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Thursday, August 13, 2020

The record-breaker wasp of Piaggio in the 1950s

As we know that Vespa is a scooter brand made by Piaggio which is very well known to this day. This scooter brand was founded in the 1940s and continues to exist today, so it is not surprising that Vespa has many classic models with distinctive body shapes such as wasps.
1951 Vespa Siluro on display at the Museo della Piaggio in Pontadera, Italy. (PIcture from: https://bit.ly/3fF8EPq)
But apart from having many classic and elegant scooter models, Vespa also has scooters with unique designs that are made for special purposes such as breaking speed records. One of them is the Vespa Siluro which managed to set a prestigious record on February 9, 1951.
The Vespa Siluro once set a prestigious record to cover a distance of 10 km to 11 km known as "The Flying Kilometer" in only 21 seconds. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3gGPRV3)
As the name implies, the Siluro or torpedo, this scooter has a torpedo-like design. At first glance, the shape of this scooter is also almost similar to the Vespa Monthléry, another unique scooter made by Piaggio which is also specially made for racing purposes on the Monthléry circuit, France with the Lambretta scooter made by its rival manufacturer, Innocenti.
Left side view of 1951 Vespa Siluro on display at the Museo della Piaggio in Pontedera, Italy. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3fF8EPq)
The Siluro scooter was developed by a Piaggio manufacturing team led by Dino Mazzoncini and one of its members is the designer of Piaggio's first scooter (Vespa 46) named Corradino D'Ascanio. Uniquely, apart from the team leader, Dino Mazzoncini also played a role as a biker who rode the Siluro.
Cross-section picture of a two-cylinder horizontally opposed the 125cc engine of the Vespa Siluro. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3gGPRV3)
The Siluro scooter has dimensions of 2,380 mm in length, 600 mm in width, and 900 mm in height. The engine used is two cylinders horizontally opposed (where the pistons are opposite each other) with a capacity of 125cc which can generate power up to 17 horsepower at 9,500 rpm.

Thanks to its unique design, Siluro once set a prestigious record known as "The Flying Kilometer". As quoted from vespa.com, that the scooter is able to make achievements when it is able to cover a distance of 10 km to 11 km (on the Rome-Ostia Autostrada in Italy) in only 21 seconds.
We have never seen this beautiful scooter model on Piaggio's Vespa catalogs before. Is this a custom-built model for racing purposes? (Picture from: https://bit.ly/2E27fp6)
Wow, a distance of 10 km to 11 km was covered in just 21 seconds, it was something extraordinary that could happen at that time. How's fast the Siluro scooter? According to the official notes,  the average speed of the Siluro scooter when breaking the record is 171.1 km/h.

Apparently, the competition aroma was very strong between the two Italian scooter manufacturers who were triumphant in the market at that time. Seeing the 'The Flying Kilometer' record then sparking interest of Innocenti, Piaggio's rival scooter manufacturer to do the same by making an almost similar scooter in 1951 and was named the Lambretta Red Bullet. The result is this rival scooter also fastly splashing like a bullet.
The fully-enclosed streamliner Vespa scooter model of 1958 with clever hatches for the rider’s legs(Picture from: http://bit.ly/2CrHool)
The competition between the two Italian scooter manufacturers continues and in 1958, a third Piaggio streamliner with fully-enclosed built like a wingless airplane and was tested on the Autostrada, but there's no time records or info about this attempt, just a few evocative photos.
Finally, factory battles for Land Speed Record supremacy faded out by the 1960s, after a Golden Age of 30 years’ effort on the international stage, that produced some of the most intriguing, no-holds-barred motorcycle designs of all time.

Kept spur your adrenaline on the power of the two-wheeled monster and stay alive with true safety riding. May God will forgive Your sins and so does the cops...... *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | VESPA | ALLINVESPA | THEVINTAGENT.COM]
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