Lambretta’s monkey bike – The Rosella

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Information on this little oddity is scarce, but I’ve pulled together what I can. My main source is the french site moto-collection.org As is usually the case, I’m working from a position of profound ignorance, and you, my readers often know much more than me… so I’m quite happy to be be put right – just leave a comment and I’ll update the post when I can. All pics harvested from an intensive search of the web. If they are yours, and copyright, my apologies. Hopefully it’s ok to collate them all for the sake of posterity!

201112817034_squashedscooterThere seems to be differing accounts of it’s genesis… whether it is an ‘official’ machine out of the Innocenti factory (perhaps a prototype, or side project), OR something ‘knocked up’ by a neighbouring factory in Milan. It appears to have been marketed by a manufacturer of marine equipment, based – like Innocenti – in Milan… Nautica Pennati.  who are still in business. (I’ve contacted them, to ask if they have any information, but it was a while ago, so don’t hold your breath!).This would suggest the Rosella was designed as an accessory for a yacht… as once the handlebars are removed and the front wheel is turned over it is only 90cm long.

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Innovative design – perhaps the cutest Lambretta of them all?

The Rosella is a tidy little design – I love the way it integrates the fuel tank into the frame… and the front and rear lights into the fuel tank. The main frame is very neat, basically two tapering tubes, welded together. To my mind, this supports the theory that it was a factory prototype – this is a sofisticated piece of design work, made by somebody with some knowledge of how to put a two wheeler together neatly. The main, obviously Innocenti element to the design is the J50 engine / crankcase. This helps date the Rosella, as the J range was introduced in 1964. Despite it’s tiny size, the Rosella has a complete suspension system: a short telescopic fork at the front and by a hinged, damped element by the power unit at the rear. I’m not sure how effective this would be, but the Rosella was obviously only designed to cover short distances! Another nod to the Lambretta is the “D” type toolbox in the first pic, though mounted ‘side-ways’ to the frame, rather than under the seat.

Rarity and value

Information is scarce – but rumour has it there are only three (yep, you read that right, three) Rosella’s in existence. One (pictured above) sold on German eBay a few years ago, for around €2.5k – if rarity = value, somebody got a bargain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Second of the three is (or was) in the US, and appeared at the LCUSA Lambretta Jamboree in 2006 – and the pics show it competing in the gymkana. Aparently, at some point there was quiet a nasty accident in which the rider broke his collar bone, but the bike survived.

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As for the third Rosella, I’ve been unable to track it down, so it may, or may not exist! It may be (must be!) the one pictured in the GP turquoise. If you own it, one of the other two, or have another sitting in a shed (or on a yacht) somewhere, I’d love to know more. Send info and pics please! And, if you don’t actually own one, but know more about it than I clearly do, please let me know in the comments below!

 

LC Sidecar Combination

lc_sidecar_ebay_italy-4On the Italian eBay site is this rather lovely LC and sidecar combo. It’s €12,500, which bearing in mind the state of the pound, is a little on the steep side. If you’re not lucky enough to live in Italy, he’ll ship it internationally.

Here’s the eBay link

250cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle

PA-2011_Lam250GP-002I came across these great shots of the 250cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle in the Australian version of Motorcycle News. The photographer Phil Aynsley had originally seen an old black & white shot of the bike from when it was originally racing, back in the early fifties. The bike stuck in his mind and after stumbling across a recent picture online, Phil tracked the bike down to Vittorio Tessera’s Lambretta collection.

Although the bike did not much success on the track, it has the clean lines of a classic café racer, with a whiff of Moto Guzzi about it. In fact, the overall transverse V-twin design predates the famous Moto Guzzi layout by some 13 years.

All images copyright Phil Aynsley Photography.

Phil is a photographer based in Sydney, Australia. Check out his other photographic work here.

Silly money?

