On the 1st of May 1955, Sir Stirling Moss and co-driver Dennis Jenkinson won the legendary Italian “Mille Miglia” race. The demanding course made up entirely of public roads on a set circular course between Brescia and Rome, with the finish in Brescia.
Suitably equipped with cork crash helmets, driving gloves and cotton overalls they pushed their 290bhp Mercedes-Benz works W196S (300 SLR) to the limit. Top speed, a paltry 170 mph, with even more speed available downhill.
They completed the course in 10 hours 48 minutes and 7 seconds, achieving an average speed of 97.96 mph and came home 30 minutes ahead of their second placed Mercedes team mate, Juan Fangio also in a W196S. Their legendary car, numbered 722 was never to be beaten in competition.
Roll the clock forward three years and an early Lambretta Li150 Series One ‘Framebreather’ would leave the Innocenti works in Milan. One of 110,000 machines built in Italy.
Who would have guessed that this Italian scooter would become a tribute to a remarkable German sports car, which had earned its laurels in Italy’s premier road race, won by two Englishmen?
Paul ‘Woodsy’ Wood, an adopted Mancunian tells us more about ‘722’, his subtly stunning Series One tribute to one of the greatest names in motor sport.
Some of you may know Paul, or ‘Woodsy’, as he is more commonly known. He’s the brains behind the outfit known as Two Stroke Films and is an active member of the venerable Manchester Lyons Scooter Club. He’s been into the scooter scene since 2008 and has been attending and filming scooter rallies and ride outs since 2009.
He recently filmed his exploits at the EuroLambretta in Adria and you can check that out here. Woodsy rode his well used series 3 there and back with eight like-minded heroic souls.
To use his own words:
The scene gives me tremendous pleasure. Nothing is as fun as thrashing your scooter on the road with your mates.
Both at home and abroad so it seems…
722, 1950s inspiration on a 1950s scooter
The Series One you see here in all its vintage race themed glory is the right kind of canvas needed to portray a remarkable 1950s competition sports car. Woodsy’s eye for detail and the attention paid to it, is remarkable. From the original Mercedes-Benz silver works livery, which was de-rigour back in 1955, to ensuring the all important ‘722’ numbers sit right on the bike.
Of course a 1958 Framebreather is never going to set the world alight in standard guise, especially in the 2017 power stakes, so Woodsy has ensured that everything that matters, namely engine, suspension and brakes have been brought bang up to date. It also has some very subtle and trick period accessories which work really well aesthetically, whilst no doubt also doing the job they were intended to do.
The seat needed to be just right
Woodsy told us “I searched for months for the right seat, one that sat low and close to the frame. I found one from Belgium, a Gori style. It wasn’t cheap and then all we did was to ditch the original cover and cut into the back of the seat to show the frame off better! The cover was made by the hilarious and talented John ‘Corky’ Corcoran. He’s done work for me before. I supplied the original Mercedes-Benz material, he did the rest. He also made me a tool roll up too.”
Period speedo and rev counter
The talented Nathan Warriner and Dez Askill at Disco Dez’s came up with the idea of mounting the speedo in the butty box, so they fabricated the whole thing to fit close to the legshields and have the door fit around it “It’s the cherry on the cake for me. It took ages (so I am told!).”
It was the same story with the handlebars really, they needed lots of welding and ended up being dropped by a couple of degrees. It’s very subtle and works well. They also had to raise the speedo mount to hold the rev counter.
Beat the painter
“Before I bought the scooter I managed to find a Falbo number plate embellisher for it, which I actually beat Matt @ i-Paint to. Poor guy ended up painting the item he didn’t win!”
Check out the the horncasting badge and ‘300 SLR’ side panel flashes. These were made by Carte Blanche. As you can see his work is off the scale. Attention to detail and clever finishing touches are what make a scooter like this stand out from the crowd.
“Keith Newman @ K2 Customs took my ideas for racing fuel and choke taps and spent hours talking to me about the final look and pulled off a blinder with the finished fuel and choke levers”.
Scooter name: 722
Model: 1958 Li i150 Series 1 Framebreather
Engine details: TV200 casing fitted with a RT225 cylinder kit in standard tune
Top speed: T.B.C. but well over 70 mph
Power output: T.B.C. but I will still want more!
Paintwork: Matt @ i-Paint. He is a legend, a true pleasure to work with and his finish is exceptional. The colour is the exact match to the original car, using the Mercedes-Benz paint codes. We also matched the font for the ‘722’ numbering after a lot of attempts.
One-off parts: Horncast badge and 300 SLR side panel flashes by Carte Blanche, racing choke and petrol tap levers by Keith Newman at K2 Customs, Gori style seat, cut, fettled and covered by John ‘Corky’ Corcoran. Modified glove box and headset to suit Philips speedo and rev counter by Nathan Warriner and Dez Askill.
Fabrication: Glove box and headset mods as listed by Nathan and Dez.
Coatings & finishes: All bright work chromed, what a difference that makes! Polished front and rear hubs.
Accessories: Falbo number plate embelisher.
Smiths digital chronometric rev counter. Without doubt the biggest pain in the arse for everyone building the scooter. They were still soldering the bloody thing the morning I picked it up. Dez will never install one again!
Smiths chronometric speedo, calibrated and supplied by the gentleman that is Tim Mason.
Targa Line dampers and rear suspension
Acquisition? September 2015. It was a long road to get it to the final road ready stage in March 2017. Just the small matter of a divorce (non-scooter related) in between!
Inspiration? A certain famous German car which won the Mille Miglia in 1955.
Alteration? Substantial! See above.
Perspiration? Being patient with Dez and letting him do it right and in his own time. I kept pushing him to get it to me, but then I am an impatient sod at the best of times.
Aggravation? Erm, for me, pretty much the same as Perspiration.
Celebration? Tim Scott, he got the ball rolling by introducing me to the inner circle in Brighton in 2015 and provided some close up photos of the original car for me to get inspiration on. Disco Dez and Nathan Warriner for the build, Matt at i-Paint for the finish. Lee Maddocks, my spanner man, for the engine, and help with the snag list. Daniele Savaré and Simon Neale’s scooters showed me the standards that I wanted for mine and both offered good advice and encouragement. Craig Robinson for selling me the TV200 casing which is the heart of the scooter. All those who delivered custom parts, without them its just another scooter. Everyone at the club for encouragement and piss taking for how long it took. All those followers of Two Stroke Films who gave the early photos a thumbs up, helping me know I was on the right track. And the lots of folks I talk to via Facebook for their views on if something was right or not. You all helped.
Also thanks to: Finally my beautiful twins Fox and Lola for being so excited when the scooter arrived and nagging me to ride it. They are only 3!
Words: Lee and Woodsy
Video and pics Paul ‘Woodsy’ Wood