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There's jaunty, and then there's the game-ending, back-shattering slam dunk of jaunty, the Piaggio Vespa 946 Ricodo Italiano scooter.

Veterans instantly recognized the genius of it. Every year during the classic -car weekend, the Monterey Peninsula hosts the world's most expensive traffic jam. Solution? A Vespa. For two reasons: One, you can ride a step- through scooter comfortably in the street clothes or even dress attire, much more so than a sport bike, over which one sort of curls up in the fetal position. Two, scooters are narrow, nimble and forgiving, which makes them perfect to split lanes and ride the shoulder around bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Don't wag your finger at me! If it's legal in aCalifornia and it cuts a half-hour from my trip back to the lodge, you bet I'm going to split lanes. That Roederer isn't going to drink itself.
And on the Sunday morning, those attending the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance car show might have seen me zipping past them in my totally sick new double-breasted blazer, on my snow-white Vespa, jauntiness like a wind at my back, wearing a Vespa-branded helmet that was 100% "Spaceballs".
Here's Vespa, in 25 words or less: Corradino D'Ascanio, Roberto Colaninno and "Roman Holiday". The first is the aeronautical  engineer who, in the bombed-out remains of Piaggio's factory in Pontedera, Italy, designed the first Vespa, a vehicle that put postwar Italy on wheels again.
Mr. D'Ascanio's design was insightful, transforming, with a load -bearing, enclosing steel monocoque, floorboards and exterior panels; engine and centrifugal clutch transmission connected to the rear wheel with no chain.
Mr. Colamino is the financier whose company IMMISI SpA took over the struggling Piaggio beginning in 2003. Part of the turnaround plan was Vespa product development. This little friend is California-legal, with a four stroke, 150-cc engine and catalytic converter and a top speed on flat ground of about 60-65 mph.
But in a world of Hondas, Yamahas and supercheap Chinese scooters, Vespa's conversation with the consumer has to be about personal presentation and not just transportation. After all, our tester was about 10.000 dollars out the door, a sum that would buy a fleet of other scooters. Vespa is trying mightily to position itself as an exclusive luxury confection. That brings us to "Roman Holiday", a 1953 film starring Gregory peck, Audrey Hepburn and what some pretty lame backscreen projection. This film is Vespa's sinecure, its immortality, 118 minutes with two of the finest- looking people ever,  frolicking on a Vespa. As long as they show that film, people buy Vespas.
Obviously, your results may vary. Indeed, the Vespa may well be the most unforgiving fashion statement of all time. If you are skinny and beautiful, man or woman, between 18 and 25, yes, you can look amazing on a white Vesp. If you are gray and 54 and look like the Schwartz is with you, maybe not.

Projekt POIG.01.04.00-30-196/12

Tytuł projektu: Zbudowanie prototypu innowacyjnego systemu rekomendacji zgodnych ze stylami użytkowników: FireStyle

Nr umowy: POIG.01.04.00-30-196/12-00

Wartość projektu: 14.949.474,00 zł

Udział Unii Europejskiej: 7.879.581,50 zł

Okres realizacji: 2013.01-2014.10

Fundusze Europejskie - dla rozwoju innowacyjnej gospodarki

 

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