The Vespa, the Italian gem on two wheels, comes from Piaggio. No wonder it is one of the best-known and most popular scooters in the world.

The first model, the Vespa 98, hit the roads in 1946. With its cute nickname "Paperino" (little duckling) and a maximum speed of 60 km/h, it was a real eye-catcher. The creative mind behind the Vespa was Corradino D'Ascanio, an engineer with a passion for helicopters. With the support of Enrico Piaggio, he immersed himself in the world of scooters immediately after the Second World War by designing the Vespa concept around the anatomy of a seated person. As a former designer of warplanes, he had had enough of the pots and pans business.

The original mother of all Vespas had to be uncomplicated, economical and easy to ride - and of course be able to be manufactured using the existing production facilities. With zero experience in motorbike construction, Corradino approached the work with an open mind. He wanted the drive and power transmission to be as simple as possible, which is why he opted for a drive set swingarm without a secondary chain. He also didn't want anyone to get their hands dirty while riding the Vespa, so the Engine was completely hidden. And it should be just as easy to change tyres as on a car.

As for the name "Vespa", that remains a mystery. The best-known story is that Enrico Piaggio exclaimed on seeing the prototype: "It looks like a wasp (Italian Vespa)", probably because of the humming engine noise and the shape of the vehicle, which is reminiscent of an insect. However, another theory that the name Vespa stands for "Veicoli Economici Società Per Azioni" has proven to be unfounded. Be that as it may, the name Vespa has stood the test of time and stands for a style that is not easily forgotten.

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