In the previous posts, I’ve featured scooters from marques who you may not have expected to make scooters – as diverse as Harley Davidson (here), Ducati* (here) and even Maserati (here). My online pal Darrin sent me another for the oddball files – Ladies and Gentlemen, I present The BMW R10.
Dating from the early 50’s – so predating the Lambretta LI Series 1 by a good few years – the rumour is that the R10 nearly made it into production – only being pulled at the last minute in favour of the BMW Isetta bubble car.
An early plasticine and wood model, with some metal parts was created to show the R10’s potential to compete against the dominant Italian scooter brands of Lambretta and Vespa – remember – it was the 1950’s that were the true heyday of the motor scooter – and everybody wanted a piece of the action.
The streamlined, fully enclosed bodywork without removable sidepanels, and the large integrated front mudguard are a typically Germanic approach – one adopted by Glas Goggo, Heinkel, Zundapp and Maicoletta…although I don’t think many of those German scooters looked as elegant as this Beemer. The one weird design decision they made (in my opinion at least) was to incorporate the horn right at the front of the mudguard… totally throwing off the sensuous, smooth Italianate curves.
So, if BMW had gone all in on this scooter would we all be riding around on Beemers instead of Lambrettas a Vespas? Maybe. Or maybe, it would have been a modest domestic success in Germany, like the other aforementioned brands – never quite attaining the indefinable cosmopolitan appeal of it’s Italian rivals. Who knows!
A big thank you to reader Darrin Slack for the images and post suggestion. Darrin has supplied me with plenty more fascinating content – stay tuned Lambrettisti, and enjoy the ride!
*I could have sworn I’d done a post on the Ducati Cruiser 175 – but a search of my archives tells me it aint so. Consider in on (my ever expanding) to do list.
Spotted a couple of class Messerschmitts on eBay. I’ve always really liked these ‘bubble cars’ – although I prefer the German term “Kabinroller” – which literally translates as “cabin scooter”.
The first Messerschmitt KR 200 is a 1963 UK car, with the desirable plexy glass roof in exceptionally nice condition. on eBay for £25995.
The second one is few years older – dating from 1959 and finished in original Coral paint. The interior is finished in cream upholstery together with an original style rubber floor mat. The car has some nice detailing with chrome torpedo and tail lights and refinished wheels with whitewalls. On eBay for £21,995.
I’ve previously found a few gems on the Italian eBay site, so I thought I’d have a look and see what’s going on elsewhere on the continent… and found this rather wunderbar NSU Lambretta with Dynastart… which the seller assures us works if the battery is fully charged. Looks like it’s in great original condition. I’m loving those saddles!
Spotted this less than pristine Dürkopp Diana on eBay. It’s missing it’s seats and sidepanels, the engine is seized, and there’s no documents. But it IS cheap, (classified ad price of £795) and as soon as I saw it I though of a headline for a post, so I had to stick it up! The same fella is selling a Swallow Gadabout, NSU Prima, a Zundapp Bella and a Heinkel A0, all in a similar ‘restorable’ condition, so if Dürkopp is not your brand of choice, there are some others for you!
I was going to write a brief history of the Durkopp Diana scooters, but I couldn’t be more thorough than my online pal Tideous Ted, over on the Retrorambling blog. So, if you’re interested, just read this.
Here’s a glimpse at what it could look like after a little tlc. Conveniently shot at almost exactly the same angle!
If you fancy a bit of a rest job on a German scooter with Italian(ish) styling,
I don’t normally post Vespa’s. This is a Lambretta blog! But this I spotted a pic of this gorgeous machine on Twitter, and found a few more online. And it’s a superb looking machine, completley up my strasse. It’s for sale on eBay at the moment, in Germany.
I don’t know anything about it, other than it is called a “Sei Giorni” Race Replica… Now, my limited Italian translates “Sei Giorni” as Six Days, and that automatically get me thinking of the Scottish 6 Day Trials, but I may be completely off beam here. There were probably a ton of 6 Day Competitions back in the day. Any Vespa enthusiasts / knowledgable scooter sport historians on here can shed any more light? Please let me know in the comments.
There’s a german website address on the eBay page, but it doesn’t seem to work for me.
I’ll include it in case you have more luck http://www.scooterequipment.de
Well, not your actual Rolls Royce motor car. But a rather nicely restored Heinkel Tourist scooter… (or motorroller as our Teutonic friends would have it… so I guess it’s a Roller of sorts) was originally marketed as the “Rolls Royce of Scooters”. Naturally, it’s not quite as “pretty” as a Lammy… but it has got a voluptuous attractiveness all of it’s own. And like the seller says “very nice machines to own and run, and they are a bit different” It’s got a classified price of a fiver under £4k, which is a lot of scooter for your buck. Check it out on eBay here.Here’s that eBay link again.
Ok it’s in German, put let the pictures do the talking. And I don’t know about you, but German is one of those languages that I can pic up the gist of if you pay attention. Unfortunately the focus seems to be on the Vepsa on show,including some rather odd Vespa mopeds, and a nutter doing some quite impressive stunt riding. There is a glimpse of a rather lovely S1 with a trailer, a really stunning skinhead / suedehead style skelly… really, really nicely done that… and a rather tasty race replica GP with a nice Martini paint job.
What surprises me more is the scale and feel of the event… it’s got the feel of something like the Ideal Home Exhibition… and a really mainstream audience.
I don’t know what to make of this video. Partly because it’s in German. And I don’t speak German. But, it’s quite basic German, (even I could understand the basic story) which initially had me thinking it’s a language learning film.
Anyway, there’s some nice period footage featuring a NSU Lambretta Prima (their licensed version of the LD), a road trip from Germany through the Dolomites, ending in Venice. So that’s good enough for me. About 21 minutes in there’s a ‘technical section’ with nice cutaways of how the engine works (I for one didn’t know German cranks were ‘bear powered’!). At 23 minutes there’s a folky type Lambretta song in German, which is nice. Then the video shows the various attractive shades of beige and brown you could order your Prima in.
At 24 minutes were out of Lambretta territory, and into the rest of the NSU range; which runs so smoothly Hans can ride without Hands. This continues to about 26 minutes, when, weirdly, the video starts to repeat the first part, with half the screen covered in a red gel. I’m not sure if this is the original footage, that has been cleverly restored to full colour, or there’s another reason I can’t think of, but I’d skip that bit :).
I like a microcar. I think, given the price of petrol at the moment, and the need to be more eco concious, it’s a bit mad that most people still drive around, alone in a vehicle designed to carry four or more people.