There’s no doubting that in recent years the older Lambrettas have grown in popularity. Whether this is because we’re all getting older and our tastes change, or the market has dictated things, I’m not sure. “The market” I hear you cry… Yes, maybe…
For a long time the more modern Slimstyle Lambrettas were the more sought after models; GPs by those with a sporting edge, the SX for those looking back to the Mods. The Li Series 3 was simply the poor man’s choice if he couldn’t afford one of the first two.
But as prices of the popular models increased, so scooterists looked at cheaper models to satisfy their craving for an authentic classic Italian machine. This leads us nicely to the Li Series 1, which when it arrived in 1958 was the first in a long range of scooters to feature a horizontal barrel on its 2-stroke engine and internal chain drive to the 4-speed gearbox, that lasted up until the production line in India produced its last Lambretta circa 1997.
I got my Series 1 back in the late 1990s before prices spiralled, which means I can enjoy it still without worrying too much about scrapes and scratches. I’ve ridden it around England and Europe, as far south as Spain, albeit after fitting a larger 200cc engine and 12 volt electronic ignition. The original 150cc engine is just a little too lethargic for touring on 21st century roads.
If you own a Series 1 then you’ll know just how nice they are to ride, how much presence they have on the road compared to other Lambrettas, and no matter how bulbous they may appear that they are in fact quite a nimble little machine.
As always with us, it’s all about riding a classic scooter – this one in particular from 1950s Milan.
The Lambretta Series 1 is pretty cool, aren’t they?