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!

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

Lambro 3-wheeler for sale

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I came across this beautiful Lambro 3 wheeler on the Car & Classic website.

It’s being offered for £8k, offers invited. I saw one of these at the Ride for Rememberance last year, and it was certainly turning heads. If you’ve got a few quid and fancy something a bit different check it out. You will have to get it back from Lake Como, Italy… but I’ve always been after an excuse for visiting there!

Tukxi! Go Ape at the seaside

Phew, the  unexpected sunshine is fantastic scooter riding weather… and maybe you can even squeeze in one more trip to the beach. And we all know the English Seaside and scooter go together like cheese and marmalade (try it, it works!).

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If you’re going, there’s few better places than Lyme Regis, Dorset… on of the extra attractions for me is this beautiful Tuk Tuk Taxi (or Tukxi!) What better way to see Lyme. Den, Tukxi’s owner, will also hire her out for weddings, promotions, TV and film work… check out the rather nicely put together website for all the details! 

I know this is a Vespa based Tuk Tuk, not a Lambretta, but she is unarguably beautiful. And I’m going to throw in a little bit of extra trivia for you. The model is a Piaggio Calessino, (one of less than a thousand made), and it’s base model, as you will doubtless know is called the Ape. Not Ape to rhyme with Grape… but pronounced A–pey …the Italian for “bee”. Because Vespa is the Italian for Wasp… geddit? These scooter based vehicles were real workhorses for many years around Europe, the backbone of many a small business. To see one based on a Lambretta, check my Café Scooteria post.

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