Original Photography from Innocenti Lambretta Factory in Milan #1

Following my post from the Spanish Lambretta / Serveta factory in Eibar, (here) I’ve been sent a ton of fantastic imagery from my online pal Darrin Slack – so much that they will be providing the majority of the posts for the forseeable future – my only issue is finding enough hours in the day to post them! Darrin is a self-admitted ‘bloody bloohound’ when it comes to anything Lambretta – and has scoured the internet to find these images – which kinda what I’ve been doing for to find content for this blog – but Darrin is far better at it than I am! So, all this stuff is out there on the internet already, but it’s nice for us Lambretta fans to have everything in one place eh? Hopefully this blog becomes a bit of a resource for anybody interested in Lambretta history.

Image Source: I will endeavour to post links to the sites where these images originally featured – and credit any original photographers etc. These images appear to originally come from the Fondazione ISEC Flickr account. The Fondazione ISEC was formed in 1973 for the purpose of collecting, conserving and enhancing sources of the history of the Italian Resistance movement and the labour movement. Over time, Fondazione ISEC has become a national reference point for whoever is interested in events concerning the political, economic and social history of contemporary Italy. They have appeared on various sites, and Pinterest accounts around the internet… hopefully posting them here is another way of preserving and publicising these great images. The Fondazione ISEC site is here: https://www.fondazioneisec.it/

Plenty more to come!
These shots are just the first of many, not only of the Lambretta factory, but also Lambretta trade shows, and various rarely seen publicity shots, as well as images of various Lambretta prototypes etc. Stay tuned for more of this good stuff! Thanks again to Darrin for sourcing and supplying me the images.

Honda Motocampo

Spotted one of my favourite 1980’s oddballs – the fantastic little Honda Motocampo on eBay – originally sold as an option for Honda City car (see Madness advert below) these little 50cc bikes fold up to fit into your car boot. I think they still look pretty cool – and are a perfect example of innovative 1980’s industrial design. It’s on eBay for £2995 here.

Incidentally, dedicated Madness fans may recognise the Motocampo from the band’s foray into Japanes advertising… the first time I saw one!

Lambretta Locomociones

Pictures from the Spanish Lambretta Factory in Eibar

A couple of posts back, I wrote about the Lambretta Amiga – the last throw of the dice for the Serveta factory in the Spanish Basque country (here). I gave a short potted history of the Spanish Lambrettas – Reader Darrin Slack got in touch, and shared some fantastic images he had of the Eibar factory (I said he had shared a bunch of great content with me, didn’t I – stay tuned – there’s more to come).The pictures below are of the purpose-built factory that started building scooters in 1954 – just two years after a group of Basque businessmen obtained a licence from Innocenti to build Lambrettas in Spain.

The Drawing office –
Tube bending machines – making the frames for the scooters
Sidepanels coming out of the hydraulic press – who knew that they were made in pairs?
Legshields being finished – note the distinctive turning front mudguard of the Winter Model in the foreground, and stacked up on the left hand side of the image.

The Basque factory was very successful – initially catering to the domestic Spanish market… as can be seen in the image below, they made at least 3 million machines…

Thanks again to Darrin for the fantastic images. If you’re interested in finding out more about Spanish Lambrettas – check out this site Serveta is Betta.

BMW R10 Scooter

In the previous posts, I’ve featured scooters from marques who you may not have expected to make scooters – as diverse as Harley Davidson (here), Ducati* (here) and even Maserati (here). My online pal Darrin sent me another for the oddball files – Ladies and Gentlemen, I present The BMW R10.

Dating from the early 50’s – so predating the Lambretta LI Series 1 by a good few years – the rumour is that the R10 nearly made it into production – only being pulled at the last minute in favour of the BMW Isetta bubble car.

An early plasticine and wood model, with some metal parts was created to show the R10’s potential to compete against the dominant Italian scooter brands of Lambretta and Vespa – remember – it was the 1950’s that were the true heyday of the motor scooter – and everybody wanted a piece of the action.

The streamlined, fully enclosed bodywork without removable sidepanels, and the large integrated front mudguard are a typically Germanic approach – one adopted by Glas Goggo, Heinkel, Zundapp and Maicoletta…although I don’t think many of those German scooters looked as elegant as this Beemer. The one weird design decision they made (in my opinion at least) was to incorporate the horn right at the front of the mudguard… totally throwing off the sensuous, smooth Italianate curves.

