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Encyclopedia > Lambretta (company)
NSU Lambretta
NSU Lambretta

The Lambretta was a line of motor scooters manufactured in Milano (Milan), Italy. The name Lambretta comes from the name of a small river (Lambro) in Milan, near the factory. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1141x927, 221 KB) Photographed by Späth Chr. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1141x927, 221 KB) Photographed by Späth Chr. ... A typical mid 1980s twist and go scooter. ... This is about the Italian city of Milan. ...

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). Ferdinando Innocenti is the creator of the Lambretta motorscooter and a native of Pescia. ... Pescia is a small city in Tuscany, Italy of Province of Pistoia, at 65 m (213 ft) above sea level. ... The Italian machinery works named Innocenti was originally established by Ferdinando Innocenti in 1920. ...

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. BMC rosette logo old BMC share A preserved BMC ambulance. ... The Mini (from Latin small) is the name of a small car produced by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 to 2000, and the name of its replacement (known as the New MINI) launched in 2001. ...

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 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 now produces scooters similar to the Vespa. Bajaj Auto is a major Indian automobile manufacturer. ... New Vespas Classic Vespas in Perth, Western Australia The Vespa is a line of motor scooters that was first manufactured in Pontedera, Italy in 1946 by Piaggio & Co, S.p. ...

Construction and Models

Like Vespas, Lambrettas have 3 or 4 gears and two stroke motors with capacities ranging from 49cc to 198cc. Most two-stroke engines require a mixture of oil with the gasoline in order to lubricate the piston and cylinder. The two-stroke cycle of an internal combustion engine differs from the more common four-stroke cycle by having only two strokes (linear movements of the piston) instead of four, although the same four operations (intake, compression, power, exhaust) still occur. ... piston + connecting rod In general, a piston is a sliding plug that fits closely inside the bore of a cylinder. ... A piston and cylinder from a steam engine A cylinder in an internal combustion engine is the space within which a piston travels. ...

Unlike the Vespa, which was built with a unibody chassis pressed from sheets of steel, Lambrettas were based around a more rigid tubular frame. Early versions were available in 'closed', with fully covered mechanicals or 'open', with minimal panels and thus looking like an unusual motorcycle. (For the latter, see Ruth Orkin's famous photograph American Girl in Italy.) The much greater success of the 'closed' version confirmed that riders wanted protection from the weather and a clean looking machine. Ruth Orkin was an American photographer born in Boston in 1921. ...

Along with the Vespa, Lambretta was an iconic vehicle of the 1950s and 60s when they became the adopted vehicle of choice for the UK youth-culture known as Mods. Of the 1960s models, the TV (Turismo Veloce) and SX (Special X) models are generally considered the most desirable due to their increased performance and refined look. These two models came with a front disc brake. The TV was the first production two-wheeled vehicle with front disc brakes. New Vespas Classic Vespas in Perth, Western Australia The Vespa is a line of motor scooters that was first manufactured in Pontedera, Italy in 1946 by Piaggio & Co, S.p. ... The logo of the mod movement was a stylised target, based on the roundel of the Royal Air Force. ...

Today Lambrettas have attracted an ecclectic following of "revival" mods, collectors, scooterists, and even racers. Vespa and Lambrettas both can be converted to fun and relatively fast machines with little modification. Many owners customize these scooters with elaborate customizations and paintwork.

External links

  • Lambretta Model Guide

  Results from FactBites:
Lambretta Club of Great Britain - The Innocenti story (6008 words)
The company was structured in two seats and two factories, one in Rome and one in Milan, plus a total of 9 branch offices in Genoa, Naples, Bologne, Trieste, Grosseto, Cagliari, Palermo, Padua, Florence.
The Innocenti company, a leader in the field of the two-wheel vechicles and with a huge know-how derived from research (that certainly surpassed the technology placed on the marked), was sold to Leyland and the heavy mechanics division became Innse (Innocenti Sant'Eustachio).
A company was therefore destroyed by the combined action of the market situation, trade unions, the short-sightedness of the political class and an unfortunate heir, leaving free hand to the slow but unbending Japanese penetration.
Gavin Carr's Scooter Page (3014 words)
The gearbox on the Model A was a threespeed unit with ratios of 4.17, 6.12, and 12.3, and gear shifting was accomplished by a heel-toe lever on the floorboard.
In 1954, the company responded to the Latin demand for greater performance by introducing a 150-cc engine with a bore and stroke of 57 by 58 mm.
There is one other interesting chapter in the story of Lambretta, and that is the tale of their would-be racer that never did make it to the classical grand prix circuits.
  More results at FactBites »



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