A tidy Lambretta BGM demonstrator custom tuning conversion from Scooter Center. A great looking contemporary looking Lammie, fantastic paint, and many technical tuning improvements. Very nice. Find out more about BGM Tuning here.
In the UK, we tend to think of the Lambretta as a fashionable, aspirational brand, associated with youth culture. Arguably, the hey-day of the scooter was before the days of the mod – when post-war austerity and a fuel shortage exacerbated by the Suez Crisis prompted the trend away from cars – well, big, thirsty ones anyway – and onto scooters. But the one era most people identify with Lambrettas is, of course, the Mod days of the 60’s. At least in the UK.
It’s very different in other parts of the world. In the late 60’s and into the 70’s the Lambretta was very much a workhorse scooter. Although glamourized to some extent by Bollywood, and initially appealing to the growing middle class – the appeal to the masses was very much more practical than prestigious.
For a lot of Indians, the Lambretta was seen as family transport – able to transport four(!) in relative comfort – ” It could accommodate 4 people easily. A family of four including two children. One would stand in the front portion ahead of the seat and face the wind. The two elders would sit on the seat and the second child on the spare tyre at the rear of the Lambretta scooter.”
Lambretta’s were produced in India from the 1950’s by API – initially assembling parts shipped from Italy, and then manufacturing them from scratch in their own factories. They produced a variant of the Series 1 LI150, and then moved on to produce the Series 2. For most Indians, the Series 2 is the Lambretta. In 1972, however, the State-owned SIL (Scooters India Limited) acquired the rights to the Lambretta name, and all API Lambrettas after that were sold under the name “Lamby”. These continued in production for many years, and in vast numbers – but, as mentioned, there was a new player in SIL.
SIL didn’t mess around with old models. After making a few 100cc Centos, they swiftly moved on to the model they are known best for – The GP. Although, rather confusingly, after acquiring the sole rights to the Lambretta name in India, the GP was sold under a number of different names, including the Vijai Super, Vijai Vulcan, Vijai Deluxe and the Allwyn Pushpak. There’s some great vintage footage (starting about 04:56) of these ‘Super Scooters’ in the video below.
As time went on, and with less and less access to original Italian GP’s the export market for ‘made in India’ Lambrettas grew. Initially slagged off as second-rate ‘curry burners’ (sorry if that sounds racist, but that’s what everybody called them, back in the day), their reputation grew to that close to their Italian forefathers. Ok. Not quite, but you certainly wouldn’t be embarrassed to ride an Indian GP these days.
Domestically, the Lambretta was far from the only game in town. Where there’s a Lambretta, there’s usually a Vespa a little way behind. Or in front. It depends on your preference – you know mine. Anyway, an Indian company called Bajaj had been importing Vespa’s since the late 40’s – and in 1958, started manufacturing under their own steam both two-wheelers and rickshaws, both based (I think) on the Vespa Sprint.
It wasn’t all over for API though… and their trusty Lamby 150 (based on a Series 2, remember), had one last throw of the dice in the late ’80s. Although a very dated (or should we say ‘classic’) design next to the GP based offerings of SIL, it had still sold pretty well domestically. With optimism you’ve got to admire, and a fresh new design out of Miyazu, Japan, they launched their final Lamby model – The Polo. With redesigned legshields, headset and headlight, sidepanels, a horrible PX style horn casing it came with 12 volt electrics and mod cons such as indicators. Although it was basically a Series 2 under the skin, there was a lot of late 80’s Vespa about it – and it was none the better for it. The last one rolled off the API production line in 1992… although with a nod to it’s Series 2 toughness, and the Indian owners creative ability to keep them running, they stayed a staple of Indian transportation for many years after that.
I wrote about the Polo, rather disparagingly back in 2013 https://lambrettista.net/2013/06/09/does-your-scooter-smell-of-mint/ – perhaps I’ve mellowed a little. Perhaps not.
The Lambretta still has a strong following in India, and a lot of people still remember their dad’s, or uncle’s Lambretta fondly as the key means of transport for the family. India, with it’s vast population, may just be the most important market for the new models being produced by Lambretta today.
Anyway, if you’re reading this in India, or you’ve got a better knowledge of the story of Lambrettas in India, please get in touch or leave a comment below. And if you’ve got pictures of your Lambretta – wherever you are in the world, and would like to share it with the world – I’d be more than happy to feature it on the blog.
Came across a ONE MILLION POUND eBay listing for a bunch of Lambrettas –
not much more information to share at the moment, but I’m on the case, and I’ll post more when I know more. Ok, Bit of an update; the seller has given me a bit more information. This is part of a new shipment coming over from Italy next week, all 100% Italian, original condition, standard machines. The collection includes some very desirable items, so if you’re in the market for an original spec Italian Lambretta, in exceptional original condition, stay tuned!
A Lambretta GP Electronic is a pretty rare beast… One in original factory paint is even rarer still. This one even has the original factory stickers on the inside of the sidepanels.
It’s not pristine, that’s true… but the patina just adds to this scooters character, in my humble opinion. They’re only original once.
So what’s it worth? Well the obvious answer is whatever someone is willing to pay for it. The owner has asked me for a valuation… and to be honest, I’m out of my depth. So any experts out there who can give an informed estimate, please let me know in the comments!
