Vespa has evolved from a single
model motor scooter manufactured in 1946
by Piaggio & Co. S.p.A. of Pontedera,
Italy - to a full line of scooters and one
of seven companies today owned by Piaggio
- now Europe's largest manufacturer of two-wheeled
vehicles and the world's fourth largest
motorcycle manufacturer by unit sales.
From their inception, Vespa
scooters have been known for their painted,
pressed steel unibody which combines a complete
cowling for the engine (enclosing the mechanicals
and concealing dirt or grease), a flat floorboard
(providing foot protection), and a prominent
front fairing (providing wind protection)
-- into a structural unit as well as a singularly
endearing and enduring shape.
As the first globally successful
scooter, the Vespa has enjoyed tremendous
prominence in popular culture -- and has
become a symbol of stylish personal transportation.
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