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!

 

Funky Moped…

benelli_moped_ebay_heroFrom the ‘Not a Lambretta, but – files’…Spotted this cheeky little 50cc Benelli Monkey Bike on eBay. It’s not UK registered, but comes with a kosher sales invoice and a NOVA certificate. You’ll need a dating certificate from the Owners Club. The engine works. And it’s a not unreasonable £1,595.00 (classified ad price).

Here it is on eBay

Miss Saigon

Malaguti SaigonYasin, the guy who correctly identified the mystery scooter as a KTM Ponny, has got an interesting scooter himself… well, actually he’s got a few – a Lambretta J50,  Vespa 50 N, and a “Malaguti Saigon”. And it was the Saigon that piqued my interest. Another 50cc scooter… at a quick glance it could be mistaken for a Lambretta… nice clean lines, more elegant maybe than a J-Range Lammie.

SONY DSCMalaguti Saigon (green) DSC03447 SONY DSC Malaguti is another marque with a proud Italian heritage. Founded in 1930 in San Lazzaro di Savena,in the province of Bologna. Starting out making bike frames, Malaguti soon diversified into mopeds and the small, lightweight, single cylinder motorcycles the Italians were so good at. So when the scooter boom started in the 50’s, the company were well placed to take advantage of this. Rather than purely focus on the domestic market, Malaguti exported the majority of it’s scooters… with over 70% of the factories production going to Vietnam… including the scooter shown… which soon gained the nickname “Saigon” …although this was never an official company name.

So, that’s the brief history of these little lightweight scoots… one of many Italian marques that diversified into scooters, but in my opinion one of the prettiest, and one that deserves a little more recognition.

Yasin kindly sent me some pics of his Saigon (below) , and I admit, I’m a little jealous of his elegant little scoot. It looks in excellent original condition… original paint and even a dealer sticker on the front mudguard. Lovely. It’s clearly not complete… but not too far off… missing the sidepanels and rear light, a front fork cover, and some horncasing trim by the look of it… so if you’ve got access to a cache of Malaguti parts, let me know and I’ll pass the details on to Yasin. It looks pretty good without the panels imho… although you’d be hard pushed to get much more than a couple of litres in that tiny fuel tank… which would limit your range a little!

Yasins Malaguti Saigon IMG_6137 IMG_6141 IMG_6142 IMG_6143 IMG_6144

Malaguti are still in business today, and still a family owned company, and, although they ceased vehicle production in 2011, they still deal with spare parts, accessories and after sales service. Unfortunately for Yasin, I think his “Siagon” may be a little too long out of production for any spare parts to still be knocking round the factory!

One final thought, I know I’ve got readers in Vietnam, and Lambrettas and Vespas are immensely popular out there… but is anyone riding a Siagon in Vietnam? Even perhaps in Siagon? And if your are, have you got any spare panels for Yasin?Malaguti logo

Malaguti Website

Thanks to Riccardo at Malaguti for the updated information.

Bit of a bitsa…

innocenti-labretta-50dl-elaborazione-sportiva-0037I found this for sale on Car & Classic, and this one had me scratching my head…

I thought it was a 50’s racer when I first saw it… but it didn’t look like any 50’s racer I’d ever seen before. And Model D based racers were either 125’s or 150’s surely… Closer inspection threw up more questions than answers…

The machine in described as a 50 DL… (I mistakenly thought the D bit of this referred to a model D) As you probably know, what was marketed in the UK as a GP was sold in Italy and other markets as a DL. So, at least part of it is from a GP as we know it. But DL/GP’s were 125/150/200cc… But, a Lui was 50cc… which brings me to the forks and wheels… which are distinctly Luna line.

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So. It’s a bit of a mongrel, put together from different parts of different models. But it has been done rather nicely, and it looks pretty good, if a little underpowered at 50cc. Legal if you are 16 though… there’s a thought.

Personally, I’d lose the rack, it doesn’t work on a “racer” for me, but otherwise this is a good looking, fun scooter. Not for everyone of course. If you fancy a 50cc with a Innocenti heritage, and the ability to turn a few heads (and make a few people scratch theirs too), it’s for sale here.

The site that Car & Classic links to is Nerves Auto, an Italian site featuring some lovely sports and classic cars.

New 50cc Lambretta’s sneak onto the market

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Ok, so I’ve been a little busy… (hence the lack of recent updates on here) but I have kept my eye on the happenings in the Lambretta world. Don’t quite know how I missed this (Although to be fair I did flag it up in November). 

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But it looks like the good people behind the new Lambretta LN have snuck out a couple of new models without telling me. From what I can gather there is three new models… the LS50 (Top pic,green flashes on the sidepanels)… which sneaks in at just under £3k (ouch!) and the (slightly) more affordable LT (middle pic – the red one) and LJ (last pic, headlight on the horncasting)… which come in at just under £2k. All three look like they will be available form February or March next year, but orders are being taken now. More facts, figures, roadtests etc.when I get them.

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They are available from Eddy Bullet and other good scooter dealers.
(If you’re a dealer, and you are stocking them, know any more, or even want to let me have a test ride so I can write about them, get in touch and I’ll link to you). 

So the LN’s launched… but what’s happened to the LS?

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So the one new Lambretta has launched, and there’s been a bit of buzz around it… but one question I’ve heard asked around the interwebs is “Are they going to make a 50cc version?”.
That would open up the Lambretta market considerably…

Well, when the LN was first announced, there was another model announced at the same time… Pictured here (in white and green) the “LS”. Smaller, lighter with similar, but subtly different styling the LS was due to be available in 150, 125 and importantly 50cc variants. Full specs

here<http://lambrettamotorcycles.com/ls_50.html>

I’ve reposted a pic of the LN next to it (it’s the blue and white one!) so you can see the styling differences, and the ‘family’ feel to the range.

I’ve heard nothing about this model for about six months, and my guess would be that “CLAG International Ltd.” the consortium behind the new Lambretta(s) are testing the reaction to the LN, before launching a second model.

As ever, stay tuned and I’ll let you know if I here anything.