Daily vehicle demonstrations at 11am, FREE with admission!
Please note that the cars or exhibit items shown in this database are part of our collection but may not be on display when you visit.
Rosario Di Blasi (1919-2008), a former Italian Air Force pilot and engineer, began developing a folding scooter in 1952. In postwar Rome, bicycle theft was common, as any kind of personal transport was in short supply. The story goes that while carrying his bicycle up the 8 flights of stairs to his apartment, Di Blasi thought the idea of a folding bike would be easier to transport.
By 1968 his design had evolved into a Zanetti-powered folding tricycle called the DIBLA 7. The prototype debuted at the Turin Auto Show that same year. By 1974 Di Blasi was producing a folding scooter with a Franco Morini motor and single-speed transmission called the R2. In some export markets, the R2 inexplicably gained nickname of Paolino Paperino, Italy’s name for Donald Duck.
In 1979 the R2 was replaced by the R7 model seen here and featured an engine of Di Blasi's own design as well as a variable automatic transmission. The R7 has been continuously improved and is still in production as the R7E. It is also used worldwide by a number of different "chauffeur" companies, who will drive it to meet the customer, fold it up and put it in the trunk of their car, and drive the customer wherever they need to go (in the case of a driver unable to operate their car). The R7 has also been used as an auxiliary vehicle on board the helicopters of the Italian highway patrol, known locally as the Polizia Stradale.
Country of Origin: Italy
Drivetrain Configuration: Mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: Single cylinder, 49cc, two-stroke, air-cooled, 1.2 hp
Transmission: Variator automatic
Top Speed: 30 mph
Years of Production: 1979-present (now known as the R7E)
Number Produced: unknown
Original Cost: $315 USD
THIS SCOOTER WAS GENEROUSLY DONATED TO THE MUSEUM BY GARY AND MARLA KUDNEY OF GEORGIA.