Post World War II, a lot of Italians who were affected by the aftermath, lacked means of transport, specially four wheelers. This is when Corradino D’Asconio, an aircraft designer and the inventor of Vespa thought of a three-wheeled commercial vehicle design that would help in Italy’s economic re-construction. This really struck a cord with Enrico Piaggio, son of the founder of Piaggio, who immediately approved of the idea.
In 1948, the first Vespa-based Ape was launched. Called the Ape A, it was basically a regular Vespa with two wheels added to the rear. Underneath the metal body, it featured the same 125cc engine. The design of the rear chassis was such that a variety of bodies could be made and installed on it. This body that you see here is a beechwood and masonite-framed Giardinetta (later known as Calessino), which is one of the most iconic of them all.
More Information & Pictures