Ape Cars in Pitigliano

Ape Car, An Iconic Italian Story

The Ape car is a ubiquitous work vehicle that’s iconic in Italy. What the word Ape means in Italian, plus the history of the Ape Car in Italy.

Ape Car

Now that I live in the Italian Alps I hear an Ape zip by my balcony around 5 o’clock every day. Maybe in time, it will get annoying, but right now, it’s full of charm. If you’ve never been to Italy or heard an Ape run, take a listen to the video below. You’ll quickly see where the Ape got its name!

I 50 anni dell'Ape, il raduno e la partenza da Pontedera

What the Word Ape Means in Italian

Pronounced ‘ah-pay’ the word ape itself means bee or more specifically honeybee in Italian. Therefore, the name Ape was given to those adorable mini motorized Piaggio vehicles in Italy because of the sound they make. Plus, in the same way, a bee buzzing around you cannot be ignored, an Ape will turn heads in Italy.

History of the Ape Car in Italy

After the war, many Italian families were living in poverty. Because of this, Piaggio began producing the Ape in 1948. The designer behind the Vespa came up with the idea of adding a third wheel specifically to balance a rear flatbed across the axle to save production costs. Hence the VespaCar or TriVespa was born.

Ape Car
Ape Car Image from Piaggio La festa per celebrare la versione 50 cc dello storico veicolo. Apini da tutta Italia sono arrivati nella città della Piaggio (Video Silvi)

The cab was added in later models to protect the driver. The VespaCar earned its nickname Ape thanks to the distinctive buzzing sound it makes while zipping around small villages.

Ape Car Photos

Apes are still used as they were traditionally designed by Piaggio to be in Italy. In fact, not a day goes by that I don’t see one of these little work vehicles in my town. In other words in Italy, Apes are iconic.

While in contrast, outside of Italy, you might have seen an Ape and not even know it! Because Apes are so cute and rare outside of Italy, they come across as retro kitsch. Consequently, they are commonly used as food trucks, coffee carts, and breweries on the go!

Now you know!

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Official Piaggio Site for Ape Cars

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