GALLERY: Behind The Scenes On Our 1957 Lambretta Scooter Film
Each Tuesday we aim to provide wallpaper-worthy stills to complement the weekly films you’ve come to enjoy. This week we are paring down on horsepower and wheel-count while turning the charm up to 11 for a ride on the back of this 1957 Lambretta scooter.
Though it began life inside the factory doors of Innocenti in Milan, this particular pale yellow sweetheart has spent its days in France, and mostly under the ownership of a single family. The 20-year-old current caretaker, Maxime Delestre, begins the story for us at the beginning, before recounting its tumultuous path through the decades. It exists now as a glossy and glinting example of post-war Italian design, but it hasn’t always been this way.
The scooter became a part of the Delestre clan when Maxime’s great uncle Raymond purchased it in the ripe year of 1959. Having no license to drive a car, and given the popularity of these cheap and stylish modes of transportation (think Vespas, Lambrettas, Piaggios, lots of pastel colors accented in creme and chrome), he never even considered car ownership; it just wasn’t necessary. Raymond and his wife even took the little Lambretta on a 220-mile road trip one year. Luggage? Strapped to the rear tire. Why not?
Using a scooter in place of a daily driver takes its toll though, and by 1970 it had fallen into a state of disrepair that rendered the cute cruiser inoperable. The issues relegated the Lambretta to occupying a space in the corner of the family’s barn, at Maxime’s grandmother’s house. And there it sat for just a year shy of two full decades of immobility. A sedentary lump of metal, the Lambretta sat amongst chickens and hay and other pastoral accoutrements, accumulating dust and the occasional chicken feather on top of the trove of memories still beating warmly in its soul.
After the passing of his grandmother in 1989, Maxime and his family had to make a decision regarding the future of the forgotten scooter stored in her barn. 19 years had left it in a state of blight, and given that a neighbor had expressed interest in restoring it, the Delestre family said goodbye to Uncle Raymond’s old wheels.
After he took it away to start the process of revitalization, the family lost track of the Lambretta, occasionally landing on some memory of it in passing, with maybe a faint smile and a hope that it was being taken care of. But largely it was gone from their lives. That was until another two decades had passed and a man entered the Delestres’ dealership in search of parts for a certain vintage Italian scooter.
How could Maxime and his father not jump at the chance to welcome back this wonderful machine into their kin? So, they bought it back from the man, and began assessing what it needed. It turns out the work that’d been carried out didn’t result in anything close to a like-new Lambretta; the motor was seized and the greedy appetite of rust was showing itself all over the body cladding and frame. So began the second restoration, and this time it would carried out to the gleaming end.
Two years later the phoenix had risen, and Maxime and his father took the completed Lambretta to surprise the man who’d brought it into their lives in the first place, Uncle Raymond. On his 90th birthday no less! It’s amazing isn’t it, that a little scooter can survive for over half of a century and fill three generations of a family with indelible memories of happiness?