The Italian Piaggio Company had been responsible for the worldwide phenomenon of the Vespa scooter. Early on, it was recognized that youthful scooter buyers would at some point upgrade to a small car, and that Piaggio should be ready for that eventuality with their own Vespa car. Work on the vehicle by the scooter team had begun in 1952, but it would be five years before the little car would make its debut. This long development period resulted in one of the most well-engineered, extensively tested, nicely-finished, and competent of all the microcars.
Fiat had total domination over the Italian small car market and would not allow an incursion into their territory by an upstart car manufacturer. Piaggio had a sister company in France, A.C.M.A., whose 3,000-odd employees were already producing Vespa scooters at the rate of 260 per day, had production capacity to spare. Also, France had no small-car manufacturer able to produce a microcar in sufficiently large quantities.
An announcement at the Paris Salon of 1956 whetted the public’s appetite, and prototypes were seen being tested during that winter. The car’s formal introduction to the public took place in the Principality of Monaco, with three renowned grand prix drivers. It was a huge sensation at the Paris Salon of 1957.
This lovely Vespa 400 formed part of the Musèe Automobile de Provence of Orgon, being handled in their care and collection for 25 years until it was sold in 2011 to an Italian collector. Offered in very good condition, this very cute and fashionable Vespa looks as it has come directly from the 60s. One of the rarest occasions to drive a Vespa with a steering wheel!
Diese schöne Vespa 400 war 25 Jahre Teil des Musèe Automobile de Provence von Orgon, bis es 2011 an einen italienischen Sammler verkauft wurde. Angeboten in einem sehr guten Zustand, wirkt diese schicke und modische Vespa, als wenn es direkt den 60er Jahren entsprungen wäre.