The price of Lambretta scooters seems to be reaching new heights, as a quick glance at eBay will confirm. A TV175 Series 3, for the best part of £15k, an SX200 for a ‘buy it now’ price of £12k, and an Italian GP for £7,779… All very nice looking scooters… but that’s a lot of your hard earned cash to spend on a scooter.

The first one is, admittedly a beautiful machine, and the only one of the three I’ve seen in the flesh. Restored by the world famous RImini Lambretta Centre… so you know everything will be done to the highest standard. But still… that’s a lot of dosh. Check it out on eBay here.RLC0TV175S3-1RLC0TV175S3-2

The second is another very desirable scooter; a British Registered SX200, in champagne and white, still with it’s original Ken Cobbing seat. Matching frame and engine numbers and original panels and bodywork. Bit still… a little steep at £12K?
Here it is on eBay

EBaySX2009k-1 EBaySX2009k-2 EBaySX2009kIf GP’s are more your thing… there’s a nice, 1969 original Innocenti 200. Restored to a high standard, and looking lovely in yellow ochre. A steal at just £7,779? If it’s for you, here’s the eBay link

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And it’s not just the more desirable models that are getting expensive… here’s a 150 LD going for £4800… something that would have seemed, if not unthinkable, an “ambitious” price, just a few years ago. Here’s the eBay link to the LD

EBay150LD-1EBay150LD copy

So, are these machines actually worth these price tags? They’re all very desirable scooters, and look like they’ve been restored to a high standard. So, ultimately, the market will decide. It’s hard to see prices dropping in the future, so a classic Italian scooter may be a good investment, even at these prices. But remember, these machines are always better ridden than hidden.

There are still plenty of more affordable Lambrettas out there, but they may be either less cosmetically attractive, needing some work, or complete ‘projects’. I suppose it’s good news if you already own a Lambretta, or are in a position to buy and restore one… but the downside is it’s getting increasingly difficult for youngsters to get involved in our scene.

Minis, Spiders and now a Jag and a DeTomaso Turbo…

JagXJS-InnocentiSo we all know Innocenti made Minis, right… Some of you will know that they made a rather pretty little sports car too… but this is new too me, an Innocenti Jag? It’s probably nothing more that a piece of Innocenti branded marketing material for Jaguar during the Innocenti / Leyland years, but an oddity none the less.

You can pick it up for £7 on eBay, here.

Also on eBay is this “extremley rare” Innocenti Mini Turbo de Tomaso from 1989… The quote marks are mine as it’s another car I know very little about, and I can’t vouch for it’s rarity …but I’ve not come across one for sale before! It’s something I wouldn’t have looked twice at back in the day, but now has got a certain 80’s charm about it!

The car currently resides in Carini, near Palermo, in Sicily… which if you google it looks like a wonderful place to visit!

InnocentiDTTurboInnocentiDTTurbo2It appears to be in great original condition. A rather more serious investment, it’s currently got a bid of £5000 on in, and it hasn’t met it’s reserve yet. on eBay, HERE.

A couple of Innocenti Mini’s…

Innocenti Mini Cooper 1300After yesterdays post featuring a couple of J125 Starstreams, I thought I’d post another couple of Innocenti vehicles again, this time of the four wheeled variety! As Mini afficionados will know, The Innocenti Mini Cooper is the Italian version of the Cooper S, arguably built to a higher standard! I found these two very nice examples for sale, if they tickle your fancy, you know what to do!Innocenti Mini Cooper 1300 InnocentiMini-3The first one is Immaculate Innocenti Cooper Export 1300. Subject to a full, nut and bolt restoration and bare metal respray completed in 2011. Very original car, rebuilt to virtually original specification (twin tank added). Rare original colour scheme, Sabbia Beige / Nero. A regular at the Mini car shows across the country, and featured in Classic and Sports Car Magazine in October 2011… more info over on eBay.

On eBay here

The second car is a 1974 1300 Export – Professionally restored About 8 years ago. As Described as being in “Stunning condition and very original specification”, again, there’s more info over on eBay

check it out on eBay, HERE.

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