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!

 

80’s Style… AF Rayspeed Super S-Type

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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.
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Stolen Lambretta Found!


I’ve not written for a while, and I’ve got posts queued up to go… but it’s nice to share some good news. A reader has got in touch to say he’s found a Lambretta, Reg No. KSC 161D, in the Edinburgh area. He’s reported it’s location to the police. (or should that be polis). So get in touch and get your scoot back. When you do, get in touch and I’ll give you the email of the good samaritan, so you can say thanks!


 

Dirty Diana…

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Spotted this less than pristine Dürkopp Diana on eBay. It’s missing it’s seats and sidepanels, the engine is seized, and there’s no documents. But it IS cheap, (classified ad price of £795) and as soon as I saw it I though of a headline for a post, so I had to stick it up! The same fella is selling a Swallow Gadabout, NSU Prima, a Zundapp Bella and a Heinkel A0, all in a similar ‘restorable’ condition, so if Dürkopp is not your brand of choice, there are some others for you!

I was going to write a brief history of the Durkopp Diana scooters, but I couldn’t be more thorough than my online pal Tideous Ted, over on the Retrorambling blog. So, if you’re interested, just read this.

Here’s a glimpse at what it could look like after a little tlc. Conveniently shot at almost exactly the same angle!
117381_dur3If you fancy a bit of a rest job on a German scooter with Italian(ish) styling,

Get your bid on on eBay here

Happy New Year

vespalambrettaraceHappy New Year everybody! 2017 is a BIG year for Lambrettisti, with, amongst many other things, the 70th Anniversary celebrations taking place. More about that later, in a dedicated post. In the meantime, before I kick off with new posts, I just wanted to wish all my contributors, commenters, supporters and readers a slightly belated happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

What do you get if you cross a Lambretta with a Vespa?

iso_milano_ebay_heroWell, it wouldn’t look a million miles from an Iso Milano would it? The front half looks very Vespa, while from the headset back it’s got distinctly Lambretta styling. Dating from 1957/58, it’s a remarkable ‘modern’ looking scooter for the day… Lambretta’s still had the headlight on the horncasing then. So, best of both worlds, or a bit of chimera? I suppose that’s a matter of taste.

If it’s to your taste, you can get hold of this one on eBay, here for not too much dosh; £1,250.00 ‘buy it now’ or make them an offer. Leave the Iso badges off, and you’ll have a few people scratching their heads… The bloke from the front saw you on a red Vespa, the bloke from the side swears blind you were riding a Lammie!
Here it is on eBay (Link updated as the scooter has been resisted).

Puch Cheetah

puchds_60_cheetah_ebayNow for something completely different… a Puch DS 60 Cheetah from, amazingly in my opinion, 1960. Why amazingly? Well, to my untrained eye, it looks so much later, presaging Japanese mopeds like the Honda Cub and monkey bikes from the 70s. There’s also a hint of the Rumi Formicino in the styling. Not as curvy and sinuous as a Lambretta or a Vespa, but a very pleasing design – tidy, solid and compact. It was described, back in the day, as a ‘scooterette’ – or ‘baby scooter’. The 59cc Cheetah was the ‘deluxe’ version, with a more stripped down 50cc bike called the Nomad as it’s entry level stablemate.

The Austrian company Puch are perhaps more remembered these days for their mopeds (such as the Puch Maxi), and small motorcycles, and maybe even push bikes (especially BMX’s), but they made very highly regarded scooters in the 1950’s. The Puch RL from 1953 had more traditional scooter styling, and had a good reputation amongst it’s owners,  the less than sparkling performance being offset by a reputation for exceptional reliability.

The 59cc 4 speed sports engine on this Cheetah produces 4.5 hp. It’s been restored to ‘as new’ condition with a professional respray (love the silver and bright orange combo!), the engine rebuild by leading vintage Puch specialists in Austria. The aluminium casing, brake drums and shock absorbers are polished to mirror finish. It has a refurbed original seat, new brake linings, wiring, exhaust system, rubbers and tyres. Rebuilt by a restorer rather than a rider, the bike has covered only 3 miles since. The V5 is present and it has 12 months MOT.

RIP Prince Buster

This is a Lambretta blog, not a music one. But I’m going to take a moment to acknowledge the sad passing of musical legend Prince Buster.

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37 years ago (!), almost to the day, my life changed. That’s the day Madness performed their first single “The Prince” on Top of The Pops. The song (as was the band’s name) was tribute to someone I’d never heard of… Prince Buster. I knew that this was the group I’s been waiting for. Only a couple of years older than me, but with such a cool, fun, nutty vibe about them… the clothes! The music! Down to Woolies the next day, clutching my 75p, The Prince became my fourth record in my collection. (The others were The Sex Pistols “Silly Thing”, Allies Tartan Army by Andy Cameron, and The Birdy Song  – a gift form my Granny – honestly). The B Side of The Prince was just as good – if not better – a song called Madness – a Prince Buster cover. With The Specials in the charts with a cover of Al Capone, (retitled Gangsters of course) and Madness to soon release One Step Beyond, the influence ‘The Prince’ is undeniable. I was lucky enough to see Prince Buster live on several occasions… including with Madness at Finsbury Park.

I, like a lot of my generation, began to seek out the originals. Prince Buster was a revelation. Songs like One Step Beyond, Al Capone, Rough Rider, Wreck a Pum Pum and Big 5 are classics. The whole ska / mod / skinhead scene was inexorably linked to the world of scooters… so maybe, without Prince Buster – no Madness – no love of scooters – no Lambrettista Blog…

RIP ‘The Prince’ A true innovator, original rude boy and musical legend.

Snuggy Buggy

SnuggyMicro-2The world of the William Microcar is a peculiar one… I’ve written about these rare little microcars before, but never come across this variant – ‘The Snuggy’ before. Here, here, here and here. It looks like it takes some inspiration from that 70’s classic The Bond Bug, one of the most iconic little cars ever, and something I’ve also blogged about.

I wouldn’t say the Snuggy is a design classic, but it’s got a certain charm, with a ‘lo-fi’ homemade, bargain parts bucket aesthetic about it. If it’s your cup of darjeeling, check it out on eBay here.

 

Jolly nice J

s-l1600-1This is probably one of the nicest J50’s out there*… A J 50 with a Casa 80 c upgrade. Restored to a high standard by Medway scooters with £7000 spent on her, including sourcing rare original accessories and having them restored to as new condition.

The list of rare accessories include Ulma twin legsheild trims , front fork covers, rear carrier seat passenger grab rail, megaphone exhaust , spare wheel legsheild carrier, horncast the list goes on… Everything has been rechromed by London chroming. She features a rare mph speedo upgrade (J50’s didn’t come with a speedo) 12-volt electrics and lighting upgrade.

I’m not normally the J range’s greatest fan, normally, but this one looks jolly nice. A small frame Lambretta you can be proud to be seen on. I got a bit of a jolt when I saw the price though… £5.5k used to be (and in my head still is) SX territory… but things move on!

If you are tempted, you might want to read this article in Scootering… a buyer’s guide to Lambretta J-Range Scooters.

The J50 featured in this post is for sale on eBay here.

*Unless you know of a better one, of course. If you do, let me know and I’ll future it on the blog.