Lambrettas were modified for sporting use – almost from day one. There are a few Racing D models out there – I featuredthis stunnerfrom Dan from Switzerland a while back.
Now, Racing D’s are pretty rare – but as you go back through the alphabet, the models get even rarer. The one featured here is 1951 Lambretta Model C 125 Racer – finished in the classic racing red!
She has all the bits you’d expect to see, such as:
Metal endurance petrol tank
Dropped handle bars trimmed down legshields
extended racing seat
Rear sets modified rear brake to suit both riding positions
A lovely piece of Lambretta racing history which has been “ridden in anger” many times, this scooter has featured in Italian magazines. It’s being sold by Parrspeed Scooters – a long established Lambretta specialist based in Chorley, Lancashire. They purchased the scooter from a private collector in Italy who had owned and raced her for many years. The scooter is now UK registered and comes with a new UK V5.
Love this period pic from the ’50s of people turning out to watch some kind of motorcycle, or possibly scooter race. I love the way all their bikes, and scooters are ‘parked!’
Thanks to Daz for sending me the pic
UPDATE: I’ve been informed, in the comments that this is a pic of the 1954 Moto Giro d’Italia – which certainly fits with the Lambretta models on display. If you’ve got any further info on any of my posts – I’ve missed something out, or got something wrong, let me know in the comments, and I’ll update it!
When the original Lambretta – The Model A – was released – it was with a very much with the ethos of producing a cheap transport option for post war Italy. The radical simplicity of these early machines – and the fairly swift refinement into the models B, C soon led to these models being adopted in large numbers. A more ‘luxury’ version of the model C was introduced with full panelling – The LC – The “L” in LC actually stands for “Lusso” – the Italian for “Luxury”.
For a while, Innocenti offered you a choice of models – basic or luxury – with the Model D selling alongside the full-framed LD. The fully panelled luxury option went on to define the way the world thought a Lambretta should look for all future models – until at maybe the introduction of the Luna range in the late 60’s. But the basic models continued to be popular amongst a couple of groups… the budget conscious, and racers. Racers loved the reduced weight and the convenient access to the engines… making customisation, tuning and roadside repairs easier and quicker. You can see what a Racing D looked like in this post from the archives (well April).
But we all know the Lambretta was made in other countries around the world, Including Argentina – where SIambretta had been selling Argentinean Lambrettas since 1954, starting by assembling Model A’s shipped from Italy. Following the Italian model of offering a basic (or “Standard”) and luxury or “Deluxe” model.
The Siambretta was very popular in it’s home market – even exporting to other South American countries such a Chile and Uruguay. But by the late 60’s, sales were waning. To reinvigorate them, they looked to the past, and popular “Standard” models… however, a cheap, panel-less back to basics model wouldn’t quite cut the mustard. They wanted something with a bit of ooomph. A sporty Standard, or indeed, a “Super Standard”.
The result of this was the Siambretta Super Standard 175 AV – the AV thought by many to be a nod to Innocenti’s sporty TV line – changing the Turismo (the “T” in TV) to Argentina – (so AV = Argentina Veloce, rather than Turismo Veloce) . This was the only model designed 100% in Argentina – albeit on the back of an existing Lambretta model, and was a reasonable success for Siambretta.
Although called a “Super Standard’, these look anything but Standard to those of us used to seeing the curvaceous lines of the ‘standard’ Series 2 Lambretta on which they were based. The changes are pretty obvious, even from a cursory inspection – cutdown legshields, a redesigned cutdown front mudguard, a missing ‘frame-loop’ with a redesigned toolbox and petrol tank split laterally along the frame. The missing frame-loop at the rear is compensated for by an additional boxed structure above the rear mudguard… the main function of which seems to be as a mount for a spare wheel, and the rear light. Now, I’m no scooter designer (other than in the amatuer way that we all are), but maybe a more successful option would be losing the pillion seat, and the new box section, and storing the spare behind the cutdown legshields… a rear light could be easily mounted on the frame, under the seat. The headset is a simplified affair with a bolt-on headlight. The horncasting is squared off, and rather unfortunate looking, in my humble opinion.
