Museo Scooter Part Two
With Phil Aynsley
In this second part of the look at Casa Lambretta some of the more interesting scooters can be seen in detail. Click here to check out part one of this feature.
The Molteni brothers, based in Milan, made micro motors after WW II. In 1950 they started production of their T50 scooter which featured a cast light alloy central truss frame. The swingarm pivoted off the end of the frame. The motor was a 123 cc two-stroke with a three-speed gearbox. Power was 4.5 hp and good for 70 km/h, while the scooter weighed 80kg. The T52 with improved performance was introduced in 1952.
Prina was established in 1949 in Asti, and from ’52 their scooters were co-branded with the nearby Orix company. Both firms used German ILO two-stroke motors in capacities from 123 to 173 cc. Only about 100 scooters were built before production ceased in 1953. This 1953, unrestored example has the 173 cc motor, with power claimed at 8.2 hp, weighing in at 85 kg, and with a top speed of 85km/h.
This is the only known example of its kind known to exist, a 1950 MV Agusta 125 Competizione. They were based on the production model of the time and made available to privateers, only in Italy, mainly to combat the successful Vespa and Lambretta racing scooters.
The 1954 Juno K was Honda’s first scooter and was quite advanced for the time. It featured an electric starter (although not the first on a scooter – that honour goes to the 1952 Ducati Cruiser), built-in indicators, a full windscreen and more importantly, it was the first vehicle to use Fibre-Reinforced Plastic body construction in Japan.
The original K model was quickly followed by the KA (seen here) and KB but none of them proved popular with only 5,980 of all types produced over 18 months.
The K’s 189 cc OHV motor only made 7.5 hp at 4800rpm and tended to overheat. In addition the FRP bodywork was heavier than expected resulting in clumsy handling and low performance. The K weighed 170 kg. The KA and KB used a larger 220 cc motor that made 9 hp and weighed a hefty 195 and 160 kg respectively.
After the failure of K-series scooters, Honda introduced the Juno M80/M85 scooter in late 1961. Again less than 6000 were constructed over a 12 month period. A 124 cc OHV horizontally opposed twin was fitted to the M80 and a conventional steel monocoque body replaced the FRP of the Juno K.
11 hp was produced at 9000 rpm, with a weight of 146 kg, an improvement on the KA and KB Juno. Top speed was 100 km/h. The M85 used a larger 169 cc motor which had 12 hp at 7600 rpm, but also weighed in at a heftier 157 kg.
Salsbury scooters date from 1935 and amazingly one of their early innovations was the Continuously Variable Ratio Transmission, still widely used today! In 1945 Salsbury became a subsidiary of Northrop Aircraft and the Model 85 scooter (as seen here) was introduced the following year.
Northrop sold Salsbury in 1948, to the Wayne Street Sweeper Company (!), which sold scooters assembled from spare parts. In 1954 the company was again sold, to Emery Engineering, which continued to assemble scooters from parts. About 700-900 were manufactured in total, with power output at six horsepower and a top speed of 80km/h.
Freccia Azzurra scooters were designed and built by engineer Giuseppe Del Bianco from 1951, originally using a Puch 125cc split-single two-stroke motor. A three-speed gearbox and chain final drive were used, as were telescopic front forks.
The Ambrosini company soon provided financial support and the scooters were then built in their factory in Passignano. From 1952 a Sachs 142 cc four-speed motor was used. As can be seen from this 1954 (final year of manufacture) machine, the scooter was aimed at the top end of the market and was about twice the price of a Vespa or Lambretta. Only small numbers were produced.
The first Fuji Rabbit scooter, the S-1, was introduced in June 1946 (six months prior to the Vespa) and was based on the Powell scooter used by US troops. The last was made in June 1968. This 1959 S-101 is a transition model, using a dated side-valve 250cc motor together with a modern hydraulic torque convertor. The styling would appear to be based on the Ducati Cruiser! 41,790 were produced from 1957-59, with seven horsepower and weighing 148 kg. Top speed was 75 km/h.
Terrot unveiled its first scooter in 1952 – the 100cc two-speed two-stroke VMS, aimed at the youth market. The VMS 2 was introduced the following year and was basically identical apart from a 125 cc motor and a pillion seat option. The three “portholes” on each side of the rear bodywork indicate that this example is a 1954 model. Power was 3.5 hp, with a weight of 75 kg, and top speed of 60km/h.
From 1947 the Italian company Zoppoli produced mopeds powered by Ducati’s Cucciolo motor. The design was licensed by La Neue AMAG, then by the Swiss AMI company which substituted a Sachs 125cc two-stroke motor (as seen here).
Helmet Bastert built small numbers of bicycles as well as mopeds and motorcycles in sizes from 48 to 248 cc in Bielfeld, Germany. In the early 1950s he designed the Einspurato (single track car) for which he is best known. Approximately 1200 were constructed from 1952 to 1956 and only about 20 are known to still exist – this is a 1953 model.
They were built to the highest standard with alloy bodywork over an aircraft-style frame and had many advanced features such as individual indicator lights for each gear, a second leather pillion seat that folded in behind the rider’s seat, lights in the engine compartment and solid aluminium wheels. ILO 150cc (three-speed) or 175cc (four-speed) motors were available.
The Bernardet company was founded in 1921 and built sidecars up until 1948. In 1947 they began scooter production, which continued – through 12 models- until 1959. The B 250 model seen here, was introduced at the Paris Salon in 1949 and featured a twin cylinder 250 cc two-stroke motor designed by Marcel Violet. Power was 10 hp at 4000 rpm.