You wait ages for a replacement Lambretta engine casing…
…and then EIGHT come along at once!
There is a serious problem coming to the Lambretta world: a lack of decent engine casings.
For decades scooterists have tuned their engines, ground-out ports until they are thinner than a mosquito’s elbow and merrily stripped-out studs. These casings end up either scrapped, welded or fitted with thread inserts. None of which is ideal. If your engine has survived all those years unmolested then you are in a lucky minority.
Previously the solution was to buy a replacement casing from Scooters India Limited; the last Lambretta factory on the planet. SIL have halted production, and the casings they were producing towards the end often had machining errors meaning off-centre rear brake shoes or drive-side oil-seal plates.
Into this breech have stepped various manufacturers looking to provide a solution to the problem either with adaptable casings or complete engine packages. Tino Sacchi was the first of those brave enough to take the large financial risk; not only to make new casings, but to try to improve on the originals.
Let’s be straight; there are plenty of areas where a design from over 60 years ago can be improved, but making improvements often comes at a cost in terms of compatibility with original parts. For instance, very few of these casings can still accept standard Lambretta crankshafts. Instead the manufacturers have made bigger, stronger cranks which are more resistant to twisting problems.
If you are going to build an engine then it makes good sense to start with a stronger crankshaft because this is the beating heart of any motor, but if you already have a crankshaft to use then it’s also an extra cost.
We’ll look individually into the pros and cons of the latest casings in the future, but for now, look at all the options available to you…
Targa Twin – the exotic super-smooth screamer from Tino Sacchi was the first complete replacement engine, but it is expensive and not compatible with many single-cylinder parts. Recently extended to 275cc capacity with good results.
Price: €8,000 for complete engine
Available from: Cambridge Lambretta Centre
Misano supercase – the Misano is almost a single-cylinder version of the Targa case featuring some of the same trick technical features such as the removable drive side bearing retainer. It has been designed with tuning in mind and features increased gasket area for porting. Based on 200cc stud spacing but with a much larger than normal crankshaft. A small-block version is also available. The Misano uses a dedicated non-standard crankshaft.
Price: £1,799 as a package including special crankshaft, mag housing and complete Varitronic ignition system.
Available from: Cambridge Lambretta Centre
BSG Casa Lambretta 305 – Open your wallet and repeat after me; “please help yourself”. The CNC-machined from billet 305 engine is a work of art from 2-stroke tuners BSG. The crankcase-reed engine produces over 50hp, if you think you can handle that much power. It’s actually far easier to handle than BSG’s crazy Vespa PX engine. A dedicated crankshaft and cylinder is used. High-end mechanical jewellery.
Available from RLC or JB Tuning
SP Developments 200 – British-based project combining a complete bolt-in engine solution like the Targa Twin, but based on a stroked version of the Gilera Runner 180 cylinder. Sounds more impressive once you consider that this is water-cooled, uses electronic fuel injection, electric start and even has a 2-stroke oil pump. The most modern and potentially most practical of all these engine solutions for everyday riding. Dedicated crankshaft and special ignition system used. Still in development for retail as a complete bolt-in package.
Available from SP Developments LTD
Casa Performance engine casing – a highly adaptable casing designed by the guys at RLC which can take anything from current 200cc-stud-spacing cylinders right up to high performance exotics like the BSG305 cylinder. Uses special, wider crankshaft and features novel brake solutions for rear drum (twin leading shoe conversion) or disc. This casing will be undergoing testing in sand-cast form and once it has proved itself moulds will be produced to pressure die-cast it, which should massively reduce the unit cost.
Price: £TBA (‘affordable’)
Available from Rimini Lambretta Centre
Gran Turismo Intercontinental engine casing – another chunky-monkey of an engine casing, designed and built in the UK. Some special large-fin cylinders have been drawn to match this engine, but the large gasket area means that the casing can be adapted to all manner of alternative cylinders. Rich Taylor is currently looking at a very cost-effective performance solution using a watercraft barrel. This highly adaptable casing can be machined to accept anything from standard Lambretta cranks right up to Honda CR250 cranks with 72mm stroke.
Price: “Aiming for under £500”
Available from Gran Turismo
UNI Auto engine casing – Indian manufacturer UNI has responded to the ceasing of engine casings from Scooters India Limited by making their own moulds to re-cast the basic Lambretta 200 engine casing. UNI usually make nice quality castings. These should provide an option for those looking for a direct replacement for the standard 200 casing using the original crankshaft dimensions.
Available from The Scooter Republic (TSR) and other good retailers.
UPDATE: So, you write a nice article explaining that there are now seven alternative engine casings available for the Lambretta and even add a video about another proposed option. Guess what…
…we missed one..
The casing above is the adaptable new Super Misano from Tino Sacchi. It has four stud holes in the conventional position and also another four spaced further out to accept a new kit with a large base flange, which is an evolution of the Super Monza.
Price and availablility: TBA
AF Rayspeed Casing – AF Rayspeed have been working around possible designs and upgrades since the release of the RB barrel. Whether they will go ahead with their own casing or simply decide to retail one of the others will probably be established in the forthcoming season.
Come here, there’s more!
Well, we are simply passing on a rumour that Italian kart specialists and smallframe kit manufacturers DEA Engineering are also considering doing a casing for the Lambretta. Here we discuss new casing ideas with Darrell Taylor of Taylor Tuning.