Tuesday, November 21, 2006

CMSI's Modern L (for Lambretta)

CMSI's Modern L (for Lambretta)

This has been in the works for a while. So long in fact that many scooterist believed it was going to turn into Vapor-ware. But both of these images are of the 2nd prototype, which apparently is undergoing review for suitablility and tooling at this time. The above picture is from the EICMA 2006, and was one of the bits of news I was most anxious to hear about it. CMSI (manufacturer/ distributor of the TN'G brand scooters) has been working on this in partnership with PM Tuning and Piaggio. That's right, this baby is going to be sporting the Piaggio Quasar 250cc 4 stroke engine, same motor as the Vespa GTS 250ie, and the Piaggio BV 250. Looks like the old Lambretta vs. Vespa rivalry will have a new twist.

A lot of the classic scooter fans have been skeptical of this project to say the least. And while many classic Lambretta fans (who if anything are more rabid than Vesperatti) will never be happy unless they see something with classic Innocenti lines and manual tranny (2 stroke engine wouldn't hurt either), I think this is the best retooling of a classic to date. Better than the modern Vespas, VW bugs, or Ford Mustangs, by a long shot. CMSI had tried to get rights to the Lambretta name, but could not secure them world-wide, so are instead going with the "L-series" name. Word on the street is that much of the body will be fiberglass instead of steel. If so that should make this scoot faster straight out of the box than the Vespa GTS, due to a lighter body.

This is a very tempting scooter. I've had some issues with TN'G in the past, and am still unsure how much of it was the dealer I was going through, and how much of it was CMSI. I would take some convincing to plop down some money on one of their scoots again. And rumour has it that this baby is going to be in the same ballpark as the Piaggio 250cc models, probably in the range of $6 to 7k when all is said and done. So this will definitely be a high-end specialty scoot. But the QUASAR is supposed to be a stellar engine, and one that many trained mechanics (any modern Vespa shop) would be able to work on. Plus with both cowls removable, more minor mechanical tinkering should be much easier than on most 4-strokes.

Another thing going for this project, is that CMSI have tried to involve the Lambretta fan base with the early steps of the production. They haven't been rushing to get this thing on the market either. They have definitely been taking their time, and getting the kinks worked out. Plus, CMSI is based in Preston, WA, so luckily, this one on-the-drawing-board scoot that we should certainly see state-side. It may still be a year or two, but by then, I may be looking to add another scoot to my stable...

Thanks go out to The Scooter Scoop and 2Stroke Buzz for breaking this story first. If you are interested in this story, you should check out what they and their respective communities are saying about it.

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