A tidy Lambretta BGM demonstrator custom tuning conversion from Scooter Center. A great looking contemporary looking Lammie, fantastic paint, and many technical tuning improvements. Very nice. Find out more about BGM Tuning here.
In the UK, we tend to think of the Lambretta as a fashionable, aspirational brand, associated with youth culture. Arguably, the hey-day of the scooter was before the days of the mod – when post-war austerity and a fuel shortage exacerbated by the Suez Crisis prompted the trend away from cars – well, big, thirsty ones anyway – and onto scooters. But the one era most people identify with Lambrettas is, of course, the Mod days of the 60’s. At least in the UK.
It’s very different in other parts of the world. In the late 60’s and into the 70’s the Lambretta was very much a workhorse scooter. Although glamourized to some extent by Bollywood, and initially appealing to the growing middle class – the appeal to the masses was very much more practical than prestigious.
For a lot of Indians, the Lambretta was seen as family transport – able to transport four(!) in relative comfort – ” It could accommodate 4 people easily. A family of four including two children. One would stand in the front portion ahead of the seat and face the wind. The two elders would sit on the seat and the second child on the spare tyre at the rear of the Lambretta scooter.”
Lambretta’s were produced in India from the 1950’s by API – initially assembling parts shipped from Italy, and then manufacturing them from scratch in their own factories. They produced a variant of the Series 1 LI150, and then moved on to produce the Series 2. For most Indians, the Series 2 is the Lambretta. In 1972, however, the State-owned SIL (Scooters India Limited) acquired the rights to the Lambretta name, and all API Lambrettas after that were sold under the name “Lamby”. These continued in production for many years, and in vast numbers – but, as mentioned, there was a new player in SIL.
SIL didn’t mess around with old models. After making a few 100cc Centos, they swiftly moved on to the model they are known best for – The GP. Although, rather confusingly, after acquiring the sole rights to the Lambretta name in India, the GP was sold under a number of different names, including the Vijai Super, Vijai Vulcan, Vijai Deluxe and the Allwyn Pushpak. There’s some great vintage footage (starting about 04:56) of these ‘Super Scooters’ in the video below.
As time went on, and with less and less access to original Italian GP’s the export market for ‘made in India’ Lambrettas grew. Initially slagged off as second-rate ‘curry burners’ (sorry if that sounds racist, but that’s what everybody called them, back in the day), their reputation grew to that close to their Italian forefathers. Ok. Not quite, but you certainly wouldn’t be embarrassed to ride an Indian GP these days.
Domestically, the Lambretta was far from the only game in town. Where there’s a Lambretta, there’s usually a Vespa a little way behind. Or in front. It depends on your preference – you know mine. Anyway, an Indian company called Bajaj had been importing Vespa’s since the late 40’s – and in 1958, started manufacturing under their own steam both two-wheelers and rickshaws, both based (I think) on the Vespa Sprint.
It wasn’t all over for API though… and their trusty Lamby 150 (based on a Series 2, remember), had one last throw of the dice in the late ’80s. Although a very dated (or should we say ‘classic’) design next to the GP based offerings of SIL, it had still sold pretty well domestically. With optimism you’ve got to admire, and a fresh new design out of Miyazu, Japan, they launched their final Lamby model – The Polo. With redesigned legshields, headset and headlight, sidepanels, a horrible PX style horn casing it came with 12 volt electrics and mod cons such as indicators. Although it was basically a Series 2 under the skin, there was a lot of late 80’s Vespa about it – and it was none the better for it. The last one rolled off the API production line in 1992… although with a nod to it’s Series 2 toughness, and the Indian owners creative ability to keep them running, they stayed a staple of Indian transportation for many years after that.
I wrote about the Polo, rather disparagingly back in 2013 https://lambrettista.net/2013/06/09/does-your-scooter-smell-of-mint/ – perhaps I’ve mellowed a little. Perhaps not.
