Italy was flattened after the Second World War. By virtue of fighting on both sides, it, or more importantly, its industry and economy were losers. In the post war years, Italian transport industry righted itself by making scooters and other inexpensive vehicles since that was all the populace could afford. But what if you needed something larger to transport your goods, but couldn’t afford a truck? Find this 1966 Vespa Ape Truck for sale in McMinnville, OR for $7,775 via craigslist.
In 1947 Corradino D’Ascanio, the inventor of the Vespa had the idea to add two wheels and a bed to the back of a scooter to make a light weight commercial vehicle. Vespa manufacturer Piaggio went with the idea and began producing three wheeled scooter-trucklett in 1948. Piaggio kept on manufacturing Apes until 2013, when production was moved to India. It is still in production there today.
Ape is Italian for bee, which refers to the hard working aspect of the vehicle and has nothing to do with primates. By the 60’s, the Ape had grown weather protection in the form of a cab. This Ape, being a 1966 with a single rectangular headlight, is powered by a 175cc aircooled two-stroke. It’s also the first Ape with a cabin heater. Minimalism is the order of the day inside the cab, but it was better than being out in the weather.
The little two smoker is located under the seat in the cab. Bring some ear plugs. But hey, it means its a mid-engined Italian, right? And it is red…
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Gianni is Daily Turismo’s Pacific Northwest correspondent.