Rides from the Readers: 1955 Lambretta Model D

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lambretta reader ride
Bob Miner

Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, tips@hagerty.com. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.

Today’s featured ride is a mite smaller than normal: a 1955 Lambretta Model D Mk. II scooter. Together with Vespa, Lambretta ruled the post-WWII motor scooter world. Though they became increasingly irrelevant after the 1970s—between faster, more-reliable bikes and more weatherproof small cars—these petite scooters have left tracks across entire continents. In their day, however, scooters like the Model D were affordable, accessible transportation for the masses. This wasn’t as simple as it sounds, either; the scooters needed to be equally feasible for men and women (hence the pass-through configuration for skirt-wearers), avoid flinging oil and dirt onto their occupants, and be as simple as possible to operate. Though the 1951–57 Model D is overshadowed in today’s collector scooter world by its successor (the elegant 1957–59 TV175 Series 1), this barely-150cc, four-speed scooter was punchy enough to provide Hagerty member Bob Miner with some fine European memories in 1957.

When planning a grand tour of Europe as a college junior, Bob Miner landed on the Lambretta, convinced it was the ideal chariot for him and his brother to tour Italy, Switzerland, and beyond. For the record, his brother favored a Triumph motorcycle; Bob favored the scooter option and chose the Lambretta over its Vespa counterpart, because “the Vespa’s asymmetrical hanging of the motor off one wheel did not appeal to me.” The Lambretta’s purported 100 mpg sealed the deal, and the brothers arranged for delivery in Rome. Over 15,000 km, Bob reports that “routine cleaning of the muffler was the only recurring maintenance or problem we had.”

lambretta reader ride
Bob Miner

The trusty Lambretta (and its single carburetor) even survived crossing Austria’s Arlberg Pass—nearly 6000 feet above sea level—in a snow storm. Here’s to never underestimating the grit of scooters … or the bravery of their owners.

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