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Vespa Piaggio

scooter (1946)

In April of 1946 created the Vespa scooter par excellence, the best selling and most copied in the world. The engineer Corradino D'Ascanio, Air Force General, conceives the Vespa with innovative design features such as the body supporting, single arm front fork and direct transmission to the wheel. The resounding success of the Vespa, made it 'the engineer. D'Ascanio rivedesse the project adapting to changing customer needs and in 1948, after having added improvements aesthetic / functional born model "125". The Vespa was exposed to a museum exhibition model and therefore disconnected from the Company Piaggio parts to highlight the most important and most technologically innovative. 

In 1945, crucial historical moment for Italian industry and unprecedented in the history of the country: it presents the unique opportunity to cope with a huge domestic demand for functional products at an affordable cost, carried out by the large number industry. The problem of the means of individual transportation, safe and low cost of acquisition is central and Enrico Piaggio scooter realizes that the object can become a symbol of rebirth. Corradino D'Ascanio, an aeronautical engineer, mechanical engineer and refined (his first model of the helicopter that flew in 1930 at Ciampino), is invited to improve the MP5, the direct antecedent of the Vespa. The scooter, nicknamed Donald Duck, had not entirely convinced that Piaggio had produced only 50 vehicles in '43.

D'Ascanio brings to fruition his aeronautical knowledge and reasoning mainly in terms of rigid shells that produce maximum light and air penetration efficiency of creating the first Vespa, so named for its slender waist and aircraft structure as the insect .

In the same years will produce the Innocenti Lambretta (named after the river that runs near the plant), a scooter opposite view that uses a tube structure as large as those for which it is already known Milanese industry. The goal of D'Ascanio is to create an easy to use, comfortable, even for small distances and narrow winding streets, therefore suitable for commuting but also for family outings on Sunday."Not being a slave to tradition motorcycle, I thought that the machine should serve those who, like me, had never been on a motorcycle and he hated his guidance difficult. I sat ruminating a bit 'and one Sunday I had the basic idea. The most important issue was to be able to easily get on the vehicle, which is already solved for the woman's bicycle. I considered the most comfortable and most rational position 'session' that straddle the frame, then it was to facilitate maximum maneuverability.

It was necessary to take into account the use of city vehicle, which was to be able to drive without taking your hands off the handlebar and handlebar put on the gear. Another thing: it was dirty hands and trousers, one of the most obvious drawbacks of the motorcycle. So my scooter must have the engine covered, isolated by the driver: a single unit with the rear wheel. Therefore I made the transfer without chain, in line with the change in the group-wheel motor. Another solution dictated by my aviation experience: support pipe for the front wheel fork instead of the original chassis. And, new primary, I introduced the carrier body by removing the tube system.

Another requirement: the spare tire. Recalling that many times, traveling by car, I had seen on the roadside of motorcyclists took to the air tube punctured and removed from the rim, I decided, that the foundation of all, a punch was not to be a problem for a motorcycle mechanic . I decided that the motorcyclist had something in common with the driver. So I tried to construct it as simply as possible.

 Thus was born the MP6 prototype of the Vespa 98, 1945. Born as an Italian phenomenon, the scooter could soon affect the whole Europe and later to dominate the rest of the world. The Piaggio over the years has remained fairly faithful to those solutions which decreed the success and this shows that D'Ascanio, the Vespa 98 devised a project that does not offer alternatives.

Even in the latest version (ET2 and ET4 of 1996) it remains intact the traditional structure of the carrier body: shield, wooden floor, central rail, side pockets. Sure the engine is now centrally located and meets the criteria of fuel economy and emissions compliance, electronics intervenes massively, and then a robotic welding points are internal, but the general concept is the same, in contrast with the strategy of the current manufacturers of scooters mostly Japanese. The Vespa continues to pursue a maintenance model over time (for example, the sheet can be painted or riveted), rather than responding to a logic that prevails today, with total replacement of spare parts.