So, if BMW had gone all in on this scooter would we all be riding around on Beemers instead of Lambrettas a Vespas? Maybe. Or maybe, it would have been a modest domestic success in Germany, like the other aforementioned brands – never quite attaining the indefinable cosmopolitan appeal of it’s Italian rivals. Who knows!

A big thank you to reader Darrin Slack for the images and post suggestion. Darrin has supplied me with plenty more fascinating content – stay tuned Lambrettisti, and enjoy the ride!

*I could have sworn I’d done a post on the Ducati Cruiser 175 – but a search of my archives tells me it aint so. Consider in on (my ever expanding) to do list.

Can you help get this final part for Rod’s Lambretta Model F?

So, life has been a little chaotic at Lambrettista Towers, and I’ve got a bit behind in my blog posting. I’ve got some brilliant posts lined up – courtesy of reader Darrin – who has sent me some fantastic imagery of various Lambretta oddities, factory shots from the Eibar factory in Spain, and much more. Stay tuned for those goodies, I’ll get them up ASAP!

But I had to post this one as soon as I got it. It’s an appeal really – for my old internet pal from Down Under, Rod, who first appeared on the blog back in 2014 with a barn find Model F, which he intended to restore. (Here’s the original post).

Six years later, and after facing various challenges, Rod is nearly there… and just needs one part to get his rare Lammie over the line. He wants to finish it so his grandson Harry can ride it to Uni – starting a whole new generation of Lammie fans.

So, the part he needs is the Coil holder – pictured above… (my colouring to highlight it) so I’m putting out an appeal to all my readers can anybody help Rod out with this? Come on gang, we can do it! If you can help, please leave a comment below, and I’ll hook you up with Rod.

Rare Lambretta Amiga Parts on eBay…

A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing through the Scooter Restorations site, as I often do when I have a spare ten minutes. I’ve posted a few desirable rare Lambrettas for sale on the blog. Now, I know they specialise in ‘rare’ Lambretta parts, from the model A onwards… But I noticed they had (a few) parts for a Lambretta Amiga. A Lambretta that it never even made it to production. In fact, even pictures of it are rare… although there does appear to be a prototype in the Museo de la Industria Armera in Eibar, Spain. (If the name Eibar doesn’t ring a bell, it probably should, it’s the industrial town in the spanish Basque Country – Euskadi – where Lambretta’s were manufactured (sometimes under the name Serveta).

So it’s rare. We’ve established that. But is it desirable? Well, maybe. But I would hazard a guess at ‘only to a completist’ or only to people really into 80’s/90’s design.

Spanish machines are increasingly sought after in the UK, the Eibar Lambretta Winter Model and Serveta Jet 200 being particularly prized. The last real model to roll off the production line was the Serveta Lince (Spanish for Lynx), which was still very recognisably a Lambretta – albeit – like a 60’s pop star with a facelift and a spray-tan – a Lambretta with a distinctly 80’s make-over.
I wrote about the Lince back in 2013 – here – since then my opinions on many things have mellowed, but sadly not my rather forthright views on the Vespa PX. Anyway I digress. Not like me is it? Back to The Lince. Sadly, although a modest success (over 1,500 made) the Lince was not going to secure the future of Spanish Lambretta production. So it was back the the drawing board, and in 1987, it probably was still designed on a drawing board, CAD being in it’s infancy. I’ll tell you one thing though, they made good use of their rulers that day.

The Amiga was Spain’s attempt to take The Lambretta brand into the ’90s… and one thing you can definitely say of The Lambretta Amiga was that it’s of it’s time. In typical late 80’s fashion anything resembling a sensuous curve was squared off – it was straight lines all the way, baby.
And it wasn’t the only product they had in mind either, there was a rather funky looking trike – The Lambretta Tron – and an Lambro/Vespa Ape type commercial vehicle – The Motocarro Lambretta. The Tron even made it to prototype stage – I can feel another post coming on.

