The World’s Most Exclusive Scooter?

MaseratiM2-HEROThere are many scooters labelled as ‘rare’. (especially on eBay!) Among the rarer Lambretta models are the Eibar Winter Models, GP Electronics, TV200’s (especially Spanish ones) which have a  justifiable claim to the tag ‘rare’.

MaseratiM2-HERO-1Of course, it’s not just Lambretta models… the Vespa SS90 springs to mind from the Piaggio stable. And if we move away from the ‘big two’ the rarity value may step up a notch… with all the motorcycle (and car) manufacturers who tried to jump onto the ‘scooter boom’ of the fifties… Triumph, BSA, Peugeot even Harley Davidson and Ducati tried to get a piece of the action. But I honestly think I found the most exclusive scooter ever. It’s Italian (always a good thing when it comes to scooters), and is one of the most iconic marques in automotive history… Maserati.

The story of the Alférez – the ONLY Maserati scooter in existence, starts when Maserati began a collaboration Iso Rivolta. Iso are probably best known today for developing the Isetta bubble car, but also had a history of producing  sports cars, motorcycles and scooters.

Together, Maserati and Iso Rivolta produced two concept / prototype scooters in 1957, the M1 (now unfortunately lost in history, but probably a 125cc) and the M2 – the 150cc Alférez.

Although a ‘prototypes’ you can tell from the pictures that this scooter was not far from being a finished production machine. Stylistically it’s not a million miles away from a Series 2 Lambretta, with more than a hint of Vespa around the front wheel set-up. The only thing that jars a little with me is the headlight, which is not quite as elegant as that of a Lambretta Series 2…  but then again this model was out two years before the Series 2.

The frame and engine numbers are simple “M2”, and the Maserati logo on the crankcase are worth taking a second look at. The horncast Maserati badge is unique too… with a red racing car alluding to their Grand Prix heritage, and the name Alférez… a link to the Maserati founders name (Alfieri), but tellingly translated in Spanish… a hint to their ambitions in Latin America, where scooters were popular, but prehaps the Lambretta and Vespa names were not so embedded as Europe or the USA. But a promotional trip to Mexico ended badly, Maserati abandoned the scooter market. The M2 prototype remained too, finally ending up in Texas, where it resides today.

Iso continued making scooters, and while being less commercially successful than Innocenti and Piaggio, are one the few manufacturers a run for their money in styling – in my humble opinion of course.

Find out more about Maserati M2 here, where it’s for sale, if you have deep pockets. To quote from the website “The value of the scooter, a unique part of the history of the ‘Made in Italy’ is for serious collectors to personally judge, the reason why I leave the scooter price open to fair / reasonable offers. As this is a unique collector’s item, I will not answer openly low offers.”

If you want to put in a (serious) offer in here’s the website again  Update: the original site has now disappeared, I guess the scooter has been sold! If anybody knows of it’s current whereabouts / ownership, I’d love to know. If you’re the new owner, I bet you’ve got some other lovely scoots too (or perhaps a Maserati collection?) care to share some pics on the blog?


Advertisements

Being Update

57ec951b6f78244227b5251047bc7dfc_originalQuick update on the ‘Being’ short film project that I’ve been posting about. With a 129 backers, they are well over halfway to the Kickstarter goal of £20,000. There’s still nearly £8k to be found, but there’s 25 days to go, so it looks doable!

There are a bunch of great rewards on offer, ranging from £2 to £5,000. The one that may appeal to Lambrettisti is an opportunity to ride your scoot in the final scene of the film for £250 (Five people have already signed up for this). Check it out on Kickstarter, here, where you can find out more about the project, or check out the website: beingthefilm.co.uk

Update update… with just 11 days to go, there’s still  over £5k to be found, so if you’re thinking about  funding this project, go for it. Remember, if the target isn’t reached you don’t pay a bean, but the project doesn’t go ahead. And don’t worry, contorary to reports on ScooterLab, Steve Berry isn’t making an appearance (as far as I know!).

Beautiful Lambretta Art

The standard of the average event flyer has certainly improved over the years. Just as with scooters, there is a huge variety of styles, with some fantastic illustrations. I’ve featured the work of Glenn Reid and Adam Xyl before, here.

12829071_1122361324450118_2663991140094056012_oHere’s another piece of beautiful Lambretta art, in a graphic novel meets art deco illustration style. I’m trying to find out who the artist/designer is so I can give them full credit. I’d have this on the wall, despite the big Vespa logo!

The event itself is run by the Maldito Domingo SC. Based in the Spanish city of Cartagena, a historic port on the Mediterranean coast, it’s the largest scooter event in south-east Spain. Scooters, sand, sea, sun… and if I know the Spanish, great food, wine and beer too.  Find out more here.

I don’t wanna Tork about it…

lambretta BR ludwigSometimes, when Lambrettas were manufactured outside their native Italy, strange things happened. The models were ‘tweaked’ to better suit local tastes and markets. Occasionally, these changes are aesthetically pleasing, the turning mudguard on Spanish Series 2’s built in the Eibar factory for example.

Tork.jpg~originalBut – despite virtually every owner having their own idea of what the perfect Lambretta should look like – it’s hard to improve on the original Italian designs. It also seems that the further the manufacturers were away from Italy, the more they had free reign on creating their own, unique models. Nowhere more so than Brazil.

