The rumor mill is running full blast after this weekend’s Piaggio dealer meeting in Florida, where the company displayed the Vespa 946 “Quarantasei ” concept unveiled late last year at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan. The Quarantasei immediately became an Internet sensation, flooding blogs, Twitter and Tumblr posts. As of last October, it was merely a look at “a possible future,” according to Vespa.
This weekend, photos of the 946 seen in Florida were posted to ModernVespa and various dealers’ social media feeds. While details remain sketchy, it seems that some version of the 946 will be going into production. According to Vespa Santa Rosa (via their Facebook page), the 946 will be a 2013 model. This was also confirmed by David Meyers, owner of Vespa Sherman Oaks, who responded to a ModernVespa query: “Our rep told us it will be produced and imported as a 2013 model.”
However, Piaggio has previously announced scooters for the US (such as the hybrid MP3) that have never been released here or which arrived a year or more after the original target dates. Piaggio Group has yet to make a formal announcement or issue a press release regarding Vespa 946 production. Here’s what the company had to say about it in their October EICMA release:
The Vespa 946 is a window on future trends in style and technology .
At EICMA 2011 the Vespa 946 unveils a possible future with a tribute to the MP6, the original prototype and progenitor of the world’s most famous scooter, an unsurpassed example of Italian style and creativity. By distilling the essence of a scooter that changed the style of individual mobility forever and enhancing the lines that secured its success, the Pontedera Style Centre has projected the Vespa into a possible future where references and projections, tradition and innovation, merge seamlessly. The vibrant heart of the Vespa 946 is a state-of-the-art engine that paves the way for forthcoming advances, with low fuel consumption and minimal exhaust and noise emissions.
Should the striking 946 appear on US shores in 2013, it could mark the debut of a new 3-valve 125cc/150cc Piaggio engine.
Some more concrete and reliable news did come from the meeting, however. As we reported earlier, the Aprilia SRV850 maxiscooter will be breaking speed limits in the US within a year.
UPDATE, Monday, March 19: Motorcycle.com is reporting that Piaggio is reporting that Piaggio has confirmed that the Vespa 946 is going into production. However, there are no additional details, no credited source at Piaggio and no mention to a press release. While we don’t dispute the probability that the 946 will be produced at some point, the time frames are still unconfirmed and tenuous. Several factors cast doubt on whether this model could arrive in “late 2012 as a 2013 model,” as the Motorcycle.com post suggests: The model will likely undergo many design changes prior to production, has not been announced beyond North America and has yet to be officially announced by Piaggio Group.