Lambretta Belt

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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 this company to Milan where he built an even better factory producing seamless steel tubing and employing about 6,000. During 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 from the ubiquitous motorcycle.

The leading stimulus of the design style of the Lambretta and Vespa dates back to Pre-WWII Cushman scooters manufactured 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 Nazi defence tactics of destroying roads and bridges throughout the Dolomites (an area of the Alps) in addition to the Austrian border areas.

Aeronautical engineer General Corradino D'Ascanio, responsible for and construction of the first modern helicopter by Agusta, was given the duty by Ferdinando Innocenti of designing a simple, robust and affordable vehicle. It needed to be easy to drive for both ladies and men , have the capacity to carry a passenger without having it get its driver's clothes soiled.

The style and design
D'Ascanio, who hated motorbikes, created a revolutionary vehicle. This had been built on a spar frame which also has a handlebar gear change and also the engine mounted directly onto the back wheel. The front protection "shield" kept the rider dry and clean when compared with the open front-end on motorcycles. The pass-through leg area design was intended for women, as wearing dresses or skirts made riding conventional motorcycles challenging. The front fork, just like an aircraft's landing gear, allowed for easy wheel changing. The internal mesh transmission eliminated the regular motorcycle chain, an origin of dirt and oil. This basic design allowed a number of features to be deployed around the frame which could later allow quick continuing development of new models.

However, General D'Ascanio fell out with Innocenti, who as opposed to a moulded and beaten spar frame preferred to produce his frame from rolled tubing, allowing him to revive 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 on a year longer to build, the 1947 Lambretta featured a rear pillion seat for a passenger or optionally a storage compartment. The actual front protection "shield" was really a flat piece of aero metal; later this developed into a twin skin permitting additional storage on the 'back of'/behind the front shield, like the glove compartment in a car. The fuel cap was beneath the (hinged) seat which saved the cost associated with an additional lock in 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 the factory, Innocenti started manufacturing the Lambretta scooters in 1947 - the year after Piaggio started manufacture 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 more people and Lambretta started to struggle financially as did parent Innocenti. The British Leyland Motor Corporation took advantage of Innocenti's financial hardships along with their production and engineering expertise and contracted Innocenti to produce cars under licence from BLMC. The Innocenti Mini used the mechanical components of the original but was in many ways superior to it.

Innocenti/Lambretta was eventually sold to BLMC. Unfortunately, lack of foresight had caused BLMC to join a fashion trend that 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 Belt

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 basically the same reasons that Ferdinando Innocenti had built it after the War. India was a country with poor infrastructure, economically not prepared for small private cars yet having a need for private transport.

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

In 1972, Scooters India Ltd. (SIL) a state-run enterprise based in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, bought the complete Lambretta manufacturing and trademark rights. Former Innocenti employees were utilised to set up an Indian factory as most of the manuals and machinery instructions were in Italian. The first scooter built was the Vijay Delux/DL, which was badged the Lambretta GP150 in export markets. This sold poorly due to build problems and was enhanced to turn into the Vijay Super. Further improvements were made in the ultimate years of production by incorporating a contemporary Japanese CDI unit and a sophisticated front suspension. SIL also distributed CKDs which were assembled in various parts of India and sold as the Allwyn Pusphak, Falcon, and Kesri. They were of a lower quality compared 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 the Lambretta engine. SIL also produces limited spares for the GP/DL selection of scooters. [8] [9] There is also an established export trade in second-hand Lambrettas (and their derivatives), primarily to the UK market.

In the United States Of America, Scooters India Ltd licensed the Khurana Group USA LLC to manufacture and distribute scooters under the Lambretta brand. The initial 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.

There are still clubs across Europe in addition to the UK, both national and local clubs, devoted to the Lambretta scooter. The clubs still participate and organize ride outs and rallies which regularly take place during weekends during the summertime and have high attendance, some rallies achieve 2,500 paying rally goers. All over the UK there's lots of privately owned scooter shops which deal with everything Lambretta, from sales, services, parts, tuning, performance and complete nut and bolt restorations.

(Artical taken from wiki and spun)

Lambretta Belt

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