Wed, 6th Apr 2022 11:00

National Motorcycle Museum

  Lot 125

1949 Vespa V11T
Believed oldest original

Estimated at £25,000 - £30,000

Lot details

Registration No: Unregistered
Frame No: V11T29249
Engine No: V12M28517
CC: 125
MOT: Exempt

  • Believed the oldest known complete & original condition Vespa currently in the UK* (VVC)
  • An early 1949 Faro Basso ‘Bacchetta’ manufactured between January and May of that year with certain 1948 features
  • One owner since 1951. Original stamped Italian registration document booklet dated from 1951
  • Engine turns over and bodywork is remarkable for its considerable age
  • Correct numbers as original to the model and verified by the log book. Cables and engine appear never to have been removed
  • NOVA number is present for easy UK registration or export

*information verified by Veteran Vespa Club (VVC). Other known models have been restored or are incomplete

The Piaggio industrial group was devastated by the consequences of World War 2. Amongst the projects muted to rescue the company was an idea to help mobilise the Italian public with a new transport concept ‘The motor scooter’. This was inspired by the Cushman scooter of Nebraska USA as used by the US paratroopers and seen in the Italian campaign of WW2. Aeronautical engineer Corradino d’Ascanio, normally associated with inventing helicopters, was given the job of designing the scooter. D’Ascanio did not like motorcycles and designed the new vehicle from scratch with a vision for clean reliable personal transport for both men and women. During trials the buzzing noise of the engine and body shape combined for the scooter to be christened the ‘Vespa’ the Italian translation for wasp. From the first appearance of the Vespa in 1946 it was such a success that it has become a symbol of taste, fashion and style and one of the favourite global design icons of all time. In 1948 the V1T was launched as the first 125cc model and as a successor to the earlier 98cc models. The 1948 version had several major changes to the 98cc models, with the steering moved from the left of the front wheel to the right, and numerous technical and visual changes including the colour change Metallic Green. The 1949 V11T did not add many modifications to the 1948 version except the partial covering of the rod controlled gear mechanism, improved cooling fins on the cylinder and a central stand was used.

This extremely early 1949 model was produced between January and May of that year and we know this by the location of the chassis number below the left cowling and stop button above the carburettor door as in the 1948 model and is an extremely rare find indeed. Completely original and unmolested the engine turns with what is believed to be 'good' compression. There does appear to have been some light overpainting but this was probably done over 60 years ago and the original paint has burst through resulting in the most incredible patina. No attempt has been made to start her. The previous Italian owner bought the scooter second hand in 1951 and he is still alive at the time of writing. It was last on the road in Italy in 1976. This scooter was sold direct from the family of the owner since 1951 direct to the current owner via an intermediary. This scooter is an absolute time-warp and careful study of the pictures will show very many small original features that are almost never seen on such an aged machine. A museum piece and a very rare opportunity for any serious collector of Vespas.

For more information, please contact:
Paul Diamond
07768 313001


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