Mike Karslake’s Lambretta & sidecar combo


Now here’s an opportunity that only turns up once in a blue moon – the possibility to purchase a historically important Lambretta and   sidecar outfit. Interested? Then read on…

The scooter here is a 1959 Lambretta LI 150 Series 2 model and has an original and rare Watsonian Sports sidecar attached. This combination is very well-known in the scooter scene around the world thanks to its famous owner, a certain Mr Mike Karslake.

The engine was recently recommissioned after years of standing

Mike was a Lambretta enthusiast since the early 50s. Originally from Surrey where he first encountered a Lambretta and got to know the Agg family behind the Lambretta Concessionaires concern, Mike married Rachel in 1954 and they moved to Essex and continued their love of Lambretta scooters there. Amongst his many achievements Mike designed the first BLOA badge, attended the first Isle of Man scooter rally, competed for the Lambretta team at many events, and was also involved with ‘Scooter Tours’, a business that flew enthusiasts to Europe from Southend airport for riding holidays.
His famous Series 2 Lambretta here was a gift from Peter Agg of Lambretta Concessionaires and the Watsonian Sports sidecar was fitted later for competition use in the IoM.

When Lambretta launched the SX200 model in the mid-60s, a brand new engine was dispatched with compliments from the Innocenti factory in Italy directly to Mike to keep him competitive at the Isle of Man rally (along with other events).
His scooter combo features numerous other improvements made over the years, including 12v electronic ignition and lighting, front disc brake and fork dampers and an extra driving light, while in the sports sidecar are extra lighting and a chronometric speedometer and clock useful for competing in trials events.
The Lambretta combination still features these period modifications along with a plethora of rare badges and stickers acquired over the years from various events.

In the late 1980s Mike retired to Devon where he built the world’s first Lambretta museum near Okehampton. after Mike sadly died in 1990, his widow Rachel later sold off the Lambretta museum along with his collection of models after a few years of curating it all herself.
She kept their own sidecar outfit however, but after sadly Rachel passed away last year, circumstances have dictated that the sidecar must now be sold.
As many scooterists know, Mike and Rachel’s son Paul Karslake was the one of their four children that really got bitten by the scooter bug. A renowned artist who has painted many show-winning custom scooters over the years, Paul also owns and rides Lambrettas regularly too, a replica of his dad’s Series 2 being his personal favourite. However neither he nor his siblings have space to store the sidecar outfit, and as Paul himself says, a sidecar outfit is not really the most practical scooter on the road!
So the scooter combination here is potentially up for sale; the family have decided that such a scooter really deserves to be on display for others to enjoy as their father intended back in the 1980s, especially as it has sadly been hidden away for over 25 years now.
Although not yet publicised, there are parties from overseas who have expressed an interest in adding it to their collections. However the family would rather it stay in the UK if it’s sold.
Interested parties with serious offers are invited to email Paul via email to discuss it further, telling him you read about it on Scooternova of course.

One thought on “Mike Karslake’s Lambretta & sidecar combo

  1. Larry Steffen here in California….Mike, Rachael and baby Jamie stayed with us here and Mike amazed us and the local police unit flying our Lambretta sidecar rig at low speed in downtown Pismo Beach. We had a great few days together and Mike invited me to Ronnie’s Hollywood Mandeville Canyon home to talk Lambrettas and go to the New Barbarians LA Collisium concert in the limousines. Next day, while reading the LA Classified ads, Mike found an ad for an old Lambretta in boxes in East LA so off we drove in my spotless rental car to the scariest scene you can imagine, Mike fearless, me terrified as a biker gang led us to an old garage. To Mike’s disappointment, I declined his entusiasm to show my cash as many parts in boxes were missing and mixed up with car parts. Back at Ronnie’s house, as a sailor, I tried to convince Paul to seek commissions to airbrush the boring large white sails on sailboats. Later, a large insurance company did this and even offered free sails to boat owners in exchange. Over the years, Mike supplied me with free Lambretta parts, never accepting payment and he wrote beautiful illustrated letters which I treasure. Mike was a remarkable and caring fellow and his family as well.

    Larry/Claire Steffen

Leave a Reply