"1960 Vespa 400"

For most people, the Vespa is an Italian motor scooter. If you're really hip to the subject however, you are aware that there was also a 4 wheeled vehicle which carried the Vespa nameplate.


  • Layout: Rear Engine, Rear wheel drive.
  • Engine: Two cylinder, two stroke, air cooled. Bore, stroke: 63mm x 63mm (392 cc).
    Compression ratio: 6.4 to 1.
  • Suspension: Four wheel independant.Four double acting hydraulic shock absorbers with coil springs.
  • Transmission: 3 speed, with 2nd, 3rd and reverse synchromesh. 4 speed available in non US markets.
  • Body Dimensions: Width: 50 inches. Length: 112.5 inches. Height: 49.2 inches. Weight: under 850 lbs. Track, front and rear: 43.3 inches. Wheelbase: 66.75 inches.

Performance: With only 18 hp, there isn't any. Top speed is 50 to 55 mph, depending on road grade, wind conditions, etc. Achieving said top speed takes a leisurely 25 seconds. The reward for your patience is roughly 55 mpg.

Being a two stroke, it is necessary for certain amounts of oil to be added to the fuel for lubrication. Measuring the oil is accomplished by an ingenious device (left) mounted below the oil tank which would enable the owner to add the proper amount via a dial setting.

(Right) The two stroke engine.

The Vespa takes being different seriously. In front, where you would normally expect a radiator or perhaps luggage space, is the battery. A slide out tray makes the Vespa battery possibly the easiest to service in the history of the automobile.
You would expect seating in such a small car to be uncomfortable, but you'd be wrong. The Vespa may be tiny, but of the space it does occupy a generous amount is given to the driver and passenger. Note the "suicide" doors. It is however a 2 seater. Anyone who sits in back should either be very small or willing to travel with wind in the face. Co-owner Steve Sego demonstrates.

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