The scooter was a development by the Italian aircraft company, Piaggio, as a means of simple transportation for its workforce around the vast factory at Pontedera. Claude McCormack, Managing Director of Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd, imported the idea in 1948, and used it to rescue the struggling Bristol based motorcycle company.
Manufactured under license the Douglas Vespa (the Italian translation for 'wasp') was practically identical in design to the Piaggio product.
The huge success and popularity that followed the Vespa's launch in March 1951 was almost overwhelming and uncontrollable. It captured the imagination of a generation and eventually became the backbone of the 1960s Mod culture.
A few basic facts about the Vespa;-
- it had a maximum speed of 46mph/74.03kph
- Brand new it was little over £100
- It was made in Bristol, UK
- Maker Douglas (Sales & Service) Ltd
- Manufactured from metal, rubber, glass and leather