Sometimes, 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.
But – 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.