Category Archives: Vespa

News from the Continent – Herpa June 2017

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All photographs are by the Author, except where otherwise acknowledged.

Here is a selection of models from releases made by Herpa between January and May 2017.  All are to 1:87 scale except where otherwise stated.

1:43 Scale

The Porsche 911 miniatures announced in 2016 have now arrived on the general market. The three 911 models shown below are also sold in Porsche shops which perhaps explains why the quality and finish is first class. These are all to 1:43 scale.

071024/071031 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet 991 II

The Cabriolet is modelled open with the body painted a choice of racing yellow or deep metallic black. The accurate body shape is complemented by the fault free paint. The Porsche emblem on the bonnet is a small insert as are many other details.

Lettering below the engine cover are exact replicas of the real car and are printed in silver. The Interior has a detailed dashboard and steering wheel, as well as a well moulded centre console, seats and door cards. All in all this gives an excellent impression of the real car. The 5 star alloy wheels are well moulded and reveal the excellent brake discs and calipers. A fairly detailed baseplate is fitted and the exhaust system is executed well and includes the two chromed end pipes.

 

070980/070997 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet 991 II

The Cabriolet in “S” version has a more powerful engine. This is also modelled open. This time in a white or metallic sapphire blue. The general level of finish is the same as the black and yellow Carrera models seen above. Note that the exhaust system is different on this model replicating the differences to be seen on the real cars.

 

071048/071055 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Here the body in available in white or metallic rhodium silver. The body is true to the prototype shape and immaculately painted. Many small separate parts are used for lights and other features. The interior is in a brownish red shade. Dashboard, steering wheel and centre console are excellent replicas  of the original car as are the seats.

At the rear end, the four exhaust pipes of the 4S show the correct features unique to this version of the Carrera. Again lovely replica alloy wheels reveal the neatly modelled brake discs and calipers.

1:87 scale models

 

745475 Ford FK 3000 Cologne lorry with flatbed and canvas cover “German Army”

The Cologne was produced by Ford between 1951 and 1955. The newly founded West-German Bundeswehr (Army) ordered a batch of them as basic transport. The accurately shaped miniature is not painted in the correct shade of matt olive green for the Bundeswehr, the accurate colour would be more of a Silk matt olive.

 

092760 Volkswagen T6 with trailer, loaded with Vespa motorscooter

For short inner city work the Brunswick based haulier Wandt had a restored Vespa painted in the shade of green used in its livery. This Vespa will be released as part of the one-off set with a Volkswagen T6 box body van and trailer also in Wandt livery.

 

Copyright in the image above belongs to dreamstime.com

306713 Volvo FH Gl. XL Eurocombi “Ristimaa Apache”

As can be seen from the photographs above Herpa has re-created this flamboyant show truck faithfully. Juha Ristimaas create custom trucks to the highest standard. This impressive “Giga-Liner” is in the livery of Kuljetus Ristimaa a Finish Haulier. It was first displayed at the annual trucking event “Power Truck Show 2016” in Alaharma, Finland. The four axle Volvo FH16 650 pulls a five axle trailer.

 

307062 Scania 142 articulated concrete mixer

The classic Scania bonnetted trucks are always a highlight in the Herpa program. Here the model is of a 6×4 tractor with a day cab and trailer with a concrete mixer mounted on it. It adds to the Herpa construction models.

 

307024 Volvo FH16 Gl. XL Eurocombi “Tynjälä Oy” Finland

Another oversized drawbar outfit from Finland. Over 50 print processes were needed to reproduce the livery.

 

159173-006 Mercedes-Benz Actros Gigaspace rigid tractor, traffic-yellow

 

158299-004 Mercedes-Benz Actros M 08 all wheel drive 3-axle rigid tractor

Power to all three axles for best traction. Cabin in white which allows modellers to apply their own decals.

 

307161 Iveco with Interchargable Boxes and drawbar trailer “Deutrans”

In the end of the 1980s, the German Democratic Republic haulier Deutrans simplified its truck design and sent their trucks on the road in white with blue and orange stripes. The carefully selected drivers of all vehicles carrying traffic to the West had to prove a certain loyalty to the party line and fulfilled spying orders during their tours.