Spotted these on Amazon… a range of decent looking Lambretta models, four in total…… that would grace any Lambretta lovers’ china cabinet (if people have such thing these days). Theres a Model A, An LI Series 1, a Series 2 Rallymaster and a GP200.
The attention to detail looks pretty good, although I’ve only seen the photographs, not the models in the flesh. Here’s the blurb: Officially Licensed Lambretta scootesr that have been faithfully recreated with handsculpted and handpainted additions for outstanding detail” The scooters are approximately, 8cm in height, 10cm in length.
They’re made by the Bradford Exchange. Pics and links below… there appears to be fairly limited stock, so get your orders in quick if you want one!
So you’ve spent a few quid getting your scoot the way you want it… why not spend a few more documenting it for posterity? You could take some snaps yourself, or do it properly (your the kind of person that does things properly, right?), and get it shot professionally in a studio… except most studios are set up to shoot people, not motorcycles and scooters.
That’s where ProBikeArt comes into the picture. Professional studio photography that captures the lines and details of your Lambretta in the best light. Photographer Ian Daisley specialises in shooting classic, racing and cherished motorcycles – but he’s shot a few Lambrettas – as you can see!
A basic studio session costs just £145… including your finished digital images supplied on disk, and a 300x400mm framed fine art print.
ProBikeArt are located near Matlock in Derbyshire. Get in touch with them here.
All images used by permission, and © Ian Daisley / ProBikeART (www.probikeart.co.uk)
Spotted this little beauty on eBay. A super-rare genuine (purportedly!) 1971 DP 200 Electronic. There are many electronic ‘clones’ out there… but, with only 500 or so models made, hardly any genuine ones.
The engine is seized, and though complete, she’ll need a bit of work to bring her up to scratch (a nice conserved restoration, hopefully) but with all the proper Italian paperwork this could be rare opportunity to own one of the rarer and more desirable Lambretta models.
Although not UK Registered, it will be registered on the NOVA System, and you’ll get a NOVA reference number, along with a proper VAT sales invoice and dating certificate from the Lambretta Owners Club / VMSC for you to register the scoot at your DVLA office.
Here’s the eBay link < Sorry, it’s gone now.
Very nice, clean Extra S Type 52 Anniversary model spotted on eBay.
186 Muggello engine, with all the bits you’d expect for a scooter that cost £12.5k to build!
We often don’t like to think about our own mortality, but there comes a time in your life when you start going to as many funerals as weddings. And we probably all know somebody in the scootering scene who has passed on, usually far too early.
Although obviously sad affairs, the best funerals can be wonderful too, especially when you celebrate a life, and the passions of the deceased. What better way for someone that loved their scoots to make the final journey in a Lambretta powered hearse?
To quote the website“Our unique Scooter Hearse draws together an authentic Series 3 Lambretta professionally converted to a trike by a master coach builder, the same craftsman also fabricated the Hearse that is pulled behind. Beautifully combined this set up pays complete respect to the deceased, a person who had a love for the scooter, the scene that surrounds it, a scene that to those outside can sometimes seem extraordinary but for those in the know is something magical.”
Personally, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the life of a scooterist. That number plate’s good too.
Contact Modified Funerals, Telephone: 074 6841 0057
or via their website, here.
EDIT: Since this post was written, Modified Funerals seems to have gone out of business, but the Lambretta Hearse lives on, now being one of the options you can choose from NJ Newbury & Sons, here’s their website: https://www.njnewburyfunerals.co.uk/motorcycle
Two wheels good, three wheels better?
I featured this funky trike on the blog a while back, when it was Ford Focus Orange… and loved it then. Now she’s had a makeover, and she’s up for sale!
If you’re a rally goer, you’ve probably seen her, as she’s travelled to every major rally, including the IOW, and Kalkar in Germany, picking up over 30 trophies on the way. And she gets a lot of attention wherever she goes. She’s given the owner, and builder Brett has just given the engine a full rebuild (rockers/cam/piston/1mm
The trike’s owner, and builder Brett has just given the engine a full rebuild (rockers/cam/piston/1mm rebore) as she’s given him seven trouble free-years of scootering. He’s also replaced the front forks, wheel, and she’s got a new front tyre and calliper.
Despite all the miles the trike has been kept in tip-top condition, and she’s like new… and not just ‘under the hood’ (or should that be under the panels) the paintwork is in mint condition. After the £20k+ Brett spent building her, he wanted to keep her nice! what are you getting for your money (other than a true one-off of course)? She’s powered by a Honda 200cc TRXD semi-auto with 5 forward gears and reverse.
You could be her next owner
Now Brett wants her to go to a good home. So what are you getting for your money (other than a true one-off of course)? Well, she’s powered by a Honda 200cc TRXD semi-auto with 5 forward gears and reverse. She ‘sounds the bollox’ with double s/s pipes. and you’ll get a load of spare bits for the trike including rear tyres and Italian GP legshields. Brett wants £9,500 which is a deal, a steal, the sale of the century for a once in a lifetime chance to own a unique scoot. If you want any further info email him
Brett wants £9,500 which is a deal, a steal, the sale of the century for a once in a lifetime chance to own a unique scoot. If you want any further info email him here, or text him on 07842 712197.