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.
This isn’t an 80’s scoot. It was imported from India in 2008. But, for me, it’s got that 80’s feel about it. It’s the type of scoot I’d have wanted more than any other in the ’80s. An Arthur Francis Super S-Type. Built, and signed by Ray and Ben Kemp. In orange (ok, “Red candy over marigold”).
If you promised yourself one like this in the eighties, and you can afford one now, wtf is stopping you? Here’s the eBay link.
Came across this oddity on eBay. We all know SIL made Lambrettas after production stopped elsewhere. Known in the halycon days when you could pick up an Italian S2 for £50 as “curryburners”, today Indian Lammies are just accepted as part of the mix. There were other Lambretta based oddities like the Lamby Polo and Kelvinator Avanti, both featured on the blog before. But here’s a new one on me, the SIL Lambretta Sunny.
Looking like a Cento with a SX / Serveta style headset, a grotesquely oversized seat and the ugliest horncasting that’s ever been bolted to a scooter it would be a real talking piece.
I like the kickdown rear footrests… although they’re branded Bajaj (the Indian company who made Vespas under licence) so I guess they’re an aftermarket addition.
If you fancy something a bit prettier, and more, er, Italian, for about the same money (£100 cheaper actually!) There’s this J50 Delux. It’s got 50 less cc’s but it is in what’s probably my favourite Lambretta colour, Mela Verde (or Apple Green). You’ll need to be a bit handy with the spanners, because although it seems to be complete, it’s in bits. Here’s the link for that one.
Reading in this article from India’s “The Hindu” online newspaper about the new found respect for Lambretta’s in India. SIL, (Scooters India Ltd) are still a going concern, still rolling out factory fresh GP200 engines like this one on eBay (I think they are still making them, they may have a big warehouse full of NOS somewhere!).
There are the usual newspaper inaccuracies about Lambretta history of course, but we’ll skip past them, to get to a nugget of info that stopped me in my tracks. Back in the day, the Lambretta scooter became the preferred personal transport of white-collar workers on the subcontinent, mostly government and bank employees. Soon, demand far surpassed production, and the waiting list for the vehicle lengthened. And lengthened. Mr Mr Raveendran, ex Superintendent of Government Gardens and Parks takes up the story;
“In the 60s, you could buy a Lamby only through the State Industries Department. One had to book the scooter and wait for a minimum of six years to take delivery”
Did you get that? A SIX YEAR waiting list! Although, as ever in life, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Mr. Raveendran managed to jump the queue, and get his scooter in two weeks.
So, I know the name Kelvinator… they make fridges, freezers… that sort of stuff right… oh yeah, and Lambrettas. Of a sort. Well to be honest, I didn’t know that last bit. So, as well as companies like SIL and API, and even Vijai that I know were making Lambrettas under license in the subcontinent, so was a international maker of white goods. Weird.
And there’s one for sale on eBay. Ok, it’s in bits… and it suffers from many of the same ‘styling issues’ as the Lamby Polo that I posted about previously… but for some reason I don’t mind the look of this one so much. Maybe it’s because the paint isn’t so lairy. Or the panels are a bit better. The V*spa style headlight is weird, but not too ugly… and it has got a similar horrible (imho) PX / Polo style horncasting. But if you can live with all that, and you fancy a proper ‘curryburner’ with a difference, you can buy it on eBay, here. And it’s cheap for Lammie.
Bit of culture for you, Lambrettaphiles… some fine art Indian artist Haribaabu Naatesan. “Using mostly electronic waste (e-waste) from gadgets and gizmos like motherboards, floppy discs, CD drivers, cellphones, CDs, etc, artist Haribaabu Naatesam reassembles them together to create incredible works of art. Aiming to liberate waste from its lowly condemned position, Naatesam breathes new life into junk pieces turning them into everything from birds and crabs to shoes and transportation.” Call me shallow, but I like it ‘cs it’s got a scooter in it! 🙂