Lambretta Scooters

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Useful info about the History of the Lambretta

In 1922, Ferdinando Innocenti of Pescia built a steel-tubing factory in Rome. In 1931, he took the business to Milan where he built a larger factory producing seamless steel tubing and employing about 6,000. Throughout the Second World War, the factory was heavily bombed and destroyed. It is said that surveying the ruins, Innocenti saw the future of cheap, private transport and decided they would produce a motor scooter - competing on cost and weather protection against the ubiquitous motorcycle.

Concept
The main stimulus for the design style of the Lambretta and Vespa goes back to Pre-WWII Cushman scooters produced in Nebraska, USA. These olive green scooters were in Italy in large numbers, ordered originally by Washington as field transport for the Paratroops and Marines. The United States military had used these to avoid Nazi defence tactics of destroying roads and bridges throughout the Dolomites (an area of the Alps) as well as the Austrian border areas.

Aeronautical engineer General Corradino D'Ascanio, in charge of and construction of the first modern helicopter by Agusta, was presented with the task by Ferdinando Innocenti of designing a simple, robust and affordable vehicle. It needed to be uncomplicated to drive for both males and females , have the ability to carry a passenger and still not get its driver's clothes soiled.

Design and style
D'Ascanio, who hated motorbikes, created a revolutionary vehicle. It was built on a spar frame along with a handlebar gear change along with the engine mounted directly onto the rear wheel. The front protection "shield" kept the rider dry and clean in comparison with the open front end on motorcycles. The pass-through leg area design was geared towards women, as wearing dresses or skirts made riding conventional motorcycles quite a job. The front fork, just like an aircraft's landing gear, allowed for simple wheel changing. The inner mesh transmission eliminated the conventional motorcycle chain, a source of oil and dirt. This basic design allowed several features to be deployed regarding the frame that would later allow quick continuing development of new models.

However, General D'Ascanio fell out with Innocenti, who rather than a moulded and beaten spar frame preferred to produce his frame from rolled tubing, allowing him to bring back both sections of his prewar company. General D'Ascanio disassociated himself with Innocenti and took his design to Enrico Piaggio who produced the spar-framed Vespa from 1946 on.

Into production
Going for a year longer to develop, the 1947 Lambretta featured a rear pillion seat for a passenger or optionally a storage compartment. The original front protection "shield" was a flat piece of aero metal; later this developed in to a twin skin providing additional storage at the 'back of'/behind the leading shield, similar to the glove compartment in a car. The fuel cap was beneath the (hinged) seat which saved the expense associated with an additional lock for the fuel cap or necessity for additional metal work on the smooth skin.

Deriving the name Lambretta from the small river Lambro in Milan, which ran near to the factory, Innocenti started construction the Lambretta scooters in 1947 - the year after Piaggio started production of its Vespa models. Lambrettas were manufactured under licence in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India and Spain, sometimes under other names but always to a recognizable design (e.g. Siambretta in South America and Serveta in Spain).

BLMC closure of Innocenti
As wealth increased in Western Europe during the late 1960s, the demand for motor scooters fell because the small car became available for lots more people and Lambretta began to struggle financially as did parent Innocenti. The British Leyland Motor Corporation took advantage of Innocenti's financial difficulties as well as their production and engineering expertise and contracted Innocenti to produce cars under licence from BLMC. The Innocenti Mini used the mechanical elements of the original but was in numerous ways superior to it.

Innocenti/Lambretta was eventually sold to BLMC. Unfortunately, absence of foresight had caused BLMC to take part in a fashion trend which had been ending rapidly. Long industrial strikes in BLMC ensued; motor-scooter sales took a nosedive, and both Innocenti and Lambretta shut up shop in 1972.

Lambretta Scooters

India
Automobile Products of India / Scooters India Ltd Industry Scooter
Founded 1972
Headquarters Bombay / Lucknow, India
Products Lambretta, Lamby, Vijay, Vikram, Lambro
Website Scooters India

The Indian government bought the factory for essentially the same reasons that Ferdinando Innocenti had built it after the War. India was a country with poor infrastructure, economically not ready for small private cars yet having a demand for private transport.

Automobile Products of India (API) began assembling Innocenti-built Lambretta scooters in India after independence around the 1950s. They eventually acquired a licence to build the Li150 Series 2 model, this was sold using the Lambretta Series 2 name until about 1976 and afterwards changed the name to Lamby for legal reasons as Scooter India Ltd acquired the complete Innocenti Unit in 1972. API also built the trademark model [API-175] 3 wheeler that was based on Innocenti's Lambro. API continued to build Lambretta-derived models until the 1980s but have been non-operational since 2002.

In 1972, Scooters India Ltd. (SIL) a state-run enterprise operating out of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, bought the complete Lambretta manufacturing and trademark rights. Former Innocenti employees were utilised to establish an Indian factory as most of the manuals and machinery instructions were in Italian. The 1st scooter built was the Vijay Delux/DL, this was badged the Lambretta GP150 in export markets. This sold poorly as a consequence of build problems and was enhanced to turn into the Vijay Super. Further improvements were made in the final years of production by incorporating a contemporary Japanese CDI unit and an advanced front suspension. SIL also distributed CKDs which were assembled in various places of India and sold as the Allwyn Pusphak, Falcon, and Kesri. These were of a lower quality rrn comparison to the SIL produced models and sometimes incorporated significant styling changes.

SIL production seems to have peaked within the financial year 1980-1981, with around 35,000 scooters being built. However by 1987 this had dropped close to 4,500 units with production finally ceasing in 1997. As of 2010 S.I.L.'s production now centres on the Vikram 3-wheeler, powered by way of the Lambretta engine. SIL also produces limited spares for the GP/DL variety of scooters. [8] [9] Addititionally there is an acknowledged export trade in second-hand Lambrettas (and their derivatives), primarily into the UK market.

Today
Within the U . S ., Scooters India Ltd licensed the Khurana Group USA LLC to manufacture and distribute scooters under the Lambretta brand. The first release in 2008 were rebadged Adly models [10] of contemporary design, including a 49 cc DUE50, a 49 cc UNO50 in addition to a 150 cc UNO150.

You will still find clubs across Europe in addition to the UK, both national and local clubs, dedicated to the Lambretta scooter. The clubs still participate and organize ride outs and rallies which regularly occur during weekends over the summer seasonn and still have high attendance, some rallies achieve 2,500 paying rally goers. Across the UK there are plenty of privately owned scooter shops which deal with everything Lambretta, from sales, services, parts, tuning, performance and also nut and bolt restorations.

(Artical taken from wiki and spun)

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