When did you first start riding bikes and scooters and what did you
My first bike was a Motom 4 stroke 48cc. We started with the scooters
1962. We gained our experience with 2 stroke engines with go-karts,
had recently arrived from the States and were all the fashion. With the
Karts, we had started to build them from scratch making up the frames
utilising various two stroke motors of the period to power them, such
Devil, MV and Rumi. We then came across Bultaco engines that were well
engineered for the time and with these units we gained invaluable
in the two stroke field. We then started to work on Lambrettas which
all the rage at the time, to such a point that motorbikes in general
being discarded by all and sundry as scooters had totally taken over
market. This is the usual ‘cycle’ of events, exactly reflecting what
happened recently on the two wheeled market. Of all the scooters
at the time, we chose Lambretta as it was the most evolved mechanically.
Did your father Gualtiero do any tuning of the Lambrettas or was it all
your work at the time
– No, he was involved as well. Let’s say that if we’re talking about
exhausts or tuning in general, then it was my idea, but by using my
general mechanical knowledge we were able to get the right results. For
example, when we had to start changing front sprocket sizes he hand
these ; even as a young lad he was able to rebuild complete engines
hand made parts, he was such a competent mechanic. And that’s right
to casting parts in ali, making bushes and reboring by hand. I even
seeing him make a spark plug from scratch, utilising various
materials - as ceramic was unavailable at the time – and then machining
the central electrode on a lathe! All things that would be
in this day and age.
– What you have to bear in mind is that we had no choice at the time,
it was impossible to find anything on the market to buy outright. It
important to know how to construct, mill, cast, grind out or use a
or a file to make the parts you required.
– On the other hand, I was more interested in the preparation of the
such as making the expansion chambers and the whole spectrum regarding
the actual tuning.
What made you tune Lambrettas rather than Vespas?
– The main reason was that we preferred Lambrettas aesthetically, as
seemed a bit ‘lop sided’ to be tuned up. Lambrettas on the other hand
you a certain ‘guarantee’, in part due to the the central barrel and in
part down to the fact that they were made completely differently.
– Regarding the actual frame, the fact that Lambrettas used a solid
diameter tube gave us a better guartantee, whereas Vespas pressed steel
frame seemed to give the impression that the scooter was designed and
to be used in a more relaxed manor. The Lambretta tube type frame was
more ideal for sporting use and therefore a good basis for us to work
Did you ever have any direct involvement with the Innocenti factory?
– No – never, absolutely no contact at all. The only contact we had was
with the ‘Florence Lambretta Club’. And even that was only for a
of image as there was no exchange of technical information.
Were most of these scooters purely for competition use, or were they
on the road?
– Only for road use, in the sense that in the main the scooters were
on the open road. There were specific competitions but these normally
place on the open roads rather than actual race tracks. You have to
that at the time, the level of traffic on the roads was substantially
to that of today. The competitions usually took place on the motorway
was being constructed near ‘North Florence’. We would set off from
head for the ring road and then the competition proper would take place
on the return journey, with the public waiting at the start / finish
races were highly popular at the time with the Florence scooterists.
holding races on public motorways was - and is - highly illegal,
when you consider that we’d easily get 200 people parked up on the hard
shoulder to watch the show. The Police knew what was happening but
inevitably show up when the racers had long gone – only to dish fines
to all those who had turned up to watch!
Was it always Lambretta v. Vespa?
– It’s not true that it was Lambretta v. Vespa : that’s a false myth.
was always Lambretta against Lambretta because to race against a Vespa
would have been a one sided challenge. There was a period that both we
and Gori both used Lambrettas, then we became involved with bikes and
started using Vespas as Innocenti had closed.
– In all honesty, I have to say that despite what is written on Gori’s
website, we were never, ever beaten by a Gori tuned Lambretta. I’d even
go as far to say that this is probably one of the reasons that he went
on to tune Vespas, as he knew that there was no way whatsoever that one
of his Lambrettas could touch one of ours. Our tuning was technically
for the time. For example, we used SS Dell’Orto carbs on our scooters
he was mounting twin standard carbs which is a method somewhat open to
much discussion when it comes down to end results.
