1950s Lambretta line up – lacklustre or not?

It’s easy to look at today’s line up of modern Vespa scooters and condemn it for being boring, especially if you’re a diehard Lambretta fan, but is that really fair?

After all Lambretta weren’t exactly setting the world alight all of the time…

So today we have the Vespa GTS which comes as 125 and a 300, and the GTS Super Sport which has added stickers, different wheels and suspension colour,the touring version with accessories and the retro GTV styled version with bare handlebars and the headlight on the front mudguard that’s currently named after a shopping street in Milan.

The new Primavera comes in 50cc (2-stroke or 4-stroke), 125c and 150cc versions and there will no doubt be a ‘S’ or similar of that soon, offering cosmetic enhancements.
We can’t forget the good old geared PX125 and 150 of course.
And finally there’s the limited edition, hand-built and expensive 125ccc Vespa 946. That makes around 14 Vespas in the three model range, from 50cc to 300cc (or 269cc that the 300 actually is). And I’m being kind by not including the LX and it’s variants which are still listed on the Vespa UK website because the new Primavera is replacing them, but that’s another potential 4 models.

British Lambretta leaflet, 1957.
British Lambretta leaflet, 1957.

Back in 1957, the range of Lambrettas offered to British customers consisted of the D/LD150 and the Lambrettino 48 moped. I’ll discount the latter, otherwise I’d have to add the range of Piaggio ‘peds available today. So to repeat, if you wanted a new Lambretta in 1957, then Lambretta Concessionaires range according to this leaflet of theirs consisted of the D and LD150. Apart from the basic Lambretta D model (exactly the same engine but in an almost bare frame with only short legshields with regards to bodywork), there were five versions of the LD that were on offer to you, ranging from £154 to £197 (plus a few shillings and pennies!). You could have a standard version, one with brighter lights, one with a few accessories, or of you were feeling really extravagant, you could buy one with accessories, good lights AND electric start – whoopee!

Yes the Lambretta TV175 arrived later in 1957, but things were looking pretty bland until then, especially as the D and LD had been in the Lambretta range since 1951. Mind you, they were still selling loads so maybe change was a long time coming for a reason…



One thought on “1950s Lambretta line up – lacklustre or not?

  1. I’ll go for “not”. Like you say, this was nearly the end of the line for the D / LD… and the one’s on sale in ’57, while the last of the line, were probably the best of the lot. I don’t know what the Vespa range was in 57… but that wouldn’t compare favourably with 2013 range (the best for years imho, especially when you factor in the new Primavera and 946). We were still in the era of postwar austerity… and choice was limited… it was an era of shades of grey, and I’m not talking about kinky literature.

    It amazes me that Lambretta actually offered an electric start scooter as far back as the fifties… and then abandoned the idea, never to have it grace another scooter. The cleverest thing they did was split the range from the basic D’s (which appealed to sporting riders and tinkerers) and the “Lusso” full panelled scooter which set the look of future Lambrettas. You’re right, the introduction of the TV175 marked a big change for Lambretta.

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