Friday, April 6, 2012

Keeping order

Here is the Serveta and me, both decked out in as much police finery as possible. The scooter made its first appearance at a rally --- the annual Rockers vs. Mods spectacle in Dallas.

I didn't enter the bike in the scooter competition. I didn't have time. There were too many disturbances that needed taking care of. Many tickets were handed out.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Obey the police

Instead of covering up the holes on the horncast where the turn signals are supposed to go, decided to do something different.

I had a beat-up set of signals from another Serveta and decided to put them to use. The lights have been painted red and blue to replicate cop lights and I stuck them on. I'm considering rigging LED lights inside them to make them work, thereby making my scooter totally illegal --- in the eyes of the real police.

Everybody else, however, must Obey.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Marked Police Scooter

In an attempt to find out more about my scooter's history, I called the Ithaca Police Department and asked to speak to an officer who had been with the department the longest. I was directed to the wonderful Lt. Vincent Monticello. He put out an all points bulletin to his retired officer buddies and here's what he came up with about Ithaca police department's two Servetas:

I spoke to one of our retired officers who came on the job in 1976. He remembers IPD having two scooters. One was to be used for the Ithaca Commons and the other for the West End Walking Beat. This retired Officer tells me that both scooters were involved in accidents very shortly after going into service and were taken out of service and sold. One apparently was driven into the side of a Detectives Car in the Police Parking Lot.

This makes sense. Both of the scooters had less than 800 miles on them when I saw them in Colorado. The one I have is more than likely the bike that crashed into the Detective's car because it has a nice long healthy scratch on a dinged fender. Ouch.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate any photos of the Ithaca police bikes while they were in use. It would seem unlikely that any exist because the bikes were probably only used a matter of months before they were sold at auction.

To reconstruct the police decals, I had to do a lot of guess work. I could tell by the remnants of the old decals that they were roughly 3 inches by 13 inches in a long rectangular piece. The decals were apparently reflective white with black outline.

I made up my own design on for fairly cheap. And while the decals were difficult to get on without making a bubbled mess, I eventually got them to look good enough for government work --- probably how they looked originally.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Oh no! It's the police!"

My Lambretta still proudly sports a black and chrome dealer sticker from International Sportcycles in Union City, New Jersey, on the leg shield.

International Sportcycles supplied the New York City Police Department with thousands of Servetas --- a fact they were quite proud of in a solicitation letter I got along with the purchase of the bike. The previous owner got this bit of mid-1970s history along with the scooter too. The letter was sent to the Ithaca P.D. where they apparently sold the department on the idea of using scooters because, after all, the NYPD had been using their Lambrettas "for almost six years."

"This type of vehicle gives the average policeman the flexibility of almost ten policemen. Due to heavy traffic, he can be on the scene of the crime faster than some patrol cars. He can chase a youthful criminal down sidewalks, through alleyways and parks: its usefulness in parking an traffic control is unlimited. In short, the Lambretta Scooter 150 Special makes the public visibily aware of the effort expended on the part of the Police Department," states the letter from John D. Lindsay, president of the company.

Stapled to that letter was another from International Sportcycles marketing manager James E. Tucker who broke down the costs for the 150 Special --- $929, not including shipping from Union City. "The units are available in White, Red and White, and Blue and White, and include directional signals in the basic price."

Mine is blue and white --- obviously. The directional signals, which never worked well when new, have been mercifully removed though.

"Extras available are: Windshield and bracket, $39.00; spare tire, wheel and mounting bracket, $30.00; side mirror and bracket, $6.00."

Mine came with all of those extras. The windshield is missing, yet the deep scratches the windshield made on the handlebars are certainly not missing. Fortunately, I found the correct Serveta cop screen that I'll put on the bike later. I don't like windscreens, but it will probably look cool on a cop bike. At least it will cover the scratches.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Code Series Three

A crippling Lambretta addiction has taught me an important lesson: you never know when and where your next-favorite scooter is going to fall into your lap. So always be ready.

That bit of Lambretta wisdom got acted on just days ago while I was in Colorado on a ski trip. I had been in Denver just one day when a Lambretta popped up for sale on Denver's Craig's List site. And this wasn't just any Serveta --- Lambretta's Spanish cousin --- that was being offered for sale. It was a New York police scooter that had once patrolled the pedestrian mall in Ithaca. The owner's father had scooped up two of the police Servetas after they were decommissioned and sold at auction. As a young boy growing up in Ireland, the father had owned a Lambretta and never stopped wanting another one. The son got the bikes after his father passed away. And in honor of his Dad he brought them to Denver and did what any good son would do --- had both of them undergo complete mechanical restorations at Denver's own Casa Lambretta. He wanted to keep one bike and sell the other, buyer's choice.

I called him immediately, met him with cash, picked out the scooter that had the majority of it's original equipment and stuffed it in the back of my 1989 Ford Bronco II for the 900 mile drive back to Dallas! I don't think I've ever been happier to prematurely end a ski trip!

So this is what landed in my back yard just days ago. I will update as I learn more about the bike's history and gradually put it back into its original condition.