Nearly everything for Lambretta scooters is now being remade, with producers like Casa Lambretta, Tutto Lambretta, Scootopia and Lambretta.it all producing replica parts for original scooters amongst a host of upgrade possibilities for performance and reliability.
At the moment though, there’s one major item that still hasn’t been remade, and that’s the frame itself. Why would anyone go to the trouble of making a complete replacement Lambretta frame when the chances of getting a new Lambretta road legal with a 2-stroke Lambretta engine are in the region of zero due to modern emissions and technical regulations.
The answer could come from the world of racing. At the moment if you want to take an Italian road Lambretta onto the track then you are sacrificing a scooter with a potential value of several thousand pounds if it was roadworthy. Even Indian Lambrettas, which you could pick up for £500, have increased in value and decreased in quantity of late. Maybe there is a point to this after all.
The manufacturer in question – Vittorio Tessera of Casa Lambretta – is also looking to manufacture Lambretta forks again in Italy; which is another massive piece of the puzzle that will help people when rebuilding a period scooter. Currently the only brand new alternatives are from PM Tuning and these are seam-welded not overlapped at the feet so while they function they are not suitable for restoration.
What about rebuilding an old scooter with a new frame?
In terms of legality, then according to DVLA rules in the UK you could not use a new frame to rebuild an old scooter (over 25 years old) and still keep the original registration number. It can be permitted if the substitute frame is also 25 years old, but not if it is newly manufactured.
If a classic scooter is repaired using major new components then the DVLA statement is clear:
“Your vehicle won’t get an age-related registration number if it includes new or replica parts. DVLA will give your vehicle a ‘Q’ prefix registration number. Your vehicle must pass the relevant type approval test to get a ‘Q’ prefix registration number.”
Rules for historic vehicles have (thankfully) still not been unified by the EU so the legal status of a classic machine rebuild using a new frame will be down to the individual rules in each country.
Will a supply of new frames increase the scooter theft problem?
In theory it could do. It’s not beyond the work of thieves to steal a complete scooter and rebuild all the parts onto a new frame in order to give it a new identity (known as ‘ringing’). In reality, it’s probably just as easy for thieves to change the numbers on the stolen frame than to do a complete rebuild onto a new frame.
Even so it would be a good move if any newly-produced frames contained a manufacturing tell-tale so this it is possible for knowledgeable buyers to identify whether a frame is original or remade.
Vittorio’s idea at the moment is to pre-stamp the frames he produces beyond the original Innocenti number series so that they have a fixed identity when they are sold. They could be used as substitute frames for ‘ringing’ but having to remove and replace numbers makes this even more work so it is unlikely to be a problem.
What frames and forks would they manufacture?
We asked Dean from Rimini Lambretta Centre if Vittorio would only make GP (DL) frames, like SIL did. His reply “it’s only a different length steering column” suggested that it could well be all Series 3 frames that are reproduced. This means Italian TV175, SX150, SX200, Special 125 and the whole GP range in theory could be catered for.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if they are doing both lengths of steering column then they are likely to also be producing forks in both lengths as well.
At the moment there is no concrete timescale or price for this work, but SLUK has been assured that the project is already under way.