 

307352 Volvo FH Gi Lowliner curtain canvas articulated truck “Willi Betz”

The haulage group Willi Betz operates multiple companies across Europe serving many customers and has an annual turnover of around 250 million Euros a year.

The founder Willi Betz recently escaped jail due to a serious illness after a lawsuit was taken against the family for bribery, social security fraud and tax evasion. His son was not so lucky and had to pay a 2.1 Million Euros fine and must go into prison for five years.


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The Vespa in Miniature – The later years

By Dave Turner

Photographs of some Vespa models found at the end of the article.

Still going strong in the 21st Century there has been quite a variety of Vespa machines during the past 20 years or so.

The ET Series came out in 1996 and returned to a rounded style that was heavier and higher than preceding models while engine sizes were 50cc, 125cc and 150cc. ET 2 was the 2 stroke version while the ET 4 was a 4 stroke with the intention of meeting stricter emissions regulations. When the latter was introduced to the US market in 2001 a new Leader 4 stroke motor was fitted.

In 2003 a new large Vespa returned to the market, the GT Series came in 200, 250 and eventually 300cc sizes. featuring a one-piece frame and body. Subsequent variations included the GTS and GTV in 2006, the latter a luxury machine with headlamp mounted on the front fender – like the original Vespa. The GTS 300 in 2009 featured the largest engine in a Vespa so far.

The ET series was upgraded into the LX range for 2006 and styled to resemble the GT. LX is the Roman numerals for 60, celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Vespa. These featured a square headlight but no glovebox and a single seat. For 2010 fuel injection arrived and the suffix “ie’ indicated a machine so fitted while a sport version 50 or 150cc was available from 2013.

A small frame Vespa appeared again in 2014 and called – once again – Primavera, these came in 50, 125 or 150cc engine sizes while Sprint versions were also included.

In 2013 Vespa celebrated its first 1946 model with the completely new 946. This was intended to be produced in very limited numbers as it was “price no object” being around double the average price of a contemporary scooter. It came in both 125 and 150cc 4 stroke versions.

By 2016 both anti-lock braking systems and traction control had been added to the technical innovations to be found on the various Vespa products.

Despite having noted numerous model Vespas from their later years hardly any have been acquired in order to illustrate. Most can be found on the internet. However, several miniatures that appear to be inspired by the traditional Vespa character but too loosely to identify exactly have been sneaked in.

Model Listing – Vespa 1996 onwards

1996
Maisto China 4346 125 ET4 99mm 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 6047 125 ET4 1:32 diecast
Edicola China AC 024 125 ET4 99mm 1:18 diecast
1999
Maisto China 39540 150 PX 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC 041 150 PX 1:18 diecast
2003
Maisto China 03131 GT 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 3136 ET 4 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 42133 Granturismo 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC 008 GT Granturismo 1:18 diecast
2005
Edicola China AC 036 LX 125  1:18 diecast
Maisto China 5092 LX 125  1:18 diecast
Maisto China 31540 GT 200  1:18 diecast
2009
New Ray China 57243 GTS 300 1:12 diecast
New Ray China 20127 200E 1:12 diecast
New Ray China 42213 200E 1:12 diecast
2013
New Ray China 57613 946 1:12 diecast

Illustrations

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 4346 ET 4

 

Hollow ceramic model around 1:12 scale that could be meant to be a 1961 Sportique.

 

A set of novelty cruets loosely based on the typical 1960 Vespa in 1:18 scale, the holes are in the seats.

 


Toy plastic “Mini Scooter” featuring the Vespa shape, flywheel motor in the rear drives the twin rear wheels. Roughly 1:24 scale.

 


TTW plastic scooter with a few Vespa characteristics, pull motor on twin rear wheels, around 1:25 scale.


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The Vespa in Miniature – Part Five

By Dave Turner

1966 to 2000

Detailed model listings and photographs of some of the models appear after the text.

By the mid 1960s the Traditional 125 line had reached the GT and subsequent GTR that continued through to the re-styled P series in 1978. The 150 that ran alongside was called the Sprint until 1969 and then Sprint Veloce with uprated engine until the arrival of the P Series. Top of the range was the 180 Rally and this developed into the Rally 200 in 1972 and that eventually got electronic ignition becoming the Rally 200 Electronic.

