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Lambretta Model M (A)

Years produced: 1947 - 1948
Amount produced: 9,669
Engine: single cylinder, air cooled 2-stroke
Induction: piston ported
Bore: 52 mm
Stroke: 58 mm
Cubic capacity: 123 cc
Compression ratio: 6:1
BHP at rpm: 4.1 @ 4500
Transmission: 3 speed (foot change)
Lubrication: 5%
Carburetor: Dellorto MA 16
Ignition: contact breaker & points
Ignition timing: 26 degreees BTDC
Breaker gap: 0.3-0.4 mm
Voltage: 6 volt
Wheel size: 7"
Tire size: 3.50 x 7
Max speed: 42 mph
Total dry weight: 121 lbs

 

LAMBRETTA MODEL M (A) HISTORY

The first series of Lambretta 125 m, where the "m" stood for motorscooter, left the Lambrete factory on October of 1947 and blazed the trail for one of the most important commercial successes of Italian motorcycles and scooter of the postwar era.

The Lambretta m was presented to the public as a popular means of transport that was to be affordable to everyone no matter what their age. Originally offered for an extremely low price, only 135,000 Italian lira, the Lambretta m soon became an economic class of the population could afford a Lambretta, thanks to the easy, delayed payment plans offered by Innocenti.

Apart from being just a cheap form of transportation, the Lambretta was a mechanical jewel with especially refined styling cues and many accessories offered by Innocenti to further enhance its beauty. The frame structure was composed of squared, pressed metal that held the motor in place, while the gas tank, seat, and glovebox were supported by a pair of chrome tubes that kept the same style as the front handlebars.

The cables and the electrical system were completely closed within the two tubes of the handlebars, giving the front of the scooter clean and elegant lines. The front suspension used a squared metal fork that was attached with a system of parallelogram connecting rods and a rubber shock absorber. The rear, however, lacked any sort of suspension whatsoever.

The wheels were especially small, with a diameter of 7 inches that lowered the balance level of the scooter and made it exceptionally maneuverable and easy to handle.

The motor block was innovative on every level. Positioned in the center of the frame, the transmission shafts and dual cones transferred the power to the wheel. To avoid slipping into the next gear, a regulator made the driver clutch before shifting into one of the three gears.

When the first Lambrettas hit the street in 1947, already many technical and mechanical changes had taken place since the preview models.

For Innocenti, this Lambretta was its first delve into the motorcycling world, and therefore it was only natural that it would continually test and tweak the scooter, fixing the most banal errors of the original design. The first change was on the brakes, from the traditional design on the very first examples. The brake pads on the drum brake shoes were inverted, so now it was more typical of American scooters. Cast iron brake shoes and rubber riveted to drums were used for the automatic clutch.

During the twelve months that the Lambretta 125 m was being constructed, myriad modifications and updates were added. Practically every week some mechanical aspect was changed, making it nearly impossible for collectors to make a perfect restoration of the exact original scooter.

To more easily recognize the different modifications, three basic divisions can be made, but it is important to keep in mind that there was a constant evolution and no cut-and-dry version. Innocenti never specified different models of the first and second series of the Lambretta m.

The first version of the m was built up to around serial number 6900, and can be distinguished primarily because of the rear, square pillion pad, the mechanical horn, and the chrome wheel rims. The second version was the most common and was built until around the serial number 11,000. This time the seat was triangular and the horn was electric. This model lost some of the class of the earlier model since it lacked the headlamp switch, the key lock for the glovebox, the starter, and the block on the gears to avoid switching without engaging the clutch.

The third and last version ended with about number 14,700 and introduced a few modifications that would be adopted for the new Lambretta 125 B. The seat was enlarged and redesigned with a single, horizontal spring to soften the ride. The kickstand was changed to a single piece of cast iron, so its aluminum color and that of the wheel rims now matched. The brake pedal was shifted to the opposite side of the shifter, a modification which had already been done on the last (approximately) 1000 of the second version.

With the Lambretta m, Innocenti introduced a new concept to the field of motorscooters, a wide range of six different colors for the body and the rubber pieces from which the customer could choose.

It was very uncommon for any of the competing motorcycle companies to offer a choice of paint schemes on their vehicles since each one became identified for their particular color: Moto Guzzi was red, Bianchi was blue, Gilera was red and black, etc.

Another interesting innovation that was offered as an option was the possibility to mount a plexiglass windscreen. This practical and modern accessory foreshadowed future models with built-in windshields to protect the driver from the elements.

In October 1948, Innocenti ceased production of the Lambretta m, making room for a new model based on the old version that would be more reliable, comfortable, and was called the 125 B. With the introduction of this new series, the "old" Lambretta became known for the first time as the 125 A.