1957 Innocenti Lambretta Moped Model 48
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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
“The scooter production in 1955 reached a good level, even if not as good as in 1953,” says the UK Lambretta Club.
“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%.”
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.”
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.
The 48 could be used as a conventional bicycle by disengaging the pedal drive.
A small tool box was fitted underneath the rear rack, and the 48 came complete with a pump for the tyres.
The 48 II was replaced in 1966 by the Lambrettino.
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!
And here’s me and the ol’ 48 on the Sussex Cyclemotor Run…