1966 Volkswagen Beetle

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Back in 1969, John, Ringo, Paul and George were on their way to Paul’s flat for a beer in John’s white Beetle. Yoko had bought it for his birthday along with a white birthday suit. His birthday was still a couple of months away but due to his incessant nagging, she gave him his presents early. Suddenly Paul said ‘Uv on-lee won ciggie left, best we git som moo-wer’ (that’s Liverpudlian if you didn’t pick it) and John said ‘Imagine thut’ and pulled up on the footpath, right opposite a shop. The four lads jumped out and strolled back to the zebra crossing. Once in order (John, Ringo, Paul and George) and after looking right-left-right, they crossed the road. When they reached the other side they realised the shop was shut. John stopped in his tracks and said ’Sod-it’. Ringo bumped into John and said ’Sod it John’. Paul had stopped with a stone in his foot and said ’sodding stones’ and George said ‘Yeah bot Sweet Virginia’s quart good’. They got back in order and returned to the car. The Beatles in a Beetle aye? Have to hand that to Yoko, nice one.

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Vespa GS150

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The Vespa motor scooter was a positive that fell out of Italy’s WWII years. Having had a smack on the hand by the Allies and told to stop making war planes, Enrico Piaggio did the next most obvious thing – he built a motorcycle, fully enclosed it in sheet metal (as one did an aeroplane) and called it a scooter. Well that’s not strictly true, the enclosed bodywork actually came about by employing a designer called Corradino D’Ascanio who hated motorcycles. A seemingly odd decision from Piaggio, but conveniently, D’Ascanio already had a scooter design in his back pocket – something he had whipped up for Ferdinando Innocenti at Lambretta, but it had been rejected. D’Ascanio’s design was revolutionary: he wanted the frame to be stamped steel, Innocenti had wanted rolled tube. ‘Stamped.’ ‘Rolled.’ ‘Stamped.’ ‘Rolled.’ went the argument and D’Ascanio left in a huff. Ensconced down the road at Piaggio, D’Ascanio set to work. Eventually, he revealed his new creation to Piaggio who exclaimed ‘Sembra una vespa!’ (which translates to something like ‘It would seem to be a wasp!). Thus, the Vespa was born. Sales grew steadily through the late 40s and then, in 1952, as luck would have it, Audrey Hepburn side-saddled Gregory Peck’s Vespa in the movie Roman Holiday for a spin through Rome – and the rest, as they say, is history.

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