Legio X Lambretta
A 1980s style custom Lambretta built by an Englishman in Germany….
Trying to remember this scooter from the eighties? You won’t. It was only presented to the public at the recent Scooter Center custom show where it won ‘Best Lambretta’. However, while there is a new trend for 1980s retro customising in Germany, this fine example has a more complex background.
Owner Paul is originally from Salford and moved to Germany in 1985 when he joined the British forces. At the time his only transport was a VespaT5 that he used for everything, including riding back over (Dortmund-Salford via Dunkirk!) about once a month or so to watch a football match.
After leaving the services Paul settled down with a family and made his passion his profession. Today he works for the local Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund – you couldn’t possibly be more integrated. However, he never lost his scooterist roots and nine years ago decided on building his own custom project.
It all started with buying a Lambretta DL frame, forks and one sidepanel from a friend. Over the years he sourced the rest of the parts, mostly of Italian origin, complemented with stainless parts by Mark Broadhurst. Having studied military history Paul dedicated the project to Legio X, a subject that fascinates him. It is Ceasar’s Tenth legion that was never defeated in battle and serves as an ideal of the Roman army at the zenith of their power.
Paul did much of the work himself including welding or fabricating one-off parts like the sword and sheath on the floorboards. Specialist jobs like the paintjob, murals, the gold plating and powder coating were completed by local artists and companies. The engraving comes from Adi Clark in Colchester.
The engine was given to experienced German tuner Andi of Worb 5 for a complete rebuild and a fast road tune. A Monza 225 top end was ported and combined with a 60 mm stroke BGM crankshaft which increases the displacement to 231 cc. Together with a BGM ignition, Italian gearbox, 34 mm flatslide carb and Franspeed pipe it produced close to 26 ponies on the Dyno after the build, i.e. not run in. To get that power on the road a German LTH clutch was installed; it uses seven plates and fits into the engine plug and play without any further modifications.
Incidentally, Paul did not invest into this engine to make it look good on paper but on the road; this scooter wasn’t built to be carted to custom shows and otherwise collect dust in the garage. ‘Apart from a few more modifications’, Paul tells us, he is ‘looking forward to be adding more miles, dirt and scratches.’
Text: Marcus Broix
Dyno and video filming: Worb 5
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Owners name: Paul Rieck
Town: Wetter (near Dortmund), Germany
Club: Ex-Andover Suicidals
Scooter name: Legio X
Model: Lambretta DL 150
Year: registered as 1961! (according to German regulations all bikes bigger than 125cc need to have indicators if registered after 1961)
Engine details: GP 200, Monza V4 225/231 barrel, BGM Pro HPC crank with 60mm stroke and 115mm con rod, Italian GP 200 gearbox with 18 x 47 gearing, Liedolsheim 7 plate clutch by LTH, BGM PRO HP V4.0 12V ignition, reed valve with 34mm Dell’Orto VHSA flatslide carb, Franspeed Supertourer exhaust
Top speed: 131 km/h /82 mph (on Dyno, not run in yet)
Power output: 25.7 bhp (on Dyno, not run in yet)
Paintwork: Jürgen Grabowski (Hagen, Germany)
One-off parts: Electric box between tank and toolbox hiding CDI and regulator, bellmouth, sword and sheath on floorboards, rear frame grill, brake pedal, gold plated BGM rear shock.
Fabrication: Toolbox door welded in, wiring through frame, hidden electrics, rear brake pedal, rear frame grill made by owner.
Accessories: BGM rear shock, PM forks, Sip tubeless rims.
Coatings & finishes: Powder coated engine, inlet manifold, hubs and rear shocker spring by Menzel Fahrzeugteile. Gold plating by Custom Tuner. All engraving by Adi Clark, Colchester.
Acquisition? I bought a naked Italian DL 150 frame with blank German documents, a sidepanel and a set of forks nine years ago from a German scooterist from Hagen. All parts are genuine Italian from various sources like RLC, Sam the Lambrettafinder etc., the headset even came from Sweden. I also used lots of stainless parts by MB bought via the Scooter Center.
Inspiration? 1980s Custom scooters like ‘Sweeter than Wine’ and ‘Worlds Apart’. Also the book ‘Caesar’s Legion’ by Stephen Dando Collins and studying Military History.
Alteration? I’ve tried to stick with the traditional 80s style of customising which is why, for example, there’s no hydraulic brake or anti dive fitted to the front end and no electronic speedo. Apart from running the wiring through the frame and filling the toolbox door in, it is pretty much standard looking.
Perspiration? Finding the time to crack on with the rebuild. All the parts were there (some of them had been boxed up for years), it just needed putting together.
Aggravation? The scooter has been painted twice. The first paint job was so bad, after two days of picking it up I sandblasted it off. Then I decided to try out Jürgen Grabowski from Hagen, he completed it in a week and did a brilliant job.
I also made a double tank conversion about five years ago. All the welding was done by myself and then I had it gold plated. It was only after I filled it with petrol that I found out that it had rotted away on the inside – it was pouring out everywhere. Finally, I bought a stainless tank had it painted.
Philipp of Scooter Center took the rear shock apart for gold plating. I sent him the parts back, and they gave it to the manufacturer to reassemble it. Excellent service, thanks a lot!
Recommendation? Try to do as much as you can yourself. Take your time picking the people who are doing the work you can’t do yourself, build it quicker than I did and ride it when it’s finished.
I’d like to thank Adi for the engraving, Andi at Worb 5 for the engine rebuild and tuning, Scooter Center Cologne for all the parts – especially Philipp for going out of his way and enabling me to get the rear shock gold plated and lots more besides. Also Jürgen for the paint and Andreas for the plating.
Celebration? Doing the final rebuild together with my seven year old daughter. Winning ‘Best Lambretta’ first time out at the SCK Custom show.