Friday, May 18, 2012

The Vespa family: Beyond the borders

The Vespa's success was not confined to Italy. The scooter also became an extremely popular vehicle elsewhere, with a huge folowing, especially in Europe. Many manufactures attempted to compete with Pontedera on their local markets with model of all shapes and sizes, but without success. Whether those manufactures were called BSA or Triumph (in England), Peugeot or Motobecane (in France), NSU or Zundapp (in Germany), not one managed to produce a scooter to rival the Italian model.

In many countries, the Vespa itself thus began to be produced under license. ACMA was born in France, with its production lines in the Fourchambault turning out not only standard models but also a version for military use carrying a large cannon. A more traditional Vespa was built in Germany, first by Hoffman and then by Messerschmitt, and in England, by Douglas.

Compared with the original models, the variations generally concerned just a few components, including the front headlight, which was changed to meet local regulations. The major exception was the Russian Viatka, a straight copy... and built without the licence.

Collect and to be continued

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