We have been chasing this unique deal on Bonhams,one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques.
They have recently sold an amazing 1962 model of Piaggio Ape Calessino for a relatevely cheap price of €7,130
Introduced in 1948, the three-wheeled Ape (Bee) is a lightweight commercial vehicle that borrowed much of its technology from Piaggio’s successful Vespa motor scooter, which mobilised an entire generation of Italians in the immediate post-war years. The end of hostilities in 1945 had left a number of companies that hitherto relied on military contracts looking for alternatives, Piaggio among them. Forbidden by the Allies from resuming his aviation business, Enrico Piaggio instructed his chief designer Corradino d’Ascanio to design a scooter, for which he believed a potential market existed, particularly among women. d’Ascanio’s aviation background meant that he was well versed in techniques of stressed-skin construction, and these were deployed in creating the Vespa’s monocoque chassis, a revolutionary development at the time. The name ‘Vespa’ (wasp) is said to have been inspired by the buzzing sound made by its single-cylinder two-stroke engine. Initially marketed as the ‘VespaCar’ or ‘TriVespa’, the Ape featured two wheels at the rear with a flat load platform above the axle. Bodies to suit various applications were offered, ranging from van and pickup types to the ‘auto-rickshaw’ for passenger transportation, a variant known as the ‘tuk-tuk’ in India where the Ape remains in production today.
Known as the ‘Calessino’, Italian versions of the auto-rickshaw was used as taxis on islands such as Capri and Elba, and this restored example is offered with Italian Estratto Cronologico.