The 1949 Vespa “Rod Model” was firmly within the very early design era. They were dubbed the rod models, because these used a solid rod linkage from the handlebar to the motor to operate the gear change mechanism. The system operated well, but as you might imagine, was somewhat complicated. There are many linkage points, as well as a gear system in the handlebar. After 1950, Piaggio switched to a cable operated system, which could be hidden inside the frame and was much less complicated to manufacture and adjust. These early Vespas are extremely rare in the US (and even rare in Europe too!), as Piaggio would not begin sales here for several more years. These have some other interesting design features, most notably the ridge on the body frame below the seat that really emphasizes the curve of the body. The cut-away motor cowling is also very attractive, and typical of the early scooters. These Vespas did not yet have shocks on the front fork. This particular scooter has an accessory friction damper attached, which we think is very interesting. The scooter has been restored, and is in very good condition overall. While probably not appropriate to be your daily driver, this scooter would be a fun weekend cafe runner, or be a huge hit at any scooter or collector car event.