History of Lambretta Scooter
The Lambretta was a line of motor scooters manufactured in Milano (Milan), Italy by Innocenti. The name Lambretta comes from the name of a small river (Lambro) in Milan, near the factory. In 1922, Ferdinando Innocenti of Pescia built a steel tubing factory in Rome. In 1931, he took the business to Milano (Milan), Italy where he built a larger 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 to produce a motor scooter – competing on cost and weather protection against the ubiquitous motorcycle. Innocenti company started production of Lambretta scooters in 1947 and ceased production in 1971. However, Lambrettas were manufactured under licence in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India and Spain, sometimes under other names but always to a recognizable design (e.g. Siambretta in South America and Serveta in Spain). As wealth increased in Western Europe in the late 60s, the demand for motorscooters fell as the small car became available to more people and Lambretta started to struggle financially.
The British Motor Corporation (BMC) took advantage of Innocenti’s financial difficulties as well as their production and engineering expertise and contracted Innocenti to produce cars under license from BMC. The Innocenti Mini used the mechanical components of the original but was in many ways superior to it. Innocenti/Lambretta was eventually sold to BMC. With BMC’s lack of foresight, they had cottoned on to a fashion trend that was ending rapidly. Long industrial strikes in BMC ensued; motor scooter sales took a nosedive and Innocenti shut up shop 1972. 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 with a demand for private transport. “Scooters India Ltd.,” a state-run enterprise based in Lucknow, capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh, began production a couple of years later.
They stopped producing scooters in 1998. Scooters India Ltd. production now centers on a 3-wheeler pick-up truck powered by the Lambretta engine. Bajaj Auto is a major Indian automobile manufacturer that had also produced scooters similar to the Vespa. Although Scooters India have sold the rights to a business man who plans to start production again with BMW engines for the UK and European Market but Vespa engines for the American Market.
I bought a Lambretta scooter because my father use to have it when I was young; I still remember the rides on it. This 1970 model Lambretta was in a very bad shape when I bought this heavy machine, you can see in the photos. It would not have been possible to restore this old beauty without my mechanic Ramesh Ustad Ji and his son Balloo. It took 03 months for us to restore this heavy chain driven beauty. Thanks to both of them, Hope to come back soon with a new project.