How to Identify a Vintage Vespa

by Contributor

The Vespa design has stayed fairly consistent through the years. Though Vespas have been in production over 60 years, it is still an icon for youthful, economic culture. Vintage Vespas were produced from 1960 to 1974. You can identify a vintage Vespa by following these steps.

Familiarize yourself with Vespa models. A Vespa has a unibody made of metal, not plastic, designed to stabilize the rider. A Vespa looks like a metal wasp and its name is derived from this resemblance. Looking at Vespas and photos of Vespas from a variety of angles helps you see the resemblance among the different vintage Vespa models.

Know the traits for vintage Vespas. Piaggio of Italy manufactured the first Vespas which include model numbers VBB, VBC, and VLB. Each of these models has distinctive traits that focus on the shape of the front headlights, the rear taillight, the cowls, the odometer and the fenders. Original Vespas didn't have crash bars or protectors and the leg shield would be aluminum and chrome, not today's stainless steal.

Ask the experts. Vintage Vespas are often restored and updated so it can be tricky to see the difference between a restored vintage Vespa and a new model with classic traits. Several Vespa stores, like Classic Vespa, can identify your Vespa for you. You can email pictures to an expert or you can post a question on a scooter forum.

Use the numbers to identify the model. Many vintage Vespas can be identified by their engine or chassis number. Some experts identify the Vespa using these numbers. Italian models generally have an engine number that starts with the letter V. If you have the original registration information you can identify the vintage Vespa with it.

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