The long-awaited new Lambretta finally broke cover in Italy at the weekend, revealed to the press and public during the Lambretta 70th Anniversary Euro rally it was always going to polarise opinion.
It was a brave move by the company, introducing something new bearing THE name in front of 2,000 Lambretta fans could easily backfire, but in some ways it was a cheeky tactic guaranteed to be spread around the world via the power of social media.
Sticky was at the Euro Lambretta rally, where the scooter was unveiled for a second time following a Friday press launch in Padova. However, the promised chance to ride the V-Special never materialised. Later this week he will update us with a video of people’s reactions and thoughts but for now we’ll have a quick look around the Lambretta V-Special. We covered the speculation and interest in our Vendetta series, and were pretty close with our assumptions. You can revisit the story here.
The reintroduction of an iconic brand name, a beloved marque still coveted many years after the closure of the Innocenti plant in Milan, as well as other Lambretta factories around the world, is always going to be controversial. A brand name as important to die-hard Lambretisti as Lambretta is worth its weight in original spec TV 175s. As a result a major percentage of original Lambretta riders aren’t going to like it unless it comes with a two-stroke engine, four speed gearbox and those little character traits we all love to hate from the original machines (character traits that many Brits spent hot days trying to fix as they rode to Italy last week).
If Lambretta had survived they too would have phased out geared two stroke scooters to meet stringent emissions laws. Their scooters would have evolved, as much as we’d hate to admit it. Thousands of Lambretta fans would be riding around on an up to date Lambretta auto equivalent of the Vespa GTS. Well here it is, although admittedly the name and heritage is bought, not bred.
This new Lambretta is brought to you by KISKA, a world-renowned Austrian design house. They sought help and inspiration from Italian Lambretta enthusiasts during the design and development stage but simply copying what went before was never an option.
The V-special comes with a ‘semi-monocoque’ frame, using 1.2mm thick steel sections over a Y-shaped tubular frame produced – as we predicted – by Taiwanese giants SYM. The underlying chassis and engine appear to come from the SYM Fiddle 3 scooter.
The V-Special will come initially as an automatic 50, 125 and 200 (actually 169cc), and an electric version will follow in 2018. All will be Euro 4 compliant. The firm also suggest that performance modifications won’t be forgotten…
Lambretta is anticipating on the requests of a segment of die-hard Lambrettisti that wish to extend their collection with upgraded versions.
GP and SX 200
Aside from the V-Special, Lambretta will also be reintroducing Euro 4 versions labelled GP snd SX. If we’d told you ten years ago that in the future you could buy an electric Lambretta SX you’d have said we were mad!
The Dutchman behind new Lambretta, Walter Scheffrahn, in his presentation speech at Adria, promised to protect the Lambretta brand from Chinese copycats using the Lambretta name. His company were already behind legal action that blocked Motom’s Lambretta LN from sale (which ironically was also based on SYM cycle parts and engine). In a statement Lambretta GmbH said “Currently the global market is flooded with replicas of classic Lambrettas from China, India and Thailand. Lugano based Innocenti SA, the mother company of Lambretta has recently announced that it will take a strict stance on all copycats and their distributors avoiding free riding on the repute of Lambretta.”
Some might take this as a thinly-veiled threat against the popular Scomadi and the currently-delayed Royal Alloy (previously Royalloy) scooters, however it is difficult to see what possible grounds Innocenti SA have for this, given that neither machine uses the Lambretta name.
There’s every chance of further legal action over the Lambretta name itself. We already reported on legal action coming from Scooters India Limited (SIL), which is owned by the Indian government, in a story about the trademark back in April, which you can catch up on here.
Word on the street and comments
We’ll have more info, photos from Adria and opinions from people who have seen the Lambretta V-Special ‘in the flesh’ later in the week but for now just have a look through the photos. If you’re a die-hard traditional scooterist try not to choke on your Cornflakes but feel free to comment and let us know what you think.
Photos: KSR Group GmbH
Below is a video of the first scooterist reactions to the scooter’s first public showing from our report on the 70th anniversary Euro-Lambretta rally. in Adria, Italy.
For our full SLUK analysis article on the V-Special launch click here.