NYCS Visits The Lambretta Museum
If I learned one thing coming out of the Lambretta Scooter Museum it’s that I’m glad I don’t have to dust the place.
Situated in the seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare in the west of England, Stuart Lanning’s museum overflows with more Lambretta related doodads, watchamacallits, memorabilia, and of course scooters than you can imagine. It’s the largest collection of Lambrettas in the world.
At barely 4,000 square feet of floor space in what looks to be an old chapel, you’re immediately overwhelmed upon entering the shrine to Innocenti, Elibar, Serveta and SIL. Close to sixty scooters represent every major shift in the development of the Lammy from its start in 1947 with several model “A”s through to the last production line model Lynxs, Jets and GPs from Spain and India in the 80s and 90s.
The collection represents the lifelong pursuit (and ultimately retirement fund) of venerable scooter enthusiast and parts dealer Nigel Cox who spent twenty years building the collection starting with the purchase of a much-sought-after SX200 in 1986. Nigel founded Weston Scooter Parts in the space in the Eighties and ultimately plumbed close to every penny of profit from this business back into the growth of the museum as he spent his spare time scouring the world in the pursuit of additions to his collection.
Seeking a well earned retirement, Nigel sold the collection in 2006 to former Scootering Magazine editor Stuart Lanning. Nigel kept a couple of favorite scoots for himself and the museum closed for two years while the remaining stock from Weston Scooter Parts was painstakingly gathered up, cataloged, and sold on to the Scooter Emporium in London, where you can still purchase your own rare finds from the original inventory.
Stuart used this transition to refurbish the space, increasing the square footage dedicated to the museum and moving in his own business, Scooter Products which sells a dizzying array of books, posters, badges, stickers, videos and more covering everything Lambretta and Vespa related. Particularly impressive are a series of beautifully reproduced posters that have been sympathetically, copied, cleaned up, and digitally enhanced from the museum’s own collection of original promotional materials and printed on very nice paper stock. Everything from Scooter Products can be purchased online from their website and they ship internationally.
Weston-Super-Mare (locally known just as Weston) is situated a two-hour train ride from London Paddington and the museum itself is just a few blocks walk from the train station. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 3pm. Entrance to the museum is free and funded by the profits from Scooter Products though donations are accepted. A call or email ahead of time with an estimated day and time of arrival is appreciated to guarantee your entrance to the museum.
All in all, I had a terrific couple of hours at the museum before heading to the town’s pier (and pubs) to wind down and chat scooters. What follows is a sample of snaps from inside the crowded museum:
For the armchair Lambretta enthusiast, you might want to check out Nigel’s book, Lambretta Innocenti: An Illustrated History which covers the Milan years of the Lambetta. The book is available at Amazon.com. For those of you living in the social media universe, you can follow news updates from the museum via their Facebook page.
For those unable to make the trip, YouTube user hoch88 has uploaded two great videos of an interview with Nigel during the Weston Scooter Parts days as Nigel walks through every major scooter in his museum: