Stylish Simplicity: 1964 Lambretta TV 175 Model III

A perfectly restored 1964 Lambretta TV 175 takes us back to simpler times when Italy needed inexpensive, reliable transportation that also happened to be stylish.

| November/December 2018

  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
    1964 Lambretta TV 175 Series III.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
    1967 Lambretta TV 175 Series III.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
    1964 Lambretta TV 175 Series III.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
    1964 Lambretta TV 175 Series III.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
    Gianluca Baldo and his TV 175 Series III.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
    Under the right cover.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • vintage motorcycle Lambretta
    The trailing-link front suspension uses two small shocks, one on each side.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
    Note the tiny luggage rack behind the seat.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
    Under the left sidecover, the carburetor and fuel tank (rear bulge) can be seen.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
    1964 Lambretta TV 175 Series III.
    Photo by Nick Cedar

  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
  • vintage motorcycle Lambretta
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta
  • vintage motorcycles Lambretta

1964 Lambretta TV 175 Series III

  • Engine: 175cc air-cooled 2-stroke horizontal single, 62mm x 58mm bore and stroke, 8:1 compression ratio, 8.75hp @ 5,300rpm (claimed)
  • Top speed: 60mph (est.)
  • Carburetion: Single 20mm Dell'Orto SH1
  • Transmission: 4-speed hand shift, enclosed duplex chain final drive
  • Electrics/ignition: 6v, flywheel magneto ignition
  • Frame/overall length: Steel tube/70.9in (1,800mm)
  • Suspension: Trailing link w/hydraulic shocks front, torsion bar w/single shock rear
  • Brakes: Mechanical disc front, drum rear
  • Tires: 3.5 x 10in front and rear
  • Weight (dry): 242lb (110kg)
  • Fuel capacity/MPG: 2.3gal (8.6ltr)/96mpg (claimed)

"When I was growing up near Milan, Italy, scooters were everywhere." — Gianluca Baldo, owner, Bello Moto vintage scooter center

The story goes that at the close of World War II, Italian businessman Ferdinando Innocenti looked at the ruins of his bombed-out factory and saw the future of Italian personal transportation.

Going a bit further back, Innocenti had founded a seamless steel tubing factory in 1922 and moved it to Milan in 1931. That factory, like much of Italy's industrial base, was destroyed by the Allies during World War II. At the same time as Allied aircraft were dropping bombs over Northern Italy, other Allied planes were dropping paratroopers to secure strategic objectives against the Germans. Once they hit the ground, the paratroops needed transportation, so Cushman scooters were dropped with the paratroopers. The Cushmans, ugly but very versatile, gave Innocenti an idea of how to create inexpensive powered transport that could be used by both men and women. Of course, Innocenti's new scooter, like anything designed in Italy, would be chic and stylish, in addition to being useful. He looked for an engineer to translate his ideas into blueprints.

Design and development

Before World War II, Italy had an extensive airplane industry. After Italy surrendered to the Allies, the Italian aircraft industry was shut down. As a result, many former aircraft engineers went into the burgeoning motorcycle and scooter factories, including aeronautical engineer Corradino D'Ascanio, who designed the scooter Ferdinando Innocenti had envisioned for him.



D'Ascanio disliked the contemporary oil-slinging motorcycles that needed constant maintenance, and drafted plans for a simple, clean, reliable machine for use as daily transportation, with a step-through frame that would not interfere with a woman's skirt. The concept was great, but D'Ascanio's design used stamped metal instead of rolled tubing for the frame. This was unacceptable to Innocenti, who insisted on rolled tubing, so D'Ascanio took the design to Piaggio, who used it for the first Vespa. D'Ascanio's ideas were reworked for Innocenti by two other aeronautical engineers: Cesare Pallavicino and Pier Luigi Torre.

The Innocenti scooters were trade named Lambretta, after a mythical water sprite that inhabited the Lambro River in Milan. The first Lambretta, the Model A, was introduced in 1947. It had a 123cc 2-stroke engine, a 3-speed gearbox, 7-inch tires and drum brakes, but unfortunately, no suspension. However, the engine was more powerful than that of rival scooter manufacturer Vespa. Innocenti also introduced an American-style assembly line to streamline production. After a slow start, the new Lambretta took off and became popular with a transportation-starved Italian public.

Mat.the.bike
10/18/2018 7:02:41 AM

I grew up in England, so was one of the so called "Mods". Yes, I favored wearing 2 tone suits, a coat called a Parker, stay pressed shirts. I also favored riding a 1966 Lambretta SX200. This sporting machine was the next step from the TV175, but along with the extra 25cc came unreliability. I was forever fitting new rings, and when the crankshaft broke (the flywheel actually fought its way out of the housing and overtook me) it was time to scrap it. It was replaced by a 1965 Li150. It was reliable and took me every Bank Holiday to the Mod Rallies held in various places around England as well as commuting to work and back. Happy Memories. However the pair of machines did spark a long running affair with motorcycles, especially Italians. I have owned a Ducati (wonderful machine) ST2, and currently have a Gilera 106 (Originally badged and sold by Sears) which runs really well, is comfortable and starts always first kick.




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