Lambretta Indian Production
Lambrettas were produced in India under license by two different companies. The first was "Auto Products of India" or A.P.I. This company mainly produced Series II Li models and three wheelers for the Indian market. A.P.I. scooters were never officially sold in the US, but occasionally one does turn up here which was gray-market imported. The ones that I have seen have been of a very inferior quality as well as being quite worn out from years of use in India.
The second company to manufacture Lambrettas in India was "Scooters India Limited" or S.I.L., who bought the Innocenti scooter factory, lock, stock, and barrel from Milan after Innocenti stopped production in the early 70's. The factory presses and production line was moved to India, and production of the GP range of scooters was re-started there under the S.I.L. name. It is not clear when production actually began, but I believe it was some time in the mid-70's. A few S.I.L. GP's made it to the US in the early 80's, but I am not sure who imported them, or in what numbers.
By the mid-90's, interest in vintage scooters was on an up-swing in North America, and since Lambrettas were still in production in India at that time, a small batch of GP 200's was imported by Performance Scooters in Canada. These scooters were sold into the US in "kit" form, and the purchaser had to put the scooter together and was on his or her own with title and registration. Later on, some US dealers brought in complete machines.
The S.I.L. factory in India ceaced producing Lambretta scooters around 2000, and so ended Lambretta construction for the first time in over 50 years. Spares continue to come from India however, which is one reason which helps all of us keep our scooters on the road since many spare parts manufacturers elsewhere stopped making parts long ago. Even complete GP 200 motors can be sourced through the Indian aftermarket suppliers who sell to North American and European scooter shops.
The S.I.L. GP models are virtually identical to the Innocenti-made versions. The main difference being the fit and finish, and the quality of the parts. The Indian GP's did not have the disc brake, but instead a drum unit as on the 150 and 125 GP models. Late models had an entirely different front fork with a turning front mudguard. The new fork was supposed to improve the ride and provide a modicum of anti-dive properties. This "improved" fork was often removed for US bikes in favor of the older-style unit.
The motors on the S.I.L. GP Lambrettas were virtually identical to the Innocenti versions. Once again, the main difference being the quality, fit, and finish. Some later models came with 12 volt electronic ignition.
Though SIL is no longer building scooters, they were building brand new GP Lambrettas up until around 2000. Furthermore, there are quite a few aftermarket suppliers which were providing parts to SIL and the secondary parts market in India which are still producing brand new parts. There are even some shops in the UK and US which are building brand new scooters up from these parts. There are some important things to be aware of when buying one of these Indian Lambrettas. The quality of the Indian GP's is not nearly as high as the Italian models, so be careful. The carbs, cases, and electrical systems are notoriously bad on SIL's, so pay close attention to these items when looking to buy one. From the reports that I have read, the Indian bikes and motors can be made fairly reliable with a few simple, if expensive, modifications. These include replacement of the original bearings with new high quality types, fitting of an electronic ignition, and the fitting of a new carburetor.
Brand new spare GP200 motors are also available from the Indian aftermarket, but one should be aware that these are of spotty quality. I would only buy one of these motors from a reputable shop which will stand behind the motor, or better yet, rebuild it prior to selling it. I have read about many of these "brand new" motors breaking down within miles of being started if they are not gone through beforehand.
Still, the fact that we can still buy a "brand new" 200cc Lambretta at this point, even if we have to do a little work to it, is just incredible. It is one of the things that keeps the Lambretta scooter alive as a viable vintage scooter, and can be seen as nothing but a great thing for our hobby.
Number Produced: unknown
Years Produced: 1975-2000?
- Rough, but restorable = $600-1000
- Drivable, but not show = $1500-2500
- Restored or excellent original condition = $2500-4000