Lambretta, one of the world’s most iconic scooter brands, is back and showing its range of new models at this week’s Motorcycle Live show in Birmingham.
Styling of the new models is, of course, in the vein of the classic 1960s models that are still so cherished by enthusiasts today, with prices starting at £2699 for the 50cc, V50 moped, and rising to £3499 for the 169cc V200. Lambretta are also marketing a learner legal 125, with all three models utilising air-cooled, single cylinder four-stroke engines. The latest Lambrettas are also simple to ride twist and go automatics, a far cry from the geared two-strokes of the originals.
Innocenti, the owners of the Lambretta brand, have remained true to the original concepts. The authentic looking monocoque chassis is constructed from 1.2mm steel and has side panels which allow easy access to the engine, and are interchangeable, allowing owners to modify the colours and even shape of their Lambrettas.
Lambrettisti can also specify fixed or flex style mudguards and, despite the classic scooter looks, it’s all pretty modern under the (steel) skin. Combined disc brakes, LED lights, a 12v charger and an LCD style instrument panel with Bluetooth connection are all very much 21st century, while the glovebox, luggage hook and under seat storage bin give the Lambrettas the kind of practicality expected from a modern day scooter.
The first Lambretta was made in Milan, in 1947, the year after Vespa started production of its similar scooter. The design evolved throughout the 1950s and 1960s, but the Innocenti factory ended production in 1972, to free up capacity to build the Innocenti Mini car, which was built under licence from British Leyland. The tooling and brand name was sold to a state-run Indian company, called Scooters India Limited (SIL), who continued to make Lambrettas for the domestic and export markets.
Despite production ending in Italy the Lambretta remained a cult classic, especially in the UK where it was adopted as the transport of choice by the Mods, and it gained notoriety in the 1979 film Quadrophenia. Today there are still many very active Lambretta clubs, and heavily modified scooters are very popular among members, with tuned up examples and customised Lambrettas (usually bedecked in lights and mirrors) a common sight at rallies.
Today’s Lambretta scooters are being imported into the UK and Ireland by MotoGB, who have 48 dealers.