Iso love this…

luigis_isoLuigi from Italy sent me a picture of his scooter, this beautiful Iso – known officially in it’s native Italy  simply as the “F” – although maybe better known to British readers as the Iso Milano, (it’s South American name) or the Diva, as it was marketed under in Spain. Iso developed the F after an initial collaboration with, of all people Maserati… I wrote about the only known surviving scooter from this collaboration here. The lines of the F are classically italian, the scooter bears more than a passing resemblance to a Lambretta Series 1/2 and the Vespa VNB, depending on which angle you’re looking at it from 🙂im000636

Luigi knows a thing or two about classic scooters, having written the Iso pages on the (excellent) Scooter d’Epoca site.

Pretty ‘ped…

36cafe60-b165-11e6-98a8-99994156e824Spotted this pretty little Italian Moped while I should have been doing something more productive with my time. To my eye, prettier, and sportier looking than Innocenti’s Lambrettino 48, which didn’t have much going for it other than links to the Lambretta. Made by Moto Bianchi, if I was an Italian sixteen-year old in 1968, this is what I’d have wanted. Other than a Lambretta, of course!

Loving the mildly dropped bars, which give it a slightly café racer feel, and the sensuous curve from the frame to the tank – which lifts it from the many Honda Super Cub clones. It’s currently a very reasonable £1000 on the catawiki auction site, here.

Normal service will be resumed shortly.

1947 Lambretta Model A on eBay

itebay_moda_1Not a lot of description on this one, so if you’re interested, I’s suggest a little personal research… I spotted this Model A on the Italian eBay site. Now it’s obviously where it all began for Lambretta… so this is an important machine. They don’t come up that often, so this may be your chance to own a bit of Lambretta and automotive history!

 Here it is on eBay

LC Sidecar Combination

lc_sidecar_ebay_italy-4On the Italian eBay site is this rather lovely LC and sidecar combo. It’s €12,500, which bearing in mind the state of the pound, is a little on the steep side. If you’re not lucky enough to live in Italy, he’ll ship it internationally.

Here’s the eBay link

Ultra rare Italian / Californian Scooter – The Rex Monaco

rexmonacoheroCame across this on Craigslist, a scooter I’d never heard of before… the Rex Monaco.

Aficionados of Italian scooters might spot that this is a Garelli Capri lookalike… in fact it’s a badge engineered scooter from Gabelli, sold under the Rex brand in the US. (a similar scooter was marketed as the Capri de Luxe in Italy and the Garelli Monaco in the UK).

This is a super-rare scoot – and while not as rare as this Maserati scooter – is possibly one of only 250 made – and it’s maybe the best example of the model that exists. For the $2,600 asking price you get not one, but four Rex Monacos. One complete and original, clean runner and three ‘parts’ scooters – enough to restore a second one.

The Craigslist listing is here, and there’s a ton more about it on the sellers blog.

The World’s Most Exclusive Scooter?

MaseratiM2-HEROThere are many scooters labelled as ‘rare’. (especially on eBay!) Among the rarer Lambretta models are the Eibar Winter Models, GP Electronics, TV200’s (especially Spanish ones) which have a  justifiable claim to the tag ‘rare’.

MaseratiM2-HERO-1Of course, it’s not just Lambretta models… the Vespa SS90 springs to mind from the Piaggio stable. And if we move away from the ‘big two’ the rarity value may step up a notch… with all the motorcycle (and car) manufacturers who tried to jump onto the ‘scooter boom’ of the fifties… Triumph, BSA, Peugeot even Harley Davidson and Ducati tried to get a piece of the action. But I honestly think I found the most exclusive scooter ever. It’s Italian (always a good thing when it comes to scooters), and is one of the most iconic marques in automotive history… Maserati.

The story of the Alférez – the ONLY Maserati scooter in existence, starts when Maserati began a collaboration Iso Rivolta. Iso are probably best known today for developing the Isetta bubble car, but also had a history of producing  sports cars, motorcycles and scooters.

Together, Maserati and Iso Rivolta produced two concept / prototype scooters in 1957, the M1 (now unfortunately lost in history, but probably a 125cc) and the M2 – the 150cc Alférez.

Although a ‘prototypes’ you can tell from the pictures that this scooter was not far from being a finished production machine. Stylistically it’s not a million miles away from a Series 2 Lambretta, with more than a hint of Vespa around the front wheel set-up. The only thing that jars a little with me is the headlight, which is not quite as elegant as that of a Lambretta Series 2…  but then again this model was out two years before the Series 2.

