Sexy Cento


Apologies for the lack of updates, things have been a bit hectic, and the blog has taken an bit of a ‘back seat’. I’ve got a bit of a backlog of posts to get up, but in the meantime, here’s one of American actress and model Carol Wayne, in a leotard, with a Cento.

EDIT: It’s NOT Carol Wayne… apparently it’s her sister, NINA Wayne. Good spot Corey.




Sunny, a Curryburner Cento.



Came across this oddity on eBay. We all know SIL made Lambrettas after production stopped elsewhere. Known in the halycon days when you could pick up an Italian S2 for £50 as “curryburners”, today Indian Lammies are just accepted as part of the mix. There were other Lambretta based oddities like the Lamby Polo and Kelvinator Avanti, both featured on the blog before. But here’s a new one on me, the SIL Lambretta Sunny.


Looking like a Cento with a SX / Serveta style headset, a grotesquely oversized seat and the ugliest horncasting that’s ever been bolted to a scooter it would be a real talking piece.

I like the kickdown rear footrests… although they’re branded Bajaj (the Indian company who made Vespas under licence) so I guess they’re an aftermarket addition.

It’s available on eBay for a smidge under £800. Here’s the eBay link.

J50Delux-2If you fancy something a bit prettier, and more, er, Italian, for about the same money (£100 cheaper actually!) There’s this J50 Delux. It’s got 50 less cc’s but it is in what’s probably my favourite Lambretta colour, Mela Verde (or Apple Green).  You’ll need to be a bit handy with the spanners, because although it seems to be complete, it’s in bits. Here’s the link for that one.

Made in Taiwan

The following is thanks to my online pal Corey, of Ottawa, Ontario’s ScooterFix, who originally got material from the equally excellent British Lambretta Archive:9102_10151735002568901_1010994108_nRegular readers of the Lambrettista blog will know I like an exotic Lambretta. The original Italian Innocenti’s are something special, obviously, and over recent years Indian machines have become first acceptable, then desirable in Lambretta circles. France still has a huge amount of French manufactured LC’s & LD’s on the road and the German NSU Lambretta’s have their aficionados. I’ve written about Brazilian Lambrettas before, and briefly on the Argentinian Siambretta when I posted about this amazing Model D twin. What I didn’t know a lot about, until I read Corey’s original post a while back was the Chinese connection. Well, Taiwan, but this little Island off of the People’s Republic of China still officially calls itself The Republic of China. Although, perhaps wisely considering the size and power of their neighbour, The ROC has not made the retaking of mainland China (which it still considers it’s sovereign territory), a political goal since 1992. 971776_10151735002443901_506253119_nAnyway. Back to the Lambrettas. In 1962 a technical agreement had been signed between Innocenti and the Yue Long Motor Co Ltd, of Taipei. It is not known if Yue Long manufactured complete scooters or just put together component parts. It is known that the Series 3 TV 175 were made by Yue Long and these came with a chrome ring. As with the Italian models, these were available with both Li and Special style panels. The frame numbers are distinctive in that they start with the prefix YLL, a dash then 175TV3 another dash – and then an 8 digit frame number. In terms of paint schemes we have seen photos of the Li panelled TVs in white with contrast colours on the horn cast and side panels and the Special panelled TV’s in silver.

19881_10151735010928901_622502571_n 1011554_10151735070798901_180633717_n

No, it’s not a swastika with a missing leg – Yue Long stamped their products with a three legged symbol – similar to the Manx three legged symbol inside a circle.1098147_10151735002438901_2116505521_nThe Yue Long Lambretta factory produced scooters in a huge plant. Rows of scooters have been completed, waiting for shipping.968875_10151735002588901_395370195_nVarious publicity shots show visiting foreign dignitary’s being shown around the factory,  Including The Central African Republic President Bo Kasa. History doesn’t record whether he took the Yue Long Lambretta Cento back to Africa with him!59619_10151735002663901_382444167_nDominican Vice President Gao Yi Ge also visited…and apparently personally test rode the Lambrettas. Well, who could blame him?547127_10151735102018901_1920120817_nTaiwan’s postmen were some of the coolest around, riding a fleet of green liveried TV’s!

So, are you a resident of Taiwan? I know they blog has readers in the ROC (132 views from Taiwan before this post)! Are there still any Yue Long Lambrettas still around? If there are…or if your mum or dad had a Lambretta (maybe he was a postman!) get in touch and show me, and the Lambretta world, the pics!

UPDATE: I have found this Facebook Group for all Lambretta scooter enthusiasts in Taiwan and their friends, and for owners of Lambrettas that were manufactured in Taiwan. Some great pics on there!

Dino’s at it again…

Dean Martin on a CentoBefore Austin Powers, there was Matt Helm… a spoof secret agent played by Dean Martin. A hard drinking, womanising, wisecracking american counterpart to 007, Dino played it strictly for laughs, and took every opportunity to get his leg over. On this occasion, he’s given up trying to kick start the LD, and got his leg over a J Range… And riding pillion he’s looking for somewhere to hold on!

Just some J’s…

Screen shot 2013-05-22 at 11.20.49I’ve written about the J Range before, here, and here. This months Scootering magazine has a good article on buying a J too. I came across this article that gives an overview of these “Lambretta Smallframes”. Some nice images too, especially as it’s on a Vespa blog!Lambretta J Range Scooters j5a Lambretta_50a Lambretta StarstreamLambretta J Range scooter

Stacey wants a Cento


Word had reached Lambrettista Towers that mod cook Stacey Stewart, (you know, the girl with the beehive that was on Masterchef), is in the market for a Lambretta Cento. 

