This month, the grandaddy of motor scooters, the Vespa, turns 72.
In April 1946, the Vespa 98 was unveiled by vehicle manufacturer Piaggio at a golf club in Rome, Italy. Since then, the Vespa, “wasp” in Italian, has evolved into a line of scooters seen on roads the world over, including in Hong Kong, where the simplicity of its design is appreciated by enthusiasts and pizza-delivery riders alike.
Christian Keith, the owner of scooter specialist HK 2Stroke, was recently given a trove of photographs by the Chu family, who were among the first Vespa agents in Hong Kong, in the late 1950s.
“I was given the images as I am the only guy in Hong Kong with a vintage Vespa shop,” Keith says. “The grandson came in and was like, ‘Wow, cool shop. I have something for you.’”
Featuring “wasps” buzzing around the streets of a half-forgotten Hong Kong, some of those photographs are shown here. A larger selection will be displayed, with related exhibits, at 9 Yu Lok Lane, Sai Ying Pun, between April 12 and May 19.