What could be more Italian?

This is a fantastic story of the restoration of a Lambretta FC, built to sell ice-cream – and now magnificently restored to it’s former glory. And what could be more Italian than Lambrettas AND Ice Cream?

Top down view of Bruno's Lambretta FC Ice Cream Lambretta serving a customer

Firstly, a bit of background. As well as providing affordable, stylish post-war transportation, the Lambretta was an exceptionally versatile ‘platform’ for small commercial vehicles. In addition to – and before we saw the Lambro range of light commercial vehicles – that I’ve written about before here – there was a wide range of “cab-less” vehicles – these date back to the earliest days of Lambretta – The first FA’s being exhibited at the Milan trade fair back in 1948. The “F” designation stands for “Furgone” (Italian for van) – and here things may get a little confusing – as Lambretta later launched a “F” model, in line with their alphabetical naming policy – but these early commercials (the FA, the FB and FC) preceded that, and were based on the Model A, B and C’s respectively.

Original Innocenti Advertising form the Lambretta FC

The FC was a bit of a hybrid of the C and LC model – the scooter body basically a model C, but with the engine and cooling systems from the LC. As with the FA and FB models, the FC was configured with a ‘box’ at the front, with two wheels either side – with the power from the 125cc engine going to the single wheel at the back – the later Lambro’s adopted a different layout (single wheel at the front, cabin, box behind the driver, power going to the two rear wheels.

Enough background information. More than enough. Back to this particular machine! This magnificent scooter (a FC) is owned by Bruno Strigini – a lifelong Lambretta enthusiast – who discovered it and restored it to it’s former glory.

Bruno bought the Lambretta FC 1998. It was the second of four three-wheelers owned by the Galbiati family, the previous one, an FB model is now in Vittorio Tessera’s Lambretta museum. In the original documentation he got when he bought it, it shows it’s intended use was always to sell ice-cream – and it was approved as such. As you will see from the image above, it was in reasonably complete condition, just a little the ‘worse for wear”.

What was intact though was the fantastic original signwriting – including the name of the town the “Galbiati Brothers” were based – Perosa Argentina (a municipality near Turin in North West Italy, and not the South American country!). Galbiati’s plied their trade between Perosa Argentina – a municipality near Turin, and the Italian ski resort of Sestriere, about 40km away.

Bruno was lucky enough to meet the original owner, Sr. Galbiati, and stayed with him for an afternoon in 1998. Since then, he’s been in contact only with his daughter, who gave him the original photos featured here, and the original cork tubs where she made ice cream. Originally, the ice-cream was kept cold with a mixture of ice and salt, but Bruno designed a modern cooling system that preserved the original wooden box. It can now hold 32kg of ice cream in four flavors, and is equipped with a battery-powered compressor that can maintain -20 degrees Celsius for two days independently.

Bruno has done a done a magnificent job restoring this wonderful machine to it’s former glory, and it’s fully functional as it’s original purpose. It’s clear that he really cares about the story of the machine – telling me he regards it as ‘part of the family’. It’s great to see a machine with such a heritage of the scooter, an important, slightly forgotten part of Lambretta history.

I’ll close this post with apologies to Bruno, who sent me this story and the fabulous pics, some time ago now. While Lambrettas are my passion, and I love working on this blog, between work and family commitments, I sometimes I just can’t seem to find them time to update it as often as I would like to! Bruno also owns the “daddy of all Lambretta commercials” an FA model, but that’s another story for another day, and another post!

Ikea’s new India store offers delivery by solar-powered tuk-tuk

ikea_rickshawOriginally 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.

Link to the original story on Curbed.

Just to add some Lambretta flavour, here’s a  couple of (very) short videos of the Lambretta version of the three-wheeler commercial vehicle, The Lambro.

