Lambretta Luna Toy

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Every day’s a school day at the Lambrettista blog… I’ve not seen one of these before…

A plastic Biemme toddlers bike toy, clearly based on a Luna line Lambretta.

There’s clearly some damage, under the headlight, but if you’re a fan of Bertone’s space age reinvention of the Lammie, you might want this.

See it on eBay

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Viva Las Vega

vega_75s_ebay_heroI’ll admit now to not always having been the biggest fan of Bertone’s little late-sixties space age Lambrettas… the Luna range. I used to think didn’t have the elegant lines of a classic Lammie for me.

I’ve since grown to realise that they were future classics – designed ahead of their time, and the world wasn’t quite ready. Today, I think they’ve a great 70’s retro futurism vibe about them… kinda like the Bond Bug.

There’s a nice example on eBay… a 1970 Lambretta Vega 75s. It was restored in 2005, and is a UK registered bike with all the proper paperwork. It needs a little tidy up, but it’s in pretty decent nick. It’s priced at £2,500. 

Here’s the link.

Scooter Racing at the Isle of Man, 1970

Another great video from YouTube, featuring Scooters, and the Isle of Man. The last one I posted was from 1959… and it seems a world away from 1970, with those space age Luna lines…

Via Nige Mop’s You Tube Channel.

Luna Roadtest

No… I don’t speak Swedish (I’m thinking it’s Swedish, but I’m probably wrong), but I still found this little Luna roadtest rather watchable. Now, the Luna range doesn’t get much of a look in on this blog, which is a shame, because I really rather like them. They were a real back to basics scooter from Lambretta, back to the open frame principles of the original models A to D (I know there was a E and an F, but they pretty much petered out after the D). With this pared down, lightweight ethos and a space-age design from Bertone, where could they go wrong? Well, perhaps the Luna was just a bit too radical… ahead of it’s time, certainly a visual shock for aficionados of the clean curves of traditional Lambretta. But if you look at most modern small scooters, they’re a bit more Luna than GP. A superb design, a beautiful Bertone classic… born too soon?

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?

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.