By Ryan Adams
Inside a former tool-shop located on the Piaggio facility’s grounds in Pontedera, Italy sits a treasure trove of history, a time capsule if you will, which allows visitors a look into the past of some, but not all, of the brands currently included under the Piaggio umbrella. The 32,000 sq ft Museum is located in one of the oldest parts of the Piaggio complex where, in the early 1920s after purchasing the facility, Piaggio began production of airplane engines.
Without even entering the museum, the rich history can be felt when walking by the century old buildings. A shining example of Italian industry. Though the history itself is rich and interesting, a top 10 list isn’t the place to try to describe the company’s past 100 years. No, instead we’ll take a look at the top 10 sights seen at the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera as curated by yours truly.
1936 Piaggio MC2 54 Railway
A stainless steel railcar meets you as you approach the museum. In the mid-30s, Piaggio was the first in Italy to start building stainless steel railcars and electric locomotives. Stainless steel was chosen for its lasting qualities and required much less maintenance than other materials and techniques of the time. Piaggio licensed a welding technique from the Philadelphia-based Budd Company known as “shotwelding”. This technology was imperative for joining pieces of stainless steel without damaging its anti-corrosion properties. In 1937, Piaggio sold ten of these MC2 50 series with electric drive to the Ferrovie Calabro-Lucane, a railway of southern Italy. Engine 54 was later purchased back by Piaggio, restored, and parked halfway inside the museum as seen above.
Enrico Piaggio soon realized, at the end of WWII, there would be a market for mass-produced cheap means of transportation which sparked the idea for the MP5. The …read more