1956 Family Roadtrip from Sydney to Paris… by Lambretta!

1955-bombayPeople have done amazing things on Lambrettas – pushing these machines to their limits across many miles. This family road trip – 12,000 miles from Sydney to Paris – and then on to Margate – has got to be up their with one of the most ambitious and adventurous.

tripThe trip took over two months – starting 3,000 miles across Australia – through Pakistan, Persia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey – then into Greece, and across Europe (Yugoslavia and Italy) to France. An ambitious enough trip for a rider with a support crew – but dad Guy took his wife Beryl (originally from Margate) and his children Charles (4) and Yvonne (2). Wow!

Voyage Sydney

Guy custom built a cabin of marine plywood and canvas that could transport the four of them and their kit – and transform into a sleeping unit. Cosy! The ‘base scooter’ was a Lambretta Lambro 150 FD, with a top speed of just 25mph.

1956bm-0062The trip included heatwaves, floods, frosts, dust-storms, monsoon rain. The scooter suffered punctures, over-heating and wet petrol – but their ‘put-put’ got them there in the end!

1956bm-0009For the full story, I’d highly recommend visiting the website that chronicles the journey – www.montin.fr/lambretta – where there’s a wealth of original newspaper clippings and photos from the trip.

1955bm-0080A big thank you to Charles (the then four year-old boy in the pictures!) for permission to use the imagery featured in this post.

gate_of_indiaI’ve also got another amazing Lambretta adventure story to tell – this time an ‘escape across Africa’ – stay tuned for that one!

 

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!).
tn_p1070191

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.

 

Commercial Break – or “Loving the Lambro”

$_57A wise man once said that true wisdom is knowing how little you actually know. Or something like that. I thought I knew a little bit about Lambrettas, but the more I find out, the more I realise how much my ‘knowledge’ is just scraping the surface. Thats why I always appreciate being put right if I’ve made an error. Sometimes, I know I’ve made a mistake, because it’s glaringly obvious. On other occasions it’s a real eye-opener. Either way, not a problem I’ve learnt something. Anyway, the point of this long and rambling preamble is that I know next to nothing about Lambros. I’ve seen a few course, and pictures of many of them. They come up for sale occasionally on eBay (there’s some up at the moment… more on them later). And while I have posted about Willam microcars, and even the dinky Minky, I’ve only posted a couple of links to Lambro’s I’ve spotted for sale… and not written about them much on the site.

Innocenti Lambretta LambroAbout all I know about these wonderfully characterful little vehicles is, that A) they were extremely adaptable, with variants ranging from simple pickups and delivery vans, to cement mixers and fire engines… or tipper trucks, like the one pictured. B) They were the Lambretta equivalent of the Vespa Ape  C) they were named after the Lambro river that ran outside the Innocenti factory and D) I quite fancy one.Innocenti Lambretta LambroWhen compiling my “websites, forums, mags & blogs” links page (check it out if you haven’t already) I came across a couple of Lambro specific sites. One, lambro.plus.com has sadly not been updated for a while, although there is a lot of useful info on there. The second one, TheLambro.com is more well maintained, and also has wealth of useful information. It is also the online presence for the UK’s only dedicated Lambro workshop, where they offer everything from full restorations to servicing and MOT work. They often seem to have a couple for sale, and also have a varied stock of parts for most models.Lambro550ATipper-3With prices of even the more humbler Lambretta models climbing ever higher, the humble Lambro remains remarkably affordable. OK, it’s not as stylish, and you’ll never blaat about on one (although, funnily enough I have seen Vespa Ape racing). But they’re a pretty cool, quirky vehicle, especially if you have a small business to promote. And you get a roof. The one pictured in this post is available on eBay for a classified price of £2,695. She needs a bit of work to get her back on the road,  but is a pretty rare model, and an easy resto. Here’s the eBay link

Who can take a rainbow…

Wrap it in a sigh… soak it in the sun and make a groovy lemon pie…Cotton Candy Lambro

If anyone can, this chap can. Not just the Candy Man, the Cotton Candy Man. That’s Candy Floss, this side of the pond of course. And, despite the fact he works out of a Lambro, I haven’t seen a more sinister looking bloke since Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King’s “It”. I reckon he murdered the bloke who’s clothes they are… they don’t certainly don’t fit him. And hanging around outside a school, by the look of it… Definitely dodgy. As it say’s on the Lambro “Here he comes…”

Do the next scooter rally in comfort and style!

