From the very first 98cc model in
1946 to the 2003 Granturismo and the Vespa S in 2007, Piaggio has produced over
144 models, versions and variants of the Vespa (marked by different chassis
codes): 144 models that trace the technical evolution of the world's most famous
By the time the Vespa ET4 was launched in 1996, over 20,000 modifications had
been made to the original 1946 product and over 1,500 parts replaced.
It is difficult to pick out the most representative Vespas in an evolution that
has lasted over 60+ years. Some Vespas are sought after by collectors because
they belong to a special series, or because they were rapidly replaced by
subsequent versions, and are highly priced in the period scooter market, which
is extremely active all over the world.
Others, which were produced in greater numbers or stayed on the market longer,
are classic scooter models that have left their mark in the history of
There is no lack of authentic technical records in the Vespa's history, each of
which renews the tradition of innovation that has marked the evolution of the
world's best selling motor scooter.
Vespa 98, 1946 - The first Vespa. It
was powered by a 98 cc engine that delivered 3.2 bhp at 4,500 rpm with a top
speed of 60 km/h. It was in production for two years: in 1946 vehicles no. 1 to
no. 2,464 were produced, and no. 2,465 to no. 18,079 in 1947.
Vespa 125, 1948 - The first Vespa
125 cc. It differed from the 98 not only in engine size, but also for the
introduction of rear suspension; the front suspension was also modified.
Vespa 125, 1953 - This marked the
first important change to the engine: bore, stroke and timing gear were
modified. Power output increased to 5 bhp at 5,000 rpm, and top speed to 75
km/h. The design of the fairing at the rear was also new.
Vespa 125 U, 1953 - The "Utility"
version with spartan styling, which sold at 20,000 lire less than the more
modern 125. The headlamp appeared high up on the handlebar for the first time in
Italy (it had already been introduced on a number of exported models).
Vespa 150 GS, 1955 - Experts called
it "the most popular, imitated and remembered model". There were numerous
innovations: the 150 cc engine, 4-speed gearbox, standard long saddle, "faired"
handlebar-headlamp unit, wheels with 10" tyres. This Vespa could reach 100 km/h.
The design also changed, with a much more aerodynamic body.
Vespa 160 GS, 1962 - This was born
to continue the market success of the first GS, with a completely new design.
The exhaust silencer, carburettor and suspension were also new. The power output
was 8.2 bhp at 6,500 rpm.
Vespa 150 GL, 1963 - Another new
design for what has been called "one of the best-looking Vespas produced by
Piaggio designers". The handlebar, trapezoid headlamp, front mudguard and
trimmed-down rear lids were all new.
Vespa 50, 1964 - The first Vespa 50
cc, created to exploit the new Italian Highway Code, which made a number plate
obligatory on larger engines. Extremely versatile and reliable, the engine
featured a new layout, with the cylinder inclined 45° instead of horizontal. It
was the last design to leave Corradino D'Ascanio's drawing board.
Vespa 180 SS, 1965 - It marked a new
milestone in the growth of the engine (181.14 cc), with 10 bhp for a top speed
of 105 km/h. The 180 SS (Super Sport) replaced the glorious GS 150/160 cc.
Piaggio modified the front cowling, making it more aerodynamic and significantly
improving comfort, handling and roadholding.
Vespa 125, 1966 - Unofficially known
as the "new 125", it featured radical innovations in the design, frame, engine
(inclined 45°) and suspension.
Vespa Super Sprint 90, 1966 - A
special series derived from the Vespa 50/90 cc and the "new" 125, the hold-all
was positioned between the saddle and the handlebar for a more "laid-back"
riding style. The handlebar was narrow and low, and the mudguard and cowling
were streamlined. With an engine capacity of only 90 cc, it could do 93 km/h.
Vespa 125 Primavera, 1968 - Together
with the subsequent PX version, it was the most durable version of the Vespa. It
derived from the "new" 125, but with considerable differences in the engine,
which raised the top speed by 10 km/h. Great attention was paid to details,
which included the classic, practical bag hook.
Vespa 180 Rally, 1968 - With this
new vehicle, Piaggio extended the rotary timing fuel feed system to its entire
production. The engine was new, the front headlamp new and more powerful, the
frame, derived from the Vespa 150 Sprint, narrower and more aerodynamic than
that of the Super Sport.
Vespa 50 Elestart, 1970 - It
featured the great novelty of electric ignition, but the design was also
completely revised and embellished compared to the 50 Special.
Vespa 200 Rally, 1972 - The Vespa
with the largest engine. This model, with 12.35 bhp at 5,700 rpm, could reach
Vespa 125 Primavera ET3, 1976 - The
name stood for "Electronic 3 intake ports", and included important changes to
the engine, which had more power and sparkle. Even the styling was changed from
the standard Primavera (which remained in the range).
.Vespa P 125 X, 1978 - The "PX"
marked a new step forward in styling (the bodywork was completely redesigned)
and performance. The hold-all was positioned behind the cowling. The same year
the P 200 E also appeared, which could be equipped with separate lubrication and
direction indicators incorporated in the body. Three years later the PX 150 E
was launched, with performance halfway between the two models.
Vespa PK 125, 1983 - This replaced
the Vespa Primavera (standard and ET3), which remained in production with the
"Classic" body for the Japanese market, where it was the best-selling Western
two-wheeler vehicle. The styling was new, and the PK body was completely
different from that of previous scooters, because the welds of the body no
longer overlapped but were integral.
Vespa PK 50, 1983 - Substantially
identical to the PK 125, it appeared in two models, PK 50 and PK 50 S, both with
4-speed gearbox and electronic ignition.