A short lived combination was the 125TS – Turismo Sport, and that combined the body of the Rally 200 with the 125cc engine and lasting for three years from 1975.

For 1978 Piaggio launched the New Line series P125, P150 and P200E based on a new frame that was significantly larger than before and featuring more angular lines with indicator lights built into the bodywork. Spain produced its own version of the P200E from 1981 and called it 200DN. From these, the PK Series arrived in 1983 featuring a restyled head/speedometer assembly and a larger toolbox inside the legshields together with a combined ignition switch and fork lock. The final development of the traditional Vespa came with the Millennium Edition for 2000, identified by having the Vespa name put back into a script.

As far as models are concerned the majority are provided by the Maisto/Edicola operation with a few additional alternatives by New Ray. The plastic kit by Imai was a very detailed production but extremely delicate when finished while that from Grisoni is simplicity in the extreme consisting of just twelve parts..

From Italy, the big Ellegi model came as either a static model with a stand or motorised with the batteries either in the hand control of the remote example or in the model in the case of the radio controlled version. Meanwhile from Spain the MIRA diecast model has twin rear wheels and a pull-back mechanism.

Vespa models 1966-2000
1966
Edicola China AC 026 125GT 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 5082 125GT 1:18 diecast
1968
New Ray China 6047 180 Rally 1:32 diecast
1969
Maisto China 4343 150 Sprint Veloce 1:18 diecast
1971
Edicola China AC 034 125 GTR 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 5090 125 GTR 1:18 diecast
1972
Maisto China 4275 200 Rally 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC 010 200 Rally 1:18 diecast
1975
Maisto China 43341 125 TS 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC 015 125 TS 1:18 diecast
1977
New Ray China P200E 1:32 diecast
1978
Edicola China AC 005 P150X 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC 042 P200E 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4272 P150X 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 6046 P200E 1:32 diecast
New Ray China 42213 P200E 1:12 plastic
Smart Toys 20048 P150X 1:32 diecast
Imai Japan B958 P200E 1:12 plastic kit
Ellegi Italy 200PX 1:6 plastic
Grisoni Italy 396/6 P200 1:27 plastic kit
MIRA Spain 809 200DN 1:14 diecast
1984
Edicola China AC 016 PK125 Automatica 1:18 diecast
Maisto China PK 125 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 39540 PK125 Automatica 1:18 diecast
1985
New Ray China 6047 125TS Pole Position 1:32 diecast
Edicola China AC 031 PK125 1:18 diecast
1999
Edicola China AC 041 PX150 1:18 diecast

Illustrations: Vespa part 5

 

MIRA 1:14 diecast from Spain

809, 1981 200DN, Spanish version of the P200, this three wheeled model stands up on its own.


Grisoni 1:27 plastic kit from Italy

396/6, 1978 P200 featuring some over-scale wheels.


Maisto 1:18 diecast from China

4275, 1972 200 Rally.


Maisto 1:18 diecast from China

4272, 1978 P150X.


Edicola 1:18 diecast from China

AC 041 1999150 PX, a few subtle differences from illustration 4 – horn cover and badge at the top of the apron.


Ellegi 1:6 plastic from Italy

1978 200PX, this is the remote control version with the batteries in the hand control and driven stabiliser wheels under the footboards.


Imai 1:12 plastic kit from Japan

B958, 1978 P200E


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The Vespa in Miniature – Part Four “Small Frames”

By Dave Turner

A table listing all known models and photographs of some by the Author can be seen after the article.

These budget level machines were briefly mentioned in an earlier article. They were conceived in order take advantage of the absence of regulation for 50cc motor cycles in Italy and a few other countries. Previously the realm of mopeds Piaggio created these diminutive but similarly ‘Vespa-styled’ scooters to grab a bit of the market. They became known by the term ‘smallframes’ to distinguish them from the established ‘full-size’ Vespas and from their initial introduction in 1962 became big sellers and lasted into the 1990s, by which time over 4 million had been sold around the world.
In 1964 two variants of the 50 were produced, the 50N and the 50S, the latter boasting 4 speeds, and in 1972 it was still going strong with four versions selling well.  The Special and Elestart had square headlights while the 50N and Sprinter retained the traditional circular pattern.