The Lambretta still has a strong following in India, and a lot of people still remember their dad’s, or uncle’s Lambretta fondly as the key means of transport for the family. India, with it’s vast population, may just be the most important market for the new models being produced by Lambretta today.
Anyway, if you’re reading this in India, or you’ve got a better knowledge of the story of Lambrettas in India, please get in touch or leave a comment below. And if you’ve got pictures of your Lambretta – wherever you are in the world, and would like to share it with the world – I’d be more than happy to feature it on the blog.
Came across a ONE MILLION POUND eBay listing for a bunch of Lambrettas –
not much more information to share at the moment, but I’m on the case, and I’ll post more when I know more. Ok, Bit of an update; the seller has given me a bit more information. This is part of a new shipment coming over from Italy next week, all 100% Italian, original condition, standard machines. The collection includes some very desirable items, so if you’re in the market for an original spec Italian Lambretta, in exceptional original condition, stay tuned!
We all love our 2-strokes – but they’re not the most environmentally friendly of machines. Many people think the future of transportation is electric. With the likes of VW, BMW and even Jaguar joining Tesla in bringing electric vehicles to market, is the writing on the wall for fossil fuels? After all – when even Milan – the home of the Lambretta – bans classic scooters – you have to start taking these things seriously.
An electric scooter is not a new idea – and I’ve featured a few on the blog already. I even featured the first footage on the internet of the new Electric Lambretta – which is rumoured to be coming to market soon. Piaggio isn’t missing out either, and you can buy a Vespa Elettrica today. But what if you love the lines of an authentic vintage Lambretta or Vespa?
Well, now you don’t have to choose between a new, eco-friendly electric scooter, and vintage classic. Codenamed “Project E” Retrospective Scooters are producing a conversion kit for the most popular models of Lambretta & Vespa. They will remove the old petrol engine, electrics and cabling, and install a DC brushless electric motor, motor controller and lithium-ion battery. Ease of riding, reliability, economy and environmental footprint are all brought into the 21st Century – but most importantly the exterior styling remains totally original. A lot of effort has been put into cleverly hiding the modern tech behind dummy plastic engine casings keeping your classic looking as authentic as possible.
Retrospective will be offering the conversion as a DIY kit, with prices starting at £2,485. They will fit it for you for around £500. You can even add it as an option if you’re having a scooter restored. You’ll also have to factor in the cost of the batteries – not included in the kit price, and they run to £850. You can choose to have just the one battery, or improve your range by adding another one or more.
Project E is compatible with most popular Lambretta models – LI Series 1, 2 & 3 and GP models can be converted. Retrospective are working on a J Range conversion, and a LD will follow at some stage.
30 – 110 Mile Range
Retrospective offer a variety of different lithium-ion battery options. Each has been made specifically to suit a range of needs – from a Sunday run-around to an everyday commuter.
One of the great things about this conversion is that it can be fitted without butchering your classic scoot – as Retrospective say “No scooters were harmed in this conversion, no cutting, welding or grinding; the conversion perfectly fits the classic frames” this makes the conversion is completely reversible – so if you want to go back to burning dead dinosaur fuel, you can.
The future is bright. The future is retro.
The Retrospective conversion may be the future for classic scooters. And what could be more eco than riding a machine originally made maybe 50 or 60 years ago, powered by electricity?
Retrospective Scooters are based in Walthamstow, London E17, and as well as designing and building the electric scooter conversion, they are experts in Scooter Restorations, Servicing and Repairs. Check out their website here.
Images are used with permission of Retrospective Scooters.
If you like you’re Lammies fast, here are a couple of Street Racer style scoots that will turn a few heads, and beat most things away from the lights.
