What could be more Italian?

This is a fantastic story of the restoration of a Lambretta FC, built to sell ice-cream – and now magnificently restored to it’s former glory. And what could be more Italian than Lambrettas AND Ice Cream?

Top down view of Bruno's Lambretta FC Ice Cream Lambretta serving a customer

Firstly, a bit of background. As well as providing affordable, stylish post-war transportation, the Lambretta was an exceptionally versatile ‘platform’ for small commercial vehicles. In addition to – and before we saw the Lambro range of light commercial vehicles – that I’ve written about before here – there was a wide range of “cab-less” vehicles – these date back to the earliest days of Lambretta – The first FA’s being exhibited at the Milan trade fair back in 1948. The “F” designation stands for “Furgone” (Italian for van) – and here things may get a little confusing – as Lambretta later launched a “F” model, in line with their alphabetical naming policy – but these early commercials (the FA, the FB and FC) preceded that, and were based on the Model A, B and C’s respectively.

Original Innocenti Advertising form the Lambretta FC

The FC was a bit of a hybrid of the C and LC model – the scooter body basically a model C, but with the engine and cooling systems from the LC. As with the FA and FB models, the FC was configured with a ‘box’ at the front, with two wheels either side – with the power from the 125cc engine going to the single wheel at the back – the later Lambro’s adopted a different layout (single wheel at the front, cabin, box behind the driver, power going to the two rear wheels.

Enough background information. More than enough. Back to this particular machine! This magnificent scooter (a FC) is owned by Bruno Strigini – a lifelong Lambretta enthusiast – who discovered it and restored it to it’s former glory.

Bruno bought the Lambretta FC 1998. It was the second of four three-wheelers owned by the Galbiati family, the previous one, an FB model is now in Vittorio Tessera’s Lambretta museum. In the original documentation he got when he bought it, it shows it’s intended use was always to sell ice-cream – and it was approved as such. As you will see from the image above, it was in reasonably complete condition, just a little the ‘worse for wear”.

What was intact though was the fantastic original signwriting – including the name of the town the “Galbiati Brothers” were based – Perosa Argentina (a municipality near Turin in North West Italy, and not the South American country!). Galbiati’s plied their trade between Perosa Argentina – a municipality near Turin, and the Italian ski resort of Sestriere, about 40km away.

Bruno was lucky enough to meet the original owner, Sr. Galbiati, and stayed with him for an afternoon in 1998. Since then, he’s been in contact only with his daughter, who gave him the original photos featured here, and the original cork tubs where she made ice cream. Originally, the ice-cream was kept cold with a mixture of ice and salt, but Bruno designed a modern cooling system that preserved the original wooden box. It can now hold 32kg of ice cream in four flavors, and is equipped with a battery-powered compressor that can maintain -20 degrees Celsius for two days independently.

Bruno has done a done a magnificent job restoring this wonderful machine to it’s former glory, and it’s fully functional as it’s original purpose. It’s clear that he really cares about the story of the machine – telling me he regards it as ‘part of the family’. It’s great to see a machine with such a heritage of the scooter, an important, slightly forgotten part of Lambretta history.

I’ll close this post with apologies to Bruno, who sent me this story and the fabulous pics, some time ago now. While Lambrettas are my passion, and I love working on this blog, between work and family commitments, I sometimes I just can’t seem to find them time to update it as often as I would like to! Bruno also owns the “daddy of all Lambretta commercials” an FA model, but that’s another story for another day, and another post!

RIP Tik Tester

I’m sure many of you will have heard of the tragic passing, in truly shocking circumstances, of Lambretta enthusiast Tik Tester. Tik leaves behind a young family. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help them out at this awful time. All funds will go directly to them.

Here’s the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-our-brothers-family-at-this-sad-time

Tik Tester on his JB Tuning Lambretta

Here’s the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-our-brothers-family-at-this-sad-time

Call the Cops!

Regular contributor Darrin Slack sent me these great pictures of some Spanish Police Lambrettas… Look carefully at the first couple of pics, and you’ll spot some modifications to the standard Eibar models… firstly the additional (flashing?) light mounted on the headlight. The second, and more structural change is adding a siren, (clearly visible on the picture below) with a grill built into the side-panel to accommodate it. I’d imagine there was a fair few of these made… I wonder if any have survived intact? I’d love to see one!

The final picture is later, and features the Scooterlinea (or Slimstyle) Series 3 Serveta. They don’t appear to have front dampers, or disc brakes, and the front one seems to have a “Special” badge, rather than a “Jet” one. The obvious addition is that large flyscreen, this tiime with a (presumably) blue light built in.

If you have any further info about these Spanish Police Specials, I’d love to know!

Also, if they’re your images, I’d love to credit you properly, and give you a proper link. Of course, if you’d rather I took them down, I will.
I know that Serveta exported scooters to the US, and were used by the NYPD… but that’s another post for another day

Lambretta del Mare!

