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Cars Dawydiak Welcomes the Quintessential Italian Motor Scooter, Vespa
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, November 18, 2000 – Cars Dawydiak of San Francisco has been selected as the exclusive Northern California dealer for the Vespa, which returns to the U.S. this fall after a 15-year hiatus. The Vespa 2000 models are on display at the Company’s showrooms on the corner of Franklin and Bush Streets, and will be offered for sale this coming November.
The city that gave us North Beach, Ghirardelli chocolate, beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and some of the finest Italian restaurants in world will soon welcome another Italian icon to its bustling streets. Vespa, the iconic symbol of Italian style and romance, makes it triumphant return to the U.S. market this fall.
Tremendous pent-up desire over the years for the scooter’s return is clearly evidenced by a U.S. waiting list that is beginning to resemble the very congestion in our streets the Vespa was designed to conquer. Already, celebrities including Leonardo Di Caprio, Jerry Seinfield, Sting and Steven Spielberg have received Vespa 2000 models, heading a list that to date amounts to more than 6,000 orders. Vespa San Francisco alone expects sales of the new Vespa scooters to be between 50 and 100 per month in the Northern California region, which extends south to Monterey and North of San Francisco including Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Contra Costa Counties, and more.
The Vespa, developed in 1946 by aeronautical designer Corradino D’Ascianio, was meant to give post-war Italy an affordable, modern mode of transportation. When Enrico Piaggio saw the prototype, with its bicycle-style handlebars, bug-eyed headlights, narrow waist and flared, bulbous tail, he exclaimed: Sembra una vespa! – literally, “It looks like a wasp!”
The Vespa quickly caught on with Italians of all ages, its singular allure becoming a national symbol as recognizable as the Colosseum or the Sistine Chapel. Citizens saw it as both a symbol of reconstruction after the war and an icon of the working class. It swiftly became a leveling cultural force: costing just a few hundred dollars, the Vespa appealed to the old and young, rich and poor. Its ample floorboard, low-riding seat and enclosed engine (which protected the rider from exposure to grease and dirt) also made it suitable for women, who could ride in skirts without compromising modesty
During the 80’s, however, stringent demands of the EPA halted sales of the beloved Vespa in the United States. This did little though to quell the allure of the Vespa and the affection American’s continued to feel for the ultimate symbol of Italian style
San Francisco provides the perfect venue for the Vespa return due to its similarities to European cities, not only in its style and attitude, but also in its traffic, parking and fuel situation. The Vespa’s power, compact size and unparalleled handling make it the perfect contemporary mode of transportation for both the young and the young-at-heart and the ease of operation make it the ideal mode of urban transportation. Vespas are everywhere in Europe and soon will be everywhere in the United States and will most definitely be the most stylish and unique way to get around town anywhere on the Continent.
“In Rome, Vespas have taken over the whole city, and the reasons include the price of gas and the difficulty of getting around and parking in a car,” says dealership owner Walter Dawydiak. “Those same factors are now coming into play in San Francisco. Right now, there are at least 150,000 more cars than parking spaces in the city.”
The Vespa was first presented in Rome 50 years ago, and introduced to the U.S. market in 1951, and has since attained cult status as a symbol of Italian style and spirit. The scooters now dominate busy cities throughout Europe and beyond, and have played a major role in a variety of popular movies, such as Roman Holliday and Fellini’s La Dolce Vita with Marcello Mastroianni and a Vespa even appears in the opening scene of one of America’s newest cult classics, Austin Powers. It was not until 1953, when Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck fell in love on the back of a Vespa in the Academy Award-winning film Roman Holiday, that America first discovered the motor scooter on a wide scale. Just as in the film, Vespa became a symbol of freedom, movement and romance. It was its simplicity and accessibility that allowed Hepburn’s Princess Anne character to live life as a commoner, and its chic style that allowed her to retain her regality in doing so. The movie, Roman Holiday, epitomizes the spirit of Vespa as it endures today. From Hollywood’s elite to the average American on the street, the cult of Vespa remains relevant at all levels of society.
Over the last 54 years the Vespa has only become more beloved and more associated with the freedom and style that is Italy – its singular allure a national symbol as recognizable as the Colosseum or the Sistine Chapel.
Vespas were imported into the United States starting around 1950, but that ended in 1984 because their two-stroke engines did not meet U.S. emissions standards. Now, because the new models have been built with a four-stroke engine, Vespas are returning to the U.S. and exclusively sold in selected “Vespa Boutiques”. Cars Dawydiak, located on Franklin & Bush Streets in San Francisco serves the San Francisco Bay Area and all of Northern California.
Combining the finer aspects of Piaggio’s rich past and modern technological advancements, the Vespa 2000 ET2 and ET4 models convey a spirit of timelessness. Dedicated fans will be pleased to discover the sleek, aeuronautical body, sturdy floorboard, centered-mounted protruding headlight and 100% stainless steel body remain unchanged. Speed enthusiasts and environmentalists will marvel at the ET2’s 50cc, two stroke carburetor engine, capable of reaching speeds of up to 40 mph, and the ET4’s 150cc, environmental-friendly four stroke engine, with a top speed of 60 mph – both of which far exceed EPA emission standard requirements.
Piaggio USA Inc., the Northern American arm of Piaggio, will launch the ET2 (50cc, $2,950) and the ET4 (150cc, $3,950) models, both of which will be available with an automatic gearbox and electric start.
The scooters come in a fashionable array of colors – Ivory, Pearl, Light Green, Rubino Red, Silver, Black, Cobalt Blue and Light Blue – with Saddles in Black or Blue.