Soulsation is a box set of music performed by the Jackson 5 covering their Motown label years from 1969 to 1975 that was released in 1995 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the year the Jacksons became the first group to have their first four releases go straight to Number 1 on the Billboard charts; or so the internet tells me. What I do know is that like many Motown bands of the period, the Jackson 5 were purveyors of fine soul music and while some of it might be thought of as a little too popular for those who consider themselves rare soul purists, you can’t argue with the numbers. Or the fact that certain tunes will always get a dancefloor grooving.
But it’s not the musical entertainment of the Motor City we’re here to appreciate, but instead this rather fine Lambretta TV 200 owned by young Isabella Antonioli from Italy. It may ring a bell with a few of you who spend time surfing the Interweb because working at the renowned Rimini Lambretta Centre, Isa’s scooter here has been used to promote the shop before, and indeed visitors may recognise it from their showroom, where it proudly sits on display when she’s not out enjoying it. It also appeared on the Casa Lambretta annual calendar soon after it was completed, but this Lambretta wasn’t always as stunning as you see it here today.
The Lambretta TV200 was an export-only model produced by Innocenti, most of which were sent from Italy to the UK. This one however was found in Greece and was returned to Italy as a present from her husband a few years ago.
After receiving her gift Isa set about choosing a design and colours for what she was later to name Soulsation. With an idea or two in mind, a trip to the paint shop narrowed down the exact colours to go with the final design and so the scooter began.
The Lambretta itself was quite straight, especially for a Greek scooter (apparently they are used hard out there), but had been ridden to the place of sale. Mind you, the engine casing turned out to be broken. Luckily RLC had enough new old stock parts – from headset to engine casing – that the bike could be rebuilt to brand new condition, arguably better some might say.
The paintwork was done to Isa’s requirements by RLC’s regular man, Robbie, with subtle attention to detail including the five stars in the panels representing the five Jacksons. They also appear elsewhere on the scooter, including the horncast badge which is just one of the unique parts on this scooter created by French craftsman and jeweller Yann at Carte Blanche, who RLC first began working with a few years ago now for bespoke scooter parts.
With a desire for a chrome-plated toolbox to complement the stunning paintwork, RLC sourced a NOS Vespa GS160 Mk2 toolbox which was expertly cut, shut and finished so that it was able to be chromed.
Other challenges included the Pegasus ‘T-bar’ seat which were apparently fitted to some of the early British TV200s (Isa’s coming from Greece had a more run-of-the-mill seat fitted). RLC painstakingly repaired the seat framework and then set about searching for the metalflake material to
RLC sourced a NOS Vespa GS160 Mk2 toolbox which was expertly cut, shut and finished so that it was able to be chromed.
er it that Isa required, again to complement the rest of the scooter. Not so difficult in the 70s or 80s maybe, but today such things aren’t so thick on the ground. Eventually it was Dean at Scootopia who put them on to a supplier that had what they were after so RLC’s maestro upholsterer Dante could work his magic and create the perfect pad on which to plonk your derriere.
Other features are less obvious, but are personally the kind of neat, individual and thought-provoking touches I’d like to add if I was building such a scooter. These include the American spec Lucas rear light which was deemed necessary in some states due to local regulations which required the rear light be seen from the sides. RLC found this one in Canada.
Along with the matching number plate holder which is necessary as the longer rear light unit no longer lit the plate on a standard bike. This too eeded modification to fit a larger Italian plate. Another foreign feature is the larger headlight m as fitted to Lambrettas built in Brazil. An ample was first spotted on such a Lambretta ittorio Tessera’s scooter museum and so ample was sourced, modified (the ilian’s apparently used a 6v sealed beam t which needed adapting) and fitted. Now ere’s a talking point if ever I saw one. Down at the engine the attention to detail continues but is far less obvious. The least subtle is possibly the rare SH2/24mm Dellorto carb which came from an Aermacchi 125cc trials bike, so they were able to increase the size while retaining the Lambretta style. Yeah, I told you they weren’t too obvious!
Aside from the tuning and upgrades such as crank, ignition and Cyclone five-speed gearbox, RLC also made a few modifications specifically for Isa when rebuilding the engine, to take into account the fact she’s not the tallest girl in the world (and at my height I’m allowed to make comments like that, okay?). Up on the handlebars a GP Electronic clutch lever has been used because it requires less of a hand-span to operate. Dean at RLC also explained, “I always remember Terry at Taffspeed telling me that ‘the bigger the front sprocket, the lighter the clutch’ and that’s stuck with me when building engines ever since.”
They also fitted a longer SX kickstarter too, just another extra thought during the build which combined with the rest are all designed to make it a little easier for Isa to enjoy Soulsation. Attending a number of Italian rallies since her TV has been on the road, Isa has also picked up a couple of trophies for her scooter too, which comes as no surprise of course, as if you think it shines in these photos, you should see it out in the midday sun where it looks even more stunning indeed. But once you’ve got over the paintwork and deep chrome, take a second look at all the subtle pieces, as it’s the attention to detail along with the sun that make this Lambretta shine head and shoulders above many others.
Right: These panels are from an unknown scooter or moped from the 60s, and were found with the raised square in the middle of them. Carte Blanche then added the ‘J5’ to each one.
Above: The fitted Brazilian Lambretta headlight rim with a thinner Innocenti rim held against it.
Left: It might look standard but this is actually a rare SH2/24 carb that’s been fitted here.