The Vespa has evolved from a single model motor scooter manufactured in 1946 by Piaggio & Co. S.p.A. of Pontedera, Italy—to a full line of scooters and one of seven companies today owned by Piaggio—now Europe's largest manufacturer of two-wheeled vehicles and the world's fourth largest motorcycle manufacturer by unit sales.
From their inception, Vespa scooters have been known for their painted, pressed steel unibody which combines a complete cowling for the engine (enclosing the engine mechanism and concealing dirt or grease), a flat floorboard (providing foot protection), and a prominent front fairing (providing wind protection) into a structural unit.
It is difficult to pick out the most representative Vespas from an evolution that has produced almost one hundred models. Some of them are sought after by collectors because they belong to special series, or because they were rapidly replaced by subsequent versions, and are highly priced in the period scooter market, extremely active all over the world. Others, produced in greater numbers or because they stayed on the market for longer, are classic models, which have left their mark in the history of two-wheeled mobility.