1951 Piaggio Vespa
Year of manufacture1951
1951 Vespa 125cc V31T Faro Basso
Chassis no. 130600
Engine no. 130499
Along with the rival Lambretta, the Piaggio-built Vespa mobilised an entire generation of Italians in the immediate post-war years, the hitherto humble scooter going on to become part of youth culture in the 1960s as favourite transport of the fashion conscious. The name 'Vespa' (wasp) is said to have been inspired by the buzzing sound made by its single-cylinder two-stroke engine. Since its introduction in 1946, millions have been made and countless different versions come and gone, yet the Vespa of today remains recognisably related to the first one made some 60 years ago. Classic? Most definitely.
This Vespa Faro Basso (low headlight) model is the same as that used in the 1953 movie Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, which brought the Vespa scooter - hitherto little known outside its native Italy - to the attention of a wider world. This model is very sought-after because of its partly aluminium bodywork, unlike all later Vespas, and was most often seen finished in this Verde metallizzato (Max Meyer 6002M green metallic), the original colour for this example.
This machine was delivered new in Amsterdam by the local importer Riva. It underwent a full restoration in 2016 by marque specialists Vespa Lifestyle Store using only original parts from Piaggio, the engine being rebuilt by Jac Janssen (well-known by Vespisti). Presented in restored condition throughout, this charming early Vespa is offered with its original and current Netherlands registration documents.