Despite everyone in the world of scooter manufacturing favouring automatic (CVT) engines these days, Italian firm Piaggio have launched a new version of their three-wheeled Ape, with a 4-speed engine. Launched back in the 1940s shortly after their Vespa scooter, Piaggio developed the Vespa Ape (as it was known back then) as a small commercial vehicle to accompany the Vespa scooter, both as an affordable alternative as well as one suitable for weaving its way through Italy’s small streets.
The people carrying version – Calessino – came after the goods version, and soon found a place in the holiday resorts on the Italian coast as a great taxi for holiday makers, before being adopted in India as the taxi of choice for their crowded cities.
In the good old days, the engines for the Ape range were baed upon Vespa motors, 50cc, 125, 150 and 200cc varients of the 3 and 4 speed scooters. In recent years versions using small capacity diesel engines have been produced and then earlier this year Piaggio announced a new 4-speed 200cc Ape 4-stroke engine.
This new version of the Ape Calession 200 three-wheeler, the 200 HL (High Line) was launched in early October 2014 and is based on that earlier 200. It features revamped aesthetics including new rear lights, wheel covers, cab edge trim, seat covers and dash colour.
What’s of potentially more interest however is that Piaggio are obviously investing in geared engines still, albeit 4-stroke in this instance, but for those of us that still love a geared 2-stroke, it is a glimmer of light, still flickering in the distance.
The Ape Calessino 200 HL is available in Artic White and British readers can hopefully get some more details here.