We’ve brought you a few posts from the pen of Paolo Martin in the past, but here’s scooter he drew that finally became a reality. Ladies and gentlemen, we present the much maligned Piaggio Vespa Cosa.
When the Cosa arrived at the end of the 1980s, it was met with a less than luke warm reception. Looking at Martin’s drawings however, it seems it could have been much worse.
While the 1980s might fairly be described as ‘square’ in the automotive industry, cars and bikes alike being very box-like, it might also be fair to assume that Martin had spent a few years awaiting the box to come back into fashion!
While Martin dates the project as 1987, some of the drawings above (which he claims are part of the project) are potentially from an earlier time, suggesting that he used older ideas from previous work with Piaggio and developed those.
As well as utilising the hand of Martin, the Cosa was also famously the first Vespa to be developed with the aid of a wind tunnel. The result being a scooter that was a bit too modern for its time, quite a long way away from the traditional Vespa’s looks as well, while mechanically no faster than the PX range of Vespas it was designed to replace. Things were not boding well for Piaggio…
Having ridden many Vespas from old to new, and owned a Rally 200, PX200 and Cosa 200 over the years too, we can often report on scooters here at Scooternova ‘from the horse’s mouth’ (yes, we actually ride what we blog about!). From experience therefore, the Mk 1 Cosa 200 was a heavier and more lethargic version of the PX200.
However it was also a more sure-footed scooter on the road and more stable at full throttle in winds, especially noticeable for example when slip-streaming and then overtaking a lorry. The ride was comfortable as well, the seat spacious, and the Cosa’s linked hydraulic brakes were pretty good too (if a bit of a pig to bleed!), which together with improved handling did make for a nicer Vespa on the roads. Maybe we should have got that Malossi 210 kit re-lined and fitted it after all…
There was talk and discussion about liquid cooling Vespas at that time and the Cosa was potentially designed and produced with a liquid cooled engine in mind.
It’s just a shame that nobody bought the slow, less than stunning scooter which instead of replacing the Vespa actually cost Piaggio both money and reputation, resulting in the Cosa slowly fizzling out after a couple of (relatively minor) mechanical overhauls (the final nicasil lined 200cc version actually being quite good, but of course not the liquid-cooled 2-stroke Vespa engine we would have all loved to have seen), while the good old PX Vespa is still being produced today.
On the positive side, because of all this the Cosa is still a fairly cheap scooter to buy, and from experience if you can handle the looks, we reckon you’ll enjoy the ride…