Scooters are an incredibly stylish means of transportation. No, not Razor scooters, we’re talking fully motorized big kid scooters, the kind you’d see Audrey Hepburn zipping around the streets of Rome on. One company stands above all others in this field in regards to recognizability and coolness – Vespa. Their scooters have become nothing short of iconic, and when you’re the best in the business, you’re bound to attract some die-hard loyalty – the kind that produces sick Vespa tattoos.
After Italy agreed to cease all war activities in 1944, the aeronautical company Piaggio pivoted and set out to address the country’s urgent need for cheap modern transportation. At this time, the roads in Italy were nothing short of a disaster, and it was clear the traditional automobile would not be able to address the needs of the masses. The company set its eyes on something more practical – a motorized scooter.
In 1946 Piaggio filed a patent for a "motorcycle of a rational complexity of organs and elements combined with a frame with mudguards and a casing covering the whole mechanical part." With a background in aviation, the company paid special attention to their aerodynamics of their new invention. Their previous industrial experience allowed them to quickly implement Ford-style assembly lines, which started churning out these new scooters at an impressive clip.
They christened this new motorized scooter with the name Vespa. Vespa means wasp in Italian, which makes no real sense to us, as these scooters are totally cool while wasps are way uncool. At first, these wasps sold slowly. The numbers picked up year after year, but it wasn’t until 1952 that the Vespa was catapulted into the mainstream consciousness, all thanks to Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck zipping around Rome in the film Roman Holiday.
Suddenly, Vespas were all the rage, with Hollywood stars from John Wayne to Dean Martin and even a younger, skinnier Marlon Brando becoming Vespa enthusiasts. Sales steadily increased, and by the 1960s, the streets of Rome and the rest of Europe were crawling with Vespas. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Vespa still remains the most iconic brand of all motorized scooters. The older models are highly collectible and sought after, while new models offer affordable transportation to a whole new generation of scooter enthusiasts. To celebrate the history of the Vespa, we’ve gathered up some really cool Vespa tattoos for your eyes to take a spin on.
Don’t these Vespa tattoos just make you want to ditch your car and zip around the city streets in style? We say go for it, but don’t forget a helmet.