"Handlebar" Vespas are so-called because of the fact that the controls and steering are located on chrome-plated, exposed handlebars, which are similar to a bicycle's. Piaggio made Vespas of this style from the very first Vespas until 1957, at which time they changed all models to an enclosed headset.
The body on the Handlebar Vespas steeply slopes back behind the seat towards the back of the scooter. A single saddle seat with two springs was standard, and a package tray was located behind the seat. A passenger seat could be attached to the tray.