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Lambretta J50 / 75 4 marce - Kimberly Orton, Italia

Kim had a nice J50 in all original condition (so much so that it was even featured in the 2013 Casa calendar) but all that came to an end after an argument with an Audi. The scooter’s frame was a total write-off so the search was on for a replacement frame or complete scooter. One such machine came to light in the Bologna area and was quickly snapped up. Whilst the bike seemed to be good outwardly, underneath it was a bit crap and had been poorly maintained and certainly NOT roadworthy. Therefore the decision was pretty much forced on us that we needed to strip the scooter down and rebuild it so that it was safe to use. As the paintwork on this J50 was okay but had been touched up by Ray Charles, in the dark, using a potato instead of a brush, the idea came up to do the scooter with a complete paintjob and a few quirky twists.


These included the fitment of a GP headset, using a Indian SIL ‘collar’ section from a ‘Sunny 100’ and the fork, again the same model (as the fork stem is longer), so that the scooter would have a bigger headlight and look better. This is nothing new in itself as the Indian factory produced Sunny models with both SX and GP headsets. The modifications needed for these were a new longer steering stop added to the actual frame and a lug for the steering lock.


To eliminate the need for a spare wheel, Indian 4-stud hubs were obtained and  these allow the use of LI type wheels so we can fit tubeless tyres with anti-puncture liquid within. To finish the show off, we added damper brackets to the forks to take BGM front shockers. The scooter was powder blasted and then repainted in the standard turquoise but with gloss black overlays  to give it a more sporting appearance. The fitment of an original 70’s slopeback seat, inside legshield toolbox with provision for charging a mobile phone finish off the show.


Whilst all this was going on, the engine needed to receive the same treatment… but we ended up changing it completely. As we had  NOS J125 Starstream casing sat on the shelves, the decision was made to use that with a 4 speed Vega 75cc gearbox, a Casa 75cc kit, modified 3 plate clutch, a SHB19 carb with sports filter added internally to the frame and a one-off Protti expansion chamber to finish off the job. The very last part of the puzzle is the ignition. We had a few original Ducati-made electronic flywheels for J Range scooters in the shop so we mated that with an old 80’s AF stator plate, mated up with a heavily modified J Range backplate. This took several attempts to get right to get the pickup in the correct position for timing up but eventually worked out. This now gives better lights, ignition and provided enough power to feed the SIP speedo / rev counter as well!  


With the engine installed and cabled up, we were then able to fire the scooter up for the first time to see how she sang. The exhaust is a custom made one-off expansion chamber by RLC’s exhaust guru Protti.  A couple of kicks later and the scooter is running and all the electrics working as they should. The first trip around the area where the shop is located high-lighted a few glitches in the system. First of all the electronic ignition misfired at high revs and the carburation needed setting up which was understandable, and finally…it got a flat front tyre!


Back at the shop the ignition problem was resolved albeit it took some figuring out and the carburation altered. With the scooter now running fine, the next step was to glue down the new Casa floormat (Special models have this as standard) and that took two attempts to get right. It truly was a two man job.


With the scooter 99.9% finished (as it’s just missing the oval front badge) Kim is now out and about on her little Lambretta and judging by the smile on her face when she’s riding it, we'd say she’s a happy girl! 

Lambretta J50 Special
Kim Orton, Italy