James’ Mobberley’s Lambretta LD
If you live in the county of Worcestershire, then you may have caught a glimpse of some awfully pleasant classic scooters – including the Lambretta LD pictured here.
James Mobberley is a member of the ‘Awfully Pleasant Scooter Association’ which is based in Worcestershire and therefore where their ‘adhoc’ scooter meetings take place. He gained an interest in scooters from listening to the stories told by his parents, both keen LD scooter owners back in the late 1950s (his father owned a Mk2 LD and his mother, a Mk3 LD – which she later swapped for a Honda 90).
It was in 1999 before James followed in his parent’s footsteps (or should we say tracks)? Although he’d wanted a Vespa PX, a Vespa 90 racer came up at the right price, so he snapped it up. Other scooters soon came into his ownership including an ‘unfashionable’ Series 2 Lambretta Li and eventually a Lambretta TV3.
Ten years after getting his first scooter, the LD 150 pictured here caught James’ eye and he purchased it from Gran Sport for the princely sum of £1100. It was the perfect opportunity for him to do something he had always wanted – recreate his Dad’s original LD, complete with similar accessories including a Vigano screen, rear rack, a badge bar and a smattering of other period goodies.
The initial build took six months and was done by James and his dad. It was then used on the road in the form of a ‘shabby chic’ restoration. However, after six months it was looking a little more shabby than chic, so James relented and stripped it down for a rebuild – and he’s been tinkering and adding bits to it ever since.
Throughout all of this, the engine has been kept totally standard – it even runs on original-style points – all it’s had is a rebore, plus a new piston. According to James, this makes it amazingly reliable and stunningly slow (35mph cruising, 43.7mph flat-out on the GPS).
The exhaust isn’t standard though, as the LD is now fitted with a Discodez Abarth pipe with carb upjetting to suit. James said: “Harry Barlow cleaned the ports for me and he’s got a spare head of mine which he thinks he can weld and retrofit in order to give much-improved compression”.
This LD’s uniqueness is due to the massive amount of 1950s accessories (all new or restored). During the 1950s LD’s were heavily accessorised – well before the 1960s Mods started accessorising their scooters. This one is no exception and is indicative of the period; it truly is tribute – not only to scooters of that period, but to James’ parents as well.
Vigano mudguard trim
Desmo original badge bar, rechromed
Ulma single legshield trim
Original Poli Horns
Innocenti wind-up clock
Faras valve radio (new old stock)
Vigano frame trim
Vigano footboard protectors
Vigano panel embellishers
Lambretta Concessionaires panel embellishers
Thanet tartan legshield bag (new old stock)
Hiway tartan seat covers
Lycett spare wheel cover
Whistonia slide-out rear rack
Rear pennant flags
Fuel gauge (French origin)
RIDER: James Mobberly
OTHER SCOOTERS OWNED: Vespa 90 Racer, Li 150 S2, TV175 S3
FAVOURITE SCOOTER MODEL: a lovely S1 or 2; maybe a nice GT200
FAVOURITE SCOOTER STYLE: properly accessorised LDs, S1’s and 2’s
FAVOURITE RALLIES: not a big national rally-type person – prefer bijou-type APSA events. Done Brighton in 2013; I loved that. Many scooters were literally out of this world
FEATURED SCOOTER: Lambretta LD
AINTWORK: Arnold Fairings
CHROMEWORK: Castle Chrome, Dudley
OVERALL COST: £7-8k
HARDEST PART OF PROJECT: Finding the clock and radio. The clock was seized due to water ingress, but a Hereford clock repairer replaced the main spring; it works perfectly now.
Also, mounting the engine with the torsion bar set-up, and not scratching the frame putting the engine in
TECH TIPS: Get a good set of Lambretta workshop tools
ANYTHING LEFT TO ADD: Maybe a Riviera-type rear tank rear rack
HAPPIEST SCOOTER MEMORIES: Any of the APSA do’s; top people, wonderful scooters and a great social scene. Probably the first APSA in truth, where I met loads of really great scooterist friends.
FAVOURITE DEALER: Discodez without question; he was the best when I first knew him in the late 90s during his ownership of Gran Sport; he was the best when he got out of the scene in New Zealand; he’s the best now.
PROJECT TIPS & ADVICE: If you’ve got little or no mechanical knowledge, go to a good local dealer, or get amongst the plethora of social media groups for advice
WHAT MAG ARTICLES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE: More 50’s shaft driven Lambrettas; there’s a big following for these beautiful earlier Innocenti machines
THANKS & MENTIONS
Dez, Nathan and Jason for sourcing some of these rare bits and bobs. A big mention to Dez for sorting out the wonderful Awfully Pleasant Scooter Association weekends. I should also thank my parents for the inspiration