We love a 3-wheeler and so when we discover something strange even about these little vehicles, it catches our attention. Like this Ape which we spotted at the Museo Piaggio at the Piaggio factory in Pontedera in Italy.
Both Innocenti and Piaggio made commercial versions of their respective Lambretta and Vespa scooters and while a few made their way onto our shores here in the UK, in their native Italy especially they were (and in the case of Piaggio’s Ape, still are) a big seller.
It should come as no surprise therefore that there have been an abundance of aftermarket accessories available for these versatile little vehicles, but here’s one we’ve not seen before.
The very early Ape three-wheelers by Piaggio were based on their Vespas with a commercial back-end mated to a scooter at the front. Compared to a regular van this left the rider exposed to the elements throughout the day so Piaggio soon added a cab to their Apes.
Prior to the cabs though, it was down to some clever thinking to keep the drivers dry. This aftermarket product appears to be part tent, part windscreen, consisting of a framework below, around and above the rider, upon which a cover is attached, with eyelets to secure it with. At the front are a mixture of clear panes as well as a plastic screen and also a windscreen wiper. At the side are doors which can be rolled back – the full executive package!
I suppose the reason we don’t see many of these covers today is that they would be over 60 years old by now, and unlike the metal Vespa scooters and Ape three-wheelers, wouldn’t survive being left in a shed or garage for decades, unloved and unwanted so well. As such, I suppose we are quite lucky to see an example today.
incidentally, you can learn more about the 5-wheeled Ape fire engine pictured in the background of some of these photos, by clicking here and more blog posts about Apes in general by clicking here1, here2, here3 and here4.