Lambretta’s monkey bike – The Rosella

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Information on this little oddity is scarce, but I’ve pulled together what I can. My main source is the french site moto-collection.org As is usually the case, I’m working from a position of profound ignorance, and you, my readers often know much more than me… so I’m quite happy to be be put right – just leave a comment and I’ll update the post when I can. All pics harvested from an intensive search of the web. If they are yours, and copyright, my apologies. Hopefully it’s ok to collate them all for the sake of posterity!

201112817034_squashedscooterThere seems to be differing accounts of it’s genesis… whether it is an ‘official’ machine out of the Innocenti factory (perhaps a prototype, or side project), OR something ‘knocked up’ by a neighbouring factory in Milan. It appears to have been marketed by a manufacturer of marine equipment, based – like Innocenti – in Milan… Nautica Pennati.  who are still in business. (I’ve contacted them, to ask if they have any information, but it was a while ago, so don’t hold your breath!).This would suggest the Rosella was designed as an accessory for a yacht… as once the handlebars are removed and the front wheel is turned over it is only 90cm long.

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Innovative design – perhaps the cutest Lambretta of them all?

The Rosella is a tidy little design – I love the way it integrates the fuel tank into the frame… and the front and rear lights into the fuel tank. The main frame is very neat, basically two tapering tubes, welded together. To my mind, this supports the theory that it was a factory prototype – this is a sofisticated piece of design work, made by somebody with some knowledge of how to put a two wheeler together neatly. The main, obviously Innocenti element to the design is the J50 engine / crankcase. This helps date the Rosella, as the J range was introduced in 1964. Despite it’s tiny size, the Rosella has a complete suspension system: a short telescopic fork at the front and by a hinged, damped element by the power unit at the rear. I’m not sure how effective this would be, but the Rosella was obviously only designed to cover short distances! Another nod to the Lambretta is the “D” type toolbox in the first pic, though mounted ‘side-ways’ to the frame, rather than under the seat.

Rarity and value

Information is scarce – but rumour has it there are only three (yep, you read that right, three) Rosella’s in existence. One (pictured above) sold on German eBay a few years ago, for around €2.5k – if rarity = value, somebody got a bargain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Second of the three is (or was) in the US, and appeared at the LCUSA Lambretta Jamboree in 2006 – and the pics show it competing in the gymkana. Aparently, at some point there was quiet a nasty accident in which the rider broke his collar bone, but the bike survived.

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As for the third Rosella, I’ve been unable to track it down, so it may, or may not exist! It may be (must be!) the one pictured in the GP turquoise. If you own it, one of the other two, or have another sitting in a shed (or on a yacht) somewhere, I’d love to know more. Send info and pics please! And, if you don’t actually own one, but know more about it than I clearly do, please let me know in the comments below!

 

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Classic Italian Collection (and more) up for auction…

Got the heads up on the next Brightwells Classic and Vintage Auction at Leominster on the 8th March. As well as a clutch of other interesting cars and bikes there is a collection of Italian Classics from Andy Heyward… see the video above for an overview. The vehicles I’ve included below are a just a couple that caught my eye, get the full details on the Brightwells site… here’s a link to the online catalogue.

There’s a Lambretta J125 that’ll need a little love and attention… (there’s a couple of other “J’s” too)tn_lambretta_j125

A rare Mercury Hermes scooter, built in the Black Country…img_0756

A Lambro…tn_lambro_3

One I haven’t seen before, a Gitan Joligri from around 1970tn_p1050216_1tn_p1050217_1

A ‘Vespa-ish’ Gilera G50 from 1967

Another Rarity… the rather ‘awkward looking’ Ducati’s Brio. How could a company that makes such beautiful motorcycles produce something so fugly?tn_p1060510_1tn_p1060517_1tn_p1060519_1

The equally awkward Casalini Sulky microcar… (Read the catalogue write-up for this one, it’s hilarious!).
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The rather prettier little 50cc BM Pokerino… never mind a scooter I’d never even heard of – an Italian marque (Bonvicin Marini) I’d never even heard of! It appears to be sans side panels, which is a shame as I don’t think they’d be the easiest thing to source – but a nice, sporty looking little scoot. That ‘straight flush’ legshield badge is a cracker.tn_p1050080tn_p1050084_1tn_p1050093

Next up an Italian marque you will have heard of… Benelli… one of a brace of Benelli’s in the auction… and the only motorcycle I’m featuring here (although there are plenty in the auction). A popular bike in Italy (and amongst Italian Motorcycle Fans). This Benelli Leoncino (Leoncino translates to Lion Cub in Italian) correctly  features the cast ali Lion mascot on the front mudguard…

There’s a bunch of classic four-wheelers too… including a bunch of Italian classics, some lovely FIAT’s, Lancia’s and Ferraris, my favourite is this cracking little chocolate-brown Autobianchi Bianchina Speciale. It’s got an estimate of £2,500 – £3,000, which seems an absolute bargain to me!

