Spotted one of my favourite 1980’s oddballs – the fantastic little Honda Motocampo on eBay – originally sold as an option for Honda City car (see Madness advert below) these little 50cc bikes fold up to fit into your car boot. I think they still look pretty cool – and are a perfect example of innovative 1980’s industrial design. It’s on eBay for £2995 here.
Incidentally, dedicated Madness fans may recognise the Motocampo from the band’s foray into Japanes advertising… the first time I saw one!
In the previous posts, I’ve featured scooters from marques who you may not have expected to make scooters – as diverse as Harley Davidson (here), Ducati* (here) and even Maserati (here). My online pal Darrin sent me another for the oddball files – Ladies and Gentlemen, I present The BMW R10.
Dating from the early 50’s – so predating the Lambretta LI Series 1 by a good few years – the rumour is that the R10 nearly made it into production – only being pulled at the last minute in favour of the BMW Isetta bubble car.
An early plasticine and wood model, with some metal parts was created to show the R10’s potential to compete against the dominant Italian scooter brands of Lambretta and Vespa – remember – it was the 1950’s that were the true heyday of the motor scooter – and everybody wanted a piece of the action.
The streamlined, fully enclosed bodywork without removable sidepanels, and the large integrated front mudguard are a typically Germanic approach – one adopted by Glas Goggo, Heinkel, Zundapp and Maicoletta…although I don’t think many of those German scooters looked as elegant as this Beemer. The one weird design decision they made (in my opinion at least) was to incorporate the horn right at the front of the mudguard… totally throwing off the sensuous, smooth Italianate curves.
So, if BMW had gone all in on this scooter would we all be riding around on Beemers instead of Lambrettas a Vespas? Maybe. Or maybe, it would have been a modest domestic success in Germany, like the other aforementioned brands – never quite attaining the indefinable cosmopolitan appeal of it’s Italian rivals. Who knows!
A big thank you to reader Darrin Slack for the images and post suggestion. Darrin has supplied me with plenty more fascinating content – stay tuned Lambrettisti, and enjoy the ride!
*I could have sworn I’d done a post on the Ducati Cruiser 175 – but a search of my archives tells me it aint so. Consider in on (my ever expanding) to do list.
A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing through the Scooter Restorations site, as I often do when I have a spare ten minutes. I’ve posted a few desirable rare Lambrettas for sale on the blog. Now, I know they specialise in ‘rare’ Lambretta parts, from the model A onwards… But I noticed they had (a few) parts for a Lambretta Amiga. A Lambretta that it never even made it to production. In fact, even pictures of it are rare… although there does appear to be a prototype in the Museo de la Industria Armera in Eibar, Spain. (If the name Eibar doesn’t ring a bell, it probably should, it’s the industrial town in the spanish Basque Country – Euskadi – where Lambretta’s were manufactured (sometimes under the name Serveta).
So it’s rare. We’ve established that. But is it desirable? Well, maybe. But I would hazard a guess at ‘only to a completist’ or only to people really into 80’s/90’s design.
Spanish machines are increasingly sought after in the UK, the Eibar Lambretta Winter Model and Serveta Jet 200 being particularly prized. The last real model to roll off the production line was the Serveta Lince (Spanish for Lynx), which was still very recognisably a Lambretta – albeit – like a 60’s pop star with a facelift and a spray-tan – a Lambretta with a distinctly 80’s make-over. I wrote about the Lince back in 2013 – here – since then my opinions on many things have mellowed, but sadly not my rather forthright views on the Vespa PX. Anyway I digress. Not like me is it? Back to The Lince. Sadly, although a modest success (over 1,500 made) the Lince was not going to secure the future of Spanish Lambretta production. So it was back the the drawing board, and in 1987, it probably was still designed on a drawing board, CAD being in it’s infancy. I’ll tell you one thing though, they made good use of their rulers that day.
The Amiga was Spain’s attempt to take The Lambretta brand into the ’90s… and one thing you can definitely say of The Lambretta Amiga was that it’s of it’s time. In typical late 80’s fashion anything resembling a sensuous curve was squared off – it was straight lines all the way, baby. And it wasn’t the only product they had in mind either, there was a rather funky looking trike – The Lambretta Tron – and an Lambro/Vespa Ape type commercial vehicle – The Motocarro Lambretta. The Tron even made it to prototype stage – I can feel another post coming on.
