Vespa P200E

The following article deals with the Vespa P200E type history. This refers to the origin, development, and technology of the P200E. Vespa stands for wasp and P stands for the manufacturer Piaggio. The 200 stands for the displacement in cubic centimetres and E stands for the electronic thyristor ignition. The Vespa P200E was the most powerful variant of the New Line. The P-series Vespas were intended to replace the entire Sprint/Rally/Superseries in one fell swoop.  The Piaggio group built ~160,000 vehicles of this model between 1977 and 1983. In Germany, the P200E was in the market starting from 1978. In contrast to the first Italian version (Senza Frecce), the German version possessed turn signals. The Italian P200E was already on the market together with the P125X in 1977. The P150X followed in 1978.

1977. Jimmy Carter is elected to the White House in the United States. Leonid Brezhnev becomes the Soviet head of state and Nikki Lauda wins Formula 1 in a bright red Ferrari. The Clash is releasing the first album and Star Wars is running in theatres. It is at this time that the P series will be presented at the Eicma Motorcycle Show in Milan by Piaggio. For this purpose, a model of this Vespa over 4 meters high will be exhibited. At that time, it was not known that this Vespa model would shape the market for the next 3 decades. More than 3 million vehicles would be sold. But what was the impetus for the development of this wasp?

A long review: In the post-war year 1946, the Piaggio aircraft plant put the Vespa into production. The aircraft engineers had done nothing but build a splashboard with a nose wheel and rear engine. Motorcycle connoisseurs considered the wasp rather a mayfly. But the mockery did not last long. Already in 1956 the millionth Vespa was built. And until the late ’70s about 6 million wasps were built.

By the mid-1970s, the design of the Vespa was almost as refined as it was able to go. However, consumers’ tastes and new technologies, coupled with new regulations, led to a complete redesign of the Vespa. The result of this overall re-design was the P-Series Vespa. It was such a big break with the earlier style and design philosophy that many die-hard scooterists no longer considered the P-Series a “classic Vespa”. Too much plastic, strange new forms. Exactly this product scepticism still can be found today when it comes to commenting on the influx of new modern scooters within the scene. However, the P series has now found its place in the ranks of the classics. And their symbiosis of aesthetics and functionality is recognized worldwide.


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