Originally based on the Indian version of a Vespa Ape, the three-wheeler rickshaw is ubiquitous throughout the Indian sub-continent, and indeed Asia. Ikea is using a solar-powered of these as at least 20% of their delivery fleet for their new Hyderabad flagship store. The Ikea version will be charged at the store, running off of solar power harvested from 4,000 panels on the roof. Any excess energy gathered will be used for lighting and inside the store.
A wise man once said that true wisdom is knowing how little you actually know. Or something like that. I thought I knew a little bit about Lambrettas, but the more I find out, the more I realise how much my ‘knowledge’ is just scraping the surface. Thats why I always appreciate being put right if I’ve made an error. Sometimes, I know I’ve made a mistake, because it’s glaringly obvious. On other occasions it’s a real eye-opener. Either way, not a problem I’ve learnt something. Anyway, the point of this long and rambling preamble is that I know next to nothing about Lambros. I’ve seen a few course, and pictures of many of them. They come up for sale occasionally on eBay (there’s some up at the moment… more on them later). And while I have posted about Willam microcars, and even the dinky Minky, I’ve only posted a couple of links to Lambro’s I’ve spotted for sale… and not written about them much on the site.
About all I know about these wonderfully characterful little vehicles is, that A) they were extremely adaptable, with variants ranging from simple pickups and delivery vans, to cement mixers and fire engines… or tipper trucks, like the one pictured. B) They were the Lambretta equivalent of the Vespa Ape C) they were named after the Lambro river that ran outside the Innocenti factory and D) I quite fancy one.When compiling my “websites, forums, mags & blogs” links page (check it out if you haven’t already) I came across a couple of Lambro specific sites. One, lambro.plus.com has sadly not been updated for a while, although there is a lot of useful info on there. The second one, TheLambro.com is more well maintained, and also has wealth of useful information. It is also the online presence for the UK’s only dedicated Lambro workshop, where they offer everything from full restorations to servicing and MOT work. They often seem to have a couple for sale, and also have a varied stock of parts for most models.With prices of even the more humbler Lambretta models climbing ever higher, the humble Lambro remains remarkably affordable. OK, it’s not as stylish, and you’ll never blaat about on one (although, funnily enough I have seen Vespa Ape racing). But they’re a pretty cool, quirky vehicle, especially if you have a small business to promote. And you get a roof. The one pictured in this post is available on eBay for a classified price of £2,695. She needs a bit of work to get her back on the road, but is a pretty rare model, and an easy resto. Here’s the eBay link
Right. I like Lambrettas. I like bubble cars. What could be better than a Lambretta Bubble Car? Well, there was one (or more than one)… or there nearly was one; The Lambretta Mink. Above are pics of a one-off prototype, developed in the 60’s. Details are lost in the murk of history, but we do know it’s powered by a SX200 engine, and is capable of 60mph. The current owner is now looking to sell, so if you’ve got £20k knocking around, contact Ian Frankland (of Taffspeed fame) and he’ll forward you the details (Like those warnings on the +1 channels and iPlayer …if your reading this “in the future” this post was written in January 2014 – don’t pester Mr Frankland).Although a complete ‘one off’ the Mink is not totally alone in the Lambretta microcar stakes. There is the previously featured Lambretta Willam… (above) a boxy little car, but with a certain childlike charm about it… it looks like it was designed by a seven year old, in a good way. There’s even a video if you follow the link.
Also from France, and slightly smoother Lambretta like curves, more along the lines of the Mink is the Avolette. A proper “bubble car” almost of bumper car proportions and appearance. There were several incarnations of this little beauty, with power units from Sachs and Maico. One of the key features of this little gem was the single “cyclops” headlight. The “New Avolette” was a Lambretta engined variant shown at the Cycle-Salon in 1957, but never making it as far as production. The pics come from the Glumso Smart Drivers blog, which has much more info here.
There are of course, the successful Lambro range of commercial vehicles from Lambretta, but these fall into a slightly different category of “micro-commercial” in my book.
I’m rather taken with this 1968 Innocenti Lambro on eBay, in good original condition. Everything is there, it runs, and has a UK MOT. And it looks fantastic. It could even be a great promotional vehicle for your business. Now, I’m not going to waffle on, because I don’t know a lot about these vehicles, but they are maybe something a little out of the ordinary for a Lambretta enthusiast. Check it out here if it’s your kind of thing. And if you think I’ve got the 1968 date wrong, because of the eBay listing, read the sellers comments 🙂