Brief history of Lambretta Scooters.
To go straight to the various lambretta models and derivatives click here….
The lambretta, like the vespa has always been associated with various UK youth cultures from the beatniks of the late 1950’s, the modernist (mods) of the 1960’s, scooter boys of the 80’s & 90’s, through to today.
The actual story of the Lambretta started in 1922. Ferdinando Innocenti of Pescia built a steel-tubing factory in Rome. In 1931, he took the business to Milan where he built a larger factory producing seamless steel tubing and employing about 6,000. The factory was heavily bombed and destroyed during World War II. 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.
During the late 1940’s the Italians needed cheap affordable transport, it was around this period that the lambretta was first offered to the public, this being called the model A. From its humble beginnings, the lambretta brand grew and by the mid 1950’s lambretta’s was being sold all over the world.
Towards the late 1950’s there was a demand for more sportier models and Innocenti produced the series one lambretta TV & Li model; the series two TV & Li models were launched in 1959. Both models offered better protection from the elements, and more powerful engine.
In 1962 the series three lambretta was launched (this was later to be called the “slim-line”, due to the reduced width of the lambretta bodywork). A special 200cc model was developed for the UK market known as the TV200. It was not until 1966 that the Italian market could ride a 200cc in the form of the SX200.
In late 1960’s, Innocenti commissioned Bertone (famous automotive design house) to design what is now known as the DL/GP model, this went into production in 1969. By the late 60’s and early 70’s the scooter market had reduced due to availability of cheaper forms of transport (Austin Mini), and after some poor business partnerships (BMC); Innocenti was forced to close. All the DL/GP tooling was purchased by the Indian government, and production was moved to India, where up till 1997 DL/GP were manufactured.