Back to the Amiga. Although it never made it past the prototype stage, there was big talk at the time of The Amiga being “The New Lambretta”. I remember reading an article about it (probably in Scootering) and being absolutely horrified – having a real “What the fuck have they done” moment, and thinking it was like a stormtrooper crossed with a Honda Melody. And not in a good way. (The design of the Honda Melody has aged pretty well, actually, but back in the late 80’s, to any Lambretta or Vespa rider the words Honda and Melody were about the worst insults you could throw at a machine). Anyway. I’ve waffled on far too long. There’s some Amiga bits on eBay, here. Basically, a frame (with some bits bolted on – the fuel tank and the rear shock), the forks and front wheel, and the headset, including the distinctive speedo. There’s no bodywork, seat or engine, although I’d imagine a standard Lambretta/Serveta lump would fit.

A final note, I’m pretty sure that when I originally looked, Scooter Restorations had an Amiga speedometer in stock. It’s now showing as “out of stock”. Which begs the question… “Who bought it?” and “Why?” Is someone out there building an Amiga? I’d love to know! If it’s you, please get in touch, I love to know more!

Classy custom seat

With Lambretta customisation, there are a few ways to go. The one that first comes to many people’s minds is ‘the full monty’ mod look, and is all about how many lights, mirrors and other miscellaneous accessories you can bolt on to your scooter – and when it’s done right, it can yield amazing results… check this post out for the kind of thing I’m talking about;

The other way, well, one other way, is the ‘less is more approach’. You aim to showcase the beautiful lines of the machine, rather than cover them up. This could be as simple as changing the standard seat. It’s nice to see this approach is being taken up by owners of the new V Special Scooters. Styled in the fashion of a classic ‘Ancilotti’ racing seat, and in the colour palette reminiscent of an SX200, this really shows the heritage of the new machines.

From the Lambretta UK Facebook page. Photo credit @pocenti_scooters IG

Milan-Taranto Racing Lambretta for Auction

I spotted this unique Lambretta Racer on The Bonhams auction site. Scooters have been raced since their earliest days, not the least in Italy – with an especially intense rivalry between Lambretta and Vespa of course!

This particular Lambretta has a unique heritage. Built by Giancarlo Morbidelli (the name behind some of the greatest bikes in smaller-capacity GP racing, who died in February this year in his hometown of Pesaro, Italy). It was put together specifically to compete in the 1994 historical rerunning of the famous Milan-Taranto long-distance road race. Starting life as a Series 1 LI 125, The modifications aren’t listed on the Bonhams site, but they are obviously pretty extensive, just from a quick look at the pictures! If you want a pretty standard machine ‘dressed up’ as a racer, this aint it!

One of four machines entered by the Binova-Cucine team, it was ridden by Giampiero Findanno. He led the race into the final day only to be delayed by an engine seizure; even so, he managed to finish 1st in class and 2nd overall. The Morbidelli-prepared Lambretta was the most talked-about machine in the field, much admired for its technical innovation.

It’s being auctioned with an estimate of £5,000–£10,000 – still carrying its Milan-Taranto competitor’s plates and with a selection of contemporary press cuttings and photographs.

The auction is on 16th August, just a couple of days from when this post is first published.

There’s a walk-around video here

Here’s a link to the Bonhams page.

UPDATE
Scooterlab have written a good follow-up piece on the auction, here. The scooter sold for £7,475 which seems a pretty fair price to me.

J is for…

Jawdropper! I’ve developed a bit of a soft-spot for the humble J-range of late. I always thought that one, suitably souped up, would make a cracking small-frame racer, much the same way that Vespa did with their Super Sprint 90SS (best Vespa ever? As a Lambretta guy, I’m probably unqualified to judge, but it’s got to be top 3, right?). Anyway. I digress. What would a fast J-Range look like? Probably something like the little belter below.

Owned by Richard Oswald, long-time Lambretta fan, current owner of five Lammies, member of the Wisemen SC, and registrar of the LCGB, this is no ordinary J.

Paint wise, Richard has chosen an Arthur Francis inspired look – which works really well on the J. And it goes a bit too – under the panels – in an Indian GP200 casing there are more upgraded parts than you can shake a stick at – if you want the full list, check out the post on The Stamford Scooter Centre page – here. Incidentally – The Stamford Scooter Centre are currently running a Covid19 Random Scooter Feature – and are on day 126 (as I type this) of posting pics and descriptions of some fantastic scoots. Worth a scroll through! Anyway, I’ve digressed again. The scooter was put together by Phil at Torch Engineering at Castleford. Phil is retired, but still dabbles in classic cars and scooters for himself and a select few mates. He’s also a talented Northern Soul DJ, and runs Kippax Soul Club.