The frame and engine numbers are simple “M2”, and the Maserati logo on the crankcase are worth taking a second look at. The horncast Maserati badge is unique too… with a red racing car alluding to their Grand Prix heritage, and the name Alférez… a link to the Maserati founders name (Alfieri), but tellingly translated in Spanish… a hint to their ambitions in Latin America, where scooters were popular, but prehaps the Lambretta and Vespa names were not so embedded as Europe or the USA. But a promotional trip to Mexico ended badly, Maserati abandoned the scooter market. The M2 prototype remained too, finally ending up in Texas, where it resides today.

Iso continued making scooters, and while being less commercially successful than Innocenti and Piaggio, are one the few manufacturers a run for their money in styling – in my humble opinion of course.

Find out more about Maserati M2 here, where it’s for sale, if you have deep pockets. To quote from the website “The value of the scooter, a unique part of the history of the ‘Made in Italy’ is for serious collectors to personally judge, the reason why I leave the scooter price open to fair / reasonable offers. As this is a unique collector’s item, I will not answer openly low offers.”

If you want to put in a (serious) offer in here’s the website again  Update: the original site has now disappeared, I guess the scooter has been sold! If anybody knows of it’s current whereabouts / ownership, I’d love to know. If you’re the new owner, I bet you’ve got some other lovely scoots too (or perhaps a Maserati collection?) care to share some pics on the blog?


Sticky’s Latest Adventure – Twin Town Courier

Twin Town Courier Logo

Ok, so I promised you a post on the Rimini Lambretta Centre’s 25th Anniversary Open Day… and it’s coming. But there’s a scooter adventure that’s going on as I type that you should probably know about… Sticky’s on another of his “European Tours”. On a 1968 Lambretta. Partly because he loves Lambrettas, but also because doing this on a motorcycle would be too easy.  As  he says “The discomfort and unreliability of a vintage scooter adds an element of uncertainty and adventure to the trip. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.”

StickyLeavesNuneatonHeading out from his home town of Nuneaton on the 1st of the month… after being seen off by the Mayor… he’s heading round Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland, The Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands… phew, I’m exhausted typing that lot, never mind riding it!)

FullyLoaded

And there’s a big idea behind the trip – Twinning – and to quote the man himself “The idea is to explore the concept of town twinning, and to link the towns involved by acting as a courier delivering photographs from local newspapers and councils to their twins and sisters in other countries.” His long term goal is to write another book about his experiences (If you haven’t read Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle you’ve missed a treat).

Andorra-2As I type, he’s in the Pyrenees, heading towards Roanne in France, before heading off to Italy. He’s spending at least one day and one night in each town he visits.  Check out his route below, and if you can give him any support  in your country (I know I have readers in all of them!), please do! You might even end up featuring in his next book! Check out the full story on his website StickyFeatures.co.uk and follow him on Twitter @StickyFeatures or on his blog for the latest news.4789452_orig

I’ll keep you informed of anything I hear of his adventures, and show you his route back when he completes the first part of his journey.

Good luck fella… ride safe, and I hope your trip doesn’t have too much discomfort and unreliability!

Rimini Lambretta Centre 20th Anniversary Open Day

RLC-IMAG0679

Just a quick, preliminary post, mainly to say what a great event this was. There was a really good turn out, at least a couple of hundred Lambrettas… and Dean and the gang from the RLC made sure everyone was looked after properly. As I type this a lot of the attendees will be sipping the odd cold beverage or throwing some shapes on the dance floor. Unfortunately, I had to get back to Bologna, as I’ve booked a flight home early doors. Pretty poor planning on my part that. Anyway boys and girls enjoy your evening, and thank you, very much for asking me to come out. If you can’t wait for my words and pictures, check out the event’s Facebook Page, here. Buonanotte!

RLC-IMAG0689 RLC-IMAG0690 IMAG0717

Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle – The Review

39375c67f1f0b9b391c7039ea18620cf1f540ff9On the strength of my post about the video publicising his book, Martin “Sticky” Round sent me a copy to review. Which was nice. This is a first for me, as it’s the first “freebie” I’ve got through the blog. To be fair to my loyal readers though, I’m determined to give this a fair review, and be as honest and forthright as I can… and not just do a “puff piece”.

This was a tricky review to write. I could sum the whole post up in four words… but that wouldn’t do justice to the book. And I could ramble on for ages pouring more and more praise onto it, because this is simply a great book, but I suspect that my review would come across as a little dull if I did.

