1960 Olympic Games Lam­bretta

Ital­ian Mattia Paolini was re­cently on hol­i­day in Gal­way, Ire­land, where he met Ernest and Paul, two scooter fans who in­tro­duced him to Scooter­ing mag­a­zine.

Scootering - - Contents - Mattia Paolini

De­tails of an orig­i­nal Games bike re­cently un­earthed and con­served.

Dur­ing con­ver­sa­tion they learned about Mattia’s scooter, one of the eighty 1960 Olympic Games Lam­bretta 150 Li IIs, and they told him that Scooter­ing mag­a­zine had in the past pub­lished ar­ti­cles about th­ese scoot­ers and that we might be in­ter­ested in the story of how Mattia hap­pens to own such a unique scooter, so here it is in his own words…

Third owner

Well, my dad bought the scooter back in 1963. He went to the near­est town to­gether with grandpa and got the thing for 30,000 lire (€15 to­day). The pre­vi­ous owner got the scooter while do­ing his mil­i­tary ser­vice in Orvi­eto, a prov­ince of Rome, in 1960, where he bought it af­ter the Olympic games were over. He was one mem­ber of the team of riders in charge of tak­ing around in­ter­na­tional re­porters in Rome.

Then, when my dad got a car, the scooter was dis­missed and put in a garage where it laid for some 40 years, for­got­ten by all. This garage was a dirty and hu­mid place, but you must con­sider that scoot­ers are very pop­u­lar in Italy so this was kind of a com­mon prac­tice. Sadly lots of scoot­ers were lost, ru­ined or wrecked, even thrown away be­cause of such care­less­ness.

Close es­cape

In 2009 my dad and I thought it would be a good idea to bring the scooter back, and we started to get into the restora­tion process as two com­pletely in­ex­pe­ri­enced fel­las. We thought “let’s sand­blast the whole thing down, and re­paint it from scratch!” We sim­ply didn’t know how pre­cious the scooter was.

So we went to the lo­cal body shop and asked for in­for­ma­tion. They pointed us to­wards this guy who would dis­as­sem­ble the scooter for us, tell us what dam­aged part we needed to re-buy, and in the mean­time we could have the body parts blasted back at the body shop. We were think­ing, at the top of our in­ge­nu­ity, to take off all the orig­i­nal paint, and then re­paint the whole thing as new, re­pro­duc­ing the orig­i­nal sign­writ­ing and all. I re­mem­ber spend­ing an af­ter­noon with trans­par­ent pa­per try­ing to trace all the orig­i­nal sign­writ­ing in or­der to make a de­cal of some sort to put on the scooter when fin­ished. Not the great­est of the ideas, huh?

And there it came; the stroke of good for­tune… When it came to buy­ing the paint, we wanted to get the very ex­act colour, and the guy who dis­man­tled the scooter sug­gested we should get in touch with Vit­to­rio Tessera, this guy in Milan who we didn’t know any­thing about and who lived for Lam­bretta. Our guy sug­gested we should get the miss­ing parts from him as well, so my dad one day rang him on the tele­phone. And what a good thing he did!

As soon as Vit­to­rio knew what scooter we were talk­ing about, but most im­por­tant what we were about to do with it, he told us we must be crazy. He went on and ex­plained how rare such a scooter was, and stopped us right on time be­fore we made a big, great, huge mis­take!

He told us the right thing to do would be what he called a “res­tauro con­ser­va­tivo”, and pushed us to­ward the right di­rec­tion. That led to where we are to­day, and that we own a very rare his­tor­i­cal piece of scooter­ing cul­ture, re­stored the cor­rect way.

Orig­i­nal rider

And here’s the sec­ond part of the story: my dad runs his fam­ily busi­ness – a lit­tle shoe shop – and one day he was talk­ing about the Lam­bretta with one cus­tomer. Well it turns out he knew the for­mer owner back in the day. Af­ter that lit­tle chat with my dad he must have got in touch with him be­cause a few days later an­other guy steps into the shop, say­ing he was the orig­i­nal owner from the 1960s – he in­tro­duced him­self to my dad, ask­ing if he could see his old Lam­bretta!

My dad showed it to him, and the guy said with strong feel­ings of af­fec­tion he thought the scooter was long gone by now and that he was very glad it wasn’t. He then gave my dad a few pre­cious pho­to­graphs of him rid­ing the scooter in 1960, at the time and place of the Olympic Games in Rome. An­other won­der­ful piece of history!

And that’s pretty much it. I hope you en­joyed the story of how we saved an ex­am­ple of the 1960 Olympics Lam­bretta, and now proudly own one.

Mattia and his fa­ther to­gether with their rare Lam­bretta to­day.

The scooter in 2009 when they con­sid­ered blast­ing it back to metal for full restora­tion, and again as it is to­day af­ter a sym­pa­thetic con­ser­va­tion.

Above left: Luigi Sini­gardi to­gether with a fel­low rider at the 1960 Olympic games. Above mid­dle: Orig­i­nal Lam­bretta rider Luigi Sini­gardi, dur­ing the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. Above right: The Olympic Lam­bretta Se­ries 2 to­day.

Left: Orig­i­nal Lam­bretta rider Luigi Sini­gardi, trans­port­ing an ath­lete or jour­nal­ist around dur­ing the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. Above: A line of Lam­bretta scoot­ers used at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

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