Following on from my microcar-lover outing yesterday, I’ve been encouraged to talk a little more about them, and will periodically do so when opportunities present themselves. What better place to start than with the Piaggio Vespa 400?
“What’s that?” you say? “Vespa made cars?!?” Yes, they did. But only for a limited time.
The prototype for the Vespa 400 was first built in 1956, and featured a two-stroke, 400cc, 14HP-producing engine. However, at the time of its unveiling at the Paris Salon in 1957, Vespa wasn’t counting on Fiat’s 500, which itself was about to be unveiled for the first time. After numerous (and no doubt heated) discussions took place, Vespa agreed not to produce their 400 in Italy. Instead, it was badged as an ACMA (short for Ateliers de Constructions de Motors et Accessoires) and built in Fourchanmbault, France. Although it sold quite well in both France and Germany, it ceased production in 1961, leaving the Fiat 500 to claim all the Italian microcar accolades.