The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum | Lot 278
1963 Vespa Ape
$25,300 USD | Sold
| Madison, Georgia
15 February 2013
Wearing German market-only double headlamps.
Manufacturer: Piaggio SpA
Origin: Pontedera, Italy
Motor: Piaggio 1-cyl., 2-stroke
Displacement: 145.5 cc
Power: 5.8 hp
Length: 8 ft. 10 in.
Identification No. 34060
Enrico Piaggio’s intent was to offer an easy-to-use, economical, and versatile vehicle, a light transport for the working man, alongside his revolutionary personal transport, the Vespa scooter. He commissioned his talented and creative engineer Corradino D’Ascanio to once again come up with a solution. It would be named after the wasp’s working cousin the bee, or Ape.
The first version came out in 1948 and was essentially an open 125-cubic centimeter Vespa scooter with a two-wheeled, hydraulically-braked chassis in place of the rear wheel. Any number of body structures could be erected on it, but the most iconic was the Beachwood and masonite-framed Giardinetta. The model “B” followed with a 150-cubic centimeter motor. The year 1956 saw the launch of Piaggio’s most successful and long-lived model, the classic model “C.” The entire structure was now in metal, and a cab, or half-cab, with a car-like bench seat was introduced. There was now a reverse gear, wiper, front-mounted fuel tank, and electric starter. Payload rose to a useful 770 pounds. The Ape’s incredible adaptability to design variations remained, and the initial eight rose to 20 different body styles by 1958.
The example presented here is a full-cabin, full-box tipper with the double headlamps only seen on the German versions. As such, we certainly encourage close inspection of this delightful Vespa.