A Vespa is not just a scooter. It is one of the great icons of Italian style and elegance, and with more than 16 million units produced, is well known throughout the world. For more than 50 years, Vespa has fascinated millions of people and given the world an irreplaceable icon of Italian style and a means of personal transport that has become synonymous with freedom. It now falls under the umbrella of the Piaggio Group.
The scooter lifestyle isn't as well recognized in America as it is in other parts of the world, but even still, Vespa has found a way to integrate itself into the motoring lexicon just as well as other legendary brands. While we can't quite put our finger on why that is, something tells us it's because Vespas are always pleasing to the eye. Its designs are timeless and because of that, people like to be seen on one.
With a variety of models, styles, and engine sizes, Vespa has endured even as motorcycling has grown into several different, specialized segments. Here is a taste of Vespa's current models:
The first Vespa Primavera was introduced in 1968 and enjoyed continuous production until 1982. During that time it became known for being small and nimble, with a fun and enjoyable engine that was perfect for scooting around town.
Today the Primavera recaptures the soul of its predecessor with its attractive styling, integrated technology, and its 12-inch aluminum wheels. That may not sound like a big deal, but there are numerous tire options for 12-inch wheels that allow the Primavera to fully exploit its nimble handling.
Available in 50cc, 125cc, and 150cc versions, there's a Primavera for any city dweller.
The Sprint takes the Primavera in a sporty direction. Outfitted with a rectangular headlight, black 12-inch wheels. Like the Primavera, the 150cc version comes with Vespa's Bike Finder function and remote seat unlock features. Opt for the S model and you'll be treated to a 4.3-inch TFT display, further emphasizing the tech-focus you'll find in the Primavera and Sprint.
"Classic yet contemporary" is how Vespa describes the styling of the GTS. With a choice between an efficient 125cc engine or a 300cc Single putting out 23 horses (the most powerful engine ever in a Vespa, by the way), the GTS has the ability to move. Add any number of optional accessories to it and you have the potential to turn the GTS into quite the comfortable little scoot.
In 1951 the Piaggio racing team set the competitive world alight when it claimed victory, racing against conventional off-road motorcycles, in the prestigious and notoriously tough Sei Giorni Internazionale (6-Day International) at Varese, Italy. Taking its name from that win, the Vespa Sei Giorni of today is instantly recognisable by its oversize fuel tank, the streamlined shield and extra-large righthand side bag.
For a brand known for its vintage scooters, the Vespa Elettrica marries the past and the future in perfect Vespa style. In case you didn't notice from the name or the picture, the Elettrica is battery powered and gives equivalent performance to a 50cc gas-powered scooter, says Vespa. Since many states, and many countries, don't require any specific license to pilot a 50cc scooter, the Elettrica is a potential gateway to convenient, responsible motoring for many who want a scooter but don't want to get a license. This importance is heightened in those cities where internal-combustion engines are banned or restricted.
Perhaps the pinnacle of Vespa's styling efforts so far, the 946 pays homage to Vespa's beginnings. Seen here is what happens when Christian Dior gets a hold of one to customize. The 946 turns heads wherever it goes, and yet you can still see traces and influences of Vespa's past as you look at it. A real head-turner, the 946 is "the purest and most modern expression of a style...," says Vespa. And if you've ever seen a classic Vespa, the inspiration is clear.