The history of the scooter from the Milanese district of Lambrate is truly an eventful one. And this year another chapter seems to be opened, because the brands "Lambretta" (scooter) and "Lambro" (tricycle) will be offered for sale in an auction on 8 July. The seller is the well-known company "Scooters India Limited" (S.I.L), which shipped all its production machinery from Italy to India in 1972 and manufactured Lambrettas until the end of the 1990s.
The "Società Anonima Fratelli Innocenti" factory was founded as early as 1931 by Ferdinando Innocenti. During the war, goods were produced for the front, but after the end of the same, Innocenti realised, as did a certain Mr Piaggio, that the people needed to be made mobile again. While Piaggio was devoting himself to a certain Vespa that was to achieve world fame, the first scooter called the "Lambretta" rolled off the production line at Ferdinando Innocenti's factory in 1947. It was conceived and designed by engineer Pierluigi Torre.
In the following years, the factory in Italy alone produced more than four million vehicles. There were licensees in Germany (NSU), France (Fenwick), Spain (Serveta), Brazil (Pasco), Colombia (Auteco), Argentina (Siambretta) and India (API). The success story spanned the next decades and unforgotten is the advertising campaign with the sex symbol of the time, Jayne Mansfield. The Italians even had her own gold-coloured Lambretta TV175 built. However, the Hollywood star never picked it up, but it still stands in the Lambretta Museum in Rodano.
Even after production had to be stopped in 1971 due to the changed market situation, the Lambretta legend lived on. Not least through films like "Quadrophenia" (1979), in which protagonist Jimmy (Phil Daniels) experiences the era of great rivalry between Mods and Rockers in Great Britain on a Lambretta. The youth movement of the English Mods was closely associated with the style and attitude to life around this scooter.
Time and again, there were legal disputes over the rights to the name and trademark, which led to three manufacturers bringing Lambrettas onto the market in the 2000s that had nothing in common with the original models. Yet the Lambretta has loyal fans all over the world and the Lambretta Club Germany is still active.
In motorsport, the news of the Lambretta's return to the racetrack caused a sensation in 2010. However, the 125 cc machine of the "Lambretta Reparto Corse motorsport division" could only score one meagre world championship point in the Moto3 class due to a lack of top speed. In 2017, the Austrian KSR Group took on the two-wheeler and, with the blessing of the name rights holder, has since produced a Lambretta called the V-Special, which at best meets with frowning goodwill from fans. No manufacturer has ever been able to match the success of the scooter from the Italian post-war period.
Those who want to bid on 08 July must first register with MSTC and then deposit $37,000 as collateral. The starting price is $7,210. Or is it $72,100? We are not quite sure. Bidding is in $3,000 increments. In addition to the "Lambretta" and "Lambro" brands, the winner of the auction will also receive design studies that can be examined beforehand at the S.I.L. offices. We are curious to see who wins the bid and will continue to observe the development of this cult brand in the future.
If you want to learn more about the Lambretta, you should read our blog and watch our video about the model.