According to Tumblr, where I nicked this image from erm, found this… this is a picture of Carnaby Street, London, 4th April 1966. It was a photoshoot for opening of new Tomcat Shop. The model Christine Spooner and designer (now property developer) Irvine Sellar. The Lambretta, I think, is a TV175. The cheetah was called Kinna. Rumours that Kinna came from Cheam are unsubstantiated!
Apparently, Tom Jones was also at the shoot. Theres shots with him, Christine, and running down the road with Kinna – but unfortunately I’ve not seen any with him and the TV!
If anyone can think of a better heading for this post, let me know in the comments. I don’t think “Carnaby Street Cheetah” quite cuts it! I’ve ‘tweaked’ one of the suggestions below – added ‘spotted’ because cheetahs have got spots… gettit? Oh, suit yourselves.
UPDATE: I heard this morning that Irvine Sellar, (the guy in this picture – and owner of a couple of Carnaby Street boutiques) died yesterday. I didn’t know anything about him until I wrote this post, but seems he was quite a character. There’s a good piece here in the Architect’s Journal. RIP.
Now 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.