Paperino

Only a hand­ful of Pi­ag­gio’s MP5 are known to sur­vive, this isn’t one of them.

Scootering - - Contents -

A dou­ble take on a scooter which is not all that it first ap­pears.

Back in the day

In early 1943, Erico Pi­ag­gio was work­ing on plans to create a so­lu­tion to the trans­porta­tion needs of the masses in the af­ter­math of the Sec­ond World War. He handed the project to Renzo Spolti who pro­duced the MP5, bet­ter known as ‘Paperino’ (Don­ald Duck) due to its strange ap­pear­ance. En­rico was unim­pressed but be­fore hand­ing the project to Cor­radino d’As­canio around 100 ma­chines were pro­duced. Un­sur­pris­ingly, it’s rare to see one out­side a mu­seum.

Fast for­ward

The ori­gins of this par­tic­u­lar ma­chine are shrouded in mys­tery. Its owner Dirk Kubenke bought it in Italy and be­lieves it was built there. How­ever af­ter speak­ing to Pat at Saigon Scooter Cen­tre we’re con­fi­dent that it’s one of the ex­cel­lent copies made in their work­shops. These were orig­i­nally fea­tured in our Au­gust 2010 is­sue and are a tri­umph of en­gi­neer­ing. The biggest give­away is the ma­chine’s size as un­der the all metal panel-work is a Vespa PX and the Paperino’s di­men­sions had to be scaled up to ac­com­mo­date this. The cen­tral area, which housed the orig­i­nal ver­sion’s en­gine, is now used as lug­gage space and main­te­nance is pos­si­ble by re­mov­ing the rear body­work.

Rid­ing a clas­sic

Although the PX’s ge­om­e­try re­mains un­af­fected, Dirk ex­plains that it of­fers a very dif­fer­ent rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. “Be­cause of the han­dle­bars and cen­tral tun­nel it’s more like a

mo­tor­cy­cle than a scooter. It’s not par­tic­u­larly fast be­cause I’ve changed the en­gine to stan­dard 125cc spec­i­fi­ca­tion. This places it in a class of ve­hi­cle that doesn’t re­quire in­di­ca­tors in Ger­many, help­ing to keep the orig­i­nal look.”

There’s a huge amount of ef­fort in­volved in cre­at­ing a Paperino replica and Saigon Scooter Cen­tre planned a run of no more than 10 ex­am­ples. With seven al­ready com­pleted, time’s run­ning out if you fancy own­ing one of these dis­tinc­tive ma­chines. They’re huge fun to ride and own­ers can even claim that their copy is rarer than the orig­i­nal! No won­der Dirk looks so happy.

Words & Pho­to­graphs: Stan

How cool is that?

PX ori­gins are ap­par­ent on close in­spec­tion.

Ac­cess cov­ers re­veal en­gine and bat­tery.

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