First up is a 40 BHP, 230 GP, finished in bright green and black, and ‘no expense spared’ on creating ‘the best street racer available’ (the quotes are just to highlight these are the seller’s words, not mine, and in no way to cast any doubt on them). All work was carried out by JB Tuning; spec includes a Casacase 66mm crank, RB250 cylinder, Wossner piston, Mammoth head, Casacase ignition, Cyclone 5 speed gearbox, 39mm Delortto carb, Casa power clutch, Casa side casing, Pioe design exhaust, Casa disc brake, BGM suspension and a Sip speedo – all producing 40bhp/23 torque.
On eBay with a classified price of £10,000.
The second one is a Malbroro themed racer, with the engine upgraded to Mugello 225 and dyno’d by Daryl of Taylor Tuning. It’s a “Smooth running Scooter that is perfect for touring”. It has been in Scootering Magazine many times.
It has been ridden regularly ( as they like to be ) but is in almost as-new condition. It has just undergone a full service with oil change new stator plate and cdi unit.
A few of the features are; a £2800 paint job, legshield mounted tool-box, locking panels, Delorto 28mm carb, polished engine casing, stainless steel cylinder and fan cowlings, stainless medium-range fuel tank, custom fuel and choke lever heads, polished aluminium SIP tubeless wheels, scootRS front outboard hydraulic disc brake with Nissin caliper, Kawasaki front dampers, PM Tuning fully adjustable remote-canister rear shocker. The scooter comes with matching genuine Arai helmet – size S ( 55-56cm ), and a set of three custom-made rear sprint racks.
It has a classic 1970 “J” registration number. It’s up on eBay for £7,900.
This isn’t an 80’s scoot. It was imported from India in 2008. But, for me, it’s got that 80’s feel about it. It’s the type of scoot I’d have wanted more than any other in the ’80s. An Arthur Francis Super S-Type. Built, and signed by Ray and Ben Kemp. In orange (ok, “Red candy over marigold”).
If you promised yourself one like this in the eighties, and you can afford one now, wtf is stopping you? Here’s the eBay link.
A Lambretta GP Electronic is a pretty rare beast… One in original factory paint is even rarer still. This one even has the original factory stickers on the inside of the sidepanels.
It’s not pristine, that’s true… but the patina just adds to this scooters character, in my humble opinion. They’re only original once.
So what’s it worth? Well the obvious answer is whatever someone is willing to pay for it. The owner has asked me for a valuation… and to be honest, I’m out of my depth. So any experts out there who can give an informed estimate, please let me know in the comments!
Spotted these on Amazon… a range of decent looking Lambretta models, four in total…… that would grace any Lambretta lovers’ china cabinet (if people have such thing these days). Theres a Model A, An LI Series 1, a Series 2 Rallymaster and a GP200.
The attention to detail looks pretty good, although I’ve only seen the photographs, not the models in the flesh. Here’s the blurb: Officially Licensed Lambretta scootesr that have been faithfully recreated with handsculpted and handpainted additions for outstanding detail” The scooters are approximately, 8cm in height, 10cm in length.
They’re made by the Bradford Exchange. Pics and links below… there appears to be fairly limited stock, so get your orders in quick if you want one!
Spotted this little beauty on eBay. A super-rare genuine (purportedly!) 1971 DP 200 Electronic. There are many electronic ‘clones’ out there… but, with only 500 or so models made, hardly any genuine ones.
The engine is seized, and though complete, she’ll need a bit of work to bring her up to scratch (a nice conserved restoration, hopefully) but with all the proper Italian paperwork this could be rare opportunity to own one of the rarer and more desirable Lambretta models.
Although not UK Registered, it will be registered on the NOVA System, and you’ll get a NOVA reference number, along with a proper VAT sales invoice and dating certificate from the Lambretta Owners Club / VMSC for you to register the scoot at your DVLA office.
Here’s the eBay link < Sorry, it’s gone now.
Very nice, clean Extra S Type 52 Anniversary model spotted on eBay.
186 Muggello engine, with all the bits you’d expect for a scooter that cost £12.5k to build!