Friday, June 10, 2011

Vespa 98 Circuito - 1947

The creative genius of Piaggio's engineers, which had led to the appearance of the first Vespa on Italian roads in 1946, was confirmed a few months later by the emergence of a real jewel from the experimental division of the Pontedera workshops.

The Vespa 98 Corsa was built with the specific objective of showing the world that a small scooter could be extremely competitive on the circuit. The "silver swarm" of Vespas that had taken over Italian roads and piazzas inspired Enrico Piaggio to produce a vehicle with an "aggressive" design that would race to win.

The Vespa 98 Corsa (Circuit) was hence built for speed in the races of its category and represented a concentration of innovative ideas to be tried out on standard production. It mounted the steering column and suspension on the right, a solution that would be applied to the Vespa 125 from 1948 on. The body was handbuilt on a steel frame. The brakes were drums; the rear had an air intake for cooling. It had the three-speed gear with the lever on the handlebar. Cooling was through forced air, ignition through a flywheel magneto with an internal coil. The clutch had multiple steel disks in a wet sump. The carburettor was a 17 mm Dell'Orto. The vehicle's original colour was red. It was a little “meteor" to dream with and inspire dreams on in those first few Vespa years.


2-stroke single cylinder engine with cast iron horizontal cylinder and aluminium head

Bore: 50 mm - Stroke: 50 mm - Displacement: 98 cc

Top speed: about 100 km/h

Suspension: coil springs and calipers shock absorber on the front wheel, leaf spring on the rear wheel

Brakes: drums

Tyres: Pirelli of the “corsa” type, 3.50-8"

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