April 26, 2013, marks the 67th anniversary of the day Enrico Piaggio went to Italy’s Central Patents Office and filed his plans for “a motor cycle with a rational complex of organs and elements with body combined with the mudguards and bonnet covering all the mechanical parts” which later became the iconic Vespa scooter.
Piaggio created several prototypes of the Vespa – so named for its wasp-like body with a narrow “waist” and wide rear – before coming up with the MP6 pictured above with the help of designer Corradino D’Ascanio and draftsman Mario D’Este.
The public was first introduced to Vespa at the 1946 Milan fair, with sales beginning shortly afterward. Piaggio produced 2,484 Vespa scooters in Italy in 1946 before seeing production jump up to 10,535 in 1948. In 1950, Piaggio expanded sales to Germany, increasing production to 60,000 scooters. The rest, as they say, is history.
Here then is a gallery of Vespa scooters through the years, leading up to the new Vespa 946.