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!

 

Funky Moped…

benelli_moped_ebay_heroFrom the ‘Not a Lambretta, but – files’…Spotted this cheeky little 50cc Benelli Monkey Bike on eBay. It’s not UK registered, but comes with a kosher sales invoice and a NOVA certificate. You’ll need a dating certificate from the Owners Club. The engine works. And it’s a not unreasonable £1,595.00 (classified ad price).

Here it is on eBay

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.

Lambretta Serveta Puma Cross

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LamServetaPumaHere’s a bit of a rarity I stumbled across on eBay, a dual Lambretta/Serveta branded scrambler style moped 50cc motorcycle (It ain’t a moped – see the comments).

Now, normally when you see the words ‘very rare’ you can take them with a pinch of salt, but this is the real deal, especially in the UK – although slightly less so in it’s native Spain. Dating from the late ’70’s the Puma came in two variants, the ‘Endure’ and the ‘Puma Cross’ the Puma Cross having 5 gears – itself pretty unusual for a moped.  It’s in need of a little TLC, but comes with a bunch of spares. The only bit that doesn’t look quite right to me is the exhaust… I think the original may have come up a higher, following the lines of the mudguard…

Rarity usually demands a premium in the Lambretta world, but this is currently sitting at just £400. If you’re like the look of it, or just fancy something a bit different for your Lambretta collection get your bid in!
Here’s the eBay link

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

Miss Saigon

Malaguti SaigonYasin, the guy who correctly identified the mystery scooter as a KTM Ponny, has got an interesting scooter himself… well, actually he’s got a few – a Lambretta J50,  Vespa 50 N, and a “Malaguti Saigon”. And it was the Saigon that piqued my interest. Another 50cc scooter… at a quick glance it could be mistaken for a Lambretta… nice clean lines, more elegant maybe than a J-Range Lammie.

SONY DSCMalaguti Saigon (green) DSC03447 SONY DSC Malaguti is another marque with a proud Italian heritage. Founded in 1930 in San Lazzaro di Savena,in the province of Bologna. Starting out making bike frames, Malaguti soon diversified into mopeds and the small, lightweight, single cylinder motorcycles the Italians were so good at. So when the scooter boom started in the 50’s, the company were well placed to take advantage of this. Rather than purely focus on the domestic market, Malaguti exported the majority of it’s scooters… with over 70% of the factories production going to Vietnam… including the scooter shown… which soon gained the nickname “Saigon” …although this was never an official company name.

So, that’s the brief history of these little lightweight scoots… one of many Italian marques that diversified into scooters, but in my opinion one of the prettiest, and one that deserves a little more recognition.

Yasin kindly sent me some pics of his Saigon (below) , and I admit, I’m a little jealous of his elegant little scoot. It looks in excellent original condition… original paint and even a dealer sticker on the front mudguard. Lovely. It’s clearly not complete… but not too far off… missing the sidepanels and rear light, a front fork cover, and some horncasing trim by the look of it… so if you’ve got access to a cache of Malaguti parts, let me know and I’ll pass the details on to Yasin. It looks pretty good without the panels imho… although you’d be hard pushed to get much more than a couple of litres in that tiny fuel tank… which would limit your range a little!

Yasins Malaguti Saigon IMG_6137 IMG_6141 IMG_6142 IMG_6143 IMG_6144

Malaguti are still in business today, and still a family owned company, and, although they ceased vehicle production in 2011, they still deal with spare parts, accessories and after sales service. Unfortunately for Yasin, I think his “Siagon” may be a little too long out of production for any spare parts to still be knocking round the factory!

One final thought, I know I’ve got readers in Vietnam, and Lambrettas and Vespas are immensely popular out there… but is anyone riding a Siagon in Vietnam? Even perhaps in Siagon? And if your are, have you got any spare panels for Yasin?Malaguti logo

Malaguti Website

Thanks to Riccardo at Malaguti for the updated information.

Fancy something a little different?

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Right. First off, this clearly comes under the “That’s not a Lambretta” header. But until I get round to writing a proper piece about Lambro’s, this’ll have to do you. I’m not sure it even comes under the category of scooter. It’s actually a BSA Ariel 3.

Being a proper moped (notice the pedals you have to use to start it) It wouldn’t be quick. I can’t imaging that once you loaded up the ‘luggage area’ (that would take lttle more than your average topbox) you’d be breaking many speed limits. Even going downhill, with a tailwind in a 30mph zone. In fact, it would be one of the few vehicles on the road I would stand any chance of overtaking.

As with most items in those halycon days before the PC brigade had any say, the advertising shots featured a girl in a bikini. Although, to be brutally honest, I can’t remember a time I saw a vehicle with less sex appeal!

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And it’s for sale. So why not get yourself a piece of British motorcyle history? The downside, The Ariel 3 is ugly, slow and impractacle. The upside, it’s rare, and actually it’s SO ugly, it’s strangely attractive… and it’s proper 1970’s… right down to the baby-poo and white colour scheme. Biggest upside though is it’s cheap. It’s on sale on the Car&Classic website for a mere £450. So if your a hipster with a thing for the seventies… like three wheel but can’t quite scrape together the cash for a Bond Bug, you may be able to bag yourself a bargain.