When it comes to their beloved Vespa, the Piaggio staff spares no effort with celebratory events around the world. And it is not by accident that these always take place around the last part of April.
In fact, Vespa’s real birthday is April 23, the date in 1946 that Piaggio & C. SpA registered the patent for the iconic scooter designed by one of its most creative aerospace engineers: Corradino D’Ascanio. World War II was finally nearing its end, and Mr. Enrico Piaggio realized that airplanes would no longer be a priority for any government that would take over badly battered Italy from Mussolini.
D’Ascanio did not like motorcycles. To him, they were non-functional, and they would dirty the rider and passenger because of the exposed chain drive and lack of weather protection. The engine, in unit with the gearbox and rear wheel, was one of his great new concepts that made the Vespa so rational and practical. Also helping were the easily accessible wheels, mounted to single-sided suspension front and rear.
On sunday the 12th of April our girlfriends went to Venice in the morning, by train, to enjoy a sunny day. Few minutes later their departure, Paolo started a whatsapp chat called “Ci diamo del gas?” (Let’s give gas). At 11 am, Paolo, Cica (with his “new” PX125!) and me (on the old VNB) met at Sandrons’ in Pertegada. Sun was shining on our sunglasses and on our Vespas and, after a beer, we went to Latisana.
More than 16 million Vespa motor scooters have been made to date in thirteen countries and sold around the world. When he first saw the prototype, commissioned from Corradino D’Ascanio, a distinguished aero-engineer, industrialist Enrico Piaggio said, “It looks like a wasp!” Orvespa in Italian. Within months of Piaggio’s latest venture going into production in 1946, the Italian language possessed a new verb, vespare, to go somewhere on a Vespa.
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