At the end of World War II Enrico Piaggio gave Corradino D’Ascanio the job of designing a simple vehicle tough, economic and elegant. It had to be easily rideable by anybody without dirtying their clothes, and have a seat for a passenger.
D’Ascanio, who was not a great lover of motorbikes as such, drew up a completely original vehicle.
Digging into his aeronautics background he came up with the idea of a vehicle mounted on a chassis with the gear change on the handlebars. He also put the drive on the rear wheel so creating a highly original wheel-mounted engine grouping. The front suspension arm, looking a bit like an aircrafts landing gear, made changing the wheel much easier.
This prototype, the MP6, was still without a name when in September 1945 was presented to Enrico Piaggio, who, exclaimed: “It looks like a wasp!”.
The absence of the engine cooling fan, the brake lever on the left side instead of the right, the horn under the saddle, the footboard’s aluminium laths, and the aeronautical symbol on the front shield are the most important differences between the MP6 and the future versions of the Vespa.
Two-stroke single cylinder engine with the cylinder in iron and the cylinder head in light alloy
Bore: 50 mm - Stroke: 50 mm - Displacement: 98 cc
Top speed: 37.28 mph
Suspension: elastic with a steel spring on the front wheel and rubber pads for the rear wheel and the engine
Tyres: 3.50– 8”
Source : http://www.museopiaggio.it/collezionevespa/collezione_Vespa_en.html