What do you get if you cross a Lambretta with a Vespa?

iso_milano_ebay_heroWell, it wouldn’t look a million miles from an Iso Milano would it? The front half looks very Vespa, while from the headset back it’s got distinctly Lambretta styling. Dating from 1957/58, it’s a remarkable ‘modern’ looking scooter for the day… Lambretta’s still had the headlight on the horncasing then. So, best of both worlds, or a bit of chimera? I suppose that’s a matter of taste.

If it’s to your taste, you can get hold of this one on eBay, here for not too much dosh; £1,250.00 ‘buy it now’ or make them an offer. Leave the Iso badges off, and you’ll have a few people scratching their heads… The bloke from the front saw you on a red Vespa, the bloke from the side swears blind you were riding a Lammie!
Here it is on eBay (Link updated as the scooter has been resisted).

Puch Cheetah

puchds_60_cheetah_ebayNow for something completely different… a Puch DS 60 Cheetah from, amazingly in my opinion, 1960. Why amazingly? Well, to my untrained eye, it looks so much later, presaging Japanese mopeds like the Honda Cub and monkey bikes from the 70s. There’s also a hint of the Rumi Formicino in the styling. Not as curvy and sinuous as a Lambretta or a Vespa, but a very pleasing design – tidy, solid and compact. It was described, back in the day, as a ‘scooterette’ – or ‘baby scooter’. The 59cc Cheetah was the ‘deluxe’ version, with a more stripped down 50cc bike called the Nomad as it’s entry level stablemate.

The Austrian company Puch are perhaps more remembered these days for their mopeds (such as the Puch Maxi), and small motorcycles, and maybe even push bikes (especially BMX’s), but they made very highly regarded scooters in the 1950’s. The Puch RL from 1953 had more traditional scooter styling, and had a good reputation amongst it’s owners,  the less than sparkling performance being offset by a reputation for exceptional reliability.

The 59cc 4 speed sports engine on this Cheetah produces 4.5 hp. It’s been restored to ‘as new’ condition with a professional respray (love the silver and bright orange combo!), the engine rebuild by leading vintage Puch specialists in Austria. The aluminium casing, brake drums and shock absorbers are polished to mirror finish. It has a refurbed original seat, new brake linings, wiring, exhaust system, rubbers and tyres. Rebuilt by a restorer rather than a rider, the bike has covered only 3 miles since. The V5 is present and it has 12 months MOT.

The bike is available for sale here:

1960 Puch DS 60 Cheetah Classic Scooter for Sale – £2,989.00

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?


Will, (I) Am (a Lambretta)

SuperComtesse-6Well, a Lambretta engine anyway. Regular readers might remember the rather odd French, Lambretta powered microcars from Willam… (if you don’t you can catch up here and here). Well, there’s one for sale on eBay. It’s about as back to basics motoring as you can get, although this variant the “Super Comtesse” has four wheels. Cheap as chips (at the moment) and perfect for the Lambretta completist… or someone that wants to travel very slowly and attract a lot of attention to themselves. Check it out on eBay, here.SuperComtesse-4

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There’s there’s a Willam… there’s a way

LawillWillamI’ve written about these little lambretta powered microcars a couple of times before… (here and here if you’re interested). One of my readers, Olivier, has flagged up that there’s one for sale over on this french auction site, sitting at under a thousand Euros at the moment. So if your looking for something a little bit different, with four wheels rather than two, and you fancy a trip to central France, check it out!LawillWillam-2 LawillWillam-1

Oi! Bignose…

Czeta-1-2-8-2014A bit of an ugly ducking scooter here… certainly compared to the lovely lines of a Lambretta (or even a V*spa)! To be fair, if you’re not looking at the scooter from the front, it doest look too bad. The saving grace of the Cezeta is a large luggage compartment under the seat… gained by moving the petrol tank to that big nose over the front wheel, just above the headlight. Hmmm. But if you fancy something a bit different you can get your hands on this Czechoslovakian oddball over at that famous internet auction site. It’s certainly a head turner! Cezeta scooter on eBay
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Cezeta scooter on eBay

The ultimate family Lambretta?

Family TrailerI don’t know much about this amazing contraption… but I’d like to know more! I think I can make out the word “Siambretta” on the trailer, which would make it Argentinian… but I may be mistaken.

If a sidecar doesn’t quite cut the mustard for family transportation, you can get another kid or two in this! I hope the engine is uprated – otherwise journeys would be stylish, but very slow!

1960’s Nogoodniks from Hong Kong…

The film title says Hong Kong Teddy Boys… but they’re not quite Teds as I remember them. Seriously cool scooters, whatever they are… can anybody Id them (the scooters, not the actors!)?

Form HK Rockers on Vimeo

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.