We are a speed driven techno-generation that believes completely in the aspect of speed (dating included)
But, let us take a moment to look at those good OL’ days where the rides that we consider antique were once the pride and joy of the family. Read the following article and take a free 40+ year’s reverse trip through memory lane with the Lambretta Li150.
I’ve noticed my oldie (just by age) friends talk a lot about the scooters that commandeered their generation. There was sheer articulation of contentment in owning a Lambretta scooter, unlike the fiber body scooters that we ride today. Although, owning a pristine condition Lambretta is as rare as finding true love.
The Italian company, Lambretta was founded in the year 1947. It did pretty well for itself, during 1972, the Government of India bought the Lambretta home, owning the rights to this Milan scooter production factory and thereby creating SIL (Scooters India Limited) which owns the name rights of Lambretta and Lambro. The Lambretta scooters were manufactured in France, Germany, Spain, Taiwan, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina under different licensees.
CONCEPT AND DESIGN
Based on a simple concept, the Lambretta takes us back to “Pre-World War II” period and these scooters were quite in demand in the United States of America primarily for the US Military (paratroops and marines required plenty of these scooters)
Surprisingly the design of the scooter has an aeronautical history. Designed by General D’Ascanio who was responsible for designing and constructing the first modern Agusta helicopter was handed the responsibility by Ferdinando Innocenti, of designing a simple, robust and also an affordable unisex two wheeler with a simple purpose ie. Carry passengers and ensuring that the rider’s clothes remain unsoiled. The task seemed interesting enough if it weren’t for the hatred that the General had towards Motorcycles, led him into designing something captivating. The scooter that was built on a spar frame mated to a handlebar, gear change and the engine was mounted on the rear wheel and finally wrapped in a metal body gave it a trendy retro look. Also, a front protection guard to keep dirt and slush away and of course the leg space for women to ride the scooter at ease made the lambretta a unisex ride. The models were upgraded frequently and the design aesthetics were also a prime focus.
After dissociating from Innocenti, D’Ascaio worked on a new scooter design that was revolutionary and introduced this new design to Enrico Piaggio and thus came the Vespa (1946)
The initial scooter was the Lambretta M which had a tubular frame and small wheels and it lacked suspension (that had to hurt) later, the Model B (Lambretta M) was introduced with suspension. A lambretta was deemed ride worthy and possessed retro uber chic looks. In fact, even celebrities were seen riding them. These peaceful looking scooters had embellished hippies too.
The 1954 Li 150:
The two stroke scooter had a 148 cc force air cooled motor which produces 6.5 BHP @ 5300 RPM. I wouldn’t say that the Lambretta is an underfed scooter considering the gearless scooters today, this was definitely sturdy and heavily built and you just cannot ignore the Italian design that the Lambretta’s still flaunt.
The Lamby 150 was the tata nano of the 60’s. Yes, the lamby was promoted in a cheerful manner illustrating a happy family of four taking a ride on the scooter, Imagine doing that on Indian roads today, apart from the gawking and rubbernecking that most people are experts at, you’d probably feel awkward.
I wouldn’t say the lambretta Li 150, was a bulk on wheels. It had to do justice to the ladies as well. The scooter unlike the other scooters has its riveted centrally towards the rear side of its body, striking perfect balance and ensuring adequately pleasing riding and handling dynamics and giving the rider an easy 40 kmpl. Not bad at all eh?
It isn’t as fast as the new generation scooters, it looks retro, yet, it carries with it decade’s worth of peppiness and a certain level of soothing comfort. Being considered a vintage, it manages to get a few stares on busy streets.
Retro’s have a charm and charisma of their own, If luck is in your favor and you really want to go retro (just like me), you can start hunting for a dapper looking Lambretta (and inform me too) I might spruce up the specimen and reorient it a tad to make it look better than ever and proudly ride my Lamby on two wheels.