1957 Innocenti Lambretta Moped

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1957 Innocenti Lambretta Moped Model 48

(Now sold)

I sold this delightful Lambretta 48 in October 2008 to a museum in Ireland, but subsequently bought it back from them. It was my daily rider for a while, but then got sold again when I started the bicycle museum.

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SHORT VIDEO of LAMBRETTA 48 RUNNING

The weather was unseasonably pleasant in February ’08 and I celebrated the sunshine by zipping around Sussex on my Model 48.

My usual hack had been a 1940’s motorcycle, so when I switched I was a little apprehensive before using the 48. But it’s such an absolute joy to ride I was soon seduced by it. To start, you simply press down on one of the pedals. After a few miles of practice I soon got used to it. Handling is excellent, and despite its cc it’s no slouch. Top speed is around 30mph (no speedo) so like any moped it’s not a long-distance machine. But for nipping in and out of traffic it’s as good as anything modern.

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The Lambretta model 48 ‘Model II’ moped was produced between 1959 and 1961. If you see one of these unusual – and delightful – little Lambretta mopeds, it will most likely be the ’48 II’ model (though I’ve noticed quite a few people pretend theirs is one of the earlier models).

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However, my Lambretta moped is the much rarer ’48’ – the first series, which was manufactured between 1955 and 1957. I have a dating certificate from the UK Lambretta Club to confirm its age.

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Lambretta in Italy says:

Year – Aug. 1955 – Dec. 1957 / Jan 1959 – Mar 1961
Italian production 34.909 / 24.640
Capacity 47.75 cc
Bore x stroke 40 x 38 mm
Carburettor Dellorto T5-11S
Gear 2 speeds – Hand controlled
Power1.7 cv a 5.000 g/min.
SpeedMax 50 Km/h
Tyre Size 2×22
Brakes drums
Tank capacity 2,7 litres
Consumption 80 Km/l
Weight 44 Kg
Overall length 1.900 mm
Overall eight 1.000 mm
Overall width 620 mm
Colours: Red, blue and light grey
Price 71.000 Lire

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“The scooter production in 1955 reached a good level, even if not as good as in 1953,” says the UK Lambretta Club.

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“At the beginning of the year a high-wheel 48 cc two-speed motor-bicycle was launched (“Lambrettino 48″), with a production of 6,000 units and 22,000 units in 1956. Increase in total production (scooters + motor-bicycles) amounted to 20%.”

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Though this early model was an Innocenti, it was called a ‘Lambretta 48.’ So it’s a bit confusing when the British Lambretta Club also states: “The first moped introduced by Lambretta was the 48 II, which was launched in January 1959.”

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The single beam cradle type frame was light and rigid, and held a 47.75cc engine. Whilst not being powerful at 1.7bhp the two speed gearbox made the 48 capable of 31mph. A small fuel tank built into the frame, air filter also housed within the frame and a single seat gave this small Lambretta the rider the basic needs.

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The 48 could be used as a conventional bicycle by disengaging the pedal drive.

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A small tool box was fitted underneath the rear rack, and the 48 came complete with a pump for the tyres.

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The 48 II was replaced in 1966 by the Lambrettino.

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Since buying this Lambretta 48, we’ve done a lot of work to restore it mechanically. It had been off the road since 2001. It’s amazing how carried away you can get; once you’ve started restoring, there’s no point ignoring anything that needs doing and in no time at all you’ve spent a small fortune on it!

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And here’s me and the ol’ 48 on the Sussex Cyclemotor Run…

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