The French Redefined What Small And Large Meant In 1958

The French Berliet T100 was the largest truck in the world in 1957. The Vespa 400, on the other hand, was an Italian bubble car also produced in France. Putting them together still looks like a fun afternoon.

The T100 was built in limited production for research and oil exploration in the Sahara. It had a 29.6-litre Cummins V12 producing 700 horsepower, while the steering was powered by a separate Panhard engine.


When it was unveiled at the 1957 Paris car show, it was too big to fit in the main exhibition hall, so Berliet had to build a special external pavilion for it. They even fitted it with a Turbomeca helicopter jet engine in 1962, but fuel consumption made them change their minds.

As for the Vespa 400, that had a two cylinder, two stroke, air cooled engine, four wheel independent suspension and a 3 speed plus reverse transmission, with 2nd & 3rd synchromesh and an optional 4 speed.

According to Wikipedia, The British Motor Magazine tested a 400 de luxe saloon in 1959 recording a top speed of 51.8 mph.


Brave chaps.

Photo credit: Andre GAMET/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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