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The Model A
  Facts & Figures


The scooter that started it all off for Innocenti, rolled off of the Milan production line in October 1947. By the end of its production run in October 1948 a total of 9,669 machines had been built. Overall, the machine was both economical and quick (40-45 mph). It was radical in its design but easy to operate. The frame was of a tubular design and consisted of 2 sections. The front end comprising a pressed steel main section connected to the steering head, which held the front forks. The rear section comprised 2 chromed tubes surrounding the petrol tank and connected to a pressed steel toolbox. The 123cc engine was direct air cooled and shaft driven. The gearbox was a 3-speed item that was operated by foot via a rod mechanism, a system which was dropped on all subsequent Lambrettas. The suspension was severely limited, consisting of nothing at the rear of the scooter and only 2 bushes in the front forks. All cables were housed inside the frame, whilst making the A look very clean and tidy, did not help when you needed to change a broken cable. A very interesting feature of the model A which was dropped on subsequent models, was a very helpful oil measuring jug built into the fuel tank cap. The cap itself was green plastic, but had a metallic insert to allow you to measure the exact amount of oil needed every time you filled up. Stopping power came in the form of drum brakes which had brakes shoes of cast iron and friction material lining the drum itself.

Innocenti throughout their complete model range constantly updated and perfected their scooters. The Model A really came in three versions if you take into account all the main changes within its production. The Model A was available in 6 colours these being; grey, blue, green, beige, red and maroon, which were all a pastel colour. It is thought the colours we sourced from such places as old military factories, and other sources which held an abundance of paint left over from the war.

From the Launch, the Model A came with a pressed steel plate as a seat base, covered in a light brown leather. The 7 inch chromed wheel rims had three wheel nuts on the front, and three on the rear, these also held the rim to the hub, which caused a minor problem when you came to change the wheels as you had to let the tyre down in order to do so. The flywheel cover on the first versions was painted the same colour as the body. The horn was a mechanical item and was operated by a foot pedal near to the floor. The stand also was 'mechanical' as you had to lift it up into place when taking the scooter off its stand, so when riding the A, the stand is held in position by a clip on the underside of the frame.

Attention to detail was among Mr Innocenti's upmost concerns on his Lambrettas, with such details as the lock for the lunch box also contained a switch, with the key in position the scooter would run, as soon as the key was taken out, this stopped the scooter. The foot gear change pedal (the only Lambretta to have this) + and - pedals were in line with each other, also the A featured a number plate holder, even though at that time in Italy the law did not require registration plates.

The later or second versions gained return spring on the stand, which was also now a cast item and not welded together like the first version. It can only be taken that problems arose with the wheels and hubs, or the designers came up with a better method as the rear hub now featured six wheel nuts. Three studs and nuts held the wheel rim halves together, while the other three held the rims onto the hub. The front remained the same though, with just three fixings holding the complete assembly together. Other updates were the rear lunch box now no longer housed the ignition switch within it, a push button kill switch was positioned in the hole that previously was held by the mechanical horn lever. The mechanical horn was replaced by an electrical item, the flywheel or magneto cover was now painted silver in colour along with the wheel rims. The rear number plate holder was dropped also, as mentioned it was not needed at the time in Italy.

Small changes to the end of the production run were mainly to the seat. This now featured a sprung base which was also adjustable for dampening, the cover was made from brown vynil. In Italy the material is called Pegamoide, which is a plastic and material pressed together. The seat frame support was now made of alloy. Finally the stand instead of be cast alloy, was not made from cast iron.

Overall the model A although it got off to a slow start was an overall success. Due to high set up, production and attention to detail Innocenti never recovered costs on the A model, in fact it lost money quite heavily. Demand was strong for the new scooter, and Innocenti was convinced if production figures could rise, the profits would follow.

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Lambretta Club Of Vietnam