She probably read my article about the J-range scoots here, or saw this lovely example.
Anyway, if you have one, or know of one for sale, let me know and I’ll pass it on.
Or if you fancy trying Stacey’s award winning cakes check out her website, here


EDIT: If you like the look of that Series 2 (it’s clearly a 3!) Stacey is sitting on, you’re in luck. She’s flogging on eBay. It’s an Italian, 1968 LI 125, recently restored, in metallic silver and midnight blue. Good to go and need no work. It’s in Newcastle, and there are a load more pics and information on eBay, here.   


UPDATE: Stacie’s sold her Series 3 (dur, I wrote Series 2 before!), and got herself a J125 Starstream. Nice one Stacie.

Maybe not so ‘entry level’


I posted before about the Lambretta J-range being a possible affordable route in to Lambretta ownership… but since then I’ve seen some magnificent examples, like this one I posted previously.
Here’s another rather nice one up for sale on eBay now. The asking price seems a bit steep at £2,940… 

Read the description, and make your own mind up.

The example offered has formed part of a private collection and features the separate saddles employed by the early production examples, later versions being fitted with a dualseat. It is rated as being in good mechanical and electrical condition by the vendor and has benefited from some minor cosmetic restoration to the ivory paintwork but is reportedly otherwise original, the whole being very nicely presented. Described as running beautifully it is offered with a Swansea V5C and would form an interesting addition to any scooter collection. Running on continental white walls.

Well, I suppose it’s still £300 cheaper than the new LN. I do like the combination of white wheels and whitewall tyres… it gives the illusion that it’s running on bigger wheels with low profiles!

Lambretta Cento



Hmmm. I hate it when I have to change my mind… I always thought the J-range was the “ugly duckling” of the Lambretta brood… but one of my readers (he’s asked not to be namechecked) sent me a picture of this particularly nice Cento. I think it has rather a nice look to it, don’t you? Nice garden too!

Starting classic scootering – on a budget

I bought my first scooter on the money I earned in my Saturday job. I was 16, and worked two evenings a week, plus Saturdays, for a local supermarket. Somehow I managed to save up £600 – which was lucky because there was a Serveta LI 150 Special with something like 36 miles on the clock, for sale in my local free newspaper. It sat in the garage at my mum & dad’s until I was old enough to ride it on my 17th birthday. It was a bargain, even back in 1982. Sadly the days of a £600 Lambretta are long gone. Or are they? Read on…

So, what are your options if you’re a 16 year old these days, and you’ve got the good taste to want a classic scooter?


The holy grail – the affordable Lambretta 

With even ‘standard’ Lambretta models like LI’s going for premium prices, and the more sought after models such as TV’s and SX’s going for silly money, there’s no easy answer.

Or maybe there is. Maybe it’s the unloved, ‘ugly ducking’ of the Lambretta family… the J range.
Developed in the mid sixties as a smaller, lighter and cheaper Lambretta, (let’s be honest here – it was a scooter for girls) the J range lacked the power and frankly the good looks, of it’s larger siblings. Despite the best interests of the Innocenti marketing machine, including commissioning the services of one Ms Shrimpton – the J range failed to take off, in Britain at least. 


So. The J range has been traditionally unpopular with the British Lambretta fan. To be honest, it still is. The good news though, is it IS a proper Lambretta, and it’s very unpopularity means you can pick ’em up cheap. In the past getting hold of parts may have been a bit of a problem, but it’s much less so these days, the internet making it much easier to track down most bits. So how cheap is this “entry level” Lambretta? Well, you can pick up very nicely restored examples for under a grand, sometimes well under. And you could pick up a good runner that may be a little tatty for half that.

The J range came in a variety of engine sizes 50cc – 100cc (The “Cento”) and 125 (the J125, Starstream, and Super Starstream; depending on date of manufacture and trim). Personally, I think bigger is better, and a Starstream would probably do 55mph… not going to win you any land speed records, but fast enough for modern A roads.

So with bargain basement prices (for a Lambretta), maybe the J ranges time has finally come. In fact their looks are starting to grow on me. Slightly.

The other Lambretta option you may wish to consider is the Luna range… Lui, Vega and Cometa respectively. I LOVE their ahead-of-their-time space age looks, but I’ll admit they are even farther in looks from the class Lambretta shape than even the J -Range. So the Luna range is going to be a whole different post.


The dark side
The “V” word. It’s got to be mentioned. If you want a classic scoot and you can’t stretch to a Lambretta, a Vespa is clearly an option. Who knows, you might strike it lucky and find a classic smallframe Vespa for not too much money. The ones to look for (probably, I know naff all about Vespa’s really) are 50 Specials and Primavera’s. These models are however getting more and more desirable and hence expensive. 80’s models such as the T5, PK’s and PX’s, once derided by Vespa purists are now regarded as classics in their own right – although you can still find half decent examples for the £500 – £900 mark. And they are very rideable scooters on todays roads. Apparently.


The third way
While both 80’s Vespa’s and J range Lambretta’s are both good buys, there is possibly a third option. Innocenti (Lambretta) and Piaggio (Vespa) were the best known, and most succsessful makers of scooters, but they were far from the only game in town. A marque that I’ve always admired is the Agrati Capri… A scooter that in my ever so humble opinion is much prettier than a J range, and in fact “up there” with the best of Lambretta. They come up regularly on the likes of eBay, but be a bit careful that all the ‘bits” are there, as spares can be tricky to source.

So, where do you look for when buying your first classic scooter? I’ll cover that in part deux… coming up soon.

If you disagree with anything in this post, or just have some knowledge to share – great – I’d love your contributions in the comments section. Go on!

Photo credit: Pictures nicked off eBay.