Fans of Italian scooter brand Vespa will be delighted to hear that the world’s oldest Vespa is currently up for auction at Catawiki, a premier online auction site. Catawiki’s experts say the scooter, with chassis number 1003, is the third Vespa ever made by Piaggio, the Italian manufacturer. The Vespa is from Piaggio’s “0 series,” which was comprised of 60 prototype scooters; the first two prototypes are longer in existence.
“Over the years, Vespa has become the No. 1 symbol representing Italy,” says Davide Marelli, Vespa expert at Catawiki. “The brand is known all around the world, and there are many collectors acquiring antique Vespas. We hope this Vespa will end up in the hands of a collector or in a museum that will protect this piece of Italian history for future generations.”
Anyone who is interested in buying the scooter – which is in working condition – will have to reach deep into his or her pockets. This Vespa, hand-crafted in 1946, is expected to raise between $250,000 and $300,000 Euros.
The history of Vespa dates back to the end of the World War II. Piaggio was originally a manufacturer of warplanes, but they were no longer allowed to continue production after the war because of Italy’s collaboration with the Germans. As a result, Piaggio’s management team redirected manufacturing efforts on the now-famous scooters. From 1946 onward, Piaggio became known for its Vespa scooters that quickly became popular in Italy. In 1953, the release of the Audrey Hepburn movie “Roman Holiday” – a movie that features the scooter in a prominent role – put Vespa on the path to today’s cult status.
As is the case with some cars, Vespa scooters have become increasingly valuable over time. “Thanks to a huge fan base, old Vespa scooters tend to keep their monetary value,” says Marelli. “A Vespa scooter from the 1970s, for example, can be worth five times as much as its original retail price. The older the Vespa, the more valuable it is.”
The auction is currently underway and will continue until March 28.