Piaggio has made Vespa scooters in Italy since just after World War II. The Vespa scooter is almost identical to the Nebraska-made Cushman scooters, which were plentiful in Italy during and after the war. The U.S. exported the Cushmans to transport military personnel easily throughout Italy. Piaggio was an aircraft company prior to the war, but due to the Allied war pacts made with Italy, they had to find another way to utilize their factory – and the already-in-use scooter was the perfect solution. In 2003, the company found itself nearing bankruptcy. However, with the investment of 100 million Euros, the company has since climbed into the position of the fourth largest manufacturer of scooters in the world. The ET4 has been around for several years prior to this incarnation, undergoing few changes to its design.
The air-cooled, 150 cc, single cylinder, carbureted, four-stroke engine has adequate horsepower, at 11.3 bhp, and reaches speeds of up to 65 miles per hour. The CVT saves the need to ever learn how to operate a clutch. Still, this scooter is not made for the freeway. Instead, consider it for urban areas, quick shopping trips, or better yet, the Italian countryside.
The cool instrumentation pod includes a digital clock, an analog speedometer, and fuel level gauge with low warning light. The rear rack is a combination rack with grab handles. With typical Vespa styling, which really hasn't changed all that much since Audrey Hepburn rode sidesaddle behind Gregory Peck back in the 1950s, the ET4 has lots of storage room. It has a small dash compartment and huge lockable under-seat storage. For additional storage, a rear trunk is available in matching colors or Italian leather.
At 69.3 inches long, with a seat height of 31.7 inches, this scooter has the typical Vespa feel and styling. Parking is simple, as it comes with a center stand. It has lots of cool accessories, including the addition of a top box, which enhances storage space and comes in matching paint colors or luxurious leather. Combine these features with Vespa's fancy suede seats, and you have an ostentatious display of classic Italian design.