The Vespa is a line of motor scooters that was first manufactured in Pontedera, Italy in 1946 by
Piaggio & Co, S.p.A
Piaggio continues to manufacture the Vespa today, although the Vespa was much more widely used in the 1950s and 60s, when it also became the adopted vehicle of choice for the UK youth-culture known as Mods. The classic Vespas had unibody chassis pressed from sheets of steel, with bodywork covering the legs for protection from rain and mud. The direct drive engine was covered completely by a steel cowling to appeal to a broader market of people, often turned off by the dirty/greasy stereotype often applied to motorcycles.
Piaggio revolutionized the two-wheel industry with the Vespa and provided a model on which nearly every other scooter made since has been based.
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The history of Vespa...
Post World War II Italy, in light of its agreement to cessation of war activities with The Allies, had its aircraft industry severely restricted in both capability and capacity.
Piaggio emerged from the conflict with its Pontedera fighter plane plant completely demolished by bombing. Italy's crippled economy and the disastrous state of the roads did not assist in the re-development of the automobile markets. Enrico
Piaggio, the son of Piaggio's founder Rinaldo
Piaggio, decided to leave the aeronautical field in order to address Italy's urgent need for a modern and affordable mode of transportation. The idea was to design a cheap vehicle for the masses.
Famous Vespa riders...
This is a list of famous people who have owned or ridden Vespas (not just for career or publicity purposes).
Ursula Andress - one of her payments was a Vespa.
Dicky Barrett - lead singer Mighty Mighty Bosstones - 1963 GS160 (MKII), originally White, then Red, then 60's plaid, now Brandywine Metalflake - the engine sound was used in the opening of their song "Where'd You Go?"
Jean Paul Belmondo
Lucia BosÚ (and her husband, the matador Dominguin)
Matthew Broderick - Owns Several Bikes GTS 250, 1963 GS160, previously rode a GT 200 in New York.
Charlie Chaplin - his daughter was photographed with his
Billy Crudup - owns a black GT200
John Cusimano - of the band The Cringe.
Jack Dee - comedian.
Robert De Niro
Salvador DalÝ added his own touches in 1962. Dali's Vespa features the name of his muse and companion Gala as well as his infamous signature. Believed to be the most valuable Vespa currently in existence, it is on display at the
Piaggio museum in Pontedera.
Stefano Gabbana - owns a leopard-print Vespa.
James Gandolfini - has been seen riding a grey Vespa, and has also injured himself when he crashed his
Adam Horovitz - owns a white LX150 Diamond.
Charlton Heston - rode one while filming Ben Hur in Rome.
Dennis Hopper - his pillion was Steve McQueen, and they crashed it into a car door in New York. Neither had a
Jay Kay (frontman of Jamiroquai) has a new Vespa Vintage GTV 250 scooter, and also owns the limited edition Vespa GT60, with only 999 in the collection
Anthony Kiedis (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers)
David Koch - limited edition GT60.
Jane Krakowski - owns a gray LX150 Exalibur.
A. G. Lafley - Chairman & CEO of Procter & Gamble - has several vintage
Matt Lauer - bought a Vespa soon after doing a story on the reintroduction of the brand into the
Jay Leno - has three.
Justin Long - rides a custom grey ET4 with the logo for Average Joe's gym from the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
Tim Lovejoy - presenter of motoring show Fifth Gear. Tested his black GT200 against the Vespa GT3.
Chris Martin and his wife Gwyneth Paltrow have a matching pair.
Jacques Nasser - has two.
Sarah Jessica Parker - rides the same Vespa as her husband,
Anthony Quinn - and his son Francesco.
Mickey Rourke - owns a vintage green GT200 in Miami and a plum LX150 in NYC.
Jason Segel - was not injured when his Vespa was rear-ended.
Jerry Seinfeld - has more than one Vespa.
John Wayne - originally rode one on set between takes, later drove one on the
Paul Weller - bought his first Vespa in 1976 and has owned many since. Drove one at the start of the video for "A Solid Bond in Your Heart".
Andrew White aka "Whitney" from the Kaiser Chiefs.
Owen Wilson has a Blue Vespa LX.
Tiger Woods - has two Vespas on his 155 foot yacht Privacy.
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