Do you love scooters that have a bit of a flair to them? Are you familiar with the 1952 Lambretta 125D Series 1? If you've never heard of it before, you genuinely don't know what you're missing out on. If you are familiar with it, then you already know that it was a special vehicle that easily found its way into the hearts of many individuals. As a matter of fact, it still does. That's one reason that so many people remember it fondly. The truth is, this particular little scooter had a very big personality and it's not one that anyone will soon forget.
A Lot of Power for a Little Scooter
In fairness, this might not be the smallest scooter that anyone has ever seen. As a matter of fact, it's actually large enough to seat two people, but we'll get to that later. What you need to know now is that one of the reasons people love this scooter so much is because it had a power plant that was reliable and trustworthy, not one that was prone to causing problems. The engine consisted of a single-cylinder, two-stroke engine that was capable of generating a massive five horsepower at 4600 RPM. Before you start laughing at the fact that it was only capable of generating five horsepower, keep this in mind. That was enough to get this scooter going 74 mph. There aren't very many scooters that are capable of going nearly that fast. This was one that was capable of getting you from one point to another in town, but you could also take it out on the open road and hold your own with just about any type of motorized vehicle on the road. As a matter of fact, the scooter could commonly outrun a lot of full size automobiles that were made during that same time frame.
Granted, you might not have wanted to go that fast on a scooter, but if you were so inclined, the machine could definitely keep up (and then some). It's also worth noting that like most scooters, it had a manual transmission, in this case a three-speed. All of the gear changes as well as the braking were controlled through hand controls. This definitely wasn't for everyone, but it made a lot of riders feel like they actually had more control over things like shifting and braking than when the controls were placed at the feet. It also made riding the scooter a lot more comfortable because they could keep their feet on a flat platform and adjust their sitting position as needed, as opposed to more or less being locked into position from the moment they got on. That's just one of the many reasons that so many people have completely fallen in love with this scooter from the early 1950s and why they continue to search for refurbished models to this day that they can add to their own collections.
A Scooter That Performed Like a Motorcycle
Another reason that people absolutely fell in love with this scooter is because it didn't perform like your typical scooter. As previously mentioned, it had plenty of power to get up and go, allowing it to perform much more like a motorcycle than anything else. As it turns out, there is a good reason for this. The company that manufactured it, Lambretta, was just on the precipice of breaking into the motorcycle industry. As a matter of fact, this was their first venture into the industry as a whole. You might say that they sent the 125D Series 1 out as a means of testing the waters. When they found out that the public fell in love with the scooter and liked what had been included on it, it empowered them to continue creating more powerful motorcycles that definitely gravitated toward the performance end of things. If it hadn't been for the 125D Series 1, none of that would have ever happened.
As a result, a lot of people that are fans of the manufacturer have a soft spot in their heart for this particular scooter. After all, it did pave the way for the company's success that would come later on. As a matter of fact, a lot of people would argue that it was the sole reason for that success. In short, there was just something about the scooter that captured the type of magic that only comes around every once in awhile and as you may have already guessed, it's something that the manufacturer never was quite able to duplicate with any of their other products.That being said, Lambretta made a lot of motorcycles that came on the heels of this particular scooter. If the scooter hadn’t been so successful, it's quite possible that the company could have folded before they ever even got off the ground.
A Scooter That Rides Like a Car
Another reason that people loved it was because it had a tendency to feel more like a car than a scooter. It was comfortable to ride on and to drive, something that scooters of that particular era were definitely not known for. That's largely because of the way it was designed, with bigger shocks and much larger seats than most of the competition had at the time. As a matter of fact, it was comfortable enough for two people to ride on it without any problem whatsoever. As previously mentioned, it could seat two people and even had two entirely separate seats, with the driver facing forward and the rear passenger facing backward. It also had two wheels in the back instead of one, making it far more forgiving than your typical two-wheeled motorcycle. In short, it performed like a motorcycle, it had the comfort and controllability of a car, and it maintained the ease-of-use and the fuel mileage of a scooter. When you put all of these things together, it's no wonder that people fell in love with this scooter. It's definitely easy to see why collectors are still trying to get their hands on one to this very day. It's a very rare example of everything right about a vehicle coming together at the same time in order to create something that is truly special.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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