12th Jul, 2023 11:00

National Motorcycle Museum | Solihull, West Midlands

  Lot 31

1971 Lambretta Eibar Li150 Special
One of only 2 known of the NYPD Eibar version to survive


(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: Unregistered
Frame No: 150Li315232
Engine No: 150Li315232
MOT: Exempt

  • Winner of the Quail Award 2017 for Best Scooter
  • Impressive restoration by 2nd Avenue Scooters of Arizona
  • Extensively documented ‘before and after’ historical rebuild
  • Recently imported by a collector into the UK
  • Huge haul of extraordinary period NYPD memorabilia with ‘Scooter Joe’ signed scooter helmet

The New York Police Department, the largest force in the world, had been using scooters for patrol duties in various ways since 1964, initially with Cushmans, then Vespas. In 1968 the NYPD ordered 274 Italian Innocenti Lambrettas and more again in 1969. In 1971 the NYPD wanted more Lambrettas and re-approached Innocenti who, by then, were in the ownership of BMC who had closed down the scooter side of the business. The inquiry was directed to the Spanish factory of Eibar who were making Lambrettas under license. Some say the quality of the Eibar Lambrettas was better than their Italian counterparts. At the time these were the Series 3 Li150 Specials but with the characteristic Li style horncast and front mudguard. They were ordered in White with Blue cowls. These police versions had an ignition switch and not a kill switch, apparently another stipulation of the order. A 1972 article in the NYPD in-house magazine ‘Spring 3100’ discusses these first Spanish Lambrettas and how happy they were with them. In 1975 International Sportcycles issued a press release stating that the NYPD had ordered 366 more Lambrettas taking the whole fleet up to 1000 scooters across the 79 precincts. The last versions purchased were again Spanish supplied and again from the Eibar factory who were, by this time, calling themselves Serveta. They were Blue and White with much larger decals and indicators. The NYPD Lambrettas have been immortalised over the years by ‘The Incredible Scooter Cops’ Joe Willins (‘Scooter Joe’) and Kenny Kaufman with a book and a new film of their exploits in production. Any of the NYPD scooters that were still serviceable were sold off at various surplus auctions in the late 1970s/80s and very few survive. The whole story of the NYPD scooters can be seen in ‘Classic Scooterist’ magazine issue Feb/March 2019.

Here we present a genuine 1971 Eibar NYPD Lambretta number 195, one of the first version Spanish Lambrettas and the rarest with only 2 known to survive from this era. The other example being in a collection in Milan, Italy. It was found by a lifelong Lambretta enthusiast and expert Siobhan Ellis. The scooter being in poor condition but almost entirely complete when found was still sporting its original decals and these can be clearly seen in the ‘before and after’ photographic record of the restoration. The right-hand side panel was missing and was replaced by a NOS correct Spanish panel. The restoration was entrusted to highly respected scooter restoration experts 2nd Avenue Scooters who according to Eric Lussier, the proprietor, the scooter was treated to a ‘full 100-point restoration’. Eric has kindly confirmed the scooter ‘was as original as it gets, even the original decals were present’.

The painstaking restoration is meticulous. The attention to detail is impressive. The paint and bodywork done to exact Spanish standards in the correct NYPD livery by 2nd Avenue scooters. The original seat was re-upholstered by Interstate Custom interiors, the plating and polishing of the original parts done by Diversified Metals and the exact copies of the decals taken off the originals was done by Swallow Graphics. The original Bressel Veglia MPH speedometer was retained and rebuilt by Speedo King of California. All over, the correct Spanish Phillips metric screws were used and sourced where they could not be re-used. The correct small ball-end levers were used. The correct and extremely rare BUCO windshield was also sourced, as was the parking ticket box with Blue light. Also present is the correct Eibar tool kit in tool roll. All keys are correct and present including NYPD key ring. The headlight is the correct ‘Flores version’ with correct Spanish rear light lens. The truncheon holder is as per the original design with correct period wooden truncheon supplied. Mechanically, as the scooter was indeed restored to ride, the original matching engine has been enhanced with a Mugello 185 kit and Variatronic 12V electrics (well hidden). The exhaust is a SITO Ancilloti style. The restoration we believe cost $9,000.

Further to the restoration in 2017 the owner took delivery of the newly restored scooter and immediately rode across the breadth of the USA with no issues. It won Best Scooter at the prestigious Quail Motorcycle Awards in 2017, which is an extraordinary honour. Still wearing Californian plates, the scooter was still legally used on the road recently. It is unregistered in the UK. The scooter has only recently been brought into the UK as the vendor has recently relocated here, and is offered with a NOVA number on file. The original US documents are also present from 2016 to the present.

We also present in this extraordinary lot, original examples of NYPD Police memorabilia and history of the scooter and its background including:

  • Large folder of the step-by-step restoration with ‘before and after’ photographs and notes of the work done
  • Action pictures of the Eibar Lambrettas on duty at the time
  • A copy of the book ‘The incredible Scooter Cops’ by Dave Fisher
  • A pre-film book of the ‘Scooter cops of Bed Stuy’
  • A genuine NYPD scooter helmet signed by ‘Scooter Joe’ himself
  • A metal display sign made for exhibitions 46cmm x 30cm
  • A genuine period NYPD policeman jacket (size large)
  • A genuine period NYPD policeman shirt
  • A genuine period NYPD policeman trousers (size 36 inch waist)
  • A genuine NYPD issue Motorola radio of the era (untested)
  • 2 original issues of Spring 3100 the in-house cops magazine displaying the correct era scooter we present here
  • A genuine NYPD issue wooden truncheon
  • A genuine complete leather holster belt with bullet holders, pouches, handcuff holder and a set of real Smith and Wesson handcuffs
  • Police issue-style sunglasses
  • A huge electronic file of original photographs pre-restoration can be supplied to the buyer

As one of only 2 known survivors of the era, restored professionally and with the Quail award and supplied with a large amount of genuine memorabilia, this is, in our opinion an attractive package and is offered on sale with a sensibly guided reserve.

For more information, please contact:
Paul Diamond
07768 313001


Auction: National Motorcycle Museum | Solihull, West Midlands, 12th Jul, 2023

An auction of classic motorcycles & vintage scooters taking place at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, West Midlands.



Bidding will take place live at the venue, online via our website, by telephone and commission. 

Parking and entry into the auction is free for auction attendees with a catalogue, available at the door.

To enquire about entering your motorcycle or vintage scooter into auction please call our sales office on 01925 210035, email sales@HandH.co.uk or click the Get A Valuation button. Valuations are complimentary and without obligation.

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Wednesday 12th July 2023, from 9am

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