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!
This is a fantastic story of the restoration of a Lambretta FC, built to sell ice-cream – and now magnificently restored to it’s former glory. And what could be more Italian than Lambrettas AND Ice Cream?
Firstly, a bit of background. As well as providing affordable, stylish post-war transportation, the Lambretta was an exceptionally versatile ‘platform’ for small commercial vehicles. In addition to – and before we saw the Lambro range of light commercial vehicles – that I’ve written about before here – there was a wide range of “cab-less” vehicles – these date back to the earliest days of Lambretta – The first FA’s being exhibited at the Milan trade fair back in 1948. The “F” designation stands for “Furgone” (Italian for van) – and here things may get a little confusing – as Lambretta later launched a “F” model, in line with their alphabetical naming policy – but these early commercials (the FA, the FB and FC) preceded that, and were based on the Model A, B and C’s respectively.
The FC was a bit of a hybrid of the C and LC model – the scooter body basically a model C, but with the engine and cooling systems from the LC. As with the FA and FB models, the FC was configured with a ‘box’ at the front, with two wheels either side – with the power from the 125cc engine going to the single wheel at the back – the later Lambro’s adopted a different layout (single wheel at the front, cabin, box behind the driver, power going to the two rear wheels.
Enough background information. More than enough. Back to this particular machine! This magnificent scooter (a FC) is owned by Bruno Strigini – a lifelong Lambretta enthusiast – who discovered it and restored it to it’s former glory.
Bruno bought the Lambretta FC 1998. It was the second of four three-wheelers owned by the Galbiati family, the previous one, an FB model is now in Vittorio Tessera’s Lambretta museum. In the original documentation he got when he bought it, it shows it’s intended use was always to sell ice-cream – and it was approved as such. As you will see from the image above, it was in reasonably complete condition, just a little the ‘worse for wear”.
What was intact though was the fantastic original signwriting – including the name of the town the “Galbiati Brothers” were based – Perosa Argentina (a municipality near Turin in North West Italy, and not the South American country!). Galbiati’s plied their trade between Perosa Argentina – a municipality near Turin, and the Italian ski resort of Sestriere, about 40km away.
Bruno was lucky enough to meet the original owner, Sr. Galbiati, and stayed with him for an afternoon in 1998. Since then, he’s been in contact only with his daughter, who gave him the original photos featured here, and the original cork tubs where she made ice cream. Originally, the ice-cream was kept cold with a mixture of ice and salt, but Bruno designed a modern cooling system that preserved the original wooden box. It can now hold 32kg of ice cream in four flavors, and is equipped with a battery-powered compressor that can maintain -20 degrees Celsius for two days independently.
Bruno has done a done a magnificent job restoring this wonderful machine to it’s former glory, and it’s fully functional as it’s original purpose. It’s clear that he really cares about the story of the machine – telling me he regards it as ‘part of the family’. It’s great to see a machine with such a heritage of the scooter, an important, slightly forgotten part of Lambretta history.
I’ll close this post with apologies to Bruno, who sent me this story and the fabulous pics, some time ago now. While Lambrettas are my passion, and I love working on this blog, between work and family commitments, I sometimes I just can’t seem to find them time to update it as often as I would like to! Bruno also owns the “daddy of all Lambretta commercials” an FA model, but that’s another story for another day, and another post!
As Monty Python used to say, “Now for something completely different!” – The Lambretta del Mare – or “Lambretta of the Sea” . Now I’ve featured various “amphibious” Lammies before (here and here) but never a fully fledged Lambretta powered boat before!
The Lambretta del Mare was a pleasure boat built by SARA of Rome. It was shown at the 1950 Milano Fiera trade show in the Montecatini Pavilion. The pleasure boat was powered by a LC 125 Lambretta engine.
Described as ‘elegant and easy to drive’ and ‘the most comfortable and most modern motorboat’ ‘The Lambretta del Mare allows navigation even with very rough sea. The great maneuverability, the shape and lightness of the hull give it remarkable stability and safety qualities. I used an innovative “Peralum” aluminum body produced by Montecatini making it extremely resistant to corrosion.
Those of you with better Italian than I can probably discover more from the brochure featured above… but it starts off saying something like… “Today, for the first time in the world, we are presenting a nautical vehicle; the “Lambretta del Mare” which allows a large number of the public to achieve an aspiration considered unattainable so far due to the high purchase price and the difficulty of transport and shelter” So – I’m assuming it was quite affordable – easy to transport – and to store – as it goes on to say the boat would fit in a standard size garage.
I wonder if this actually made it into manufacturing? And if so, how many of these actually made… which begs the question… do any still exist? It would be the ultimate addition to any Lambretta collection!
Thanks again to regular Lambrettista contributor Darrin Slack for finding and sharing these images!
I have a credit for the top photo… if I have to credit anybody else, please let me know.
Spotted a couple of class Messerschmitts on eBay. I’ve always really liked these ‘bubble cars’ – although I prefer the German term “Kabinroller” – which literally translates as “cabin scooter”.
The first Messerschmitt KR 200 is a 1963 UK car, with the desirable plexy glass roof in exceptionally nice condition. on eBay for £25995.
The second one is few years older – dating from 1959 and finished in original Coral paint. The interior is finished in cream upholstery together with an original style rubber floor mat. The car has some nice detailing with chrome torpedo and tail lights and refinished wheels with whitewalls. On eBay for £21,995.
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!
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.
One of my readers, John, sent me this fantastic pic of him on his Lambretta D150. He was getting it ready for a trip to Istanbul with 3 friends… another D’s and an LD with two-up. They stopped for a while
in Yugoslavia, and even took Franco era Spain in on the way back, stopping off in Barcelona.
“Ian then took off for Copenhagen, and then eventually I came home. You just sat on the D150, and opened the throttle. It did 55 on the clock forever… Barcelona to home in 2 and a half days. Rather different to today’s 2 wheeled tourists.”
Quite a trip… quite an adventure.
I love these period pics – if you’ve got something similar sitting in a drawer – wether you rode your Lambretta to Istanbul or just to work… I’d love to see them!
Lambretta adventurer and legend Cesare Battaglini, who travelled160,000km round the world on his modified Lambretta in 1956, the greatest of many expeduitions on hs Lambretta. He continued riding his beloved Lambretta into his eighties, and was an active and revered part of the Lambretta scene right up to his death in 2011, at 84 years old.