I don’t wanna Tork about it…

lambretta BR ludwigSometimes, when Lambrettas were manufactured outside their native Italy, strange things happened. The models were ‘tweaked’ to better suit local tastes and markets. Occasionally, these changes are aesthetically pleasing, the turning mudguard on Spanish Series 2’s built in the Eibar factory for example.

Tork.jpg~originalBut – despite virtually every owner having their own idea of what the perfect Lambretta should look like – it’s hard to improve on the original Italian designs. It also seems that the further the manufacturers were away from Italy, the more they had free reign on creating their own, unique models. Nowhere more so than Brazil.

When they started making Lambrettas in Brasil, they looked pretty much like their Italian relatives. But as time went on, things got a little stranger.  I’ve touched on the pretty little MS before… and the monkey-bike styled Xispa – but I never knew about the Tork until I stumbled upon it on a website the other week. (on the red one, below, the extra lights are an obvious owner additional – who’s have thought of adding lights to a Lambretta?).

By the 1970’s scooters were as out of vogue in Brasil as they were in the rest of the world. From what I could gather, the Tork was built after a hiatus in scooter production (the factory had been sitting idle) as a last gasp attempt to gain back a bit of market share from Japanese motorcycles flooding into Brasil (and most of the rest of the world) at the time. It was all to come to a grinding halt when the factory went bankrupt in 1982.

To my eyes, the Lambretta Br Tork (to give it it’s full name) seems a desperate attempt to make a scooter look like something it’s not – a motorbike. Ironically, in the original scooter boom of the fifties, it was the other way around, with every motorcycle manufacturer trying to make their bikes look more like scooters. Funny old world.

 

 

Advertisements

Nice Brazilian Scooter Restoration video(s!)

Nice transformation video posted by Guilherme Piva of a S2 “rat racer” to a custom cutdown. Crazy exhaust! Stay tuned at the end for a couple of Xispa shots!

UPDATE: Since my original posting, Guilherme has been in touch with me, with a link to a second video: http://vimeo.com/34800468

and told me that his dad runs a scooter restoration business in San Paulo –  Fenix Restauração de Lambretta, whose website is here. There are some very nice restorations, Brazilian style… See some of the after pics posted below. For the “befores” you’ll have to visit the website.

Foto-3Foto-4Foto-6Foto-10Foto-2

via Basque Radical Mods blog

The Brazil Connection – The Xispa

Brasil1

Everybody knows that the Lambretta comes from Italy. Most know that it was also made in India. And many know it was also made in Spain. At a pinch you might even mention Germany and France. But Brazil? Or Brasil, as it is more correctly spelled? Perhaps it’s my Eurocentric world view, but I was quite surprised when I first found out. (For completists, Lambretta’s were also made under license in Argentina, Taiwan and Colombia).

23007578

The history of the Lambretta in Brasil stretches right back to 1955, and in fact it has clams to being Brasil’s first automotive manufacturer. Between 1958 and 1960, in it’s heyday the factory was producing more than 50,000 scooters a year. The mainstay of Brazilian production was based upon the Italian LI Series 2, which they produced from 1960. Known from 1964 as “Pasco Lambretta” the scooter market began to suffer the same slow decline in fortunes that was happening in Europe.

In an attempt to kickstart the market and keep up with changing automotive fashions, they  launched one of the Lambretta families more unusual members (to European eyes anyway)… the Xispa. This was a kind of hybrid scooter/monkeybike with many (as you’ll see in the pics) Lambretta components.

39282997

There was a 150cc and 175cc version which did well in the domestic market, until the inevitable rise and eventual dominance of imported Japanese motorcycles and mopeds. This all but saw the end of Lambretta production in Brazil, although their final throw of the dice was the slimline style Lambretta Cynthia (which I will feature at a later point I’m sure) and the ‘cutdown’ version of this… the MS150… the factory trimmed sidepanels and MS designation earning it the nickname “the MiniSkirt”.

89593927

As I mentioned in a previous post, there is a healthy interest in classic Lambretta’s and active club scene in Brasil (and also Argentina, but that’s another story). There also appears to be a few Xispa’s on the market… an ideal machine for the Lambretta collector with an eye for the unusual. For instance, here’s a very nice example, going for about 4,000 Brazilain Reals (about £1,100 at current exchange rates). You’ll have to ship it over from Brasil of course! I like it, I think it’s got a certain ’70s charm… and it also reminds me of those fantastic racing “Lambretta da Corsa” scooters from the fifties.

3278933242969497402874634559418947837481574733636005777461111570895408199171357822568435

UPDATE:

Some useful links if you want to find out more about Lambretta’s in Brasil. Or stat tuned and I’ll get round to writing some more, espcially abut the Cynthia, and the MS!

http://www.lambrettatradicionalbrasil.com.br/historia.htm

http://lambrettabrasil.blogspot.com/