The world’s oldest surviving Piaggio Vespa scooter is selling at Catawiki.
It’s numbered 1003, making it the third of the 60 original prototypes manufactured by the Italian company in 1946.
Remarkably, it still runs perfectly.
The Vespa has been partially stripped of its paint
Piaggio manufactured bombers for the Italian air force during the second world war. When Italy surrendered to the allies in 1943, it was no longer permitted to construct aeroplanes.
The company decided to work on a cheap, fast and manoeuverable form of transport that could nip around the piles of rubble and destroyed roads left in the wake of war.
It launched in 1946 to a stunned reaction from crowds at the Milan Fair. Over time sales took off – by 1950 it was selling 60,000 a year.
However, its biggest boost came in 1952 when one appeared in the film Roman Holiday (starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck).
The lot is valued at £217,030-282,130 ($271,470-352,900), with bidding already at £141,066 ($176,451) ahead of the March 28 close date.
It’s poised to smash the record for a scooter at auction, set at $209,000 for a replica of Jimmy’s Lambretta from mod movie Quadrophenia at a charity auction in 2013.
Aucioneer Darren Marelli told Forbes magazine: "Over the years, Vespa has become the No. 1 symbol representing Italy.
"The brand is known all around the world, and there are many collectors acquiring antique Vespas.
“We hope this Vespa will end up in the hands of a collector or in a museum that will protect this piece of Italian history for future generations."
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