Vespa’s unpronounceable future

Dailies, Galleries -


The Vespa Quarantasei (46 in Italian) is a concept inspired by the 1945 MP6 prototype and it’s more wasp-like than ever. Times have changed though and engine technology has made significant advances in the last 65 years. While the Quarantasei is a styling concept, its engine is the real deal.

The new motor is an air-cooled, fuel-injected 3-valve 4-stroke. It’ll be available as either a 125 with 11.6bhp at 8,250rpm and 7.6lb/ft at 7,000rpm, or as a 150 with 13bhp at 8,000rpm and 9.3lb/ft at 6,500rpm. Why air cooled? Water pumps and radiators are expensive and scooters are supposed to be cheap. The modern fuel injection system works with a three-way catalytic converter to cut pollution and Vespa says that it will be good enough not only for the current Euro3 standards, but future emissions regulations as well.

Looking at the shapes and textures of the concept, it’s easy to be reminded of your girlfriend’s Venus razor. That said, this thing is a beautiful example of minimalist design. The bars are swept clean of anything unnecessary and end in wing shaped LED turn signals. Ergonomically shaped grips are made of hand-stitched leather and brake levers have no visible pivots, cables or hydraulic lines. The hanging seat is similar to last year’s Moto Guzzi concept bikes and it looks great hovering over a wasp-like engine cover. Right where you would expect to find a small, traditional headlight is a huge projector. A nearly horizontal LED tail-light on the engine cover surrounds what appears to be the gas cap and there’s no license plate mount in sight. Many features (such as the bars and tail-light) are obviously concept stuff that won’t be making it into production, but we’re really excited to see how the rest of this design translates into a production model powered by the new motor.

  • Stacey

    Sexy! I miss my old P-200E. My first bike.

    • pinkyracer

      mine too! and 2nd bike, to replace the one I plowed into the side of a Volvo.

    • Paul

      Mine as well. Great memories of that little bike. I don’t see a gear shift on the left grip, so I have to assume it’s a “twist and go.” I’m not sure why Vespa’s gone in that direction with its new generation scoots. Shifting is so much more fun. Too bad, because the Quarantasei is very pretty.

  • Will

    Gorgeous. Great sense of proportion.

  • stempere

    Those (rizoma) turn signals don’t look visible from behind, that’s just sily. Even the old school bmw style ones aren’t legal in most of europe…

    Anyway, i didn’t know the 1940′s prototype but i have to say the new one is nice, that seat is pretty cool.

    • Brant

      I have Rizoma LED signals on my bike and they’re much brighter than standard signals. Even if you don’t have direct line of sight to the signal you can tell it’s flashing.

      • Ben Incarnate

        Agreed. I’ve had Rizoma signals on two bikes. Both sets of signals were compact, attractive, and remarkably visible. They put the generic LED kits to shame.

        • stempere

          My main concern was about how this could be used in a production model (it can’t). I don’t doubt it’s pretty bright.

  • Coreyvwc

    We talking 1946 or VR46? Italians are strange…

  • evilbahumut


  • protomech

    Very nice. I’d ride that without shame, but more than a little amusement. Maybe irony : )

  • lvmoto

    That’s a pretty bike. Vespa’s got it down when it comes to attention to detail.

    Just gotta figure out where to store stuff as there’s no room beneath the seat. Although a seat that cool looking kinda makes it worth it.

  • DoctorNine

    Yes, it looks nice. Which one should expect from the Italians.
    The seat however, has the exact profile of a thin woman’s mons pubis.
    Which one should also expect from the Italians, I suppose.

    • Coreyvwc

      There’s no need to doctor it up on HFL, you can just say vagina…

      And yes, yes it does.

  • Patrick from Astoria

    Oh, the pronunciation isn’t that hard. Kwa-ran-ta-sey, right?

    Regardless, it’s gorgeous. Maybe a bit on the feminine side, which makes sense given the market. But as a very modern update on a classic design it’s fantastic.

    • always_go_big

      Damn, as a 6’3″ self proclaimed hard man, does that mean I have to don a blouse if I want to ride it and park it in the same garage as my more manly rides?

      • Mark D

        Its not a blouse, its a puffy shirt!

        I’d rock this thing without an ounce of irony. I think its beautiful.

        • austin_2ride

          “But I don’t want to be a pirate!” – J.S.

      • Campisi

        Real men ride what they please, man.

        • robotribe

          I get chatted-up by more (cute) ladies when I’m parking my Vespa.

          On my Triumph or two former Honda motorcycles: ZERO. You might as well be invisible to the ladies.

          Go figure.

      • Patrick from Astoria

        ::thinking:: No.

        Maybe get it in black, though?

  • damien

    That is one very good looking scooter.

  • filly-fuzz

    Lovin the looks, but what it really needs is a 300cc KTM smoker…..

  • pinkyracer

    meh. what’s the point in making a gas-powered scooter anymore? especially if it doesn’t vibrate like a machine gun like my P200E and my Lambretta TV175 did? The future is electric, more for scooters than any other class of 2-wheeled vehicles.

  • DavidMG

    Want! Definitely want one of those.

    Is it just me or does the seat remind you of H.R. Giger’s xenomorph alien?

  • pplassm

    Beautiful styling!

  • Myles

    Where’s the storage? A huge benefit of scooters is all the underseat storage.

    • robotribe

      I was thinking the same thing, but then I remembered the original prototype had a springer seat and that (I think) is what influenced the weird wing thing of a seat.

      Still, I’d trade my GTS250 “down” to this 150 faster than Piaggio can grab the money from my open hand. Beautiful.