What could be more Italian?

This is a fantastic story of the restoration of a Lambretta FC, built to sell ice-cream – and now magnificently restored to it’s former glory. And what could be more Italian than Lambrettas AND Ice Cream?

Top down view of Bruno's Lambretta FC Ice Cream Lambretta serving a customer

Firstly, a bit of background. As well as providing affordable, stylish post-war transportation, the Lambretta was an exceptionally versatile ‘platform’ for small commercial vehicles. In addition to – and before we saw the Lambro range of light commercial vehicles – that I’ve written about before here – there was a wide range of “cab-less” vehicles – these date back to the earliest days of Lambretta – The first FA’s being exhibited at the Milan trade fair back in 1948. The “F” designation stands for “Furgone” (Italian for van) – and here things may get a little confusing – as Lambretta later launched a “F” model, in line with their alphabetical naming policy – but these early commercials (the FA, the FB and FC) preceded that, and were based on the Model A, B and C’s respectively.

Original Innocenti Advertising form the Lambretta FC

The FC was a bit of a hybrid of the C and LC model – the scooter body basically a model C, but with the engine and cooling systems from the LC. As with the FA and FB models, the FC was configured with a ‘box’ at the front, with two wheels either side – with the power from the 125cc engine going to the single wheel at the back – the later Lambro’s adopted a different layout (single wheel at the front, cabin, box behind the driver, power going to the two rear wheels.

Enough background information. More than enough. Back to this particular machine! This magnificent scooter (a FC) is owned by Bruno Strigini – a lifelong Lambretta enthusiast – who discovered it and restored it to it’s former glory.

Bruno bought the Lambretta FC 1998. It was the second of four three-wheelers owned by the Galbiati family, the previous one, an FB model is now in Vittorio Tessera’s Lambretta museum. In the original documentation he got when he bought it, it shows it’s intended use was always to sell ice-cream – and it was approved as such. As you will see from the image above, it was in reasonably complete condition, just a little the ‘worse for wear”.

What was intact though was the fantastic original signwriting – including the name of the town the “Galbiati Brothers” were based – Perosa Argentina (a municipality near Turin in North West Italy, and not the South American country!). Galbiati’s plied their trade between Perosa Argentina – a municipality near Turin, and the Italian ski resort of Sestriere, about 40km away.

Bruno was lucky enough to meet the original owner, Sr. Galbiati, and stayed with him for an afternoon in 1998. Since then, he’s been in contact only with his daughter, who gave him the original photos featured here, and the original cork tubs where she made ice cream. Originally, the ice-cream was kept cold with a mixture of ice and salt, but Bruno designed a modern cooling system that preserved the original wooden box. It can now hold 32kg of ice cream in four flavors, and is equipped with a battery-powered compressor that can maintain -20 degrees Celsius for two days independently.

Bruno has done a done a magnificent job restoring this wonderful machine to it’s former glory, and it’s fully functional as it’s original purpose. It’s clear that he really cares about the story of the machine – telling me he regards it as ‘part of the family’. It’s great to see a machine with such a heritage of the scooter, an important, slightly forgotten part of Lambretta history.

I’ll close this post with apologies to Bruno, who sent me this story and the fabulous pics, some time ago now. While Lambrettas are my passion, and I love working on this blog, between work and family commitments, I sometimes I just can’t seem to find them time to update it as often as I would like to! Bruno also owns the “daddy of all Lambretta commercials” an FA model, but that’s another story for another day, and another post!

Ikea’s new India store offers delivery by solar-powered tuk-tuk

ikea_rickshawOriginally 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.

Link to the original story on Curbed.

Just to add some Lambretta flavour, here’s a  couple of (very) short videos of the Lambretta version of the three-wheeler commercial vehicle, The Lambro.

Commercial Break – or “Loving the Lambro”

$_57A 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.

Innocenti Lambretta LambroAbout 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.Innocenti Lambretta LambroWhen 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.Lambro550ATipper-3With 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

Minky business… The Lambretta Bubblecar(s)

1012826_673766576009250_100253005_n 1607062_673789286006979_1068466953_n 1525577_696661540364494_261322690_nRight. 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).Lawil_s4_berlina_250ccAlthough 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.

Avolette-1 Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum / RM AuctionsAlso 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.

Lambro 500L on eBay

Lambro Pics $(KGrHqN,!q8FGUqId2Q!BRll5Th(Uw~~60_12 Lambro $(KGrHqV,!qUFF8jI)(5fBRll6ykBUQ~~60_12 $(KGrHqEOKo4FGTz4GObUBRlmSJT6o!~~60_12$(KGrHqJ,!rIFF0Tuq0OUBRll6O758g~~60_12

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 🙂