3 How different are modern Vespas to classics?
The biggest change in modern Vespas is that they all use fourstroke engines now so the classic sound and smell has been lost. Engine capacity has also grown in many modern models (at 300cc, the latest GTS is twice the size of the 1960 GT150 we tested – see page 26) and it goes without saying that modern brakes and suspension components are far superior to those used in the early years. The latest GTS even has ABS! But the one constant is the styling – modern Vespas retain a respect for their heritage and all bear a family resemblance that’s totally distinct to the brand.
It’s all down to former aeronautical engineer Corradino D’ascanio who found motorcycles dirty, uncomfortable and bulky. He also found it hard to change wheels on them after a puncture. He solved all of these problems with his design for Vespa, using direct mesh to negate the need for a chain, enclosed bodywork to keep riders away from working parts (as well as providing weather protection), and even designing a supporting arm instead of front forks to make wheel changes easier.
Without this man there’d have been no Vespa