Lambretta: A Scooter to Remember
From Italy, France to India- it ruled the streets and hearts of many. Lost in time, it’s time to remember that scooter again- The Lambretta.
Founded in 1947 by Innocenti, the Lambretta because of its elegant design and bright paint scheme quickly became a favourite of many. While on the one hand there was the Vespa, on the other hand, stood the Lambretta. The popularity of Lambretta spread like wildfire as it quickly reached the shores of several countries such as India, France, Germany, Spain, Taiwan, Colombia and Argentina.
In an era when it was not possible for a manufacturer to set up plants in every country, Innocenti provided the license to several companies such as Fenwick (France), SIL and API (India), Yulon (Taiwan) etc. to manufacture the scooter in the respective countries. The company also provided the required machinery and helped in boosting the production line. Thus, a Lambretta was seen everywhere.
The use of Lambretta in movies too helped it gain massive popularity back in the day. Movie stars like Grace Kelly (American), James Dean (American) and Shammi Kapoor (Indian) were seen flaunting the classic two-wheeler in their movies. Furthermore, renowned American banker David Rockefeller was a proud owner of the Lambretta.
With a longer wheelbase that accommodated two wide and long comfortable seats, Lambretta became an ideal choice for a family of four. It could easily accommodate two adults and two children. Hence, the Lambretta quickly received the nickname- Dad-scooter. In the 50s and 60s, Lambretta became a luxury for middle-class and upper-class families.
In April 1971, the brand officially pulled the plug off its production line. The decision was taken after American and European buyers began to purchase cars. However, Indian buyers still relied on scooters. Seeing the opportunity, Scooter Limited India (SIL) from Uttar Pradesh purchased the world rights and trade name of Lambretta. They began to produce Lambretta by the name Vijai Super for the domestic market and continued with the name Lambretta for the foreign markets.
Lambretta’s dream run came to an end in the year 1997 when the company chose to discontinue the production of two-wheelers and moved onto three-wheelers.
Lambretta is looking forward to making a comeback by the end of 2020 with an electric version. However, the design will be kept retro to attract young Indians. Later on, the company will reach other countries as well.
Now that you know what a Lambretta was, have a chit-chat with your grandparents, and maybe, you will get to hear amazing stories from them about this mesmerizing scooter.