Evolution of the MP3 as designed by… Italjet?

Wed, Dec 12, 2007


(Poldino taking his tilting test unit to the track)

I’ve been doing a little digging around lately and discovered some interesting facts. The Piaggio MP3 and Gilera Fuoco 500 have been creating quite a buzz since the MP3 first touched down in 2006. Did you know that the features found on these modern tilting 3-wheelers are courtesy of Italjet founder and designer Leopoldo Tartarini?

Yep, the man who brought you such classics as the Italjet Dragster and Torpedo had been toying with it for some time. As a matter of fact his son, Massimo, used a version of the tilting mechanism in his folding, tilting, electric scooter (no doubt popular in Japan) called the JACK from BlueEnergy back in 2001 (seen below).

Later, in cooperation with Piaggio (using a Piaggio motor), Leopoldo Tartarini created what you see below… It’s the “SCOOOP” scooter, which would have definitely created some confusion for our site here had Italjet not bowed out before it could be put into production. Sure, Piaggio had been considering a 3-wheeler for some time. Back in 1983 Wolfgang Trautwein created a prototype called the PK3, but the more modern design with independently tilting wheels didn’t show up until now (see the sweet Video).

After the Scooop, Piaggio picked up the ball and started testing THIS Mad Max looking prototype, which I kinda liked as it is. This was just the beginning.

Later Piaggio busted out their prototype called the Los Angeles (below). Kinda big and bulky, not as refined looking as the Scooop… actually it was kinda hideous. I was referring to it as “the gorilla bike” (still a concept).

Which finally became the sweet three wheelers we know today, the MP3 and the Fuoco 500 and I’m sure it will spawn even more varieties in the future. Just think, if it wasn’t for the work of Leopoldo Tartarini, you wouldn’t be able to do this:

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5 Responses to “Evolution of the MP3 as designed by… Italjet?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hooray for forward design. The only two decent looking ones are the “Mad Max” prototype, and today’s model. The others look like a Yamaha C3 offspring


  2. Eric Says:

    As a Big Ruckus rider, I really wish they would have produced the Mad Max Prototype, if they made a 400CC version of that one it would be in my garage (wanting it to be a 400cc so it differentiates from my 250cc BR)


  3. Steve Says:

    I’ve always wondered if a stripped down Fuoco 500 would be that Mad Max version. I’ll have to strip one and see.


  4. BGK Says:

    Bryan and I had an ongoing ‘discussion’ years back regarding the Scooop. When the MP3 was first announced I called ‘rip-off’. This went on until later someone sent Beeb the German PK3 information. I had to eat a little crow but I still think the Scooop is a better looking/designed scooter than the MP3. Original designs also called for a ski kit to be attached up front. It was a short lived last gasp just before Italjet really went down for the count at the end of their real production life as a company. There was actually one of the Italjet Scooops (or at least a prototype) for sale down in Florida several years ago. They guy sent me pictures and seemed legitimate. So there is at least one Scooop in the US. Under which wealthy mans toy box/garage, we may never know. I still have that photo somewhere…


  5. Lorenzo Says:

    Wow, so sorry! Had forgot I saw that video here first!


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