Were you ever involved in scooter competitions in Italy?
– Yes, right from the start we used our Lambrettas in regularity
We tuned the scooters and then cut holes in the sidepanels for the
carbs to breathe through. My Brother and I also entered several races
the Florence area.
What years did you race scooters?
– It was around 1962-1963. It is certainly a long time ago, although I
well remember my brother has entered a Milan – Taranto race organized
Innocenti. Can’t remember the year though. The team was composed by my
brother, Pieroni and Musilino who later will ride the bike with me for
the record attempt in Monza.
What was scooter competition like at the time: was it circuit races or
only long distance road trials?
– No circuits just time trials or long distance races.
When did your rivalry with Gori start?
– It all started with the go-carts, because also Gori started with them
I will remeber using Rumi cylinders. He also entered the 200cc twin
category, his riding skills were really good, a very good driver. We
come from go-carts were your tuning experience for two stroke engines
rises up a lot.
What were the parts involved in the kits that you sold?
– The parts objust of the kit were the barrell, piston, inlet manifold,
carb, head which featured a modified squish, the front sprocket, chain
tensionner, the half link…..
– I don’t remember all these details, it’s really long time ago…..
– In the upper chain tensioner we welded a pair of small brackets to
it, because it happened that they broke and the loose parts ended up
the clutch bell, causing a sudden stop of the bike. We also did
clutch springs and if I remember well clutch discs in a different
but this only in the late kits. Then apart from that we sold the slope
back seat and the exhaust. The seat was really low and fixed on the
so that there was a central hole for the petrol tank access. In the
we did the frames ourselves and then made them covered by a craftman in
Florence, but when the request grow up, we got them made by Giuliari,
later did their own model based on ours but you could lift the back for
the petrol tank access. I remember the first seats were completely hand
made by my father…
– Oh yes I now remember dad did the frame and then we brought them to
craftman for the cover.
– We took the inspiration from the seats of the Norton bikes, with the
risen back end to allow a confortable lying prone riding position.
What performance could you expect from a Lambretta fitted with the kit?
– The base kit was the conversion for 125 to 150 or 175, the faster was
125 converted to 200.
– We never changed the crankshaft, in my opinion the Innocenti crank
really good I have never seen a Lambretta with the conrod shot, if not
for good reasons.
– On a 200 converted bike we ended up at 140 km/h, but we tried to get
How many did you sell?
– Just in the beginning we sold about 200, then when we got in touch
Nannucci we sold a lot more.
What percentage of those went to other countries?
– Certainly over 50%.
– I remember these card board boxes into which we put all the pieces.
were various sizes depending on the parts of the kit, due to the fact
not everyone wanted an exhaust, perhaps just the barrel kit because the
exhausts were noisier than those fitted as standard. These exhausts
evolved in various stages. Initially we used the original manifold and
just modified the exhaust. Thereafter we manufactured a second type
had a larger 44 mm manifold utilising normal plumbers’ tubing.
– The biggest problem was to find someone capable of making the curved
part of the manifold. Once we had found the tubing it all became a lot
easier. We actually copyrighted the design for the exhaust and the seat.
What other scooter parts did you design or manufacture?
– Apart from the kit and the seat nothing else.
Did you ever produce tuning parts for Vespas?
– Nothing at all. For us the Vespa was a joke (laughs).
How did you get involved with the British Lambretta importer Nannucci?
– He was introduced to us by Don Noys whom we met the year before in
during the record attempt. Alberto do you remember they came down with
that spunker they couldn’t even start?
– Yes the sprinter was really smart which had to be ridden by Marlene
– A very nice lady
– They even told us the tuning of the barrel had been designed by a
from which you can understand technology with computers was really at
– They couldn’t even start the bike. In that occasion they saw our own
sprinter so we got in touch with Don Noys.
