Project Description

Lambretta Sx200 AF S type

Markie Says: “Is it an original one? It wasn’t, but what a beautiful Scooter it was”

Lambretta Sx200 AF S type

This bike came about from an email that made my ears prick up.

It went a bit like this………..

‘Hi I’m a go between for 2 private military museums and possibly the biggest collector of German WW2 vehicles in the world’

We got talking and it turned out he was a long time customer and was head hunting me to do some restoration work.

The next I know I’m on a private tour of the Kevin Wheatcroft Donnington Park Formula one museum but only looking at the WW2 vehicles and inspecting them for quality. An hour or so later I was at Kevins farm and met a handful of helpers clearing the farm buildings. Aston Martin was there collecting a 70’s muscle car and transporting it off somewhere, the brakes we stuck and took all of us and the winch to get it in the low loader.

I was there to inspect one of the first snow mobiles ever made with the view to restore 3 out of 4 ever made by the Canadian army for use in Norway in WW2.
In the same building was a Hummer, some big toys and – this AF Sx200 S Type. The first question I asked was ‘Is it a real one or one of the hundreds of copies?’. I was told its an original and somewhere was a photo in a barn. I was told who restored it ten years previous. Id forgotten but was reminded after we completed it that I questioned various parts on it that I doubted it was a genuine 60’s S type, but who am I to say – why would I be a S type expert.

From here we went to meet Kevin for the first time at his – scrap yard – opps we’re not allowed to call it a scrap yard! Its a massive collection area were I walked around for a few hours with my mouth open. I got to see one of Adolf Hitlers 6 wheeled cars, restored Sherman tanks, Panzer tanks, I saw the last German torpedo boat turret, torpedos and mines. I saw buildings full of tanks, oddball army cars, search lights and anti aircraft guns. I saw a room full of motorbikes, the last of a kind Japanese army tank, some of Steve McQueens Japanese army collection. I even saw one of the tanks in Brad Pitts film Fury. What a day – its too hard to explain what I saw. What it did do was get me in touch with Kevin for the first time.

Months later I had the pleasure of having Kevin stay a couple of days to talk restorations. This is when the Sx turned up. Within a day it was fully stripped and we started working on restoring it.

The bike had been restored 10 year previous and had been left in Kevins barn type building where the roof had caved in and the Sx had some damage.
So the spec was – keep it as original as possible, but change the Purple colour which looked Brown in a barn to a Blue to match his restored AC Cobra! As we were stripping it we were sure it wasnt original but you never now if there had been upgrades over the 40 odd years.

Engine wise it had a GP crank, with standard rod, the ignition was a points 12 volt DC positive earth conversion, the cylinder was standard but flowed with a 3 ring piston and standard head. The carb was a new MK1 Amal on a 60’s type inlet manifold and the exhaust was a RS Clubman. Gears were Sx200 and about the only original part in the engine.

Bike wise most of it was fine, but there were some things we didnt like or would have done different. As with all my rebuilds I put much more work into them than others. The panels were strengthened and the cracks repaired, the leg shield cracks were done, the front mudguard was strengthened and lots more.

Basically we went through it to make it right and to a museum standard.

Our mate Steve, one of our customers fitted it into his busy spray shop to paint it, not all of it but some of the bike, some of it was fine, all we had to do was rebuff up the paint after the full strip down. We kept as much as we could from the first restoration, but some parts we couldn’t save and only managed to put £300 worth of parts on it!

Lets get this right……… this bike started off as a good one, it was complete, there was no rot or twisted panels, it was a rolling Scooter and maybe the engine would have worked if we tried. The Smiths headset, fog and spot lights and leg shield toolbox were already done. The only thing that stopped it been left on show in Kevins collection was the damage to the main panels.

As much as you want to believe the information given, as we stripped it – it was becoming more and more unlikely. It wasn’t until we showed it to Mau at Scooter Scene who did some digging around and said it’s doubtful it’s an original. We then chased back the information and it was true, some duff information passed down the line over the years. We did hang onto the fact that there was an old photo of it in a barn in its original colours as it is now. Turned out it was another Lambretta barn find…….. umm oh well, still a nice bike.

When it was on display in the shop, everyone who’s seen it has given us positive comments. It was photographed by Sticky for the 2021 calendar and Scooter Scene did a write up.

As much as it was a good bike, people build in different ways, some right, some wrong, some ok. It’s always harder following other peoples work, we have standards and we do it our way – with some common sense and following the original Innocenti spec and the spec of the AF S type that so many have done before.
The original rebuilt engine gave a whopping 12bhp! Not a race motor by any means, yes of course we could have done a monster – whats the point, it’s doubtful it will run, but if it’s sold in years to come, fresh petrol and battery and it should be a great runner.

The original reverse pull standard type disc was kept as was the dampers to keep the 60’s period look. We kept the Smiths speedo conversion and fog and spots and the GS legsjhield toolbox.

And then there’s the details. Details people hardly ever see until they study it. Every electrical connector was rewired to even the smallest of instrument lights. We used a real DC ignition switch, meaning the battery is isolated in the off position, in the on position all lights work including the fogs and spots. The original 60’s Lucas positive earth system was removed and updated to a full 12 volt modern system but kept the original rectifier used as a junction box but still looks period.

We tried to use as much of the good parts as we could, but upgraded with the use of stainless steel where we needed too. Old chrome and alloy was repolished including taking out some lumps and bumps as it came in. Rubber trim was replaced and made to fit correctly.

And then the bike was finished off our way, it’s the little things the last 20% of a job to make sure it’s right. Things like grommets on the top of the carb, heat shrink on the petrol tap joint, wiring as smooth as possible cut to correct lengths, battery wires heat shrunk with colour coded ends for idiots who may follow in years to come.

In the old days to start a S Type meant you had to lift the seat to turn on the choke, the side panel needed removing to tickle the Amal, then refitted – what a job! We made a push button tickler where the original choke nob fits to flood the carb. Now you turn on the petrol use the tickle nob and kick – simple and basic really, its just a bit of detail, but took nearly 8 hours to machine all the parts and get it to work.

If you like the look of our work, we have Scooters already stripped waiting for the right customer or we can do your own – built our way with no corners cut.

MB – designing, rebuilding, restoring and repairing Lambrettas for 40 years……….

This was our first restoration for Kevin – when he inspected it he said ‘If I doubted you before I certain don’t now’………..