Vespa has evolved from a single model motor scooter manufactured in 1946 by Piaggio & Co. S.p.A. of Pontedera, Italy -- to a full line of scooters and one of seven companies today owned by Piaggio -- now Europe's largest manufacturer of two-wheeled vehicles and the world's fourth largest motorcycle manufacturer by unit sales.
From their inception, Vespa scooters have been known for their painted, pressed steel unibody which combines a complete cowling for the engine (enclosing the mechanicals and concealing dirt or grease), a flat floorboard (providing foot protection), and a prominent front fairing (providing wind protection) -- into a structural unit as well as a singularly endearing and enduring shape.
As the first globally successful scooter, the Vespa has enjoyed tremendous prominence in popular culture -- and has become a symbol of stylish personal transportation.
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