Saturday, October 10, 2009
Vespa is both Latin and Italian for 'wasp' — a name derived from both the high-pitched noise of the two-stroke engine, and adopted as a name for the vehicle in reference to its body shape: the thicker rear part connected to the front part by a narrow waist, and the steering rod resembled antennae.
After World War 2 Enrico Piaggio decided to answer Italy's urgent need for cheap and easy mass transport. He built a two wheeled vehicle that was built on a spar-frame with a handlebar gear change, and the engine mounted directly on to the rear wheel. Unlike the motorcycle, the front protection "shield" kept the rider dry and clean and it had a pass-through leg area to cope with women’s skirts. The front fork, like an aircraft's landing gear, allowed for easy wheel changing and the internal mesh transmission eliminated the standard motorcycle chain.
Voilà – a Vespa.
• "It resembles a wasp!"
Posted by Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) at 6:10 pm