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.
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
|Edicola||AC 004||Hoffmann Kiningin||1:18||diecast|
|New Ray||China||49273||150 VL1T||1:6||diecast|
|Edicola||AC 029||150GS Messerschmitt||1:18||diecast|
|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|
|Xonex||China||13717||150GS Coca Cola||1:12||diecast|
|Xonex||China||13635||150GS Ital Racing No 8||94mm||1:18||diecast|
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