Northern California Welcomes the Vespa!
Quintessential Italian Motorscooter Rolls into Cars Dawydiak of San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO - The city that gave us North Beach, Ghirardelli chocolate, beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and some of the finest Italian restaurants in the world will soon welcome another Italian icon to its bustling streets: the Piaggio Vespa scooter! 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 16-year hiatus. The scooters are already on display at the company showrooms on the corner of Bush and Franklin, and will be offered for sale this coming November.
The Piaggio Vespa was first presented in Rome 50 years ago, and has since attained cult status as a symbol of Italian style and spirit. The motorscooters now dominate busy cities throughout Europe and beyond, and have played a major role in a variety of popular movies, such as Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, and Fellini's La Dolce Vita with Marcello Mastroianni. A Vespa even appears in the opening scene of one of America's newest cult classics, Austin Powers.
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. to be initially sold in selected cities throughout the country.
A Cultural Connection
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.
"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 is known for its compact, aeronautic design, based on the vision of Enrico Piaggio, and talents of airplane and helicopter engineer Corradino D'Ascanio. The Vespa's ET2 (50cc) and Vespa ET4 (150cc) models will be the first versions of the motorscooter to be modified to meet the smog standards necessary for sale in the U.S. and Canada. Both are powerful enough to traverse San Francisco's hilly terrain, while small enough to squeeze into the tightest parking spots. In addition, the Vespa offers excellent fuel economy, which is becoming increasingly critical in this period of skyrocketing gas prices.
Cars Dawydiak has been delighting car aficionados for more than a decade with its exhilarating collection of new and pre-owned sports cars and imports. In addition to its role as the exclusive Northern California dealer for Piaggio Vespa motorscooters, the company is also the sole Northern California distributor for Panoz Development Company, which creates the Roadster and Esperante sports cars. Cars Dawydiak also offers a premium assortment of vintage European autos, from Austin Healeys to Porsches, and specializes in detailing and collision repair for high-end vehicles.
Cars Dawydiak is currently taking orders and deposits for the Vespa scooters, which are expected to take the city by storm upon their arrival. The company also plans a host of autumn events, from European style soirees to foreign film nights, in celebration the Vespa's return. For more information on the Vespa and upcoming events, stop by the Cars Dawydiak showrooms at the corner of Bush and Franklin.