– The Monza event had been organized by Innocenti, our bike was ridden
by me and Musolino; that was the trial for Elvington.
– Even if we didn’t have Elvington in mind when we went to Monza.
– It was Nannucci who organized the Elvington attempt the year after,
with his friend Len Cole. Nannucci himself was of Florence origins and
together with us he became distributor for another Company in Florence
which did accessories, Super.
What parts did Nannucci buy off you and in what quantities?
bought our tuning boxes and was the only one to import them in the UK.
What was the arrangement made between yourselves and Nannucci that
the Ancillotti name to be used on Lambretta accessories?
did an arrangement which gave him the exclusivity for the UK to use our
products and name.
Are you aware that ‘Ancillotti’ is now the generic name for a
Lambretta seats and performance exhausts made by many different
– We didn’t absolutely know this, but we are obviously proud of it,
the Ancillotti trademark is still alive and we have recently sold it
in an industrial use of it.
– Perhaps the notoriety of our name in England will be good for Alberto
with his new bicycle production already well known there.
When did you start your sprinting project?
– Some months before. The bike was basically the same of Monza, there
only a few minor changes like a bigger carb and a offset crank pin to
a longer stroke.
That was it, our father suggested that. The final cc with this
– We had some seizure worries before the attempt, the barrell was
with brass on the outside to try to dissipate the heat and to close the
holes in the barrel done by the excessive bore. The brass ignition was
done on the outside of the barrel inside the fins. Our main worry in
was the seizure, infact if our trial had to last a bit more we would
this kind of problem for sure.
was the first engine you used for your sprinter, and what was the
– As said we basically just developed the engine on our Monza sprinter,
just modifying the porting.
Why did you base your sprinter on an LI Series 1?
– Well we though it might have been stronger….but mostly because we had
this Lambretta we could “abuse”.
Why did you choose to fit the heavy anti-dive front brake linkage to
– I wouldn’t say heavy. We used this system to be able to put a brake
in different position so it was stronger, then connecting the linkage
front of the bike was a lot more stable. Also we though our braking
was increased because normally on a Lambretta the front links’ diving
a problem at speed.
– We also mounted on the bike a pair of special Continental tyres to
– I also remember a curiosity, and that in Elvington appeared someone
Avon tyres, offering to mount a pair of their own production tyres for
the attempt. I denied because they couldn’t guarantee their tyres at a
certain speed, while were the Continentals.
Did you ever use this anti-dive arrangement on anything else?
– Never on motorbikes because with the hydraulic forks it was not
I used it on one of the first downhill bikes I did back in 93.
Did you compete in any competitions with this scooter in Italy before
it to England?
– Just Monza the year before
What was the journey to England like?
– On a Fiat 600, with the bike loaded on the roof and a spare engine in
the back of the car.
What fuel did you use for the record attempt?
How did you get hold of a TV200 casing when these were not intended for
the Italian market?
– It’s a long time ago, and I don’t remember well; if the casing was a
200 it was given us by Don Noys for sure, but I think we did modified
original engine, welding the holes for the cylinder studs, welding some
alluminium arount them and making new ones to allow a 200 barrell. I’m
not sure of that.
Can you remember what port timings were used in this engine?
remember the exhaust port was 180°, taking inspiration for the
engines when we thought that 172° was the maximum achievable and
inlet port at 160°. Transfers were at 132° I well remember it.
What type of piston did you use?
– The piston was an Asso with dykes rings.
What sort of gearbox did you use?
– The gearbox was from a 175.
How was the fairing made?
– The fairing was a motorcycle one you could buy normally, had been
and converted to fit.
The records meeting was in October – what was the weather like?
– The problem was the wind. Fortunately it didn’t rain but I had to
on one side to face the wind, which at least was a steady mono
one so I just had to correct by leaning.
What problems did you encounter with the sprinter when you rode it?
– (laughs) yes Piero put a blanket on the mouth of the carb to protect
it, then in the morning we forgot and started the bike. We had to take
it off in pieces and had to strip the barrel. The piston skirt suffered
a bit of damage and we had to fix it.