Back to the Amiga. Although it never made it past the prototype stage, there was big talk at the time of The Amiga being “The New Lambretta”. I remember reading an article about it (probably in Scootering) and being absolutely horrified – having a real “What the fuck have they done” moment, and thinking it was like a stormtrooper crossed with a Honda Melody. And not in a good way. (The design of the Honda Melody has aged pretty well, actually, but back in the late 80’s, to any Lambretta or Vespa rider the words Honda and Melody were about the worst insults you could throw at a machine). Anyway. I’ve waffled on far too long. There’s some Amiga bits on eBay, here. Basically, a frame (with some bits bolted on – the fuel tank and the rear shock), the forks and front wheel, and the headset, including the distinctive speedo. There’s no bodywork, seat or engine, although I’d imagine a standard Lambretta/Serveta lump would fit.
A final note, I’m pretty sure that when I originally looked, Scooter Restorations had an Amiga speedometer in stock. It’s now showing as “out of stock”. Which begs the question… “Who bought it?” and “Why?” Is someone out there building an Amiga? I’d love to know! If it’s you, please get in touch, I love to know more!
Andres got in touch with pictures of a Lambretta he’d just become the proud owner of… asking for help identifying the model. I’m afraid I couldn’t help – although it’s clearly a variant on a Cento, with some ‘modernised’ bodywork. The closest thing I could find was something I featured on the blog back in 2016, a SIL Lambretta Sunny, which looks remarkably similar.
My other thought, as this has turned up in Argentina, was that it was a model manufactured their by Siambretta or in Brazil…
If you can shed some more light on this Lambretta ‘oddity’ please get in touch, either in the comments below, or by using my contact section. I’ll pass any info on to Andres.
Let’s face it, none of us are getting any younger. And while hopefully, we can swing our legs over a Lammy for a little bit longer the day will come when we won’t be able to. But you may still be able to ride around with a certain panaché. I think this vintage electric mobility scooter, dating from 1948 trumps your modern plastic mobility scooter in the style stakes, and probably in speed too. If you’re an ageing goth, into steampunk (I can see someone riding round in this in a stovepipe hat, steampunk goggles and a silver skull-topped cane), or maybe John Cooper Clarke, you could pull this off. It’d be a strong look. On eBay for £5,989.00
Spotted this rarity on eBay – a Genuine 1954 Indian Papoose Brockhouse Corgi. Now, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know anything about these scoots… but there’s a little bit of history below…
The Indian Papoose started out life in 1942 to be used during the 2nd world war known as the Wellbike, then was redesigned named Corgi under the creative ingenuity of John Dolphin, changing the engine to an Excelsior Spryt, built under licence by Brockhouse Engineering Southport Ltd.
Brockhouse was invested in the Indian company and began to re-badge the Corgi with the Indian Papoose decals along with re-painting the little folding motorcycle identifiable with the Indian Colors to market the Papoose as an Indian in the United States in 1948. Around 28,000 of the folding motorcycles where sold from 1948 to October 1954.
It’s been a while since I posted a collection of ‘oddballs’ (here are the last lot). So here goes, to be clear, the term oddball is not pejorative – these are scooters that just aren’t Lambrettas and Vespas – or clones of them!
First off is this BM Pokerino from 1963. BM, or Bonvicini Marini were an Italian motorcycle manufacturer founded in Bologna in 1952. An ‘ace’ looking little scooter, but, I must say my favourite part about is the poker hand badge – so if you’re feeling ‘flush’ (see what I did there) you can get hold of the Pokerino for a classified price of £1,895. It looks to be in great original condition.
Next up is a second 50cc classic – a straight-looking Zundapp RS 50 – another good looking little scooter. Yours for a grand.
One more ‘nifty fifty’ before I get to the big guns
… a Garelli Como – and I’m always a little unsure about classifying these larger wheeled bikes as ‘scooters’. Yep, it’s got the scooter style bodywork, but with those big wheels it’s more moped than scooter, right? While looking a little ungainly, the Garelli just about manages to pull off the ‘moped in disguise’ thing. I think. Anyway, it’s nearly twice the price of the Zundapp,at £1,995.
