Gables Service Station
1 July 2005
This lot is offered without a reserve
c.1982 EMPOLINI TRIPLET THREE WHEELER PICK-UP
Chassis No. DGM161140M11M*D938*
Engine: single cylinder, two-stroke, 49cc; Gearbox: three speed manual; Suspension: front, coil spring, rear, semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: hydraulic drums all round. Single seater.
In 1946 former ship-fitter and aeronautical manufacturer Piaggio created one of the most recognisable style icons of the Twentieth century: the Vespa. Two years later they released a vehicle which would be credited with an instrumental role in rebuilding Italy's economy, the Ape (pronounced "Appay") commercial. This scooter-based three-wheeler offered small and economical carrying facilities to small businesses, traders, and farmers, and was an immediate success. It did not take long for this success to find its imitators, and a number of companies sprung up offering similar products.
One of these was Milan-based Empolini, an enterprise about which very little is known. It would seem that the company only produced commercial vehicles, variations on the Ape theme, and that they were doing so by the early Nineteen Fifties. The Triplet used a 49cc Minarelli engine driving the rear wheels, and was built using many Piaggio parts but not under licence from that company, despite the resemblances. The basic design changed very little during its lifespan, modernisation appearing in the form of plastic mudguards and heating in the cabin until Empolini was bought by Piaggio in the mid-Nineteen Eighties.
This example has been a part of the collection since the mid-Nineteen Eighties when it was bought by the Sharpes to be used as a wheelbarrow at the family home. Unfortunately incompatibility between the 49cc engine and the undulating terrain of the property resulted in early retirement for the truck, and it has remained unused since. Believed by the Sharpes to have been built in circa 1982, the Empolini was never registered for road use in Britain, and no documents survive to accompany the vehicle. It remains in condition consistent with its limited usage, and as such is a remarkable example of an extremely rare vehicle. We are lucky enough to be able to offer a copy of an original sales brochure with this lot.
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This lot is offered without reserve.No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
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