I don’t wanna Tork about it…

lambretta BR ludwigSometimes, when Lambrettas were manufactured outside their native Italy, strange things happened. The models were ‘tweaked’ to better suit local tastes and markets. Occasionally, these changes are aesthetically pleasing, the turning mudguard on Spanish Series 2’s built in the Eibar factory for example.

Tork.jpg~originalBut – despite virtually every owner having their own idea of what the perfect Lambretta should look like – it’s hard to improve on the original Italian designs. It also seems that the further the manufacturers were away from Italy, the more they had free reign on creating their own, unique models. Nowhere more so than Brazil.

When they started making Lambrettas in Brasil, they looked pretty much like their Italian relatives. But as time went on, things got a little stranger.  I’ve touched on the pretty little MS before… and the monkey-bike styled Xispa – but I never knew about the Tork until I stumbled upon it on a website the other week. (on the red one, below, the extra lights are an obvious owner additional – who’s have thought of adding lights to a Lambretta?).

By the 1970’s scooters were as out of vogue in Brasil as they were in the rest of the world. From what I could gather, the Tork was built after a hiatus in scooter production (the factory had been sitting idle) as a last gasp attempt to gain back a bit of market share from Japanese motorcycles flooding into Brasil (and most of the rest of the world) at the time. It was all to come to a grinding halt when the factory went bankrupt in 1982.

To my eyes, the Lambretta Br Tork (to give it it’s full name) seems a desperate attempt to make a scooter look like something it’s not – a motorbike. Ironically, in the original scooter boom of the fifties, it was the other way around, with every motorcycle manufacturer trying to make their bikes look more like scooters. Funny old world.

 

 

Advertisements

Peugeot S57 or Lambretta MS?

1955_peugeot_20Yesterday’s post about the Deus Derny reminded me of a particular Lambretta, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then it came to me, it’s the Brasilian ‘factory cutdown’ Lambretta MS (The MS allegedly stood for Mini Skirt – how Brasilian is that!). So I found some pics of a rather lovely (from the back, anyway) Peugeot S57 and an equally lovely Lambretta MS. I’ll leave it to you to decide which has influenced (perhaps unconsciously ) the Derny more…

Peugeot S571955_peugeot_01

Peugeot Images from ‘Online Scooter Museum’ Scooterrot

Lambretta MSMS Jose Ambrosio

Lambretta MS Images from Brasilian site Motos Antigas

Moonstomp Riders SC… Bogota!

I find it amazing how countries around the world have adopted the scooter scene ethic… often with the same music and fashions as those originally found in the UK. I know the scooters are Italian, and the music is Jamaican, but the culture is pure British. Except it’s not. It’s GLOBAL. As this video from Bogota (that’s in Colombia, South America for all you geography dunderheeds). And I think it’s pure brilliant.

BTW, As well as Colombia, this blog has readers in Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. Most of South America in fact. So if you own, ride, or are just interested in Lambrettas and you live in Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, Bolivia or Paraguay… please get in touch, send some pics, let me know what’s happening in your neck of the woods. There are a few places around the world untouched by the “Lambretta virus” but, as I’m finding out… not many!

Brazilian Series 2 Restoration

Nice little video of a restoration of a Brazilian 1966 Series 2 Lambretta. She looked pretty good in it’s original black livery, but two years of hard work and “stress, irritation and headache” (we’ve all been there!) transformed her into a thing of beauty. It’s and interesting game to spot the differences between the Brazilian S2’s and the Italian ones we are more used to seeing… the first, and most obvious one is the date of manufacture… 1966… five years after production finished on Innocenti machines. Other easy to spot ones are the carb/air filter set up, the exhaust (I quite like the look of that short silencer box!) and the three speed gear change… Cosmetically, the badges are very different, including an attractive rear frame embellisher/ badge. So far, so obvious… how many more differences can you spot?

A neat touch in adding rear indicators to the resto is integrating them with the spare wheel carrier, a nice solution.

Update: I have received an email from Jean, the restorer of this fine Series 2, clearing up a few things. Firstly, was the matter of colour… I stated that the original paint was black, and that was just a case of me being sloppy with my english. What I should have written, of course, is existing paint. Brazilian S2’s were only made in an “off white” shade – I’m guessing this would be something similar to the original Italian Ivory (Avoria) colour, but it may be different). The scooter has got four gears, it’s just the numeral 4 has worn off on the handlebar. The exhaust system is off of a later Lambretta, (one native to Brasil that deserves a post all of it’s own – The Cynthia), and has the fish tail on the silencer is a one off, custom item hand made by an iron worker.

Lambrettista – Read in over 40 countries on 6 continents!

