Italy's Museo Scooter & Lambretta

Italy’s Museo Scooter & Lambretta celebrates Lambretta scooter history.


| November/December 2013


There are many great rivalries that Americans can relate to: Coca-Cola versus Pepsi. Ford versus Chevrolet. Now let’s add some Italian spice to the mix. Sophia Loren versus Gina Lollobrigida. And Lambretta versus Vespa.

Like the famous Italian actresses, the scooters are similar, but different. The Lambretta is rakish and streamlined versus the voluptuous curves of a Vespa, but both have bands of loyal followers. If you want to celebrate Lambretta — along with other scooters — the best place is Museo Scooter and Lambretta in Rodano, just outside Milan, Italy. It is a crisp, white temple of elegance that traces the history of an iconic brand.

Scooter roots

Lambretta’s design roots are found in an unlikely place. Rugged Cushman scooters, brought into Italy by U.S. Forces in 1944, inspired the original Lambretta design. The Italians are forever credited with inventing the scooter, but it was an American, E. Foster Salsbury, who laid down the original blueprint. His innovative Salsbury Motor Glide began production in California in 1936. Two years later, he developed the world’s first CVT (continuously variable transmission), a system still in use today.

Nebraska-based Cushman, also in production since 1936, supplied American occupation forces in Italy with their scooters. Used as lightweight, one-person transport devices, they became a common sight on air force bases and as courier-messaging delivery steeds.

At this time Ferdinando Innocenti, an Italian industrialist who had lost his steel production plant to Allied carpet bombing during World War II, saw the need for cheap transport. He assigned designer General Corradino D’Ascanio to develop a simple, strong, two-wheeled device that could carry two people and their groceries. This would help mobilize a nation whose infrastructure had been shattered after years of war.

An aeronautical engineer, D’Ascanio had been a pioneer of helicopter technology in the 1930s, and he adapted several aircraft features into his scooter design. One of the most obvious was the front fork, which resembled an aircraft’s landing gear and had a quick-change facility to aid wheel removal in the event of a puncture.





Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

Classic Motorcycle Touring and Events.


The latest classic motorcycle events and tours.

LEARN MORE



The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $4.95 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $29.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265