Red Retro Racer No.3 | CUSTOM
Licenced to thrill
This is the James Bond of custom scooters. Sharp-suited, finely refined and far more powerful than looks betray.
It is also subtle. So subtle that when entered into the Isle of Wight custom show it came away with nothing when scooters with stuff glued all over them took prizes. How can that be?
The problem is not the scooter, but society. Subtlety is out of fashion. Elections are won now on advertising-spend and balloon-count rather than policies. In such a world, if you don’t shout “look at me” then you don’t get noticed by Joe Public.
Joe Public is far more likely to respond to a scooter dripping in lights and mirrors than something subtle, but is that fleeting adulation what you really want?
As a spy – albeit fictional – getting noticed is not James Bond’s main objective. You wouldn’t get very far as an undercover agent if you dressed like Elton John. Sometimes it is necessary to move in the crowd without being spotted. Only those in the know, need to know.
I spotted Gary arrive at Croft for the SLUK custom show at Petrol & Pistons on this red SX and thought; “that looks smart” but nothing more. In the traffic the scooter was in stealth mode.
Later – when I had a moment to study it – I realised quite how much love has been lavished on it.
Look at the photos carefully before carrying on.
Perhaps you’ve noticed the unusual rear wheel. That is one of the last wheels produced for the short run of DAC Lambretta conversions fitted with KTM cylinders by Chris Sadd of CS Engineering in Norwich.
There were many clever engineering solutions in the DAC project, but the billet rear wheel is one of the best. It runs an 11-inch tyre to allow room for an internal hydraulic rear disc brake. The low-profile 11-inch tyre keeps a similar rolling circumference to a 3.50-10 so it still fits the engine and more importantly, still looks right. This tubeless wheel eliminates all the safety worries of crap Lambretta hubs because it bolts to a dedicated steel carrier.
You spotted the DAC rear wheel though didn’t you, but did you spot the matching 11-inch front wheel?
The front end also drips high-end components. Chris Sadd was also employed to make the billet front wheel which is fitted with a twin-disc, twin anti-dive using SIP brake calipers and Galfer wavy discs.
You only get more braking power with a parachute.
Whip the lockable SX panels off and more hidden gems are revealed: a custom-built Proflex rear shock with remote reservoir and damping adjustment on the flywheel side.
Did you spot the second reservoir on the dropped SX handlebars?
No? Well that’s for the CS Engineering hydraulic clutch conversion on the MB-tuned TS1 230 motor.
You saw the PM tuning carbon-fibre cowlings with custom made alloy centre, but did you spot the matching cowling spacer required for the long-stroke cylinder conversion.
Did you clock the extensions to the legshields instead of rear running boards and how closely they fit around the exhaust belly? How about the custom runner strips?
Unquestionably this is an expensive build, but it’s not just about spends, it is about fitting the best parts and paying attention to the details. Who would spot the flares in the frame to allow the cables to pass hidden inside the frame tube unless it was pointed out? Would you know that the TS1 motor contains the second MB 5-speed gearbox ever produced unless someone told you?
Like James Bond himself, the attention to detail on this scooter is actually far closer to the essence of Mod than anyone in “look at me” chef’s trousers on a poorly-conceived ‘Christmas Tree’ scooter.
Custom scooters are a very personal thing. I’m sure there are plenty of people that believe this scooter would look better as a plain white SX200, like it left the Innocenti factory, rather than the retro street-racer that it has become.
For me, the hydraulic hoses, filters and external shocks do not detract from the beauty. They extol a sense of purpose that only the cognoscenti will recognise. Joe Public sees only a pretty red scooter.
Thus, James Bond is able to take down the terrorist with a head-shot and then slip away into the crowd unnoticed, much as this scooter can blend into the scenery at the Isle of Wight custom show. Our SLUKin’ judges at Croft recognised it though, awarding ‘Best Engineering’ before it slipped off into the show traffic completely below Joe Bloggs’ radar.
Words & images by Sticky
If you have an interesting scooter that you’d like seen first on SLUK, please get in touch. Talented scooter photographers and videographers also sought.
Scooter name: Retro Racer
Model: Lambretta Li 150 Special (frame)
Engine details: MB tuned TS1 225, 60mm x 110mm Alpha crank, fully matched casings, LTH billet inlet manifold, V Force reed block, MB forged piston, BGM stator, original Ducati lightened flywheel, MB 5-speed gearbox, MB 5-plate clutch, MB adjustable chain guide, DAC kickstart shaft, Franspeed Race pipe with CamLam. Endcan, Mikuni 35mm TMX carb.
Top speed: 85mph (ish)
Power output: 29bhp
Paintwork: Owner’s bodyshop
One-off parts: Wheels, brakes, rear shocker, original Vespa Rally 200 glove box, choke switch, petrol tap.
Fabrication: Toolbox door welded up with louvered plate, legshields trimmed & edges reformed for drop bars & extended at rear, forks de-seemed, Aero filler fuel cap, rear out riggers removed, SX 200 side panels modified for GP panel clip type fitting plus trimmed and re-rolled along bottom edges, all cables/harnesses run through the frame, Mito Lambretta handlebar control rods.
Accessories: Krober rev. counter, DC lithium Ion battery conversion, 12volt power socket, LED rear light, Jockeys Boxenstop headlight with Osram Night Breaker bulb conversion, original Smiths speedo conversion, Eyecandy belly pan, Rizoma rear brake fluid reservoir
Coatings & finishes: Ceramic coated exhaust, 80% Titanium fasteners, anodised grilles & spacers.
Acquisition? Purchased off Ebay, around six years ago.
Inspiration? Wanted something that looked understated and mixed old with new race styles.
Alteration? So many; mainly to the frame, bodywork, wheels etc.
Perspiration? Running all the cables & wiring through the frame. Bleeding the front brake.
Aggravation? Drop bars snapping, having to strip them all down again, send to MB for repair and strengthening then repaint, rebuild and re-bleed all the hydraulics (nightmare!).
Recommendation? Chris Sadd, MB Developments