In 1947, a small factory in Milan called Industria Meccanica Innocenti (Innocenti mechanical factory) produced a scooter called a Lambretta. The name came from a river that flows through Milan – the Lambro. Lambretta quickly became Vespa’s rival. Everything about the scooter was similar: the concept, the appearance (most of people would not recognize a Lambretta at a first sight), the motor, the performance.
Soon the Lambretta became as legendary as the Vespa. Both contributed to the development of the 60’s youth culture, especially in the United Kingdom. Lambretta was the scooter the English Mods adopted most during those years. Easy to ride and largely customizable (additional driving mirrors were the most common customization, as well as additional lights), the Lambretta started as a means of transportation only to become a real symbol of a cultural movement. If you were in London during the 60s and going to listen to a new band called “The Who” (sounds familiar?), you would have found thousands of young guys and girls riding spectacular Lambrettas and wearing long parkas” that prevented their refined outfits from the dirt of the street.
Unfortunately, the real Lambretta is no longer produced and Innocenti has been sold to an Indian company. All of which means it has become a piece of art wanted by collectors. Lambretta fan clubs are wide-spread all around the world. It is really easy to find small groups of “bikers” riding their wonderful scooters on a sunny Italian Sunday morning. If you happen to see them be sure to say hello and ask for a ride: a Lambretta rider would never say no!