Photo by Antonello Anappo, Arvaliastoria.it

As Monty Python used to say, “Now for something completely different!” – The Lambretta del Mare – or “Lambretta of the Sea” . Now I’ve featured various “amphibious” Lammies before (here and here) but never a fully fledged Lambretta powered boat before!

The Lambretta del Mare was a pleasure boat built by SARA of Rome. It was shown at the 1950 Milano Fiera trade show in the Montecatini Pavilion. The pleasure boat was powered by a LC 125 Lambretta engine.

Described as ‘elegant and easy to drive’ and ‘the most comfortable and most modern motorboat’ ‘The Lambretta del Mare allows navigation even with very rough sea. The great maneuverability, the shape and lightness of the hull give it remarkable stability and safety qualities. I used an innovative “Peralum” aluminum body produced by Montecatini making it extremely resistant to corrosion.

Those of you with better Italian than I can probably discover more from the brochure featured above… but it starts off saying something like… “Today, for the first time in the world, we are presenting a nautical vehicle; the “Lambretta del Mare” which allows a large number of the public to achieve an aspiration considered unattainable so far due to the high purchase price and the difficulty of transport and shelter” So – I’m assuming it was quite affordable – easy to transport – and to store – as it goes on to say the boat would fit in a standard size garage.

I wonder if this actually made it into manufacturing? And if so, how many of these actually made… which begs the question… do any still exist? It would be the ultimate addition to any Lambretta collection!

Thanks again to regular Lambrettista contributor Darrin Slack for finding and sharing these images!

I have a credit for the top photo… if I have to credit anybody else, please let me know.

EBretta – an Electric Future for your Classic Scoot!

I last wrote about the EBretta – an electric conversion for your classic Lammie – way back in 2013. Since then, things have move on – with Pat at the Siagon Scooter Centre (SSC) continuing the development of the classic E-Conversions and also developing a new range of Buzz EScooters.

For the classics what they have been aiming for is a complete bolt-in kit – with NO frame modifications required. The bolt in kits proved a big challenge – but, of course these days with the spiralling prices and users wanting to keep their classics original – offering a “reversible” kit for daily commuting etc, with the option to convert the it back to the original engine – either for touring, or just ‘originality’ provides the best of both worlds.

An electric Lambretta enables drivers to still drive in cities like Milan (of all places!) which have pretty much banned 2 strokes (except for weekends). With many other cities following these restrictions and this is only going to accelerate over the coming years.

Tino Saachi is one of our first appointed distributors; you can find some of his test videos on our SSC FB Buy and Sell page.

The latest version of the kit (specs below) uses the existing tank/filter area for the clamp-on battery tray. The lower junction box again clamps on – and houses all the electrics. With the kit SSC supply a 12″ Brushless hub motor, controller and 72v 3000w Lithium ion battery kit as standard. Other parts – like the modified rear mudguard – bolt onto the existing chassis mounts.

The new kits are now offering a good range and great performance on 1 charge which until recently with the older battery technology wasn’t anywhere near possible.

SSC Trademarks for both EBretta and VTronic. We currently have international distributors for the new kits in the UK, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Belgium, the USA and New Zealand with Australia and Japan pending. 

As well as the kite, SSC are still offering complete fully restored italian Lambretta’s with e-conversions


Current EBretta specs are:

  • 12″ 72v 3000w brushless hub motor including DC 72-12v converter Controller unit 
  • Rear tyre Dunlop 90/90/12 fitted
  • 72v Lithium Ion phosphate 30amh battery unit (Removable with quick release connectors) 
  • 2 x Battery straps
  • Mild steel powder coated Battery base plate which bolts to the central tubing
  • Mild steel junction box and storage box , this bolts to below the central tubing
  • Rear mudguard steel powder coated , we supply this as it needs to be trimmed slightly to give better clearance with the increased wheel size. Bolts in to the existing mounting points
  • Complete swing arm assembly powder coated. The original Lambretta rear shocker can be retained. 
  • Rear disc brake kit complete. This is semi-hydraulic – so the existing rear brake pedal and even the cable can be retained.
  • Throttle actuator assembly using the original throttle cable. No modifications to the handlebar assembly are required. 
  • Wiring loom adapter cable complete 12v Horn, switch and wiring extension
  • External charging plug supplied with fuel flap fabricated also to fit a battery level monitor
  • Ignition switch supplied for those Lambretta’s that are currently not fitted with one i.e. pre “61 models. For our series 1 sample this was installed in the legshield toolbox. 
  • Custom “EBretta” badge

Performance:

  • Range 90-100km’s depending on driver and driving conditions.
  • Charge time 5-6 hours.
  • Top speed 80-90kmph with settings on maximum RPM. 

What about the Vespas?

SSC’s latest VTronic Vespa large frame kit is under testing now – but it has been much more difficult to incorporate a decent size battery due to the bodywork design. They’re still working on 3 options for this either to reduce the battery size down to a 27amh battery which means they can install a drop in single Lithium Ion battery in the fuel tank area or refabricate the inner tank area wider to offer multiple linked batteries.