When they started making Lambrettas in Brasil, they looked pretty much like their Italian relatives. But as time went on, things got a little stranger.  I’ve touched on the pretty little MS before… and the monkey-bike styled Xispa – but I never knew about the Tork until I stumbled upon it on a website the other week. (on the red one, below, the extra lights are an obvious owner additional – who’s have thought of adding lights to a Lambretta?).

By the 1970’s scooters were as out of vogue in Brasil as they were in the rest of the world. From what I could gather, the Tork was built after a hiatus in scooter production (the factory had been sitting idle) as a last gasp attempt to gain back a bit of market share from Japanese motorcycles flooding into Brasil (and most of the rest of the world) at the time. It was all to come to a grinding halt when the factory went bankrupt in 1982.

To my eyes, the Lambretta Br Tork (to give it it’s full name) seems a desperate attempt to make a scooter look like something it’s not – a motorbike. Ironically, in the original scooter boom of the fifties, it was the other way around, with every motorcycle manufacturer trying to make their bikes look more like scooters. Funny old world.

 

 

(Lambretta) Power to the People!

1452061_542141745872187_464328931_n

‘Wolfie’ Smith… in the classic TV comedy Citizen Smith on a S1. Apparently, Robert Lindsay may be making a comeback, wonder if he’ll still ride a Lammy? I wonder if actress Cheryl Hall will still be riding pillion?

Readers with good memories may remember that Wolfie later moved on to riding a GP in later episodes. Freedom for Tooting!

 

Mystery Scooter Club

598767_409439462474326_209971564_nI’ve got a folder on my mac of pics I’ve collected over the years… I don’t know where most of them came from, but each of them must have a story behind them. I’ve done a Google image search on this one, with no joy – so if you’ve got any idea who this lot are please let me know! They’re clearly a mixed bunch of machines here, so not a Lambretta club – if they’re a club at all, and not just a random meet up! I’m guessing early 60’s from the S2 Lambrettas – (Vespa experts will know when that GS ‘came out’) though pre-mod or just ‘not mod’ with just ‘sensible’ accessories and proper riding gear! Number plate experts might be able to pin it down from the MN suffix… Isle of Man? Manchester? Does the structure in the background give any clues… is it a bus/coach station?

Any ideas anybody?

 

ScooterLab.uk launches…

ScooterlabSSIt’s finally here, the new ScooterLab.uk website launched today. I’m not going to write reams about it, until I’ve got my head round it a little, other than to say it’s quality product from a team of professionals who know what they’re talking about. There’s something for everybody, whether you’re into classic geared scoots, or modern autos. So, for now I’d just like to give a hearty Lambrettista welcome to the new kid on the block! Check it out for yourself, here.

Being launches on Kickstarter

Being, the short film project I wrote about a while back has launched on Kickstarter.

af6b9ef50edcfb0eeb050b43b5c8df4c_originalFeaturing a young carer (Buddy) inspired by 60’s music and the film Quadrophenia. Buddy meets an out of work actor, Doley who was in Quadrophenia  (played by Mark Wingett) an they become friends. From original cast members and the Brighton location, right down to the replicas of the scooters and clothing, Being has strong cultural references to the original Quadrophenia movie.Caring

Being will be shot in London and Brighton in late summer 2016. It’s a gentle observational drama, about a young boy who is bullied for being different.bdfdd3b599ed7b3c0187cb964da6abc3_original

Check it out on Kickstarter, here, watch the project movie, and if you feel like getting involved, become a backer. This project will only be funded if at least £20,000 is pledged by Sat, Apr 16. At the moment, they are off to a good start. If you want to see this happen, pledges start at just £2.

 

 

Lambretta Serveta Puma Cross

light mo

LamServetaPumaHere’s a bit of a rarity I stumbled across on eBay, a dual Lambretta/Serveta branded scrambler style moped 50cc motorcycle (It ain’t a moped – see the comments).

Now, normally when you see the words ‘very rare’ you can take them with a pinch of salt, but this is the real deal, especially in the UK – although slightly less so in it’s native Spain. Dating from the late ’70’s the Puma came in two variants, the ‘Endure’ and the ‘Puma Cross’ the Puma Cross having 5 gears – itself pretty unusual for a moped.  It’s in need of a little TLC, but comes with a bunch of spares. The only bit that doesn’t look quite right to me is the exhaust… I think the original may have come up a higher, following the lines of the mudguard…

Rarity usually demands a premium in the Lambretta world, but this is currently sitting at just £400. If you’re like the look of it, or just fancy something a bit different for your Lambretta collection get your bid in!
Here’s the eBay link

AF Rayspeed Engine on eBay

AFRayEnginGP200AFRayEnginGP200-1AFRayEnginGP200-2With all of this electric stuff I’ve been posting over the last couple of days, you might think that I’m anti-2stroke. Far from it… I find the classic Innocenti engine almost as iconic as the bodywork – the heart of a classic Lambretta.

And you don’t get more classic than this. Fella on eBay, selling this GP200 engine – standard stage 4 tune,  22mm Jetex, twin tailpipe exhaust, chrome kick-start, new brake shoes and plug oil, with cdi and regulator and engine bolt. Ready to fit and use. With original receipts to around £1300. Collect from Folkstone, Kent.
On a side note, if you ever get the opportunity to make me a cup of tea, the exact colour of the tea in the second pic is the one to aim for. Proper ‘builders’.

Check in out on eBay here