Lambrettista-CoverageMapWow. Since moving my blog over from Posterous to WordPress I’ve been able to see a lot more data about who’s visiting, and where from. And it just goes to show that interest in Lambrettas is truly global. I kind of expected some readers from the UK and Italy, as well as Spain and the US… but it would be easier to say where the blog isn’t read! (Come on Africa, China and the Middle East – you’re letting the side down!) I got my first reader in Egypt yesterday, so I’ve got a little bit of a nibble into Africa…

So a big thank you to all my vistors. It makes this little personal project well worth while.

If you check out my links page you’ll see there are Lambretta Clubs in over 30 countries. If I’ve missed where you live, apologies, let me know and I’ll post a link.

EDIT: We’re past 50 Countries now… and going strong! FURTHER EDIT: Make that 60 Countries. From the Aland Islands to Uruguay!

A quick look at… helmets

UPDATE: I felt this post was a little short on full face helmets… and the one type I did post was $900. So I put a shout out on the LCGB Forum for recommendations of classic looking, full face helmets. Ktmh5 recommended a classic Bell lid, link here, which is nice, but maybe more of a motorsports drivers helmet.

More to my taste, were these from Biltwell, which I was sent to by vegansydney. Proper old school looks, and a nice range of open and full face lids. Prices are more pocket friendly too… the fullface “Gringo” model (DOT approved), coming in at a pocket friendly $149. I’m particularly fond of the “Gloss Hazard Orange” Gringo. The Gingo is only shown  with bubble visors, (which I love on an open face helmet), but am not sure about on a full face. Thoughts? The open face Bonaza helmets look purty too… from class white, to matt black and metalflakes. Something to pretty much match any Lambretta then. Check out the Biltwell site here.

Biltwell detail_253_DOTHelmet-Red-Left detail_255_GringoFlatTi-Rt large_6_Rootbeer-MF_Side large_246_Bonanza-Helmet-BlackOut-LeftSd large_255_Gringo_Titanium_1 large_255_GringoFlatTi_BubbleMirror large_258_GringoGlossOrange_BubbleClear-Side large_258_GringoGlossOrange-Rt

The original post continues below

I’ve posted about helmets a couple of time before, both Trojan Records and Momo Design helmets.

So what other options are there? Tons. Too many to mention… but here are a few ‘honorable mentions’, that might appeal to us Lambrettisti out there. Before you jump down my throat and get all health and safety on me, this is just about style, and not about safety. The vast majority of the helmets are open face, and riders can have strong opinions about that. That’s fine, let me know in the comments.

LAM60017-1 Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.07.10 Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.07.19 Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.07.36 Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.07.44 Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.08.08 Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.08.21Firstly, I’ll kick off with some “official” Lambretta branded helmets from Heritage Helmets (the same people who make the Trojan ones). You’ll have seen these online and in the mages, and I think they actually look pretty good. You can get them for about £150 from the Lambretta Store, amongst other places.

Next, and I’m sorry if you are not in Brasil (I wish I was), are the helmets from COOT, (Which in case you didn’t notice is SCOOT with the S dropped off). Nice helmets, you can choose from “Ska” “Bluebeat” or “Acid Jazz”. The names themselves will give you a feel for the site. Classic looking open face helmets, and they use a very nice SX in their publicity shots, what’s not to like? Find out more here.931166_426885520741256_378916533_nCoot HelmetsScreen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.18.45 Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.18.26Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.15.56 Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.14.37 Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.13.40Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 17.13.14

Finally, for now, I’ll round off with the “Rolls Royce” of helmets. Les Ateliers Ruby. As far as I can tell this is a boutique Motorcylists shop in Paris (edit: Apparently Atelier means “Workshop” or “Studio” especially one used by a designer. So we’ve both leaned something). And they do sell lovely skid lids. But they ain’t cheap. They start at €550 for an off the peg “Pavilion” (or €880 for a visored “Belvedere”) and from €710 for a “A la Carte” option from their online helmet design feature. For the truly loaded you can design your own helmet from scratch. New to the range is the fantastic full face Castel, which will set you back €930. But it is a thing of beauty. Now, I think a open face lid sets off a Lambretta rather well, (unless you’ve got a really fast one), but these full face helmets are a bit special, and would compliment any classic scoot. If you could afford to ride your pride and joy after shelling out for one!

C07_PAV_EL_MIRAGE_Profil C07_PAV_TUILERIES_Profil CAS_1ST_LOUISLUMIERE_Face CAS_1ST_LOUISLUMIERE_Profil IMG_NEWS_TourAuto2013_01 IMG_NEWS_TourAuto2013_02

So, that’s my rather brief and uncomprehensive, not to say unrealistic look at helmets. And really, safety and fit should come before style. But I’m rather unqualified to judge that, just make sure before you buy yours that it meet all the relevant standards, and it fits. So, what do you wear? Have you got a favourite lid you think I should feature? Know any other classic looking full face helmets? Let me know.

