Piaggio unveiled the new Vespa Sprint in Rome in its 50cc and 125cc versions. The Sprint owes its origins to the Primavera, another historic brand name of Pontedera.  The first Primavera was created in the 60s. In order to create the Sprint, a more powerful, 90cc engine was installed under the small body of the 50- the Vespino. The Sprint came to be known as a rocket—a legend that soon spread all over the world. In 1965 the American advertising agency, Carl Ally, invented this slogan for the Vespa: “Maybe your second car, shouldn’t be a car.”

The 2014 Sprint introduces a new technical aspect that’s quite significant. For the first time in the history of this “small” model, there’s a 12-inch wheel in the front and in the rear (the new Primavera has a 10-inch wheel in the rear and an 11-inch wheel in the front). Not only is it appealing because it’s more sporty, but it’s also more comfortable and more stable to drive.

Every time I meet Marco Lambri, the chief designer of the Vespa, he always repeats one thing: “It’s difficult to make a beautiful, new Vespa. It’s a big responsibility.” And he isn’t wrong. The Vespa is a world-famous Italian icon (with nearly 190 thousand units sold in 2013, less of 5% in Italy) . The Vespa has always maintained its retro design precisely for this reason. Tradition is crucial to its success in the markets. Only Coca-Cola remains equally faithful to the retro design of its small bottles with renowned results.

When it comes to cars, the Fiat 500 and the Mini have always followed a similar path. They’ve only deviated with the extension models, but found success, nonetheless. Walter de Silva’s Volkswagen Beetle is far less retro when compared to the Porsche 911. The Porsche 911 is the model that has remained the most faithful to its history. It’s 50 years old and you’d never know it. Tradition only chafes those who don’t have it.

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