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Remembering the 1950 Vespa Circuito

1950 Vespa Circuito

The 1950 Vespa Circuito was designed by an Italian company called Piaggio and named it Vespa, which means wasp. The idea behind this series of low-cost motor scooters began in 1946 in Florence, Italy, by an aeronautical engineer known as Corradino D'Ascanio. This project was handed over to him by this Italian aircraft manufacturing company, which wanted motorbikes during and after the Second World War. The Vespa series production has been celebrated for over seven decades for producing Vespa scooters cherished by millions of people for their ease and style, with over 18 million shipped worldwide. This article will feature the 1950 Vespa Circuito.

History of the 1950 Vespa Circuito

After the design and symbols of Vespa were completed, this series of the celebrated scooter was then registered and patented by Enrico Piaggio Company in the Tuscan Capital. According to News 18, this led to the beginning of production of these iconic wasp shaped excellent scooters that operated on two wheels. Before the war, the company was building ships and expanding to rail. When the war began, it was highly damaged. After the war was over, they returned to start rebuilding by getting help from their allies. Still, the Italian authorities blocked them and other aircraft manufacturers from doing so. As a result, they resorted to motorcycle production to cater to many consumers who needed cheap transport. Surprisingly, engineer Corradino D'Ascanio who designed these scooters, was never a fan of motorbikes. He was a brilliant free-spirited guy who was open-minded.

He considered motorcycles bulky and dirty, but he had already built one at 15 and even designed the first Italian helicopter. The first scooter to be produced was the Vespa 98 IN 1946, which was presented in a Golf Club in Rome. The sales were contacted by a small dealer network. The designer wanted something different that even women could ride wearing skirts. Therefore, he placed the gears on the bike's handlebars and created a "step-thru." Another inclusion was a footboard and leg shields to ensure that a rider remains clean. The name Vespa also has a story. The first model, when moving, was producing a sound that was buzzing like a wasp. According to Bennetts, when the company authorities noticed that, that's how the name come about, Vespa which means wasp. They were lucky they had patented the title first because another company owned by Fledging MV Agusta also wanted to use the name, but Vespa had already taken it.

The Vespa 98 was followed by Vespa 98 Corsa Circuito in 1947. These designs were built for the motor race. Enrico Piaggio was motivated by how its product was becoming popular, and you could spot them everywhere on the streets around Italy. Their focus shifted to making something that could not be aggressive on the track. The first ride that used this model in a race competition was Giuseppe Cau. He won that race in Monte Mario Hill Climb around that same was in red and christened as the "small fireball." That same year Vespa 98 was followed by Vespa 98 II Series. Piaggio released 16,500 models to the market. An improvement was made on it, and it appeared better in terms of technical specification and aesthetics. Another addition was an extra spare wheel that a rider could change when they experience a puncture.

It also had better headlamps and came in gray. Orders for this model were many. Some magazines even reported they were a long list of waiting clients who needed it that could take eight months. The prices even double in black-market places. In 1949, the company was already back into the business and very successful with the Vespa model it had launched before. It released Vespa 125 Corsa" alloy frame" and Vespa 125 in quick succession. They had studied the market and researched their scooters. Improvement on these models was an improvement of their cooling system and gearbox controls. That same year, our feature scooter was already in the pipeline. Piaggio waited for a perfect opportunity to advertise this new model to attract new potential customers to the business. The 125 circuit was the perfect place where this scooter was launched, and it has been known since that time as the Vespa Circuito 125.

Features of the 1950 Vespa Circuito

The 1950 Vespa Circuito was improved to win motor races. The design was mainly to give it a sporty image. It was tested around April 1950 at a French circuit known as Montlhery. Three drivers were used during a 10 hours test period. They alternated during the test, and this Vespa scooter when on to break the 100 miles record with a speed of 129.7 km/h. it broke another 500-mile race with a speed of 123.9 km/h, and a 1,000 km race with a speed of 124.3 km/h

Engine and Suspension

The 1950 Vespa Circuito operates with a single-cylinder engine 2-stroke with an engine displacement of 125cc. The scooter was also fitted with a carburetor fuel system and chain transmission to help it clock a top speed of 100 km/h. The front suspension was lifted upward, and the engine was covered to enable easy access to the bike.

Chassis, Suspension, Wheels, and Brakes

The designer fitted the 1950 Vespa Circuito with coil springs on the front suspicion and a rubber stopper on the Rear suspension. The chassis was designed for the race using an aluminum alloy that was used to make aircraft. The braking system used was expanding brake (drum brake) on the front brakes and expanding brake (drum brake) on the Rear brakes. The moving wheels of the scooter were covered with soft rubber tires of 3.50-8 on the Front type and Rear tire.


The 1950 Vespa Circuito is special and won many motorbike races. Some world-renowned racers who have inked their name in history books include Dino Mazzoncini and Giuseppe Cau. Every piece of this vintage bike was handmade by Piaggio designers. It occupies a special place in the heart of motor race enthusiasts and the long chain of the history of the Vespa series.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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