And this book is anything but dull. As readers of his work in Scootering will know, Sticky has a fine command of the English language… and he’s had the opportunity to give it full flight in this book. I read a lot. I’ve often got two or three books on the go at once, and I devour everything from biographies to science fiction, and pretty much everything in between. Once in a while, I enjoy a book so much that I rave on about it to friends and family and pass it on, saying “you must read this!” (The last book I did that with was CJ Sansom’s Dominion, btw. Highly recommended). Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle is up there. Right up there. I honestly haven’t enjoyed reading a book more this year.

Sticky tells his road trip tale in a highly entertaining fashion. The “scootery bits” aren’t so technical that a non-scooterist would be turned off, and just give an overview of what it’s like to own, ride and be part of the classic scooter scene without assuming any prior knowledge. A opening couple of chapters about building the scooters to take them on the journey could be as dull as ditchwater – but handled with Sticky’s light humorous tone (and the liberal use of the word “bollocks”) it’s like a very entertaining bloke down the pub sharing a great story with you.

In fact, the whole book is like that. Only they interesting bloke down the pub usually gets a bit boring after a couple of pints. Sticky’s book never wanes. While sharing his adventure of crossing Europe, from the Adriatic Coast to Turkey (and back), the entertainment factor never lets up. Sticky didn’t do the trip alone, he took his 11 year old son, Sam, and wife along. His wife, Tracy was riding perhaps the most Frankenstein of the Frankesnstein scooters, a Maicoletta with a 400cc Suzuki engine shoehorned into the old scooter bodywork. They met up with another name well known to the Lambretta scene, Dean Orton from the Rimini Lambretta Centre. Dean was riding the least modded bike… (and ultimately the most reliable of the scooters) a moderately upgraded Indian GP. And he brought his daughter, Kimberly along for the ride too.

Undertaking a challenging journey on highly modified vintage scooters is not a thing to do lightly. Let alone when you’ve got the wife and kids along. Sticky’s attitude is prepare well, and hope for the best. Things will generally work out and when they don’t, well, that’s character building. Seems to have worked for him. Still, with the author of the Lambretta repair and maintenance bible The Complete Spanner’s Manual: Lambretta Scooters and the owner of the RLC, an accomplished Lambretta mechanic in his own right, both veterans of many rallies and road trips… they were going to be alright if anything did go wrong with the scoots.

To get back to that bloke down the pub, that you initailly find the life and soul, and who you then discover is just someone who likes the sound of their own voice and has found a whole new audience in you… Well, you often find their worldview is a little blinkered too. They say travel broadens the mind, and to an extent I think that’s true, but I think you’ve got to be pretty broadminded to begin with. I found myself nodding along and agreeing with most of what Sticky said in the book… and, being Sticky he always has an interesting way of saying it. His “Dickhead Theory” I found particularly insigtful.

The trip, through Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey (and back via Greece and Albania) give Sticky ample opportunity to expound on everything from his theories on parenting to his attitudes to other cultures… with a handful of remincenses about previous scootering adventures, and a soupcon of local history along the way. His summing up of the Gallipoli campaign made interesting reading in light of all the recent celebrations surrounding the 70th anniverary of D-Day.

The book ends with Sticky being a bit down as the trip reaches it’s conclusion… and that’s how I felt as I reached the end of the book. I was enjoying reading it so much I just wanted more… Finally, there is some advice on how to plan your own adventure… and if you don’t feel inspired to at least start planning something, even if it never gets past the plannng stage, I suspect there’s something wrong with you.

Anyway… I’m not going to witter on and spoil the book for you. Suffice it to say it’s a damn good read. One that, in my humble opinion, deserves to break out from the scootering world into a general readership… You don’t have to be a scooter fan to enjoy a book this good. After all “Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” (basically a roadtrip book with a bunch of noodly half baked philosphising thrown in) became a classic… and it’s a far less entertaining read.

If I had summed the whole review up in four words they would have been “Excellent read. Buy it”. Actually buy two, give one to a friend. It’s that good.

It’s out on Kindle now, at a unfeasibly reasonable £2.95, a price that almost makes it worthwhile buying a Kindle. The paperback is also available from Scooterproducts, Amazon, and eBay. The perfect last minute gift for Fathers Day!

Bonus points if you can find the other video featuring (a very young) Sticky on this site. If you do post your answer in the comments.

1965 Milan to Taranto – The toughest scooter trial in the world?

Milan-Taranto PicPete Davis of the  British Lambretta Archive sent me this fantastic  pic of a couple of LCGB riders in the 1965 Milan to Taranto a 1,000 mile regularity trial, a event organised by the Lambretta Club d’Italia.

A little digging led me to discover this great video on YouTube…

…and a fantastic article on the ever excellent Team S Equipe blog, here.