Named for its likeness to a wasp (the two sharing a similarly curvaceous 'abdomen'), the Vespa scooter has been part of Italy's street furniture since the late 1940s. Immortalised in countless films, one American critic famously quipped that William Wyler's 1953 classic Roman Holiday "consecrated two stars - Audrey Hepburn and the Vespa" (which seems a little harsh on Gregory Peck). Piaggio recognised the need to support the Vespa and their potential customers, establishing a network of dealers in Italy prior to the machines release. A comprehensive marketing campaign and an "in house" finance scheme ensured that the public was both aware of and could afford to purchase one of the new machines. Piaggio continued development of the original 98cc Vespa after it was announced to the public, with a 125cc variant becoming available during May 1946. The larger model initially was produced in limited numbers with the majority going to export markets, but during 1948 the 125cc became the dominant model with production of the 98cc version ceasing in March of that year. By this time the Vespa had acquired front suspension, although the rigid rear end would not be replaced until 1949. The next major revision occurred for the 1951 season when the rod gear linkage was replaced by cables. Licensed production quickly commenced in France and Spain.
This early 125cc example was restored during 2000 cosmetically and mechanically and is described by the vendor as running well. It is accompanied by a copy of the Spanish registration document.