History of the Lambro

Brief History of Innocenti

Innocenti was a large industrial group, located in the immediate out-skirts of Milan. By 1969, Innocenti employed 7000 people in the roles of executives, technicians, office employees and factory workers. Although known most famously as the producers of the Lambretta scooters and three wheel vehicles, Innocenti were also manufacturers of large plant and machinery for the metallurgy and mechanical industries. Since 1960 they also manufactured small and medium capacity automobiles.

The Lambro is a river which is a river of Lombardy, northern Italy and a left tributary of the Po. The Lambro ran close to the Innocenti factory site and provided the basis for both the Lambretta name and the three-wheeler's name. The term 'Lambro' is today used to refer to Lambretta's entire range of 3 wheeler vehicles although the name Lambro was actually only used from 1963.


If you are looking for a full history of Innocenti we would recommend this page. We found this article during our research and is well worth a read! It is Italian so you will need to set your browser to translate!


Innocenti Factory Pictures - click thumbnail for larger images



History of the Lambretta Three-Wheeler

The first known Lambretta Three-Wheeler that was avaliable to purchase was the FB in 1949. Although there is reference to an A model in earlier catalogues it is not thought that any were actually avaliable to purchase.

Lambretta used a simple method of naming for their earlier three wheelers. The 'F' in the first model refers to 'Furgone', the Italian word for van. So the FB was the 'B series Van'. Lambretta produced B, C and D series three wheelers (FB, FC, FD) between 1949 and 1959. In 1957 Lambretta also started producing their FD 3 wheelers with a cab. Italian for cab, is 'cabina' giving us the FDC model.

The Li 175 Series 1 produced in 1959 and 1960 was the first Lambretta 3 wheeler to be named after it's engine size. One of the developments was a larger engine size (increase of 25cc to 175) hence its inclusion in the name. Innocenti launched the Lambretta Li 175 Series 2 in 1960 featuring improvements in driver comfort, such as a much larger cab.

The Lambro 200 was produced from 1963 running alongside the Li 175 Series 2. It featured another increase of 25cc to a 200cc engine, larger wheels and the fork direction was changed. In September 1963, slightly after the launch of the Lambro 200, the Li 175 became the Lambro 175. Technically they are almost identical to the Series 2 but featured a chassis prefix change. This change in the model is the first of the Lambro 'ranges' that Innocenti produced for the coming years. Further details can be found on the Models of Lambro page.

The Lambro 550 was produced from the August of 1965 as a replacement for the Lambro 200. The method of naming the Lambros by engine size was replaced by the amount of weight it could carry. Lambretta continued running two models alongside each other by producing the Lambro 450 from the October 1965 to replace the Lambro 175. The 450 still featured the iconic single headlight and with the smaller 175cc engine but the 550 was produced with twin headlights for safety and the larger engine. The carrying compartment for both models was increased in line with demand for carrying larger loads.

In 1967, Lambretta began manufacturing the 550N. Although similar in looks to the 550 (aside from the removal of the enlarged horn cover plate in the centre which was replaced with a 550N crest badge) the engine was now located outside the cab. For anyone who has had the pleasure of driving/riding an earlier Lambro you will know how much of an improvement this was to the design and general comfort for the driver! In 1968 the 550A was introduced alongside the 550N. This model had a longer back, the A represented 'allungato' or lengthened. The extra weight of the extended back decreased the load capacity marginally of the 550A compared to the 550N.

In 1968 Lambretta also introduced a replacement for the 450 in the form of the 500L. Similarly to the 450, the 500L had a 175cc engine and a smaller loading area than the 550N although the enhancements of the twin headlights and the new location of the engine outside the cab appeared in this model.

In 1969 the Lambro underwent its 'facelift', the first time the cab introduced for the Series 2 Fli was changed in design. Lambretta produced 3 new models of Lambro; 550V, 550M and 500ML, all featuring the new more angular cab design to ensure it was keeping up with modern automobile design. The 550V was available with a steering wheel, 550M with traditional handlebars and the 500ML which was the last to be introduced was a lighter and cheaper version designed for export. The launch of this range saw the Lambro move even further away from its roots as a scooter and more towards a car. Driver comfort and space were important considerations in this range, with heaters, sprung seats and an improved braking system.

In 1970 the 600M and 600V were launched, with handlebars on the M and a steering wheel on the V. The 600M and 600V were exactly the same as the 550M and 550V, their launch was simply a name change. (Please see 600V and 600M model page for details)

Innocenti produced the 600M until November 1971 and the 600V until January 1972.