THE LAMBRETTA TV 175 SERIES 1
Stu Owen gives us a peek at a stunning example of the marque.
During Innocenti’s 24 years of Lambretta manufacture it came up with some exemplary and often innovative designs, none more so than the TV 175 series 1. Though it only had a short production life it left behind an ever lasting legacy. To some it was controversial but to others iconic; a Lambretta that still divides opinion to this day.
Andrew Godfrey’s first foray in to the world of Lambrettas came in 2004 when he went to purchase a Li150 series 1 frame breather. This wasn’t his original choice, in reality he wanted a TV 175 series 1 but the hefty price tag of any that came up for sale put him off. The Li had been sold before he got there but as luck would have it the dealer told him of a TV 1 for sale in Leeds that was an acceptable price. Without hesitation he followed the lead up and soon enough the tatty but complete example of the Lambretta he had always desired was in his possession.
Where do you start
With any Lambretta restoration it’s a case of stripping it down to see what needs repairing and what needs replacing. Usually any parts missing can easily be obtained whether remade or second hand. However, the TV 175 series 1 is a totally different scenario when it comes to restoration. When Innocenti first introduced the TV 1 in 1957 it was a totally new concept. Though launched at a similar time to that of the Li series 1 range there was no compatibility between any of the components.
When the TV 175 series 1 was launched this idea changed and all Lambretta models would be compatible with each other in the future. As the TV 1 was only produced for around a 12 month period it left a very limited amount of spares either new or second hand. Consequently few manufacturers have done very much in the way of remaking parts as the market is very limited.
Undaunted by this prospect, Andrew fully stripped the machine down and began the long process of trying to acquire what needed replacing. With quite a long list this was going to be a lengthy and time-consuming process. Luckily most of the bodywork and main frame remained intact and in fair condition. Though rusty and in need of repair this job was within the realms of a competent painter.
Now the real detective work came in, sourcing exactly what was required. One of the knock-on effects from the uniqueness of the TV 1 is at the time of production many dealers stocked up on spares that quickly became redundant. Left with a choice between scrapping them or hoping that one day they may be of use, a considerable number were left behind.
With its smoothly curved lines and, for the first time in Lambretta production fully enclosed bodywork, the TV 175 series 1 was a thing of beauty.
The change to a horizontal engine layout and swing mounting allowed for a much lower centre of gravity and improved handling no end.
The 23mm Dellorto carburettor, the biggest size Innocenti would ever fit on a Lambretta.