Models of the smallest engined Vespa have come in all sizes from 1:43 to 1:12, the smallest being the little plastic item from Vitesse that often accompanied a 1:43 Fiat 500 although the example here came in its own box marked ‘1955’ for some reason. A tad larger are the 1:32 examples of the 50SS from CLM while slightly bigger again at 1:24 is the 50 Elestart from Mercury and the 50s from Tamiya, the latter forming part of a plastic collection called ‘Campus Friends’ comprising five figures and a kit to build the Vespa.
Maisto/Edicola are the principle makers of little Vespas and they have provided 1:18 scale 50s in regular; 50L Luxury: 50 special and Elestart versions.

A 1:13 diecast 50R found by the Author has no makers mark visible, the box must have been mislaid, and the make regrettably forgotten. A fraction larger at 1:12 are the Minichamps 50R and 50 Special, while these weren’t inexpensive, at least £25, they do offer removable both engine cover and spare wheel behind the apron.
IN 1964 the 90cc version arrived, the larger engine in the small light frame providing much livelier performance. Spanish built versions of the 90 were imported into the UK, the little 50cc not being sold here until 1968. A 90SS Super Sport version arrived in 1965 and provided a performance that could match 200cc engined machines. They featured narrower legshields while the spare wheel was located between the riders knees, topped off by a dummy fuel tank that doubled as a toolbox.

Models of the sporty 90SS in 1:32 came from both New Ray and Hi Tech while in the larger 1:18 size Maisto/Edicola have produced the 90 Sella Lunga as well as the 90SS.

An even bigger engine was put into the smallframe Vespa in 1966 when the 125 version arrived. This was called the Primevera and developed into the 125 ET3 – indication electronic ignition and a third port in the engine layout, and eventually the ET3 Vintage.
Starting with the smallest, New Ray did a 1:32 scale ET3 while the inevitable Maisto/Edicola operation offered the 125 in both Primevera and ET3 forms.

The many models of these ‘smallframe’ Vespas reflect the number of variants in the series. Even though there is very little significant visual difference between many of the models it is interesting to see that what small changes took place are reflected in the various models. For example, the shape of the speedometer, the design of tail light and location of toolbox are all depicted – if you know what to look for.

Model LIsting
1963
Vitesse Portugal 50 1:43 plastic
Edicola China AC046 50 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC017 90 Sella Lunga 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 39540 90 Sella Lunga 1:18 diecast
1965
New Ray China 2014 90SS 1:32 diecast
Maisto China 3187 90SS 1:18 diecast
CLM HiTech 024 50SS 1:32
CLM HiTech 016 90SS 1:32
1966
Edicola China AC013 50L 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4333 50L 1:18 diecast
1968
Maisto China 4274 125 Primevera 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC009 125 Primevera 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 57553 125 Primevera 1:12 diecast
1969
Edicola China AC012 50 Special 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC003 90SS 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC043 50 Elestart 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4277 50 Special 1:18 diecast
1972
Mercury 553 50 Elestart 1:24 diecast
Minichamps China 122129600 50R 1:12 diecast
Minichamps China 122129620 50 Special 1:12 diecast
Minichamps China 122129660 125 Primevera 1:12 diecast
Tamiya Japan 2434-500 50S 1:24 plastic kit
Unknown 50R 1:13 diecast
1976
Edicola China AC007 125 Primevera ET3 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4276 125 Primevera ET3 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 6047 125 Primevera ET3 1:32 diecast

 

Illustrations

Vitesse 1:43 plastic from Portugal: 1963 Vespa 50


Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 4333, 1966 50L


Unknown make 1:13 diecast: 1972 50R


Minichamps 1:12 diecast from China: 122129600, 1972 50R


Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 4274, 1968 125 Primevera.


Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 4276, 1976 125 Primevera ET3.


Tamiya 1:24 plastic kit from Japan: 2434-500, 1972 50s


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The Vespa in Miniature – Part 3

By Dave Turner

Vespa 1959 – 65

In the late 1950s, the staple Vespas were the 125cc models, the updated narrow slimline body complete with enclosed handlebars arrived in Italy in 1957, but was not sold in the UK until April 1959. This was the 152L2 in the UK and subsequently became a Mk11 version when a dual seat and parking lights became standard. Later versions were 232L2 in the UK and housed the spare wheel under the left side cover and featured 4 speeds. The same machine as the 125 had been enjoying the slightly detuned 150cc engine from the GS and called the Clubman but then got the slimline body and became the Sportique in the UK, the latter having both Grande Luxe and Supreme variants that boasted a trapezoid headlamp, spare wheel and a few bits of fancy brightwork. a Grand Tourer version of the Sportique featured both front and rear carrier, the latter carrying the spare wheel. A further development was the Sprint and subsequent Sprint Veloce that ran from 1965 to 1979 between them.

