The vehicle that invented light transport in 1948 is still as relevant as ever. It is extremely small and very easy to handle. It has got a load capacity worthy of a "true commercial vehicle", with several engines and versions to suit every single need. It is still the only transport vehicle that can be driven at age 14.
No business vehicle in the world can boast a comparable history.
For nearly seventy years this three-wheel vehicle has travelled every road in the world and guaranteed transportation for all sorts of merchandise. The Ape has written one of the most important pages in the history of urban mobility and light transport. It's a one of a kind vehicle and, in its own way, a transport icon. Anyone can close their eyes and envision an Ape. The vehicle's unmistakeable silhouette has journeyed far and wide, through time and space, both at home and abroad.
To talk about the Ape is to reflect on a segment of Italian history that started over fifty years ago with an ingenious plan by aeronautical designer Corradino D'Ascanio and the great foresight of Enrico Piaggio.
The Ape is a timeless legend that has experienced and marked key moments in the history of Italy, from post-WWII to the present. Ever since it first appeared on the market in 1948, the Ape has always been faithful to the original concept of a lightweight, agile and versatile vehicle. Though it has evolved and improved over the years, it has invariably been true to itself, remaining always, unmistakably Ape.
This has held true ever since the first Ape, produced while the reconstruction of Italy was in full swing, to the Ape C that accompanied Italy during the economic boom; from the futuristic 5-wheel Ape Pentarò of the early 1960s, to the Ape Car that reigned supreme in the 1970s. And then there was the Ape TM designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro in 1982 and contemporary versions like the Ape Cross, which targets the younger generation.
The long history of the Ape has marked entire generations, making the vehicle extraordinarily popular. Ever since its debut, the Ape has consistently been ready to provide invaluable support for workers. With the passing of time, the number of models and equipment on the Ape has multiplied, turning it into an irreplaceable companion for any transporter.
What's more, the Ape range boasts a great many outfittings that can adapt the vehicle to the specific needs of professionals in both public and private sectors. The different Ape outfittings underscore the effort made by Piaggio to pair flexibility with the traditional values of the vehicle: sturdy, easy to drive and inexpensive to operate.
THE RANGE: AN APE FOR EVERY NEED
The Ape 50 is without a doubt the smallest and most generous range of commercial vehicles in the world. It is also the youngest, since it can be driven with just a “patentino” [teen driver's licence], by drivers as young as 14. Small? Yes, the Ape 50 is unbeatable when it comes to finding a place to park or driving smoothly along the narrowest of roads. Generous? Extremely so. It has unbelievable capacity considering its size and fuel consumption (up to 200 kg in weight and 1.5 m3 in volume). The Ape 50 has got a deck that's easy to access, is as spacious as the van version and as young as the Cross version, and offers a great number of possible solutions.
Ape 50 Deck: the original. Always ready to lend a hand. This Ape is unbeatable in terms of size, handling and fuel efficiency. It is ideal for small transport in rural and urban areas.
Ape 50 Van: the little deliveryman. This vehicle is useful for making frequent small deliveries in the city. Besides having a lot of space, it is easy to load and absolutely reliable.
Ape Cross Country: the youthful “pick-up”. There's no way you can escape notice with this mini-vehicle, given its trendy colours and its safe and sturdy roll-bars.
This is a modern version of the great classic, the Ape Piaggio. The Ape Classic is indeed shaped after the most traditional Ape (the legendary 601). There is “vintage” appeal in the timeless, rounded shape covering the incredibly sturdy frame and modern 435cc Euro 4 diesel engine.
The Ape Calessino is the perfect return to the legendary design of the 1960s, which echoes the sunny Mediterranean, is iconic of a lifestyle, and symbolises elegant, exclusive minimalism. The traditional sturdiness and ease of handling that are typical of the Ape are enriched by prestigious “yachting style” finishings. The livery is a refined sand colour. The Ape Calessino is type approved for carrying three people who are welcomed by its comfortable cream-coloured saddlery. The frames on the four doors are made of polished stainless steel and covered with a washable, waterproof fabric. The same material was also used for the adjustable sunroof. The Ape Calessino can be driven with an A1 driver's licence, as early as age sixteen.
It's the veritable "Queen Bee" of transportation, one that has been evolving in step with Italian society since 1948, and will continue to do so into the future.