At first glance, you might just think you’re looking at a nicely-kept Vespa 50 Special. In a way, it’s a sort of a stealth custom. The powertrain has been converted from gas to electric, but the Vespa’s design characteristics don’t make that obvious at first glance. This creation, unveiled during Milan Design Week 2022, is called the Vespa 50 Special-e, and it was crafted by a shop called Garage Italia.
For its part, Garage Italia has been around since 2015, when it was founded by Lapo Elkann. This custom shop does a lot of restomod work, but up until now, it’s only focused on cars. Lapo is a member of the Agnelli family, and is former Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli’s grandson. (His brother is John Elkann, a chairman of both Ferrari and Stellantis and CEO of Exor, a holding company with stakes in both automakers.)
Garage Italia’s headquarters are located on the Piazzale Accursio in Milan, which is where the debut took place. While the Vespa 50 Special-e represents Garage Italia’s first foray into the world of two wheels, it took the stage along with the shop’s headline piece, the Alfa Romeo Spider Duetto Hybrid it also debuted at Milan Design Week.
Why create the Vespa 50 Special-e? For one thing, it’s the latest entry in Garage Italia’s ongoing ICON-E series, which restomods Italian design classics into electric versions. The point, of course, is that design icons are forever, although powertrains may come and go. Previous projects in the ICON-E series include the Fiat 500 Jolly and Fiat Panda Integral-e.
For another thing, as Elkann explained at the event, the Vespa 50 Special-e was named for Giovannino Agnelli. He was Lapo’s cousin, and was also president of Piaggio in the 1990s. This member of the Agnelli family was tapped to take the reins of the Fiat empire, but tragically died at the age of 33 of a rare form of cancer. Prior to his untimely death, he pushed hard for the opening of the Piaggio Museum, which he unfortunately did not live to see realized—he passed away in 1997, and the museum opened in 2000. However, the museum was named for him upon opening, and it wouldn’t be the place that it is today without his vision.
The Vespa 50 Special-e isn’t a one-off build. Instead, it’s a demonstrator vehicle, of a series that Garage Italia CEO Sergio Esposito said is immediately available to pre-order immediately through Garage Italia’s official channels. Not much information is available about the electric powertrain involved, but it reportedly is a 7-kW motor, and range is said to be around 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) on a single charge.
Full information about the Vespa 50 Special-e isn’t posted on Garage Italia’s website yet, but you can surely contact them if you’re interested in discussing how to get your hands on one of your very own.