Some shots, from a magazine road test of the time, show that it’s perhaps a machine that looks better when being ridden than standing still;
Thanks to Darrin Slack for sending me these images, there’s more to come on the history of Siambretta, including some original press and advertising material.
Other information comes from the El Siambrettista blog – a blog all about the Siambretta in it’s various guises, and well worth checking out.
Regular contributor Darrin Slack sent me these fantastic period pics of the 1949 Giro d’Italia – featuring Italian Grand Prix Motorcycle Road Racer Romalo Ferri, at this point riding for the Minetti team. I don’t know too much more than that, and a Google search has netted little in the way of results, so if you know more, please leave some info in the comments.
Darrin has sent me a wealth of images and information over the past few week, if you like this sort of content, stay tuned for more!
Darrin has got back in touch, and informed me that Minetti were a large Lambretta dealer in Milan, and often Innocenti would showcase their latest models in the Minetti showrooms.
Following my post from the Spanish Lambretta / Serveta factory in Eibar, (here) I’ve been sent a ton of fantastic imagery from my online pal Darrin Slack – so much that they will be providing the majority of the posts for the forseeable future – my only issue is finding enough hours in the day to post them! Darrin is a self-admitted ‘bloody bloohound’ when it comes to anything Lambretta – and has scoured the internet to find these images – which kinda what I’ve been doing for to find content for this blog – but Darrin is far better at it than I am! So, all this stuff is out there on the internet already, but it’s nice for us Lambretta fans to have everything in one place eh? Hopefully this blog becomes a bit of a resource for anybody interested in Lambretta history.
Image Source: I will endeavour to post links to the sites where these images originally featured – and credit any original photographers etc. These images appear to originally come from the Fondazione ISEC Flickr account. The Fondazione ISEC was formed in 1973 for the purpose of collecting, conserving and enhancing sources of the history of the Italian Resistance movement and the labour movement. Over time, Fondazione ISEC has become a national reference point for whoever is interested in events concerning the political, economic and social history of contemporary Italy. They have appeared on various sites, and Pinterest accounts around the internet… hopefully posting them here is another way of preserving and publicising these great images. The Fondazione ISEC site is here: https://www.fondazioneisec.it/
Plenty more to come! These shots are just the first of many, not only of the Lambretta factory, but also Lambretta trade shows, and various rarely seen publicity shots, as well as images of various Lambretta prototypes etc. Stay tuned for more of this good stuff! Thanks again to Darrin for sourcing and supplying me the images.
So, life has been a little chaotic at Lambrettista Towers, and I’ve got a bit behind in my blog posting. I’ve got some brilliant posts lined up – courtesy of reader Darrin – who has sent me some fantastic imagery of various Lambretta oddities, factory shots from the Eibar factory in Spain, and much more. Stay tuned for those goodies, I’ll get them up ASAP!
But I had to post this one as soon as I got it. It’s an appeal really – for my old internet pal from Down Under, Rod, who first appeared on the blog back in 2014 with a barn find Model F, which he intended to restore. (Here’s the original post).
Six years later, and after facing various challenges, Rod is nearly there… and just needs one part to get his rare Lammie over the line. He wants to finish it so his grandson Harry can ride it to Uni – starting a whole new generation of Lammie fans.
So, the part he needs is the Coil holder – pictured above… (my colouring to highlight it) so I’m putting out an appeal to all my readers can anybody help Rod out with this? Come on gang, we can do it! If you can help, please leave a comment below, and I’ll hook you up with Rod.
I connected with the Michelangelo (now there’s an Italian name for you!), the owner of these two fantastic Model A’s on Reddit – where he posted the picture above. The model A – or Lambretta 125m as was the official designation – it only really became the ‘A’ when the model ‘B’ came along – is where the Lambretta story all began. Documented elsewhere on this site, and around the web, I won’t repeat that all here.