4b98f96dbc8bca7b64209244945b68d1Fed up of camping? Can’t afford a B’n’B? This homemade scooter-caravan hybrid may be just the answer you’re looking for. Based on a beat of a scooter – the Soviet era Tula – or the Muravey commercial vehicle version of it… (think Russian Lambro. Lambretta-heads), I’ve been unable to track down much information on it. It’s a British build, put together somewhere in Leicestershire. And as well as a fabrication job, it looks like a first class restoration, from a less than promising original vehicle, see the first shot below! If you are the talented, but slightly nutty builder of this unique vehicle, please get in touch, I’d love to know more! Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 17.55.49 Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 17.56.56 Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 17.57.06 Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 17.57.32 Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 17.57.58 Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 17.58.07 Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 17.58.15 Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 17.58.43 Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 17.58.52

Fun fact: Muravey is Russian for Ant, (there’s a bit of a insect theme here, Vespa = Wasp, Ape = Bee, Muravey = Ant), Although, perhaps “Ulitka” would be more suitable. That’s Russian for snail. More for carrying it’s home on it’s back than for the speed connotations, although that’s probably relevant too!

UPDATE: If you fancy tackling a project like this yourself, (or perhaps something simpler such as this) you could do worse than check out the “Teardrops & Tiny Trailers” forum (conveniently shortened to tnttt.com. I didn’t even know such a category existed, but fantastically, it does… the internet is a wonderful thing!

Here’s a link to the original site.

Lambro 500L on eBay

Lambro Pics $(KGrHqN,!q8FGUqId2Q!BRll5Th(Uw~~60_12 Lambro $(KGrHqV,!qUFF8jI)(5fBRll6ykBUQ~~60_12 $(KGrHqEOKo4FGTz4GObUBRlmSJT6o!~~60_12$(KGrHqJ,!rIFF0Tuq0OUBRll6O758g~~60_12

I’m rather taken with this 1968 Innocenti Lambro on eBay, in good original condition. Everything is there, it runs, and has a UK MOT.  And it looks fantastic. It could even be a great promotional vehicle for your business. Now, I’m not going to waffle on, because I don’t know a lot about these vehicles, but they are maybe something a little out of the ordinary for a Lambretta enthusiast. Check it out here if it’s your kind of thing. And if you think I’ve got the 1968 date wrong, because of the eBay listing, read the sellers comments 🙂

Ape cross!

I’ve not written much about scooter racing on this blog, is something I’ve always wanted to do. The guys that push Lambrettas and Vespas to their max on the track are a special kind of rider (the word nutters was actually the first one that came to mind). In fact the only sporting event I’ve covered is an old Scooter Scrambling event from the sixties and the Red Bull Lingotto Special, where classic scoots race around the roof of the old FIAT factory in Turin. That vid is worth a watch if you haven’t seen it yet!

But here’s a scooter sport that I’ve never come across before. Ape cross. Watch the video, which explains it better than I could. I know Ape’s are Vespas… but I’ve always had a soft spot for them.(See my Tuxi post) If there is a Lambro version of this sport, I’d love to see it!

Lambro 3-wheeler for sale

2901222
2901224

I came across this beautiful Lambro 3 wheeler on the Car & Classic website.

It’s being offered for £8k, offers invited. I saw one of these at the Ride for Rememberance last year, and it was certainly turning heads. If you’ve got a few quid and fancy something a bit different check it out. You will have to get it back from Lake Como, Italy… but I’ve always been after an excuse for visiting there!