Who rode the scooter to set the 106mph terminal speed?
– Only me
The sprinter now has a flywheel cowling fitted that includes a small
scoop. Did this improve cooling much?
– That was a good idea. We machined the fins off the flywheel to make
lighter, so we had no cooling at all. This aided much to keep the
– Before the trial I went in London in a very famous motorcyclist
shop and bought a Cromwell helmet and a leather overhall to ride the
Obviously I also bought a Barbour, very fashionable for motorcyclist in
Italy at the time, but you couldn’t find them anywhere in our Country.
I also bought a pair of glasses.
Do you think there was more power to come from the engine if it was set
up better or were you at the limit of the Lambretta engine for the
of that time?
I think for the technology we had that was really the best we could do.
Did you ever race the scooter again after the record attempt in England?
– No never more, also because ended under the water during the winter
66 went the Florence river (Arno) came off and flooded all over the
Did the records ever earn you any recognition from the Innocenti
or anyone else in Italy for your achievements with the Lambretta?
– No nothing
– I think Innocenti already had their own problems to look after.
When did you make your first motorcycle?
– We begun in 1967 modifying Beta’s for motocross, the first bike
built by us has been done in 1969.
What were the biggest achievements of your motorcycles?
– We have won more than 20 Italian championships and National ones
in all european Countries, gold medals at the enduro 6 days, then good
positions in those that were the World championships 125 (still not
When was the Ancillotti empire at its biggest?
– Our best has been around 1978 – 79, we had nearly 45 people working
us in a 4.000 sm (square meters) industrial estate. At the time we did
about 3.000 bikes a year
– People think Ancillotti was a product exclusively handmade but it
we’ve been the first production chain in Italy totally controlled by
– Must be said computers at the time were not the same as today’s they
were as big as a desk and were difficult to use so we always were in
need of maintenance from other firms to keep it going and this has been
a problem for us. For example I remember we have never been able to
our parts stock using it, and this was a problem keeping us always
with all the parts we needed. But anyway must be said the system was
good, infact when we closed down our production chain has been bought
– we had scheduled times to mount the components, at the end of which
chain moved automatically. At the end of every chain there was a test
where every bike was tested.
– One of the innovations I am particularly proud of is the Pull Shock
which is in use still today on a lot of motorcycles. I think this is a
national technical achievement on a lot of bikes for every use (road,
When did you close down the factory and what did it feel like to do
– In 1985 the main reason has been the success of japanese bikes on the
market. Our crisis started in 1980 and we tried to face it reducing
and of corse the people working for us, until when production was so
you didn’t have an economical return for the cost of engineering. Must
be said in the motorcycle production every year you have to update
and technology. Amongst all little Italian motorcycles companies we’ve
been about the latest to give up, but in the end we had to.
What did you do after you stopped motorcycle production?
– I converted into a job my second hobby, mineralogy for which I had
attended University before my help was needed in the motorcycle shop. I
have done research all over the World for about 7 years. Then my son
a bycicle with dampers and I built him one, then the new bycicly
– I remained in the mechanical business, doing tuning and accessories
motorcycles until 2000 when I retired.
How did you get involved with bicycle production?
– As said the input was the request of my son, but still today
is limited in me and him, the experience with the motorcycle company
been for me a shock, so today I keep well in the small trade. It’s a
funnier if you stay little.
– To be honest it was me who wanted to realize something people could
like the name Moto Guzzi or Gilera, perhaps I had some illusions of
My brother wasn’t the same idea also in those days.
What have been the firm’s achievements in cycling?
– We have won a World Championship, two Silver medals, one of which
an English female rider named Fiona Griffiths and a Bronze medal in the
downhill category, plus a lot of Italian chamionships.
What is the future for the Ancillotti brand?
– The Ancillotti name is still a trademark and as said has been
sold, but what the Company we sold it to is willing to do with it we
know. We can only hope it will be used for a new product on the