Next up is another scooter I don’t think I’ve seen before – A Jawa Tatran. Jawa – a long established Czech motorcycle marque – got in on the scooter gravy train just like everybody else. And they made a decent job of it by the look of things. This one has had a full resto job done on eBay for the same price as the Garelli, £1,999 – probably the better buy?
A great looking BSA Sunbeam. Look familiar? Well, the Sunbeam is basically a ‘badge engineered’ Triumph Tigress. One of my favourite British scooters, there’s no denying the sensuous smooth lines of this little beauty.
And bloody brilliant. Not a Lambretta (obvs – as the youth say these days). But now and again I like to post a bit of ‘industrial design’ that is somehow Lambretta related, or may inspire somebody in the creation of a ‘custom’.
This is a purely conceptual creation of Dennis Sedov. The bold, brutish straight lines and overall simplicity may be at odds with the sensuous curves of a classic Lambretta, so I’m not going to labour over a link, but there’s something about the aesthetic I love. Love the seat (and built-in back light), love the front light. Originally discovered on Yanko Design. See more of Dennis Sedov’s design work here, and his motorcycle designs here.
I spotted* a couple of cool new electric bikes – and thought they were more than worthy of an airing on the blog. Though each is a quirky, original design in it’s own right, I’m old enough to know the adage “There’s nothing new under the Sun” has an element of truth to it – and both these bikes reminded me of older designs.
The first is the “Pocket Rocket” it’s unusual form earning it a German Design Award. Designed by Manuel Messmer and engineered by SOL Motors, the Pocket Rocket is clean and compact. The thick tubular column on the top becomes a perfect surface to sit on, once you’ve got a saddle in place, and right at both ends, you’ve got the headlight and taillight. The product is currently in its conceptual stages and the specifications haven’t been made public yet. If and when they do, I’ll let you know.
While a beautifully simple and original concept, it reminded me of a little known Lambretta from years ago – The Rosella, pictured below, and featured on the blog here.
The second featured bike is equally – if not more so – quirky. It’s called the Motochimp – a cheeky name, for a really cheeky looking bike. This bike has so much personality, it looks like it’s a character from a Pixar film.
This quote from their website (motochimp.com) gives you an idea of the ethos of Motochimp…
“Motochimp celebrates the indie spirit of spontaneous urban mobility. Freeing urban transport from boredom, replacing it with spontaneity and personality. Join us and we’ll defy boredom and faceless urban transport. Let’s embark on joy rides that catch a twinkle or two… Let’s Ride on the Lighter Side of Life”.
The video on FullyCharged sums up the bike features nicely. Favourite feature? Well, I’m torn between the way the battery just slides out – and those funky, minimalist bar-end indicators.
As Johnny Smith notes in the video, the Motochimp is very reminiscent of Honda’s Motocompo portable minibike from the ’80s – now a very collectable little bike in its own right – and one probably deserving of a Lambrettista blog post.
Which gives me the excuse to share this Madness Honda City/Motocompo ad…
*Well, my mate Luke spotted them to be fair. And sent me the links. Credit where it’s due!
Spotted this pretty little Triumph on eBay. Lovely clean lines for a scooter that doesn’t originate in Italy! Dare I say, it’s prettier than a J? Dare I? Nah, not on here. But’s it’s close. It apparently “drives very nice” and “everything works as it should” (Buyers words, so do your own checks). It’s listed at a pretty reasonable £1,950, but he’s open to offers, as he’s not sure how much it’s worth. I’d say he’s pitched it about right?
The Triumph T10 – also known as the Triumph Tina – was the lightweight sister scooter to the better known Triumph Tigress. Made between 1962 and 1970 it was marketed at women, in a campaign fronted by Peter Pan of Pop Cliff Richard (I’d love to see some original publicity material if anybody’s got any – I’ve tried finding some online to no avail!). Technically the Tina was quite advanced – an early ‘auto’ using a continuously variable transmission system with a centrifugal clutch. There were even plans, and actual prototypes for a three-wheeler version – predating Piaggio’s MP3 by decades!
Lots more info about the Tina / T10 and her big sis the Tigress on the TriumphScooters website.