And finally for now, we’ll end on another scooter… the rather elegant looking Aer Macchi Brezza – the clean, aerodynamic lines demonstrating the aircraft manufacturing roots behind this company. With only 2,000 Brezza’s made, it’s a pretty rare scoot.

That’s it for now. See the Brightwells site for full details and how to get involved in the auction.

 

Jolly nice J

s-l1600-1This is probably one of the nicest J50’s out there*… A J 50 with a Casa 80 c upgrade. Restored to a high standard by Medway scooters with £7000 spent on her, including sourcing rare original accessories and having them restored to as new condition.

The list of rare accessories include Ulma twin legsheild trims , front fork covers, rear carrier seat passenger grab rail, megaphone exhaust , spare wheel legsheild carrier, horncast the list goes on… Everything has been rechromed by London chroming. She features a rare mph speedo upgrade (J50’s didn’t come with a speedo) 12-volt electrics and lighting upgrade.

I’m not normally the J range’s greatest fan, normally, but this one looks jolly nice. A small frame Lambretta you can be proud to be seen on. I got a bit of a jolt when I saw the price though… £5.5k used to be (and in my head still is) SX territory… but things move on!

If you are tempted, you might want to read this article in Scootering… a buyer’s guide to Lambretta J-Range Scooters.

The J50 featured in this post is for sale on eBay here.

*Unless you know of a better one, of course. If you do, let me know and I’ll future it on the blog.

A couple of Starstreams…

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I’ve posted about the previously unloved J-Range Lambrettas that seem to be going under a bit of a resurgence recently. Remember that rather lovely original condition signwritten  J50  I posted a week or so ago? If you missed it, it’s here.

Well, the main problem with the J’s is speed. They’re just not very fast. And the J50 is clearly going to be the slowest of the lot. Now, you may say, if I wanted to go fast I wouldn’t get a Lambretta (tell that to the TS1 owners!), and there’s an element of truth in that, but in modern traffic, it’s just not safe too go too slow. The most rideable, and always the most desirable of the J’s was the 125cc “Starstream” version… you won’t exactly be braking the land speed record on one, but they are nippy enough to poodle around on.

I spotted a couple of rather nice examples for sale, a rather nice, well preserved blue one, with the original green log-book, available on On eBay here

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The other is this rust free example, and Indonesian import, looks like it’s in ok nick, also on eBay, with a classified price of  £2,000, and the “make offer” option available.  On eBay here

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Jolly nice J50 for sale…

1968 Lambretta J50 for Sale on eBayI love this little J50 I have discovered on eBay… looks like it’s in pretty good, original condition; the sign writing looks bang on, and contemporaneous with the scooter. I imagine it was originally a municipal vehicle for the Italian equivalent of the local council. Fantastic. Great patina… and no, that’s not a euphemism for “rusty as ••••” . In my opinion, the new owner would should keep this scooter exactly as it is… as a little piece of cultural history. Marvellous. all the details, and a few more pics on eBay.
eBay Link

1968 Lambretta J50 for Sale on eBay723253161_o723253177_o723253149_o723253157_o723253164_o

Dino’s at it again…

Dean Martin on a CentoBefore Austin Powers, there was Matt Helm… a spoof secret agent played by Dean Martin. A hard drinking, womanising, wisecracking american counterpart to 007, Dino played it strictly for laughs, and took every opportunity to get his leg over. On this occasion, he’s given up trying to kick start the LD, and got his leg over a J Range… And riding pillion he’s looking for somewhere to hold on!

Just some J’s…

Screen shot 2013-05-22 at 11.20.49I’ve written about the J Range before, here, and here. This months Scootering magazine has a good article on buying a J too. I came across this article that gives an overview of these “Lambretta Smallframes”. Some nice images too, especially as it’s on a Vespa blog!Lambretta J Range Scooters j5a Lambretta_50a Lambretta StarstreamLambretta J Range scooter

Lambretta collection for sale on eBay.

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Ok, we’ve all been there. You’ve got a few spare qiuid jangling round your pocket and you fancy a Lambretta. But which model? Descisions, descions. Well, worry no more cash rich scooterist, there’s no need to make those hard descions. You can buy an entire Lambretta collection on eBay, here. Eight scooters, from a Model D 150 thru to a Lui 50… all restored six years ago and dry garaged since then. Most of them seem to have won awards at various European Lambretta events of the years, and each comes with a dossier documenting their restoration, and some original brochures and other collateral. Nice. Only wish my numbers had come up on the lottery the other night!

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The models are:

• 1956 Model D 150

 • 1956 LD 150

• 1961 Li 150 Series 2

• 1964 LI 125 Series 3

• 1967 J 125 (Starstream – or Stellina in Italian)

• 1967 Lui 50

• 1970 J50 Special

• 1971 Dl (GP) 200

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They are for sale for €76,900.25 No, I don’t know why the 25 cents.

That’s about £56k in proper money. Which works out a shade under £7k each if you divide them equally. A tad pricey I would have thought, although some of the scoots have some nice original period accessories. If you are interesed in purchasing this collection, they’re on eBay, here.

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