Lambretta Luna Toy

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Every day’s a school day at the Lambrettista blog… I’ve not seen one of these before…

A plastic Biemme toddlers bike toy, clearly based on a Luna line Lambretta.

There’s clearly some damage, under the headlight, but if you’re a fan of Bertone’s space age reinvention of the Lammie, you might want this.

See it on eBay

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Viva Las Vega

vega_75s_ebay_heroI’ll admit now to not always having been the biggest fan of Bertone’s little late-sixties space age Lambrettas… the Luna range. I used to think didn’t have the elegant lines of a classic Lammie for me.

I’ve since grown to realise that they were future classics – designed ahead of their time, and the world wasn’t quite ready. Today, I think they’ve a great 70’s retro futurism vibe about them… kinda like the Bond Bug.

There’s a nice example on eBay… a 1970 Lambretta Vega 75s. It was restored in 2005, and is a UK registered bike with all the proper paperwork. It needs a little tidy up, but it’s in pretty decent nick. It’s priced at £2,500. 

Here’s the link.

Lui Lui…

LuiVega-3Found this very clean Lambretta Lui 75S on eBay. It looks super space age in it’s silver livery… and as it is an Italian import is still a “Lui” rather than a “Vega”. I think that’s right… I’m no expert on the Luna line! (Hmm… Louis Vega… didn’t he do “Mambo Number 5”?)

Anyway, from the pics, this is a superb example of the model… although it’s going for an eye-watering £4,500… You used to be able to pick up these little beauties for peanuts! Here’s the eBay link.

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Here’s that eBay link again

Bit of a bitsa…

innocenti-labretta-50dl-elaborazione-sportiva-0037I found this for sale on Car & Classic, and this one had me scratching my head…

I thought it was a 50’s racer when I first saw it… but it didn’t look like any 50’s racer I’d ever seen before. And Model D based racers were either 125’s or 150’s surely… Closer inspection threw up more questions than answers…

The machine in described as a 50 DL… (I mistakenly thought the D bit of this referred to a model D) As you probably know, what was marketed in the UK as a GP was sold in Italy and other markets as a DL. So, at least part of it is from a GP as we know it. But DL/GP’s were 125/150/200cc… But, a Lui was 50cc… which brings me to the forks and wheels… which are distinctly Luna line.

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So. It’s a bit of a mongrel, put together from different parts of different models. But it has been done rather nicely, and it looks pretty good, if a little underpowered at 50cc. Legal if you are 16 though… there’s a thought.

Personally, I’d lose the rack, it doesn’t work on a “racer” for me, but otherwise this is a good looking, fun scooter. Not for everyone of course. If you fancy a 50cc with a Innocenti heritage, and the ability to turn a few heads (and make a few people scratch theirs too), it’s for sale here.

The site that Car & Classic links to is Nerves Auto, an Italian site featuring some lovely sports and classic cars.

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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Starting classic scootering – on a budget

I bought my first scooter on the money I earned in my Saturday job. I was 16, and worked two evenings a week, plus Saturdays, for a local supermarket. Somehow I managed to save up £600 – which was lucky because there was a Serveta LI 150 Special with something like 36 miles on the clock, for sale in my local free newspaper. It sat in the garage at my mum & dad’s until I was old enough to ride it on my 17th birthday. It was a bargain, even back in 1982. Sadly the days of a £600 Lambretta are long gone. Or are they? Read on…

So, what are your options if you’re a 16 year old these days, and you’ve got the good taste to want a classic scooter?

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The holy grail – the affordable Lambretta 

With even ‘standard’ Lambretta models like LI’s going for premium prices, and the more sought after models such as TV’s and SX’s going for silly money, there’s no easy answer.

Or maybe there is. Maybe it’s the unloved, ‘ugly ducking’ of the Lambretta family… the J range.
Developed in the mid sixties as a smaller, lighter and cheaper Lambretta, (let’s be honest here – it was a scooter for girls) the J range lacked the power and frankly the good looks, of it’s larger siblings. Despite the best interests of the Innocenti marketing machine, including commissioning the services of one Ms Shrimpton – the J range failed to take off, in Britain at least. 

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So. The J range has been traditionally unpopular with the British Lambretta fan. To be honest, it still is. The good news though, is it IS a proper Lambretta, and it’s very unpopularity means you can pick ’em up cheap. In the past getting hold of parts may have been a bit of a problem, but it’s much less so these days, the internet making it much easier to track down most bits. So how cheap is this “entry level” Lambretta? Well, you can pick up very nicely restored examples for under a grand, sometimes well under. And you could pick up a good runner that may be a little tatty for half that.

The J range came in a variety of engine sizes 50cc – 100cc (The “Cento”) and 125 (the J125, Starstream, and Super Starstream; depending on date of manufacture and trim). Personally, I think bigger is better, and a Starstream would probably do 55mph… not going to win you any land speed records, but fast enough for modern A roads.

So with bargain basement prices (for a Lambretta), maybe the J ranges time has finally come. In fact their looks are starting to grow on me. Slightly.

The other Lambretta option you may wish to consider is the Luna range… Lui, Vega and Cometa respectively. I LOVE their ahead-of-their-time space age looks, but I’ll admit they are even farther in looks from the class Lambretta shape than even the J -Range. So the Luna range is going to be a whole different post.

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The dark side
The “V” word. It’s got to be mentioned. If you want a classic scoot and you can’t stretch to a Lambretta, a Vespa is clearly an option. Who knows, you might strike it lucky and find a classic smallframe Vespa for not too much money. The ones to look for (probably, I know naff all about Vespa’s really) are 50 Specials and Primavera’s. These models are however getting more and more desirable and hence expensive. 80’s models such as the T5, PK’s and PX’s, once derided by Vespa purists are now regarded as classics in their own right – although you can still find half decent examples for the £500 – £900 mark. And they are very rideable scooters on todays roads. Apparently.

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The third way
While both 80’s Vespa’s and J range Lambretta’s are both good buys, there is possibly a third option. Innocenti (Lambretta) and Piaggio (Vespa) were the best known, and most succsessful makers of scooters, but they were far from the only game in town. A marque that I’ve always admired is the Agrati Capri… A scooter that in my ever so humble opinion is much prettier than a J range, and in fact “up there” with the best of Lambretta. They come up regularly on the likes of eBay, but be a bit careful that all the ‘bits” are there, as spares can be tricky to source.

So, where do you look for when buying your first classic scooter? I’ll cover that in part deux… coming up soon.

If you disagree with anything in this post, or just have some knowledge to share – great – I’d love your contributions in the comments section. Go on!

Photo credit: Pictures nicked off eBay.