Top Line 150GS received a few tweaks for 1959 to the headlamp, seat and wheels but gave way to a new 160GS in 1962 with the bigger engine, slimmer bodywork and spare wheel inside the left side cowling. This subsequently became a Mk11 having the luggage compartment moved from behind the seat to the front apron. The Super Sport 180 replaced the 160 for four years from 1964 and this featured a development of the Grande Luxe body including the trapezoidal headlight. Dating these various changes depends on the relevant country in which the particular machine was marketed.

 

1959
New Ray China 125 152L2 1:32 diecast
1960
New Ray China 125 1:32 diecast
GM 150 1:18
1961
Maisto China 5085 150GS Messerschmitt 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 150GS 1:18 diecast
1962
Maisto China 4344 160GS 1:18 diecast
Edicola China 045 125 VN B4 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC022 160GS 1:18 diecast
Pyro USA M156-100 160GS 1:16 plastic kit
BTS UK 160GS 1:32 metal
1964
Maisto China 39540 180SS 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 180SS 1:32 diecast
1965
New Ray China 57553 125 Primavera 1:12 diecast
Edicola China AC019 125 Nuova 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC028 150 Super 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC044 150 Sprint 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC047 125 Super 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC011 180SS 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 5084 150 Super 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4341 125 Nuova 1:18 diecast

Illustrations

Pyro 1:16 plastic kit from USA : M 156-100, 1962 160GS


Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 4344, 1962 160GS


BTS 1:32 metal from UK: 1962 160GS


The illustration below is of a Circuito which was written about in part one of these Vespa articles but which was not available at the time the article was written to photograph.

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 5081, 1050 Circuito, 


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The Vespa in Miniature Part 2 1955-58

By Dave Turner

Photographs of some of the models described can be found below the paragraphs below.

Documenting the production of the Vespa in numerous countries in the mid- 1950s is more complex than a review of models could justify. Some retained the headlamp on the front mudguard, some on the apron and some others on the handlebars. Piaggio was finding that by retaining the same body styling each year, the new examples looked just like the older ones from the customers point of view. That didn’t seem to hinder sales. The UK built Douglas Vespa was designated 42L2. As far as ’54 models are concerned the German 1954 Hoffmann Kiningin de luxe version was modelled by both Maisto and Edicola in 1:18 scale.

In 1955 Piaggio put the 150 into production and featured the headlamp on the handlebars but it was otherwise similar to the 125. The new 150GS GranSport however set a new standard in performance and featured 10” rather than 8” wheels. The new 150 was available in model form from New Ray and Edicola while models of the sporty 150GS came from both of these two makes and BTS.

Vespa reached a significant worldwide milestone in 1956 as the millionth example was made, by then Italy was producing 500 a day while the French made ACMA Vespa had reached a total of 100,000. ACMA also produced 600 150 TAP Vespas, (Troupes Aero Portees) for paratroops. They came with a M20 75mm recoilless rifle mounted on board. Quite a selection of miniature 1956 Vespas have been noted. CLMHitech offered both the 150 scooters while Maisto did these and the TAP. The Edicola range – no doubt a part-work collection, also did the TAP that could have been manufactured by Maisto.

1957 and the 150 was imported into the UK and called the Clubman the Douglas built Vespa 125 had become the 92L2 while the Piaggio produced Vespa 125 was substantially changed in its construction. The new Italian slimmer body was made in two halves, joined at the centre line while the traditional handlebars gave way to streamlined casing in which the gear change cables were hidden from view, this had been a feature of the GS for a year or so. This new 125 finally arrived in the UK in 1959 where it was designated 152L2. On the model front the Edicola part work included two ’57 150cc Vespas, the difference between them has yet to be identified while AutoArt offered a large 1:12 scale 150GS.

