c1956 Lambretta Model D 150cc Scooter
Like its chief rival the Vespa, Innocenti's Lambretta scooter was powered by a series of two-stroke engines with capacities varying from 49cc to 198cc, using either three or four speed gears. Designed by engineer Pier Luigi Torre, the original Lambretta was launched in 1947 with a 125cc engine and the following year an updated 'B' version appeared, a model that proved both more comfortable and reliable. Unlike its main rival, the Lambretta's mechanicals were housed in a rigid tubular frame and sold in either "open" (with minimal panels and thus looking more like a motorcycle) or "closed" (with fully covered mechanicals) versions. In 1950 Innocenti updated the scooter with a radical new model and expanded the model range to include the basic C and more upmarket LC, the latter with fairings front and rear, a tall windscreen and weather protection. The definitive Lambretta scooter - the Model D - arrived in November 1951, with further refinements to the suspension, transmission and brakes and for three years running it set new sales records. Enlarged 150cc versions of the D and faired-in LD were unveiled at the 1954 International Motorcycle Show in Milan, the additional power improving the Lambretta's ability to overtake and climb hills, although its top speed remained much the same. Better telescopic shock absorbers and a new cable-operated shifter mechanism were also welcome improvements, along with a quieter exhaust and repositioned starter, making the latest scooter the most refined Lambretta model yet. With the growing popularity of the electric starter, the electrics were improved in 1955 and for many collectors the 1954-1956 150D remains a high watermark of Lambretta production, the last of the traditional “uncovered” scooters.