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May 20, 2024

This Is the Only Known Lambretta Amphi-Scooter in the World

This is a 1964 Lambretta Amphi-Scooter, and as the name suggests, it’s a Lambretta scooter-based amphibious vehicle. The first was developed and built in the 1960s, floats were attached at either side on a hinged mechanism that allow the Lambretta to be used on land or water.

The first Lambretta Amphi-Scooter was dreamt up by Phillip Keeler in England, then shown to the world at the 1965 Brighton Motor Cycle and Cycle Show where it upstaged everyone else and became a darling of the media circuit.

The Swinging Sixties in London were a time when scooters from companies like Lambretta and Vespa were decidedly cool, particularly among the Mods, and they provided a cost effective commuting solution that required very little in the way of petrol.

The Amphi-Scooter would be the invention of the Lambretta Concessionaires in the UK, Phillip Keeler (who came up with the idea) was the Communications Director and the vehicle was built by Rex White who was the Head of Lambretta Development at the company.

The design is remarkably simple, foam-filled fiberglass floats are attached at either side to provide enough buoyancy to keep the scooter and two people above water. Propulsion on the water is provided by a rotary paddle attached to the rear wheel hub, and steering is accomplished using the front wheel, which has a small rudder attached to the side.

When you’re riding on the road the pontoons can be raised up on their hinges, they can then be lowered down and locked into position when you want to get out on the water. In the newsreel film embedded above you can see the Amphi-Scooter in action as well as the folding pontoon system, though it does look like it almost goes under when it’s initially launched.

Douglas Bedford, an employee of Lambretta Concessionaires, was made the official Captain of the invention however some trepidation remained about its ability to not sink immediately and embarrass the UK Concessionaires.

As a result of these concerns the vehicle was given a secret test launch into the sea at Portsmouth where Bedford dressed up as a sailor for luck. This secret test session was a success, and the vehicle went on to be displayed at the show.

It’s not known if the Lambretta Concessionaires in the UK ever intended to offer a production version of the Amphi-Scooter or if it was developed from the outset solely for the show in Brighton in 1965.

Sadly the fate of the original Amphi-Scooter wasn’t to be the first in a production run or even to be displayed at a prominent motoring museum – it unfortunately sank in the lake at Mallory Park where it presumably remains to this day.

(via Silodrome)


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