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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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La Dolce Vespa: 1955

La Dolce Vespa: 1955

July 1955. "Vespa motor scooters in Rome, Italy." From photos taken for Look magazine. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


I have a 64 Lambretta that I rebuilt from a barn recovery...It'll get refreshed this winter...

Here's mine

I bought mine from Sears, Roebuck & Co. about 1962 for about $300. Repaid my dad with earnings from a Roswell Daily Record paper route.

The Sweet Wasp

I bought a (new) red 1965 Vespa when I was in high school...not much different from the ones pictured here - cost a little over $300, and it's still in the family! Nice to see these '50's models with original, authentic Italian accessories. LOVE the roll bars on the Vespa in the center. Wish I'd had a set on mine...(ouch!)

MV Agusta

The bike with the tag numbered 4951 appears to be a 1955 MV Agusta 125 cc TR. Power came from a single cylinder four stroke. Race prepared MV Agustas were formidable competitors well before 1955, and the brand is still available today.

Wasp Minority

Lambrettas outnumber the Vespas (Italian for wasp). There are two LDs and a naked D along with the Benelli, the MV and the mystery bike at the end

Hype, Italian Style

"You will be torn from your seats - Taken into the screen - Become actors in the film!" sez the Cinerama posters. This Is Cinerama opened at the Sistina Cinema on June 28, 1955 and played for 49 weeks.

Other films: L'ultimo ponte, a 1954 Austrian production released as Die letzte Brücke and later in 1957 in the US as The Last Bridge; Operazione Mitra (1951); Le vacanze del Sor Clemente (1954). Steve Barclay of Operazione Mitra was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1918, had minor roles in US films in the 40s, then apparently worked exclusively in Italy starting 1949, even once co-starring with Sophia Loren. IMDb lists his last film in 1956, and his death in 1994 in Rome. I couldn't find if he rode a Vespa.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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