The beautiful and a little eccentric APE 501. Formally known as a Piaggio P501, it has 3 wheels and a very distinctive coke bottle front.
Last week I had a drive in this fun car with owner Kim Gamble from Rottnest Island. Kim is also the manager of the Bakery on Rottnest Island and at the end of the day we took a little drive around the 3-4 streets in the old settlement and met some of the locals. On our drive was a bit different than the normal, not just because I was in a very cool car, but also because we had the privilege of being the only vehicle on the road, other than a few pushbikes. Very few vehicle licenses are provided on the island and tight restrictions are placed on speed and times of day you can drive. Kim was provided a temporary events licence.
Driving in the APE seemed was a little more quirky than the normal car. There is no steering wheel and only 1 pedal on the floor for the breaks. The clutch etc is controlled on handlebars similar to that of a scooter or motorbike. The clutch itself had some major issues when I was there and our trip was a little jumpy to say the least. But it was a lot of fun weaving through the quaint thin island streets, maybe slightly reminiscent to the Italian village streets from where the APE originated. I met some of the island locals, while Kim handed out tasty baguettes.
The story behind Kim importing the APE to Australia is interesting in itself and involved bribes to corrupt government officials in Rome, a mountain of paper work and 3 years of Kims life.
I hope you enjoy my little story on the Bee Car.