For 1958 the Italian made 150GS received a new speedometer together with fresh wheel design and a new pattern saddle. The Italian made standard 150 received the new slim body in late 1958. Models of 1958s include a variety by Xonex, all having been noted as described as 1958 on various websites but in at least three scales. The 1:6 issue is described as a ‘150cc Clubman’ on its box while none of the models are actually badged as ‘GS’ Other models of the ’58 150GS came from Ixo, Maisto and Edicola.

Illustrations

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 39540, 1958 150 GS.

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 3134, 1956 150

Xonex 1:18 diecast from China: 13635, 1958 150 (GS?) Ital Racing no 8

Xonex 1:18 diecast from China: 13620, 1958 150 (GS?)

Xonex 1:6 Diecast from China: 36100, 1958 150 Clubman

Model listing for Vespa 1954 – 58

 

1954
Edicola AC 004 Hoffmann Kiningin 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4271 Hoffman Kiningin 1:18 diecast
1955
New Ray China 49273 150  VL1T 1:6 diecast
New Ray China 6043 150GS 1:32 diecast
Edicola AC 029 150GS Messerschmitt 1:18 diecast
Edicola AC 033 150 1:18 diecast
BTS UK 14 GS 150
1956
CLM Hitech CLM 003 150
CLM Hitech CLM 004 150GS
Edicola AC 020 150 TAP 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 3134 150 Struzzo (Ostrich) 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4342 150 TAP 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 150G 94mm 1:18 diecast
Edicola 150GS 570mm 1:3 diecastkit
1957
Autoart China 12501 150GS 1:12 diecast
Edicola AC 039 150 1:18 diecast
Edicola AC 037 150 1:18 diecast
1958
Xonex China 13717 150GS Coca Cola 1:12 diecast
Xonex China 13620 150GS 94mm 1:18 diecast
Xonex China 13635 150GS Ital Racing No 8 94mm 1:18 diecast
Xonex China 36100 150GS 237mm 1:6 diecast

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The Motor Scooter in Miniature – Vespa to 1953

By Dave Turner

 

Vespa was the constant competition for Lambretta, starting production around the same time, after the end of the Second World War. Rinaldo Piaggio opened a factory in 1884 making wood working machinery. By 1915 the factory was involved with aviation but following the second world war was forced to find alternative products for his factory to make. Inexpensive transport was one of the obvious great requirements in that devastated period and so like Lambretta, scooters were the chosen subject. However, unlike Lambretta, Vespa managed to survive to the present time.

Trying to create an accurate but understandable run down of production Vespas is complicated by the fact that various models ran in parallel as production took place in several countries. For example Douglas in the UK produced Vespas for several years and imported overseas made examples to sell alongside their own products and following the end of local manufacture. Rather than try to tabulate the numerous versions of Vespa, identifying the models that have been noted will not be so confusing. As with the Lambretta, details of any that have been overlooked will be gratefully received. In an effort to reduce the inevitable complexity the comments have been restricted to solo model scooters, invariably those with sidecars, or adaptations either in front or behind, have been based on a model of a solo scooter.

Piaggio produced a prototype scooter in 1945 and called it Paperino – Donald Duck, reflecting the Italian love of all things Disney. Fiats 500 was TopolinoMickey Mouse. The Paperino had a 98cc two stroke engine mounted alongside the rear wheel, a layout that was to be followed by Piaggio for many years. Maisto included this unusual subject in their superb range of 1:18 scale die cast scooters while it has also been noted as listed by Edicola. It is possible that these are one and the same.

The body of this first effort was not open in front of the seat and that defied the object of marketing these little machines to the ladies. So the next machines were designed to meet this and gave us the shape that became familiar as the Vespa, named because of the buzzing noise they made – like a wasp – Vespa in Italian. Retaining the 98cc power unit the first of the open frame Vespas were made for just two years – 1946 to 47. All these early machines are often referred to as the handlebar Vespas because of their plated bicycle type handlebars featured on pre-1958 examples – although the UK Douglas built machines employed them for longer.

The Maisto 1:18 series of model Vespas is almost a complete history of the subject, so far no less than 40 different models have been noted. Following the Paperino, they, along with Edicola did the 1946 98cc, while a smaller range of Vespa models, in both scale and coverage, was the 1:32 by New Ray who also did the little 98cc. Vespa produced a ‘sporty’ version of this machine called the Corsa and it has been listed once again by both Maisto and Edicola in 1:18 scale.

