Lambretta Cufflinks

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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 an even better 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 from the ubiquitous motorcycle.

The principal stimulus of the design style of the Lambretta and Vespa goes back to Pre-WWII Cushman scooters made 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 Us military had used them to get around Nazi defence tactics of destroying roads and bridges while in the Dolomites (a part of the Alps) in addition to the Austrian border areas.

Aeronautical engineer General Corradino D'Ascanio, the design and construction of the first modern helicopter by Agusta, was given the job by Ferdinando Innocenti of designing a simple, robust and affordable vehicle. It needed to be easy to drive for both ladies and men , be able to carry a passenger and still not get its driver's clothes soiled.

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

However, General D'Ascanio fell out with Innocenti, who as opposed to a moulded and beaten spar frame wanted to produce his frame from rolled tubing, allowing him to regenerate both parts 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 produce, 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 to allow for additional storage at the 'back of'/behind the front shield, the same as the glove compartment in a car. The fuel cap was underneath the (hinged) seat which saved the cost associated with an additional lock on the fuel cap or requirement 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 producing 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 since the small car became accessible to lots more people and Lambretta began to struggle financially as did parent Innocenti. The British Leyland Motor Corporation took advantage of Innocenti's financial hardships in addition to their production and engineering expertise and contracted Innocenti to manufacture cars under licence from BLMC. The Innocenti Mini used the mechanical components of the original but was in many different ways superior to it.

Innocenti/Lambretta was eventually sold to BLMC. Unfortunately, deficiency of foresight had caused BLMC to partake 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 Cufflinks

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 following the War. India was a country with poor infrastructure, economically not ready 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, which was sold under the Lambretta Series 2 name until about 1976 and at a later point 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 until the 1980s but have most certainly been non-operational since 2002.

In 1972, Scooters India Ltd. (SIL) a state-run enterprise situated in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, bought the complete Lambretta manufacturing and trademark rights. Former Innocenti employees were chosen to establish an Indian factory as all of the manuals and machinery instructions were in Italian. The first scooter built was the Vijay Delux/DL, that was badged the Lambretta GP150 in export markets. This sold poorly on account of build problems and was enhanced to become the Vijay Super. Further improvements were produced 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 numerous places 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 acknowledged export trade in second-hand Lambrettas (and their derivatives), primarily to the UK market.

Within the United States, Scooters India Ltd licensed the Khurana Group USA LLC to manufacture and distribute scooters with 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 plus a 150 cc UNO150.

You can still find clubs across Europe and the UK, both national and local clubs, dedicated to the Lambretta scooter. The clubs still participate and organize ride outs and rallies which regularly take place during weekends across the summer months and get high attendance, some rallies achieve 2,500 paying rally goers. All over the UK there are plenty of privately owned scooter shops which deal with everything Lambretta, from sales, services, parts, tuning, performance as well as nut and bolt restorations.

(Artical taken from wiki and spun)

Lambretta Cufflinks

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