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Updated: June 18, 2013 18:06 IST

Man and Machine - For the love of Lambretta

PRINCE FREDERICK
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V. Gajendran with his 1975 Lambretta Li150 Series 2.
V. Gajendran with his 1975 Lambretta Li150 Series 2.

V. Vikas found the spares for his 1975 Lambretta Li150 Series 2 when he stopped looking for them. “Someone would inform me about a shop that had spare-parts for this model. When I went there, I would be disappointed,” recalls the youngster. “But, when I gave up the frantic search, I miraculously chanced upon all the spares I needed. Looking for a mechanical item for my Pulsar at a shop in Tiruvallur, I discovered a wealth of Li150 Series 2 spare parts.”

Struck with a dead-stock of Lambretta spares for long, the dealer was only too glad to part with them. “Now, I am loaded with surplus spares adequate to meet emergencies in the next two decades,” says a smiling Vikas.

Chance has had a big hand in this scooter's restoration. Vikas saw upon a mechanic repairing a very old Lambretta at a house. When he struck up a conversation with the man, Vikas was surprised to learn that he had a shed near his (Vikas') house.

Vikas has managed to restore the scooter well under a year and let his dad — V. Gajendran — go on spins and relive the days when he rode a similar Lambretta. “In addition to the internal suspension, the springs under the seats cushion you against the bumps on treacherous country roads. But for my Lambretta, those long trips from Madras to Tiruvallur (where the family runs a business) would not have been easy,” recalls 53-year-old Gajendran.

Vikas, who usually displays a fixation for performance while restoring his bikes, has concentrated on sourcing and retaining parts unique to this model.

Despite carrying out extensive restoration, he did not feel tempted to go the extra mile and overhaul the scooter's electrics for better performance. With its characteristic 6-volt system still in place, the Lambretta's horn gives only a feeble beep and its headlight, only a weak shaft of light. Considering that the scooter is taken for short rides around Aspirin Garden where the family lives, this is no disadvantage.

The scooter sports all its character-defining badges. One of them truthfully gives credit to Automobiles Product of India (API), which made and sold the Li150 Series 2 until 1976 (AIP lost the rights to use the Lambretta name to Scooters India Limited (SIL) in 1972, but SIL took a few years to launch into production).

Keywords: Lambretta


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