Sporty Stickered-up S1 Streetracers

I see a lot of nice Lambrettas out there on the internet – many of them customised to the owners personal taste. In some cases, I can admire the work that’s gone into a scoot, but it’s “just not my thing”. On the other hand, sometimes I see one (or in this case two) that really float my boat. I came across this pair on a Facebook group, and thought, yeah, they’ll do! Everything about them is spot on, both of them, although they’re sublty different (rear footboard, a bit more chrome, fork embellishers on the orange one) they work nicely as a pair – and everything about them just seems ‘right’. Love the stickered-up aesthetic (but it’s got to be the right stickers)!

Posted by kind permission on the owner; John Lindgren.

Siambretta Super Standard – Is this the Open Frame model Lambretta should have made?

When the original Lambretta – The Model A – was released – it was with a very much with the ethos of producing a cheap transport option for post war Italy. The radical simplicity of these early machines – and the fairly swift refinement into the models B, C soon led to these models being adopted in large numbers. A more ‘luxury’ version of the model C was introduced with full panelling – The LC – The “L” in LC actually stands for “Lusso” – the Italian for “Luxury”.

For a while, Innocenti offered you a choice of models – basic or luxury – with the Model D selling alongside the full-framed LD. The fully panelled luxury option went on to define the way the world thought a Lambretta should look for all future models – until at maybe the introduction of the Luna range in the late 60’s. But the basic models continued to be popular amongst a couple of groups… the budget conscious, and racers. Racers loved the reduced weight and the convenient access to the engines… making customisation, tuning and roadside repairs easier and quicker. You can see what a Racing D looked like in this post from the archives (well April).

But we all know the Lambretta was made in other countries around the world, Including Argentina – where SIambretta had been selling Argentinean Lambrettas since 1954, starting by assembling Model A’s shipped from Italy. Following the Italian model of offering a basic (or “Standard”) and luxury or “Deluxe” model.

The Siambretta was very popular in it’s home market – even exporting to other South American countries such a Chile and Uruguay. But by the late 60’s, sales were waning. To reinvigorate them, they looked to the past, and popular “Standard” models… however, a cheap, panel-less back to basics model wouldn’t quite cut the mustard. They wanted something with a bit of ooomph. A sporty Standard, or indeed, a “Super Standard”.

The result of this was the Siambretta Super Standard 175 AV – the AV thought by many to be a nod to Innocenti’s sporty TV line – changing the Turismo (the “T” in TV) to Argentina – (so AV = Argentina Veloce, rather than Turismo Veloce) . This was the only model designed 100% in Argentina – albeit on the back of an existing Lambretta model, and was a reasonable success for Siambretta.

Although called a “Super Standard’, these look anything but Standard to those of us used to seeing the curvaceous lines of the ‘standard’ Series 2 Lambretta on which they were based. The changes are pretty obvious, even from a cursory inspection – cutdown legshields, a redesigned cutdown front mudguard, a missing ‘frame-loop’ with a redesigned toolbox and petrol tank split laterally along the frame. The missing frame-loop at the rear is compensated for by an additional boxed structure above the rear mudguard… the main function of which seems to be as a mount for a spare wheel, and the rear light. Now, I’m no scooter designer (other than in the amatuer way that we all are), but maybe a more successful option would be losing the pillion seat, and the new box section, and storing the spare behind the cutdown legshields… a rear light could be easily mounted on the frame, under the seat. The headset is a simplified affair with a bolt-on headlight. The horncasting is squared off, and rather unfortunate looking, in my humble opinion.

Some shots, from a magazine road test of the time, show that it’s perhaps a machine that looks better when being ridden than standing still;

Thanks to Darrin Slack for sending me these images, there’s more to come on the history of Siambretta, including some original press and advertising material.

Other information comes from the El Siambrettista blog – a blog all about the Siambretta in it’s various guises, and well worth checking out.

If you’re interested in South American Lammies, check out this post on the even more extreme Xispa model from Brazil.

The Lambrettista Blog – Read all over The World!*

We all know people around the world love Lambrettas – It’s not just an Italian, or British thing. Most of my readers will also know Lambrettas, or their variants were not just made in Italy – also being manufactured under licence in Spain, Germany, France, India, Argentina, Brazil and Taiwan – and I’m sure there’s one or two places I’ve forgotten!

What is more surprising for me is how many people around the world have read the blog – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – there’s actually only a few countries where the Lambrettista blog hasn’t been read!

So, if you know somebody in Tajikistan, North Korea, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Chad, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Cameroon or the Central African Republic – give them a shout – and get them to check in on the blog 🙂

If you’re interested, my Top Ten countries for readers are:

  1. UK
  2. USA
  3. Italy
  4. Germany
  5. Spain
  6. France
  7. Thailand
  8. Australia
  9. Canada
  10. India

*Nearly. The 10 countries where the blog hasn’t been read are listed above!