The Vespa (which means “wasp” in Italian) was the result of Enrico Piaggio’s determination to create a low cost product for the masses. As the war drew to a close, Enrico studied every possible solution to get production in his plants going again — starting from Biella, where a motor scooter was produced, based on a small motorcycle made for parachutists. The prototype, known as the MP 5, was nicknamed “Paperino” (the Italian name for Donald Duck) because of its strange shape
The Museum's halls display Vespa and Gilera collections alongside the most significant of Piaggio's numerous products. The Vespas on display are the most beautiful and the rarest of their kind, such as the prestigious Vespa Dali' or the record-breaking Vespas.
The Vespa sidecar was manufactured between the end of1948 and early 1949 following the success of the new 125cc engine. The Vespa 150 VL1 was the first to be built in this displacement, and the first were sold at the end of 1954. Studied in minute detail, the Vespa with the sidecar had one single long connecting arm with suspension and had coil springs for stability and comfort on long rides.
In the 1950s the French defence Ministry commissioned A.C.M.A., Piaggio’s French licensee, to produce a vehicle for military use. The result was the very special Vespa 150 T.A.P. (Truppe Aero Portate – air troops carrier), of which about 600 units were produced from 1956 to 1959 at A.C.M.A.’s factory. Used by the Foreign Legion and French paratroopers, the Vespa T.A.P. could be parachuted, and had a 75mm cannon (without recoil), six rounds of ammunition and two fuel jerrycans