Vespa PK 125 Automatic, 1984 - An automatic transmission was introduced on the
Vespa, probably the most radical change (at least for the driver) since 1946.
The presence of the automatic transmission was emphasised by the absence of the
brake pedal, which was replaced by a lever on the left handlebar (which did not
have to control the clutch as that was automatic). It was also available with
automatic oil-petrol mixer and electric ignition. The following year the Vespa
PK 50 Automatic was launched.
Vespa T 5 Pole Position, 1985 - The
T 5 was the "extra-sporty" version of the PX series. With a new engine,
aluminium cylinder and 5 intake ports, but the design was also new, particularly
at the rear and around the front headlamp which incorporated an aggressive dome
with a small Plexiglas windscreen. A spoiler was added on the cowling.
Vespa 50 N, 1989 - The changes to
the Italian Highway Code meant that 50 cc vehicles were no longer bound by the
1.5 bhp limit, and Piaggio presented a new small Vespa with improved performance
(over 2 bhp at 5,000 rpm), and new, smoother styling. A "Speedmatic" automatic
version was also launched.
Vespa ET4 125cc, 1996 - The "new
generation Vespa" launched on the 50th anniversary. A completely new project, it
is the first Vespa ever powered by a 4-stroke engine. The Vespa ET is equipped
with a front disk brake and an automatic CVT gearbox.
Vespa ET2 50cc, 1997 - Same as the
ET4 125, but with a 50cc 2-stroke catalysed engine.
Vespa ET4 150cc, 1999 - First
Piaggio scooter equipped with the new generation 4-stroke Leader engine, now on
the 125cc model too.
Vespa ET4 50cc, 2000 - The first small Vespa with a 4-stroke engine, combining
lively performance that will make no one regret the 2-stroke with quiet running
and the reduction of polluting emissions. Fuel economy is outstanding: the Vespa
ET4 50 has the highest range in the 50 cc class, with approx. 500 km on a full
Vespa PX, 2001 - Classic design and
unique features such as a four-speed gearbox have made the Vespa PX a cult
scooter, a symbol of Italian style everywhere in the world. The 2-stroke 125,
150 and 200cc engines (displacements vary according to markets) with forced air
cooling have electronic CDI ignition and electric start with a kick starter. The
new PX now sports a powerful stainless steel front disc brake, 200 mm in
diameter, guaranteeing prompt, safe and efficient braking. A reliable 150 mm
Vespa Granturismo 200L and 125L,
2003 - In 2003, the Granturismo made its appearance as the most powerful Vespa
ever produced. In 200L and 125L versions, it combines the Vespa's emotional
appeal with state-of-the-art technology: this was the first-ever Vespa to have
sparkling four-stroke, four-valve, liquid-cooled engines that meet the new Euro2
emissions standards, as well as 12-inch wheels on the 200L and a two-disk brake
system. The steel body is a uniquely Vespa touch.
Vespa LX, 2005 - Launched in Rome on
10 May, 2005, the LX is the 139th Vespa in almost 60 years. It is the sublime
heir of a truly unique legacy, a designer scooter for those who want a stylish,
avant-garde scooter for town use. A "compact" Vespa, the LX replaces the
glorious Vespa ET (over 460,000 units sold since 1996). It is available in four
modern, environment-friendly displacements: 50cc two and four strokes as well as
a 125 and a 150cc four stroke.
Vespa GTS 250 i.e. - Fifty years
after the launch of the Vespa GS (Gran Sport), the first sport scooter in
history and still a sought-after treasure for collectors and fans, Vespa GTS 250
i.e. - launched on 25 May 2005 in Portofino - renews the GS blend of speed and
style to become the fastest, most powerful and most high-tech Vespa in history.
With an avant-grade, extremely powerful 250cc four-stroke, four-valve electronic
injection engine and two disc brakes with an optional ABS and brake servo, the
Vespa GTS 250 i.e. was one of the first two-wheelers and the first 250cc to
already meet the strict upcoming Euro 3 emissions limits.
Vespa GTS 125 - As of 2007, the
Vespa GTS is also available in a 125 cc version. A perfect combination of
elegance and performance, the Vespa GTS 125 offers all the class, exclusivity
and high technology of the bigger GT scooter, but with a 125 cc engine.
Vespa GTV and LXV, 2006 - Conceived
to celebrate an absolute legend in the world of two wheelers, the Vespa LXV and
Vespa GTV repeat and re-interpret the most distinctive elements of ‘50s and ‘60s
styling in form and function. The Vespa GTV, available with 125 and 250 cc
engines, stands out for its headlight mounted on the mudguard just as the
original 1946 prototype.
The Vespa LXV, offered with a choice
of 50, 125 and 150 cc engines, is inspired by the smooth, essential lines of the
Vespas of the 1960s, and features a sleek, minimalist look characterised by open
handlebars and a two part seat.
Vespa GT 60°, 250cc, 2006 - This is
the gift that Vespa was determined to give its fans to celebrate the company's
sixtieth anniversary. With its prestigious materials and exclusive finish, this
unique limited edition is made in a series of only 999 units, and is destined to
become one of the milestones in Vespa's long history.
Vespa S 50 and 125, 2007 - All the
character of the sporty "Vespino" of yesteryear is revived by the brand new
Vespa S. This fascinating blend of styles and memories keeps the soul of the
youngest and most sporting of all Vespas alive in the present day. The Vespa S
inherits its rigorously minimalist looks from legendary models of the 1970s like
the 50 Special and Vespa Primavera.
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