Scoot Sao Paulo: Lambretta & Vespa Carnaval 2013

I sometimes forget what a worldwide phenomenon scootering, and Lambretta’s are. Many nations have taken the Lambretta to their hearts, and that is obvious in the many Lambretta clubs that have sprung up all over the world (check out my links page), and even in the visits I get here to the blog.

Here’s a vid from Sao Paulo, Brasil, that makes the point. Of course, they actually made Lammies in Brasil, including some models (like the Xispa I posted out before) that were unique to them. But I didn’t know they all went backwards!

Nice Brazilian Scooter Restoration video(s!)

Nice transformation video posted by Guilherme Piva of a S2 “rat racer” to a custom cutdown. Crazy exhaust! Stay tuned at the end for a couple of Xispa shots!

UPDATE: Since my original posting, Guilherme has been in touch with me, with a link to a second video: http://vimeo.com/34800468

and told me that his dad runs a scooter restoration business in San Paulo –  Fenix Restauração de Lambretta, whose website is here. There are some very nice restorations, Brazilian style… See some of the after pics posted below. For the “befores” you’ll have to visit the website.

Foto-3Foto-4Foto-6Foto-10Foto-2

via Basque Radical Mods blog

The Brazil Connection – The Xispa

Brasil1

Everybody knows that the Lambretta comes from Italy. Most know that it was also made in India. And many know it was also made in Spain. At a pinch you might even mention Germany and France. But Brazil? Or Brasil, as it is more correctly spelled? Perhaps it’s my Eurocentric world view, but I was quite surprised when I first found out. (For completists, Lambretta’s were also made under license in Argentina, Taiwan and Colombia).

23007578

The history of the Lambretta in Brasil stretches right back to 1955, and in fact it has clams to being Brasil’s first automotive manufacturer. Between 1958 and 1960, in it’s heyday the factory was producing more than 50,000 scooters a year. The mainstay of Brazilian production was based upon the Italian LI Series 2, which they produced from 1960. Known from 1964 as “Pasco Lambretta” the scooter market began to suffer the same slow decline in fortunes that was happening in Europe.

In an attempt to kickstart the market and keep up with changing automotive fashions, they  launched one of the Lambretta families more unusual members (to European eyes anyway)… the Xispa. This was a kind of hybrid scooter/monkeybike with many (as you’ll see in the pics) Lambretta components.

39282997

There was a 150cc and 175cc version which did well in the domestic market, until the inevitable rise and eventual dominance of imported Japanese motorcycles and mopeds. This all but saw the end of Lambretta production in Brazil, although their final throw of the dice was the slimline style Lambretta Cynthia (which I will feature at a later point I’m sure) and the ‘cutdown’ version of this… the MS150… the factory trimmed sidepanels and MS designation earning it the nickname “the MiniSkirt”.

89593927

As I mentioned in a previous post, there is a healthy interest in classic Lambretta’s and active club scene in Brasil (and also Argentina, but that’s another story). There also appears to be a few Xispa’s on the market… an ideal machine for the Lambretta collector with an eye for the unusual. For instance, here’s a very nice example, going for about 4,000 Brazilain Reals (about £1,100 at current exchange rates). You’ll have to ship it over from Brasil of course! I like it, I think it’s got a certain ’70s charm… and it also reminds me of those fantastic racing “Lambretta da Corsa” scooters from the fifties.

3278933242969497402874634559418947837481574733636005777461111570895408199171357822568435

UPDATE:

Some useful links if you want to find out more about Lambretta’s in Brasil. Or stat tuned and I’ll get round to writing some more, espcially abut the Cynthia, and the MS!

http://www.lambrettatradicionalbrasil.com.br/historia.htm

http://lambrettabrasil.blogspot.com/

Probably the most off-topic video you’ll ever see posted here

But then again, they do call this move a “Lambretta” in Brazil… apparently! Silky skills from Leandro Damiãno.
On a side note, in Brazil, the word “Lambretta” is virtually synonomous with “scooter”, and today there is a healthy interest in vintage models. It’s a less well known fact that as well as being popular in India and Asia, the Lambretta scooter was also incredibly popular in South America, being manufactured under license in both Brazil and Argentina (where they went under the name “Siambretta”). 
 I’m going to get round to making a listing page for all the various Lambretta clubs around the world one day, but in the meantime here are a few from South America
Siambretta Club of Buenos Aires (That’s the capital of Argentina, for those with rusty geography)