From the Ewan McGregor Collection
1963 Lambretta Turismo Veloce 175
Engine number: 175TV3517797
Movie fans will know Ewan McGregor from his roles in 50-plus films, including a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars series and Christian in the musical Moulin Rouge. But McGregor, a consummate motorcyclist may be more impressive with his riding résumé, which includes the travel documentaries Long Way Round and Long Way Down, in which he and longtime riding mate Charley Boorman circumvent the globe on a couple of BMW adventure-tourers.
His ever-changing collection of motorcycles is wide-ranging, with everything from track bikes to scooters and everything in between. Now, in an attempt to “thin the herd”, this Lambretta TV175 from this very discerning of collections is available for sale.
Innocenti’s famed Lambretta Turismo Veloce 175 came about as a direct result of rival Piaggio’s 1955 launch of their flagship model the Vespa GS150. To reclaim the high ground Innocenti went all out and responded with the TV 175, which was a totally new design moving away from the open format of the previous LC and LD models. Eventually launched in 1957, the TV 175 was utterly gorgeous, it had curves and exuded glamour, very much in tune with the style of the period – think Sophia Loren. Not only was the TV a sensational looker, it was quick, with a reported top speed of 65mph, although with minor tuning, far greater speeds were attainable. It breathed through a 23mm Dell’ Orto, the largest carburetor ever applied to a road going Lambretta. For the tuners it had the magical square bore and stroke of 60mm and it wouldn’t be long before the new design would find itself in competition. The motor was a new design with a 4-speed gearbox and a modern enclosed duplex chain drive which contributed to better overall performance. Cooling was aided by small slots cut into the side panels, a feature unique to the Series 1 machines. Rear suspension used a helical spring and hydraulic shock absorber, while front dampers helped the scooter’s handling – front dampers would remain a fixture on all future top-of-the-line models, through to the DL 200. During the brief course of production the machine was developed (there were three versions) and improved, thumbwheel adjusters for the clutch and front cable were dropped and locked with a pin and eliminated by the third series. A particularly attractive feature, the slotted bezel around the 70mph speedo – a la the Rolex President – was unique to the TV. The example presented today has been the subject of a meticulous restoration by a marque expert employed by McGregor with no expense spared. Resplendent in creamy white with sky blue accents, the bike shows perfectly. Having covered less than 124 miles from restoration, the bike is barely run in, yet starts easily, idles well and performs perfectly. Brakes and suspension are taut and all electrical systems work as they should. The bike is a magnificent riding machine with great power for the diminutive engine capacity and sounds fantastic with the raspy Michelotti pipe.
Few operational examples of the complex and rare Turimo Veloce 175 exist in the United States and with exceptionally low production numbers this statement could apply internationally. Innocenti’s beautiful masterpiece stands as a 1950s design icon in such exalted company as a Rolex sports watch or a Leica camera. Throw a bag over your shoulder, buzz to the market to pick up some fresh pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, and a bottle of vino and enjoy la dolce vita!