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M Staff


November 9th, 2017

Post World War II, a lot of Italians who were affected by the aftermath, lacked means of transport, specially four wheelers. This is when Corradino D’Asconio, an aircraft designer and the inventor of Vespa thought of a three-wheeled commercial vehicle design that would help in Italy’s economic re-construction. This really struck a cord with Enrico Piaggio, son of the founder of Piaggio, who immediately approved of the idea.


In 1948, the first Vespa-based Ape was launched. Called the Ape A, it was basically a regular Vespa with two wheels added to the rear. Underneath the metal body, it featured the same 125cc engine. The design of the rear chassis was such that a variety of bodies could be made and installed on it. This body that you see here is a beechwood and masonite-framed Giardinetta (later known as Calessino), which is one of the most iconic of them all.

The 1953 Piaggio Ape Calessino you see here is one of the last of the Model A. In 1952 the Model “B” was introduced, which went on to have more than 20 different body styles by the end of the 1950s… Eventually to be recognised as one of the most well-recognised commercial light transport vehicle in many places across the world. For Italy, the Ape played a crucial role in revitalisation of its local trade and goods transport in the aftermath of the World War.

The 1953 Piaggio Ape Calessino you see here will go on sale at the RM Sotheby’s New York sale on December 6.
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