My obsession with scooters has come back on itself yet again and naturally in light of this I’m doing a lot more digging into these two wheels than I normally would. Whilst restoring two Vespas at the moment and looking for spares, I came across this design concept from a guy called Paolo Martin. Although a recognisable Vespa shape from the 80s this design had much more of the era concentrated into the panels and as usual I just had to find out more.
Martin was an Italian car designer, and worked for manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Fiat. However, the latter part of his career in the 80s he did some work for Piaggio.
It’s the mid 1980s, which, for Piaggio, started out well, their Vespa P-range was dominating the two-wheeled scooter market but there were signs of a few cracks appearing as the Japanese started to make in-roads with alternative automatic options. The 80s was a decade of angular design and based on Martin’s portfolio he was the man to carry them through in this direction.
The scooter that he designed was known as the GS H20. A liquid-cooled 200cc engine with a name that gave homage to one of the iconic Vespa’s of all time, the GS. It was a strong directional step away from the bubbly softer lines of the Vespa that most people knew (and loved) – and that was just their strategy when they were working on this prototype. Unfortunately (for me), this model never made it into production, but it’s a great insight into the works of this domineering automotive brand in times of uncertainty.