Lambretta Li Series III
It did not take long for Innocenti to realize that they needed to update their scooters to keep up with the competition. The LI Series II was a huge seller, and it can be hard to alter a sucessful product, yet change it they did. Though the heart of the scooter, the tube frame, motor, and forks, were essentially the same, the body on the outside was radically changed. The Series III LI's are easily differentiated from earlier model LI's by their outward appearance. Styling on the Ser. III machines was radically reworked and included much flatter cowls, narrower legshields, and an overall thinner appearance. They were aptly dubbed the "slimstyle" range. All following Lambretta designs, with the exception of the J-range, would be based upon this slimstyle frame design.
The LI 125 and 150 models can be identified by their round headlight rims, flat cowls with a raised center, and a front mudguard with a rounded shaped tip. The speedometer is trapezoid shaped. On the series III, the legshields were trimmed narrower than on the series II, as were the floorboards. The floorboards are squared off on the sides, as opposed to the more rounded look on the series II. Furthermore, the series III cowl badges became much smaller, and moved to the rear of the cowls. Innocenti added a large plastic badge at the rear of the frame just below the back of the seat which showed the model designation. The column lock was moved from the rear of the headset to the side, and a simple kill-switch was retained at the back of the headset. The horncasting was significantly redesigned to make it more angular and more prominent at the front of the scooter. As with the series II, the scooter was offered with a dual bench seat or twin single saddles.
Under the new bodywork, the series III was only marginally changed from the series II. The motor and frame had a very similar layout from the series II, so much so that motors can be swapped back and forth between them. The series III did have some improvements however. There was a new exhaust, which was larger than on previous models. The carburetor was also upgraded to a better version with an integrated float bowl. Another improvement was a redesigned stator/flywheel generator, this increased the electrical output of the machine. These minor changes in the motor increases power output slightly, but the significanly lighter bodywork on the series III made it faster overall than the preceeding series II.
The Ser. III LI models are relatively common and quite practical as daily riders. The 150's have decent speed, while the 125's are a bit on the slow side. Lighting is about as good as a 6 volt system is going to get on a Lambretta, but still not very good for modern sensibilities. Battery models are slightly better in the lighting department, but generally have more electrical problems, especially in terms of charging the battery. Motor parts availability is very good, and most body parts are not hard to obtain either. Some body parts are now being reproduced, and those that are not, are not particularly difficult to find second hand. Many previously impossible to get trim items are now being reproduced including all badges and rubber bits. Note: a small number of LI 125 models in the US were sold by Montgomery Wards and were badged "Riverside," except for the small badges, they are identical to a standard LI 125.
Number Produced:146,734 125's - 143,091 150's
Power Output:5.5 hp @ 5,200 rpm (125) - 6.6 hp @ 5,300 rpm (150)
- Rough but restorable = $800-1500
- Drivable, but not show = $1500-3500
- Restored or Excellent Original Condition = $3500-4500