We try and stay away from politics here at the Lambrettista blog. But this is something that affects all Lambrettisti! Rumours have reached Lambrettista Towers that after seeing some archive footage of a Lambretta Amphi-Scooter on this very blog (see original post here), HM Government are buying up vintage Lambrettas at a premium, and converting them to amphibious capabilities.
Jacob Rees-Mogg testing a modified Lambretta scooter
Although not the obvious choice as a sea-going vessel, a converted Lambretta is seen as being more than capable of the short Dover to Calais route, and is being touted as “Just the sort of forward-facing, out-of-the-box innovative thinking this country needs”. A breakaway faction of the government is said to be carrying out experiments in converting Triumph Tigress scooters, claiming the British build scooters are better suited to the task than any ‘Italian Rubbish’. Rumours that the mastermind behind this project is the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris “failing” Graying have yet to be substantiated.
Although the storage capacity of these machines is somewhat limited, it’s thought that with enough converted Lambrettas, the UK can avoid shortages of Camembert, Brie, and several other European kinds of cheese. With the addition of front and rear racks, baguettes and croissants can also be accommodated.
Looking forward to this – Scooterboys – the Lost Tribe. I’ve enjoyed Martin “Sticky” Round’s writing for years. After all, this is the guy who can make a workshop manual entertaining! Due for release on 28th May, it’s one worth pre-ordering. (If you’ve already ordered an advance signed copy via SLUK, then that will be shipped at the end of April).
Here’s the blurb; “Scooterboys are the lost tribe of British youth culture. Unrecognised, uncelebrated and unwanted; misunderstood by a general public who mistook us for Mods. We weren’t Mods though. By the 1980s myself and tens of thousands of scooter riders collectively rejected that label. Instead, we took the roadmap of British youth disaffection and carved a new bypass. This route took us beyond the UK’s faded seaside resorts, allowing us to spread our creed across the continents. Tuned and customised Vespa and Lambretta scooters gave us freedom to roam; transport to live for the weekend. Shared experiences of riots, local hostility and police harassment built strong fraternal bonds that endure to this day. Despite decades of two-wheeled rebellion our threat level was never high enough to put us on the national security radar. This low profile has its benefits. We aren’t doomed to follow the same cycle as Mods. First feared, then pilloried, accepted and finally adopted as part of UK’s rich culture. As British as a vindaloo. The cult of Scooterboy has escaped death-by-public-acceptance, simply by remaining too underground. Too difficult to distinguish from what came before. And that’s just perfect. You’ll never see Scooterboys parodied in TV insurance adverts or low budget fly-on-the-wall. The poorly-rendered caricature is always some cliché Mod on a ‘Christmas Tree’ scooter. If you rode to rallies in the 80s and 90s then this book will mirror your experiences. If you’ve never had a scooter then it offers a rare glimpse of life inside the lost tribe of two-stroke terrorists.”
Available at all good bookshops, no doubt a few bad ones, and on Amazon, here
I’ll be getting a copy, and post a full review when I’ve read it. For more recommendations, see my reading list.
In another first for the Lambrettista Blog – here’s the first – leaked* videos of the New ELECTRIC Lambretta Vendetta!
It seems that Lambretta have teamed up with electric scooter pioneers (and Red Dot Design Award winners) NIU – There’s not a lot of data to share at the moment – although it’s rumoured that Token Hu – Vice president of NIU (and formerly of Frog Design and Microsoft) is heading up the project personally. I expect that as much as an electric powertrain they will be bringing their innovative Smart technology to the project.
I’ve posted a few times about electric vehicles (EV) on the blog before – and firmly believe they are the future of transportation – on two wheels or more. So, what you see here is truly the next generation of Lambretta – a brand that is going to be as relevant and innovative in the 21st century as the 20th. Exciting times!
This is the next step in the evolution of the Lambretta. Remember where you saw it first! Stay tuned, and I’ll share more information when I can.
*Feel free to share – but please don’t ask where I got these videos – I have to protect my sources!
People have done amazing things on Lambrettas – pushing these machines to their limits across many miles. This family road trip – 12,000 miles from Sydney to Paris – and then on to Margate – has got to be up their with one of the most ambitious and adventurous.
The trip took over two months – starting 3,000 miles across Australia – through Pakistan, Persia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey – then into Greece, and across Europe (Yugoslavia and Italy) to France. An ambitious enough trip for a rider with a support crew – but dad Guy took his wife Beryl (originally from Margate) and his children Charles (4) and Yvonne (2). Wow!
Guy custom built a cabin of marine plywood and canvas that could transport the four of them and their kit – and transform into a sleeping unit. Cosy! The ‘base scooter’ was a Lambretta Lambro 150 FD, with a top speed of just 25mph.
The trip included heatwaves, floods, frosts, dust-storms, monsoon rain. The scooter suffered punctures, over-heating and wet petrol – but their ‘put-put’ got them there in the end!
For the full story, I’d highly recommend visiting the website that chronicles the journey – www.montin.fr/lambretta – where there’s a wealth of original newspaper clippings and photos from the trip.
A big thank you to Charles (the then four year-old boy in the pictures!) for permission to use the imagery featured in this post.
I’ve also got another amazing Lambretta adventure story to tell – this time an ‘escape across Africa’ – stay tuned for that one!
Apologies for the lack of updates, things have been a bit hectic, and the blog has taken an bit of a ‘back seat’. I’ve got a bit of a backlog of posts to get up, but in the meantime, here’s one of American actress and model Carol Wayne, in a leotard, with a Cento.
EDIT: It’s NOT Carol Wayne… apparently it’s her sister, NINA Wayne. Good spot Corey.
Spotted this first class scooter on eBay… A Spanish Post Office (Correos) Serveta, quite rare by all accounts. It’s quite a basic model, lacking the indicators of Serveta’s of similar vintage. If Postman Pedro is anything like the ones that drive our little red vans, they never used the indicators anyway. Anyway, it’s much cooler than the push bikes our lot get to ride. Most of these scoots were scrapped after they went out of service, hence the rarity value, and relatively high price for a ‘basic’ Serveta. It doesn’t need my stamp of approval, but I think it’s got an appeal all of it’s own.
Here it is on eBay
A lovely little movie about a family Lambretta that was lost for twenty years before being found again. There’s English subtitles, if you’re French isn’t quite up to scratch.
Via the marvellous Petrolicous site
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!
There 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.
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.
The 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.
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!
Becky posted a picture of her Mum, who was “Miss Lambretta” back in the day…
Must say, this is a cracking pic that sums up a bygone era. A classic beauty, on a classic beauty!
Let us know more of the back story Becky, and I’ll update the post.
If you’ve got any old Lambretta pics, let me know, and I’ll happily put them up on the blog. Thank you for your patience, while there has been a short ‘hiatus’ in posting – more soon.