Officially Official: Vespa S is here in the U.S.

Click on the image for more high-res shots of the new Vespa S150

Vespa has tons of history to draw upon when it comes time to introduce a new scooter model. Take the new S model, for instance. Using the same 150cc four-stroke single cylinder engine that is used in the LX series, Vespa somehow manages to make each individual model seem unique. Obvious visual changes do exist, despite the familiar profile case by the steel monocoque body, which has the "cut-down" look popularized by owners looking to add a bit of sportiness to their scoots. Conspicuous in its absence is the usual modern Vespa glove box. The headlight is square, mimicking some of Vespa's older models from the '50s, '60s and '70s. Note, too, the streamlined look of the solo seat, which makes the 59 mph machine look faster than it really is. Vespa was sure to mention the fuel mileage of 90 miles per gallon and its low carbon footprint in their press release, pasted after the break. Take a look at our gallery and take note of the custom graphics which are available directly from your nearest Vespa dealer.

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[Source: Vespa]

Press Release:

Italian manufacturer Piaggio, renowned for revolutionary ideas in personal transportation, announces the debut of the 2008 Vespa S, a retro-forward 150cc interpretation of the iconic "Vespino" scooters that dominated the European street scene in the '60s and '70s. Combining advanced technology and iconic styling, the new Vespa S embraces the rebellious spirit that inspired an entire generation to change the world. With its pure, minimalist lines, sporty performance, inconspicuous carbon footprint and creative customization options, the Vespa S is now ready to empower a whole new generation of riders to challenge the conventions of our time.

Vespa Heritage: Designed to Change the World

When Italian manufacturer Piaggio introduced its first Vespa scooters in the post-war 1940s, they were born of functional necessity: personal mobility for the masses in a changing era. Though designed to be simple, sturdy and economical, the sense of Italian style was never an afterthought. The Vespa's aircraft-inspired unibody frame, with its clean, efficient lines, stylish contours and revolutionary features set a design benchmark that introduced comfort and elegance to the sensibility of personal transport.

Prominently featured in the 1952 film Roman Holiday, the Vespa began to play a role in popular culture and became an international phenomenon. Beloved by bohemians, artists and actors, Vespa also remained a populist icon, a testament to its charm. In the 50s, European Vespa clubs numbered in the tens of thousands, while American screen icons John Wayne and Marlon Brando took to the streets on Vespas between takes. British mods, celebrated in such films as Alfie and Quadrophenia, rallied around Vespa a decade later.

During the 60s and 70s, the Vespa Special and Primavera models became symbols for the revolutionary ideas of the time. As the protest movement raged, Hollywood stars such as Steve McQueen and Dennis Hopper chose Vespas for their personal style statements and innovative advertisements and style refinements kept the Vespa ahead of the cultural curve during the 70s. Today, the Vespa S continues the company's unique ability to capture its rebellious spirit in one technically advanced package.

Trademark Styling, Advanced Engineering

The spirit and soul of the 2008 Vespa S is in the authentic details. Classic Vespa trademarks such as chrome trim, the minimalist front shield, the unique rectangular headlight first seen in the 50 Special, the rounded rear light and a 70s-inspired single-seat saddle with contrasting piping all pay homage to the Vespa S' legendary predecessors.

The Vespa's structural integrity is just as innovative as its design. The Vespa's high-strength steel body acts as the scooter's structural frame, a design solution unique in the world of scooter production. In addition to superior strength, the frame is exceptionally rigid, resulting in excellent road holding and precision control. The scooter's low center of gravity also makes riding it supremely simple.

Equipped with an advanced front disc/rear drum brake system, the Vespa S offers confident stopping power. The 11" front and 10" rear wheels with light alloy rims add to the Vespa S' excellent stability, and a 150cc single- cylinder, four-stroke engine delivers sporty acceleration. Located inside the body, the 2.3 gallon fuel tank allows easy access to the engine and maximizes the size of the under-seat storage compartment.

Sporty and agile performance combined with low emissions and high fuel economy reflect Vespa's commitment to safety, reliability and environmental respect. Like all Vespa scooters, the clean-running Vespa S sips fuel while delivering miles of riding thrills - over 90 miles for every gallon of gas. And, with a top speed of 59 miles per hour, the four-stroke Vespa S is ready to get you to your next protest march, reunion tour - or the office - in record time.

Make Your Vespa Your Canvas

Vespa has always been synonymous with freedom of expression, and the Vespa S invites buyers to show their creative side with six new optional graphic kits. Easily applied at the dealership, each decal collection celebrates an element of Vespa's heritage and personality. For example, buyers can show their passion for la dolce vitae with stylized Italian flag decals or rock on with a very "Mod" United Kingdom flag theme. A Sixties-style flower motif and a retro rally theme complete the collection.

Additional accessories for the Vespa S include a matching body-color 8 1/2 gallon top box, a chrome-plated tilting rear luggage rack and a European-style half-helmet.

The 2008 Vespa S has a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $4099. Available colors include Dragon Red, Shiny Black and Optic White.

[Source: Vespa]

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