France – ACMA
The Vespa was built under licence by A.C.M.A. in its factory at Fourchambault. Two models were offered, the 125 and the 125 GL. In contrast with Pontedera’s 150, the A.C.M.A. version was fitted with an engine derived from that of the 125 and had different bore and stroke dimensions.However, the most interesting A.C.M.A. model was the military Vespa. The project was initiated in 1953 when the French army decided to replace its now obsolete American Cushman scooters that dated from the Second World War.
A competition was organised with the Valmobile 100, the Bernardet 250 and the Vespa 150 being entered. The eventual winner was the Vespa and production got underway in 1956. Designated as the TAP 56 and revised in 1959 as the TAP 59 (TAP standing for Troupes Ae’ro Porte’es), the military Vespa was finished in a typical dark olive green only and was produced exclusively in France.
It boasted a number of special features, including a reinforced frame as it was designed to be able to be parachuted. What is most striking, however, is the presence of a 3’’ cannon protruding from the leg-shield, while on either side the side-panel were fitted with ammunition racks. 500 examples of the military Vespa were constructed and the vehicle saw active service in Algeria and Indochina.