There were only about 9,000 model A’s made, so to have one is pretty special. To have two, is amazing. But to have one as special as Michelangelo’s second one, is very special indeed. No ‘ordinary’ A, this one (an Mk1) features some wonderful period features that elevate it from the standard model to ‘Sport’ or GT spec…
Like something out of a time capsule – some of the differences between a standard A are immediately obvious – such as the elegant long-distance fuel tank. Slightly trickier to spot is the rear suspension – a feature that was felt ‘unnecessary’ on the original model. But not only did this scooter have a rear spring, it appears to height adjustable.
Fitted with a pillion seat – and on this bike you’d need one, as it would be sure to attract admiring glances from pretty young signorinas that you’d want to give a lift to. The aluminum grab rail would give her something to hold on to!
The forks are also ‘specials’ and original to the machine – and give a glimpse of the elegant ‘design language’ of future Lambrettas models. Another contemporaneous modification – made when the scooter was new, or shortly after – is the hand gear change – remember, the A was the only Lambretta model to feature a foot change. So perhaps – who knows – this very scooter helped shape the future of all later Lambrettas?
Scooters like Michelangelo’s A Sport are the reason i do this blog – there is always something new to discover, and interesting people to meet. I love it when people are passionate and knowledgeable about their passion – so if you have pictures of your Lambretta – and it can be any model – and a story to tell about it – I’d love to hear it. You can get in touch here.
A big thank you to Michelangelo Merisi, aka @ilbreizh on Instagram (or Reddit) for sharing these pictures and an important bit of Lambretta history. Michelangelo is currently engaged in another fascinating restoration of another old Lambretta, that I hope to feature on the blog one day. Stay tuned!
Firstly, I hope everybody is keeping well, and safe in these strangest of days.
Changed personal circumstances have meant the Lambrettista blog has been put on the back-burner for a while, but hopefully, it’s back, back, back, and I’m going to get some new content posted up on a more regular basis.
I got a fantastic email from Dan, from Switzerland far too long ago – sharing some fantastic pictures of his 1955 Lambretta 150 D Racing Replica. Dan has recently become webmaster of the Swiss Lambretta Club site (check out their site here). He found the D Racer in Piemonte, Italy, while taking part in the Milano Taranto Rally last summer.
The scooter is now going through a full restoration and Dan has a list of period add-ons to enhance the scooter – and plans to tune her to achieve 100 km/h.
The scooter already has some really nice ‘special features’ including;
A unique handmade 15-litre racing fuel tank
Nicely cut and shaped front and rear mudguards, and slimstyle legshields
Slim racing handlebars
Handmade racing seat
All of which adds up to a unique, and rather special scooter – no wonder Dan looks so happy astride it!
So, that’s the first post, after a rather long hiatus. The next post won’t be so long, I promise.
If you’ve got images, an event – (post social distancing of course), a story or – importantly these days – some news you want to share, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get it up on the bog.
Lambretta A’s don’t come up for sale that often, so when I see one for sale, I’ll flag it up. This little beauty, a 125 Model A, Mk2, has just arrived from Italy. Finished in metallic blue and is fitted with optional extras such as a pillion seat and footrests etc. She was refurbished in Italy several years ago and was ridden by her owner at weekends and taken to special events.
This is an interesting one, a Lambretta Racer, built in the ’90s, on a frame from the ’60s, modelled on the racers from the ’50s. Kinda reminds of this one, I posted about a few months back back in June 2013. Although the title of the post contains the words “one-off”, the builder made at least two (one is featured on the Rimini Lambretta Centre site in their gallery).
The scooter is an LI 125, with a Casa 185 kit. There are a lot of one off parts made by a man with some real skill. For a similar price to a standard machine, you can something pretty eye-catching, a real conversation starter.