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Lot 509: Piaggio Vespa 180 Rally

Important Collectors' Motorcycles, Bonhams (1 December 2008)

Along with the rival Lambretta, the Piaggio-built Vespa mobilised an entire generation of Italians in the immediate post-war years, the hitherto humble scooter going on to become part of youth culture in the 1960s as favourite transport of the fashion conscious. The end of hostilities in 1945 had left a number of companies that hitherto relied on military contracts looking for alternatives, Piaggio among them. Forbidden by the Allies from resuming his aviation business, Enrico Piaggio instructed his chief designer Corradino d’Ascanio to design a scooter, for which he believed a potential market existed, particularly among women. d’Ascanio’s aviation background meant that he was well versed in techniques of stressed-skin construction, and these were deployed in creating the Vespa’s monocoque chassis, a revolutionary development at the time. The name ‘Vespa’ (wasp) is said to have been inspired by the buzzing sound made by its single-cylinder two-stroke engine. Since its introduction in 1946, millions have been made and countless different versions come and gone, yet the Vespa of today remains recognisably related to the first one made 60 years ago. Classic? Most definitely. An example of the Vespa Rally 180 model first introduced in 1968, ‘HNV 12L’ was completely rebuilt circa 2000 and since then has been kept in heated and carpeted accommodation as part of its owner’s private collection. No more than ten miles have been covered while in the vendor’s hands. Reported as in standard trim apart from the obvious additional accessories, it benefits from a new battery and minor service by a main agent, and is offered with MOT until November 2009, original handbook and Swansea V5.

Lot Details
Auction Important Collectors' Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number509
Estimate£2500-£3000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1972
Condition rating0
Registration numberHNV 12L
Mileage-
Chassis number0025617
Engine numberHNV 12L
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors