Amadeus Cho, a Marvel Comics character
*"The Short Reign of Pippin IV" - Ridden by Pippin Héristal
*"The Spy Who Loved Me" - Ridden by Vivienne Michel
*"The Stand" Ridden by Nadine Cross
*"Fooly Cooly" -Driven by secondary character
*"Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou" feature several main characters with fictional yet "Vespa-inspired" scooters.
*"A Girl Like Moi" Main Character, Imogene rides one.

TV shows

*"Doctor Who" - Ridden by the Tenth Doctor (later given to Tommy Connolly)
*"FLCL" - Ridden by Haruhara Haruko
*"Gintama" - Ridden by Sakata Gintoki
*"Gossip Girl" - Ridden by Dan Humphrey and Vanessa Abrams
*"Haibane Renmei" - Ridden by Reki
*"Home and Away" - Ridden by Ric Dalby and Matilda Hunter (was later destroyed in a brutal head-on roadside collison with a car)
*"Kim Possible" - Ridden by Ron Stoppable
*"Meteor Garden" - Ridden by Shan Cai
*"Onegai Twins" - Ridden by Maiku Kamashiro
*"The OC" - Ridden by Zach Stevens
*"Teen Titans" - Mad Mod, and for half an episode Beast Boy
*"The Simpsons" Season 17 Episode 7 "The Last of the Red Hat Mamas" - Ridden by Milhouse Van Houten and Lisa Simpson
*"Witch Hunter Robin" - Ridden by Robin Sena

ee also

*Vespa 400 - a car also made by Piaggio
*Lambretta - another Italian motor scooter company


*Boni, Valeri- "Vespa." Pub: Rizzoli International Publications, 1 Feb 2007. ISBN 0-8478-2936-7
*Brockway, Eric - "Vespa: An Illustrated History." Pub: Haynes Manuals Inc, 16 Aug 1999. ISBN 1-8596-0443-9
*Giorgio Sarti, Giorgio - "1946-2006: 60 Years of the Vespa." Pub: J H Haynes & Co Ltd, 29 June 2006. ISBN 1-8442-5313-9
*Jean Goyard, Jean & Soler, Bernard - "The A-Z of Classic Scooters: The Illustrated Guide to All Makes and Models." Pub: J H Haynes & Co Ltd, 18 Jan 2007. ISBN 1-8442-5390-2


External links

* [ Official Vespa site] - all the models and a complete history section
* [ Vespa at the Piaggio Museum] the official factory museum
* [,7451,1468849,00.html Dolce vita on a Vespa] - summary of Peter Moore's travels in Italy on a Vespa (from The Guardian)
* [ The Vespa Diaries] - cultural exploration on a Vespa
* [ Vespa VIN decoder] - guide to decoding frame and engine numbers on older Vespas

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • vespa — vespa …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • Vespa — Logo Vespa Motorroller des Unternehmens Piaggio …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vespa PX — Vespa Pour les articles homonymes, voir Vespa (homonymie). Logo de Vespa Création 23  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Vespa LX — 50 Die Vespa LX ist ein Motorroller des Herstellers Piaggio, der seine klassische Produktlinie unter dem Markennamen Vespa vertreibt. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vespa T5 — Vespa Vespa T5, GB Import, Bj. 1990 PX 125 T5 Lusso Hersteller: Piaggio, Genua Produktionszeitraum: 1985–1990 Klasse …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vespa 50 — N Vespa 50 Special Die Vespa 50 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • vespa — [ vɛspa ] n. f. • v. 1950; marque déposée, mot it. « guêpe » ♦ Scooter de cette marque. « une nuée de vélos, vespas, mobylettes » (Dutourd). ● Vespa nom féminin (nom déposé) Scooter de la marque de ce nom. ⇒VESPA, subst. fém. Scooter (de la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Vespa — (значения) Vespa (мотороллер) Vespa  Шершень …   Википедия

  • vespa — |ê| s. f. Veículo de duas rodas, acionado por um pequeno motor de explosão, de forma análoga à motocicleta, mas provido de um assento em lugar de selim de montar, e com rodas de menor diâmetro. = ACELERA, LAMBRETA, MOTORETA   ‣ Etimologia: Vespa …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • Vespa B&B — (Палермо,Италия) Категория отеля: Адрес: Via Maqueda 331, 90100 Палермо, Италия …   Каталог отелей

  • vespa — / vɛspa/ s.f. [lat. vespa ]. (zool.) [nome delle varie specie di insetti imenotteri aculeati, le cui femmine sono armate di un pungiglione velenoso: essere punto da una v. ] ▶◀ ‖ ape …   Enciclopedia Italiana

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.