The Ape Car
Please forgive me for a bee story that contains no real bees, except the oh-so-beeish Ape Car.
The Ape Car is a 3 wheeled light-industrial vehicle built by Piaggio in Italy. The idea for the Ape (Italian for bee, and pronounced ah-pay) was conceived by the inventor of the Vespa motorbike.
After WWII there was a need in Italy for small vehicles to help with reconstruction, and the Ape Car was born. The Ape is really just a Vespa turned into a car. There’s often no steering wheel, just Vespa handlebars. They’re considered a micro mini-van.
Wikipedia says that most Apes are built in India, and they are mostly used for human transport in the design of an autorickshaw or ‘tuk-tuk.’
I first saw an Ape Car a few months ago in Gavirate, Italy, the small town we stayed in for a month, and I said “I want one of those!”
Our Italian beekeeping friend, as he was explaining the name of the vehicle, suddenly realized why they were called Apes – because of the buzzing sound that the engine makes! Bzzzzzzzzzzzz!
We also saw an Ape Car being used for landscaping on the grounds of Schloss Lichtenwalde near Chemnitz, Germany.
Recently we saw one used as a coffee stand at a market in Edinburgh,Scotland.
If you have spare time, go to YouTube and put in the search phrase “ape race” or “ape calessino” and you’ll be lost for hours!