Lambretta DL200

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When Marnitz and I first envisaged this blog, our goal was to show off South  African custom built old school styled cafe racers, bobbers and choppers to the  world. We seem to be achieving our goal and are very happy with our growth over  the last six months. What we did not anticipate was the interest that would be  shown in retro scooters. Our first Lambretta Li150 feature in May was well  supported, as have the other scooter features we have posted. The scooter owners  are a wonderful group of fanatics who are very knowledgeable about all the older  scooters and their colourful history. We are pleased to bring you the occasional  scooter feature and hope that seeing their images and reading about them will  unleash a desire in some of you motorcyclists to rush out and buy or build an  old scooter for yourselves.

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Our featured 1969 Lambretta 200DL is owned by Patrick from Northcliff. The  scooter bug bit him in 1978 and sank its teeth in properly. Thirty five years  later and he owns nine scooters. His first scooter followed the Mod trend as  depicted in the Who’s movie Quadrophenia, with all the extra mirrors and lights.  A good example of such a  Mod scooter is Gerard’s previously featured  Vespa. Patrick moved away from the dressed up Mod to the dressed down modified  performance scooter. He prefers modifying his scooters by making them lighter  and faster. Lambrettas, which have an internal frame onto which the body panels  are mounted, are more suitable for stripping down to shed weight than the  Vespas, where the body panels are the frame. One of his Lambrettas, which we  hope to feature in the future, has all its body panels made from carbon fiber.  Serious stuff!

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This 200DL is one of Patrick’s less modified scooters. The DL model was known  in England as the far more exciting sounding GP model. This was an attempt to  associate these scooters with the extremely popular Formula One racing in the  late 1960s. The designer Nuccio Bertone, famous for designing some of the  world’s most beautiful and exotic cars, was contracted to design the all new DL/  GP series of 125cc, 175cc and 200cc scooters. Only 9350 examples of the 200DL  were built between January 1969 and April 1971. A quoted 11.74 hp single  cylinder two stroke motor propelled this 123kg scooter to an ambitious sounding  top speed of 120km/h. After April 1971, the Indian government purchased all the  tooling and began production under the SIL name.

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This yellow ochre colour was the standard 200DL colour. The 200DL is also  identifiable from the smaller versions by its floating disc brake on the front  wheel.  Recently the original big-end bearing seized and disintegrated.  Needles were found embedded in the piston and head, a real mess. Patrick is now  installing a new barrel and performance parts which will increase the capacity  to 240 cc and provide almost 100% more hp, making the 120km/h top speed more  attainable.

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Patrick’s love of performance looks is obvious in his choice of seat.  Giuliari of Italy built some of the most beautiful cafe racer seats of the 1960s  and 1970s. Their Honda CB750 seat is iconic, as is this cafe racer style seat  for Lambrettas. These seats are very sought after. The striking images of this  Lambretta were taken by Ryno Fourie and we appreciate being allowed to use  them.

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We must admit that we never considered ourselves being classic scooter  owners. However the little bit of knowledge that we have gained researching the  different models for the blog and time spent chatting to the scooter fanatics  has changed all that. Marnitz, myself, my wife and anybody we can influence are  destined to ride scooters together. We will ride them for the same reason we  ride our other motorcycles; for the pure joy of it

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