It’s a common misconception that the first Vespas fitted with 2-stroke oil injection were the P-range models of the 70s and 80s. However, Piaggio developed and produced the technology much earlier indeed. Not only that, but you could buy a Vespa with such a feature before the Lambretta Cometa Lubematic became available.
In 1965 Douglas (Sales & Service) Ltd ceased production of the Vespa at their factory in Bristol, but continued thereafter to import Italian produced Vespa scooters directly from Piaggio. In 1968, Douglas had the opportunity to import scooters with Piaggio’s ‘Automatic Fuelmix’ as a feature and chose to offer it to British customers as an option of the Vespa 150 Super and 150 Sprint models.
During the 1960s you could either buy petrol pre-mixed with 2-stroke oil, buy the correct amount of 2-stroke oil from petrol stations dispensed via a separate branded oil pump, or do what most of us do today and carry a bottle of 2-stroke oil in your toolbox and mix it yourself.
Automatic Fuelmix however did away with all that. Instead a separate oil tank was added to the scooter, located below the petrol tank, with a level sight glass protruding through the frame below the petrol tap. The oil was pumped through via a drive gear located behind the clutch. It is basically the same as a modern-day autolube system found on the Vespa PX, except the drive is made from brass, and the oil tank from steel (the PX has a steel drive and plastic tank).
Automatic Fuelmix didn’t really catch on in the UK and very few scooters were sold with this optional extra (which would obviously have cost more too), and we didn’t really see it again until the 1980s when it was again an option on some of the PX range of Vespas before it became a standard feature on the range. In Europe and the USA however it was slightly more successful with 1970s Vespa models such as the Rally 200 featuring Fuelmix, although models with this factory-fitted are still considered rare scooters today.
2 thoughts on “Vespa beats Lambretta in 2-stroke battle”
The Luna line of Lambretta’s in the late 60s had Lubomatic oil injection too.
The blog post does refer to the Cometa 75 which had Lubematic but the Vespa was first.