1964 Lambretta J125 Amphi-scooter at H&H Classics classic car auction

1964 Lambretta J125 Amphi-scooter at H&H Classics classic car auction

Re-created in 2015 by Costantino Frontalini on the 50th anniversary of the original
Over 700 expert man hours to create
In excellent and functioning condition
Unique and the only amphi-scooter known to exist
Scooter Location: Cingoli, Italy
Estimate: £14,000-£16,000
Frame No: 603697

Amphibious motorcycles have a short and bizarre history. In 1929 Harry Perrey created an amphibious contraption based on a 3.5 HP Ariel motorcycle using propellors and floats to cross the English channel to France from Dover which he managed to achieve in 7 hours and 25 minutes. In 1952 the revered motor cycle racing champion and French Vespa dealer Georges Monneret created an amphibious Vespa and went one further by racing from Paris to London in an unconventional manner. (He had reportedly been inspired by the Vespa Faro Basso Idro Scooter built in 1951 by an Italian and seen on Lake Como). At midnight on October 8th 1952 he left the Place de la Concorde in Paris on a 1952 Vespa ACMA equipped with his own Monneret patented long range fuel tank. Upon arriving at Calais his team mounted the scooter onto a self designed craft. It was based on aluminium pontoons with the rudder controlled by the scooter handlebars. Rollers pressed against the rear wheel and and propellor could be lowed and raised for beach landings. After an aborted attempt due to bad weather Monneret tried again and arrived at Dover at 5pm the next day and reached London 15 hours after he had started.

In 1965 Lambretta Concessionaires the UK importer, well known for their outrageous marketing strategies, decided to create their own amphibious machine the ‘Amphi-scooter’ to upstage all at the 1965 Brighton Motor cycle and Cycle Show. The project was the brain child in 1964 of Phillip Keeler the communications director and the technical work was entrusted to Rex White head of Lambretta development at Concessionaires. Based on a 1964 Lambretta J125 (a model that was not thus far selling well) it had a rotary paddle attached to the rear wheel hub, an extended upright sealed exhaust and fold down side boards similar to surf boards. The J125 being a one pressed monocoque chassis lent itself well to general waterproofing from the side and top. Douglas Bedford an employee of Lambretta Concessionaires was made ‘Captain’ and the secret test launch at Portsmouth where he was dressed as a sailor was a success. The public launch of the ‘Amphi-scooter’ was at the Brighton Motorcycle and Cycle show in 1965 with Bedford dressed up for a vintage style beach day with model Donna White in a bikini they took to the sea. Subsequently the scooter was used in numerous promotional films which can still be seen on various Youtube channels including Jack Hornsby a London Lambretta dealer dressed in suit and bowler hat with his daughter commuting on the River Thames and also on the famous children’s programme Blue Peter.

This Lambretta Amphi-scooter created in 2015 by Costantino Frontalini on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the original. Frontalini and his team are well known for their quirky projects including the building a giant Vespa Faro Basso and he is credited as the author of numerous books on historical side cars. It is by all accounts an exact replica of 52 DOY the 60s Concessionaires Amphi-scooter. In the design phase we are told that this model J125 from 1964 was sourced as the same year of production and reconstructed on the basis of the historical documentation available. The structural modifications with the construction of a frame for the installation of the two floats and the rear paddle propeller. The Lambretta was restored to the original paint specification of the original and the engine tuned to run. Approximately 700 working hours were needed to achieve the final result, including those dedicated to the design phase and the cost of construction was in excess of 20,000 euros. This replica was tested in the waters of Lake Cingoli, a few meters from the Sidecar Museum where it is still on display today. There are no registration documents.

A one-off opportunity to own something truly unique that can be used on any water based location for fun or promotion. Collection will need to be arranged from Cingoli in central Italy however transport can be arranged anywhere in the world at cost.

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