An all-time legend
To bikers, motorcycles have always been something to swear by, indeed, a kind of religion. But in the 1940s, we also witnessed the emergence of the "Vespisti" cult. But other than its two wheels, the Vespa has nothing to do with a classic motorcycle.
After World War II ravaged the Italian economy, Enrico Piaggio, who during the war built aircraft engines, decided to totally reinvent his company by embarking on the production of two-wheelers.
To set himself apart from his competitors, Piaggio went with a scooter that was comfortable, accessible, and mainly intended for female riders.
To bring new life and dynamism to the image of the Vespa's predecessor, the Paperino, the founder called upon helicopter inventor and designer Corradina d’Acscanio to revamp the model. He took the risk of distinguishing it even further from the shape of a classic motorcycle. In 1946, the Paperino thus became the Vespa.
Enrico Piaggio would incidentally compare this model to a wasp, with its slim waist and voluptuous hips. The legend born, Vespa would subsequently go on to become one of the world’s best-selling two-wheelers.
The Vespa was all the rage in Europe during the 1960s. Much more fun than a motorcycle and guaranteeing safety, comfort, and performance, this model became a symbol of youth and prosperity the whole world over.
Girls saddled up without lifting their skirts, and men used them to pick up women. The Vespa became a real incarnation of the Italian "Dolce Vita."
The Vespa today is synonymous with 70 years of existence, 44 different models, and no fewer than 20 million models sold in 114 countries all around the world.
And even though nostalgia and vintage style have become driving forces for manufacturers on the international marketing stage, nobody has been able to equal the success of the Vespa.
As part of this wonderful Italian adventure, Michelin has been chosen to provide the original tyres for one of the brand’s most legendary models: the Vespa GTS.