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Lambretta rides into the Indian sunset along with Scooters India

February 15, 2021 13:06 IST

With Scooters India shutting down, the brand that launched the PSU in India finally rides into the sunset.

IMAGE: The 1966 Lambretta Model Li 125 Special in Metallic Blue. Photographs: Kind courtesy Wikimedia commons

The year was 1947. India got independence and in faraway Milan, Italy, the Lambretta -- a new scooter --rolled out.

The events were completely unrelated but a quarter of a century later, in 1972, when the Milan facility folded up, the Indian government bought its remnants and brought them to India to establish Scooters India.


The Lucknow-based PSU continued to produce the Lambretta and its Indian sibling, the Vijai Super, for another quarter of a century.

The idea was to meet the rising demand for private personal transport in a free nation.

IMAGE: The Lambretta Model 150.

Centuries of colonisation had sapped the Indian economy of its riches and cars were not an option.

Scooters were. And so began the Indian middle-classes' tryst with what had been a truly global scooter.

By the time it landed in India, the Lambretta had a French connection, Italian (aeronautical) designers, American origins and was being manufactured across half the globe from Brazil to Vietnam.

Relatively bulky but a design marvel, back in the 1970s and '80s, the Lambretta was a common sight on Indian roads -- a ride that could accommodate a family of four.

Given its shape, it was also the most conducive scooter for a side-car – not that many people opted for that. It was also a scooter of glamour, featured often in Indian movies.

Shammi Kapoor serenading Sharmila Tagore in An Evening in Paris is but one example. Less popular, totally indigenous and with a name that Amitabh Bachchan starred as in several of his blockbusters was the Vijai Super.

Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/

A Reporter
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