Meanwhile, the people at Piaggio had noticed that the Lambretta had now grown to be a 125cc machine and that allowed it to carry a second person and so the first Vespa 125s were made from 1948. As well as the engine, some suspension modifications took place but visually there was little difference to the 98cc machine. Around 1949 it can be noted that the front suspension was moved from the left to the right side while more ‘competition” machines were produced such as the 125 Circuito and Montlhery in 1950.
Models of the early 125 came from Edicola and New Ray while Maisto offer models of both the Montlhery and Circuito. By 1951 the Vespa had reached its developed level that became familiar around the World, Douglas in the UK produced their version, designated 2L2 complete with the headlamp moved up to the front apron and rod operated gear change that remained with their product up to 1953. Hoffmann produced the Vespa in Germany from 1949, a De Luxe version of which was called the Konigin, Hoffmann production ended with a licensing dispute in 1954. after this the German Vespa production was under Messerschmitt for a short time. Mercury in Italy produced models of the 125 while Benbros in the UK produced a very similar model and a genuine repro was made by Scottoy. A rather crude toy from Moko featured the early pattern of front suspension together with the headlight mounted on the handlebars and the early type of engine cover, a combination of features not found so far on real production examples.

A range called CLM Hitech appears on the internet, whether makers or as marketing operation is not clear but a 1951 125 by them has been noted. Marked on the apron as “ZIP” a 1:18 scale 125 model is rather dated by the inscription on the left side of the front mudguard “ Made In Hong Kong British Empire”. For strength the front and back wheels are supported at both sides. A Vespa team competed successfully in six day trials in Italy and replicas were sold to the public as “Sport 6 Giorni” and have been produced in model form by Maisto, Edicola and New Ray.

By 1953 the gear change had been modified from rod to cable operation and the engine cover made significantly smoother. Douglas called their examples the G model. A 125U appeared from Piaggio this was a Utility version but had the headlamp on the handle bars together with abbreviated bodywork over the engine. Models of 1953 Vespas that feature the headlamp on the front mudguard were called Faro Basso (low light) to differentiate. Tekno have made diecast models of the low light standard version, and that has had copies made by BTS.

To be continued

1945  Paperino
Maisto China 4340 94mm 1:18 diecast
Edicola AC 018 1:18 diecast
1946 98
Maisto China 3132 1:18 diecast
Edicola AC 001 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 6043 55mm 1:32 diecast
1947  Corsa
Maisto China 4345 1:18 diecast
Edicola AC 023 1:18 diecast
1948   125
Edicola AC 035 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 6043 1:32 diecast
1950 125
Maisto China 5081 Circuito 1:18 diecast
Edicola AC 025 Circuito 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 5086 Monthlery 1:18 diecast
1951  125
Edicola AC 040 Hoffman 1:18 diecast
Mercury Italy 212 59mm 1:32 diecast
Scottoy 17 59mm 1:32 diecast
Benbros UK 15 59mm 1:32 diecast
BTS UK repro 59mm 1:32 diecast
Moko UK 59mm 1:32 diecast
1952
CLMHitech CLM002
Maisto China 4332 Sport 6 Giorni 1:18 diecast
Edicola ACO 12 Sport 6 Giorni 1:18 diecaat
New Ray China Sport 6 Giorni 1:32 diecast
Zip Hong Kong 96mm 1:18 plastic

Illustrations – Vespa in Miniature to 1953

 

New Ray 1:32 diecast from China:6043, 1946 Vespa 98.

 

BTS 1:32 metal from UK: 1953 Faro Basso, repro of Tekno.

 

Tekno 1:32 diecast from Denmark: 442 1953 Faro Basso

 

Mercury 1:32 diecast from Italy: 212, 1951 125

 

Moko 1:32 diecast from UK: combination of high headlight, front suspension on left and early engine cover, difficult to date.

 

Benbros 1:32 diecast from UK: 15, 1951 125, could be Mercury copy.

 

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 5083, 1953 125U.

 

Zip 1:18 plastic from Hong Kong: 1952 125

 

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 4340 1945 Paperino prototype.

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