A Brief History of the Marque
The company was founded by Ferdinando Innocenti in Milan in 1931. In 1946 they built the Lambretta prototype, which entered production the following year boasting a 123.7cc two-stroke engine with three-speed gearbox with foot controlled gear lever in a rigid chassis. The Lambretta B was released in 1948 with hand-controlled gears and rear suspension. The 1948 season had also seen a 125 two-stroke motorcycle developed but it did not go into production. Their first attempts at a world speed record was made in 1949.
In 1950 they released C model with a single large diameter tube forming the frame, leading link front suspension and improved rear suspension. Also in the catalog was an LC model with a fully enclosed engine compartment.
The D model arrived in 1951 along with a faired LD and in 1953 the E model with pull starter was marketed. This was a lighter and cheaper model than its predecessors with a simplified frame, two separate saddles and a large metal carry box over the rear guard. The fuel tank was below the riders seat. 1951 also saw the appearance of transverse 247.2cc V-twin motorcycle with cast iron cylinders.
1954 featured the Model F, and the first 48cc moped was revealed the following year and the D and DL models were available in 150cc versions.
In 1957 they built the 175 TV with a 170cc two-stroke engine of 8hp coupled to a four-speed gearbox.
The 1958 season brought 150 LI, quite similar to the previous model, joined the following year by 125 LI. Motor Cycle magazine stated that the Lambretta Li 125 is a "nippy, good-looking scooter with performance belying its size: excellent power characteristics, handling and brakes."
Late in 1961 the first Lambretta 50 arrived followed in 1964 by the Lambretta Cento with a 98cc twostroke. The 39cc Lambrettino of 39cc appeared in 1956 along with the model SX 48 automatic.
In 1966 the Lambretta 198cc 200 X Special was first offered and also Lambretta 50 CL, followed the following year by a 75cc model. The Lambretta 200 Electronic appeared in 1969, with electronic ignition.
At this point the company had begun automobile production and scooter development slowed, finally halting in 1971. Innocenti was bought by British Leyland in 1972, which promptly collapsed, and then was sold to Alejandro de Tomaso in 1975. Tomaso also bought Moto Guzzi and Benelli.
Over the years the Innocenti had licencees in Europe and and South America, the best known of which was the Spanish firm Lambretta Locomociones SA which began production in 1952. Their triporteurs were produced in Turkey by Arçelik.
Rosella 50, 1966. Compact and foldable, of unique and attractive appearance.
Lui Luna 50, Vega and Cometa 75. 1968-69. Designed by Bertone.
Notes 1. Lambretta Li 125
Sources: MC Storico Conti, et al.