1959 Vespa 400

Sale Price
21 October 2022
Sold Date
Lot Number
Enthusiast restoration
Auction House
Chassis no. 19571. Red with white vinyl retractable top over blue and gray vinyl. 393/20hp two-stroke twin, 4-speed, wheel covers, whitewalls, wing mirrors.

Evaluation: Quick respray with orange peel and particles in the finish, plus a few scratches and touch ups. A few scuffs in the top. Clean interior. Original windows. The windshield rubber doesn’t quite fit straight. A budget restoration on a budget classic.

Bottom Line: With the tiny proportions but lovely styling, the red color and the retractable top, it’s pretty much impossible to think about owning and driving this car without phrases like “Dolce Vita” coming to mind. The Vespa 400 was built under contract in France to the designs off Piaggio (Vespa’s parent company) from late 1957 to 1961 but was never built in large numbers and isn’t a common sight anywhere, especially the US. This one is usable (as usable as a car with 14 hp and a 51-mph top speed can be, anyway), has every bit as much personality as an Isetta, and sold for about what an Isetta in this condition would have. It’s a solid deal for both parties.

by Andrew Newton
29 October 2022
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.