October 7, 2011
LIMA — The Vespa is an Italian brand of scooter. The name means wasp in Italian. Vespa scooters are known for their steel unibody which completely covers the engine and has a flat floorboard. The inspiration for the design is it said dates back to pre-WWII Cushman scooters made in Nebraska. These scooters were in Italy in large numbers to be used as field transport for the Paratroops and Marines. The biggest sales promo was Hollywood. In 1952, Audrey Hepburn rode Gregory Peck’s Vespa in the feature film Roman Holiday. In 1956, John Wayne traded his horse in for the easy riding two-wheeler to get between takes on sets. Marlon Brando, Dean Martin and Abbe Lane and Charlton Heston all sung the praises of Vespa riding. With the price of gasoline, the Vespa proves to be a more economical mode of transportation these days.Larry and Kim Fairburn brought their 1980 Vespa P200E motorcycle with sidecar to The Lima News’ Real Wheels Cruise-In. They have owned it for 21 years. They bought it in 1990 with 3,100 miles on it. Their favorite memory is taking their Boxer dogs for a ride in the sidecar.