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1965 Lambretta TV175
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Andy Wilson's classic bike is a prize-winning concours champ - with a difference...

Andy Wilson was thrilled last year when his classic bike won an award at the Beaumanor Hall Classic Car and Transport Show. He doesn't ride the usual run of the mill, Britbike grey porridge from the 1960s - no, Andy's classic is altogether more unusual…

Ferdinando Innocenti understood that, in the aftermath of the Second World War, Italy would need cheap transportation. He began production of motorscooters in his Milan plant in 1947, thus giving birth to the Lambretta legend. By the 1960s the scooter was a highly fashionable, highly practical form of transport, and the TV175 was destined to be Lambretta's flagship model for the mid-60s.

It's not pink, ok?

The TV machines were slimmer than the outgoing, somewhat bulbous bikes, with a narrower body and sleek side panels. In many ways they were far ahead of their time, featuring a disc brake, weight-saving fibreglass mudguard, multi-function ignition/light switch, and a funky hexagonal headlight rim.

The TV175 produced just under 9bhp with which it propelled its 110kg, using a set-up similar to earlier Lambretta scooters but boosted by improvements to air flow and porting, and a new 20mm Dell'Orto carb. It was more powerful than its predecessors, and a fair bit quicker than the competition which was mainly 150cc, but the TV did vibrate somewhat at tickover.

Initially the TV was offered only in 175cc size, but the UK importer wanted a larger engined Lambretta to appeal to his speed-addicted customers. At first the factory declined and suggested that if the Brits wanted to go faster then they should buy motorcycles (!), but eventually an 11bhp, 198cc version was developed. However it was sold in the UK without a warranty from Lambretta - the UK importer had to underwrite this model to his customers.

See? Not even slightly pink.
Lambretta stuff on eBay.co.uk

The 200 suffered some problems (the exhausts were prone to coming off and engine mounts would fracture under the higher stresses of the more powerful machine), but overall it was a success and became known as the GT - a Grand Tourer of a scooter which was developed until it could reach 70mph.

In all, nearly 38,000 TVs were built between 1962 and 1965. Andy Wilson bought his TV175 in 2002; it's one of the final S3 bikes from 1965. The Lambretta had been imported to the UK the previous year and was in the middle of being giving a year long, tip-to-toe restoration. Andy finished off the job - 'it took lots of TLC' -- and what a great result!

'It always gets noticed' Andy says, and has found living with the TV175 to be very straightforward. It gets 40mpg and will cover a hundred miles on one tank full of petrol. He recommends fitting an electronic ignition which 'makes for easy starting without affecting the appearance at all' but has no plans to modify it further because 'I like it just the way it is. It's easy to maintain and very reliable when used regularly.'

I wonder what the other side of it looks like?

So if you're looking for a classic bike from the 1960s, one with a certain style which is easy to ride and easy to live with, then maybe a Lambretta might be for you. However, you'll need to pay for the privilege of owning one in this kind of condition - Andy spent £4000 on his TV175. If you'd bought one back in the Sixties, then it would have set you back just £189.17.6…

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The 2007 Beaumanor Hall Classic Car and Transport Show is on Sunday 22nd July at Woodhouse in Leicestershire.

See www.transtarpromotions.co.uk to enter your classic bike to the concours competition, and you could win a RealClassic award…


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