London: The world’s oldest Vespa, a handcrafted scooter that featured in Audrey Hepburn’s hit 1953 film Roman Holiday, is up for auction and is expected to fetch € 300,000. The scooter, with chassis number 1003, is the third Vespa ever made by Piaggio, the Italian manufacturer.

The scooter is part of Piaggio’s “0 series”, which included 60 prototypes. The first two prototypes no longer exist. “We hope this Vespa ends up in the hands of a collector or a museum who will protect this piece of Italian history for future generations,” said Davide Marelli, Vespa expert at Catawiki, an auction site in line.

The scooter was handcrafted in 1946 and is in working order. He should raise between 250,000 and 300,000 €.

The history of Vespa dates back to the end of World War II. Piaggio was originally a manufacturer of warplanes, but they were no longer allowed to continue production after the war due to Italy’s collaboration with the Germans.

As a result, Piaggio’s management team reoriented manufacturing efforts on the now famous scooters. From 1946 Piaggio became known for its Vespa scooters which quickly became popular in Italy.

In 1953, the release of Audrey Hepburn’s film Roman Holiday, a film that features the scooter in a leading role, set Vespa on the path to cult status today.

As is the case with some cars, Vespa scooters have become more and more valuable over time. “Thanks to a huge fan base, old Vespa scooters tend to retain their monetary value,” said Marelli. “A 1970s Vespa scooter, for example, may be worth five times its original retail price. The older the Vespa, the more valuable it is,” he said.

The auction is currently underway and will run until March 28.

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