The enduring appeal of the Vespa

On April 23, 1946, Enrico Piaggio filed a patent with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for ‘a motorcycle of a rational complexity of organs and elements combined with a frame with mudguards and a casing covering the whole mechanical part’. In less formal terms, the machine in question was called a Vespa – and this year the marque celebrates an impressive 75 years of unbroken production with close to 20 million having been sold around the world across a range of at least 50 variations on the theme. All can be traced back to the day Piaggio came up with the idea of saving his father Rinaldo’s bombed-out aero