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Vespa, Piaggio and all associated logos are trademarks of PIAGGIO & C. S.p.A.
Innocenti and all associated logos are trademarks of Fiat S.p.A.
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Bar Italia Classics claims no connection to the above trademarks.
Glossary of Terms
Here we have included some definitions of words and phrases as they are commonly used in the context of the vintage scooter community and in the restoration industry in general. This section is a work-in-progress. If you are unclear on any terms that we have used throughout the site that you do not see defined here, or you have other suggestions, please email us with your input. Thanks.
Aluminum - Aluminum is an element of the periodic table with the chemical symbol Al and an atomic number of 13. Aluminum is a non-ferrous, non-magnetic metal which does not rust and is very resistant to corrosion, particularly when kept clean. It can be polished to mirror/chrome-like finish or presented in a matte. Aluminum is used prevalently in cast-form on scooter engine cases and it is also used in polished and non-polished form for trim and accessories.
Amal - Amal is a British company which provided carburetors for many British, Spanish and other European motorcycles throughout the '50s and '60s. Some early license-built Vespas made in Bristol, England by Douglas used Amal-brand carbs. Amal carbs were also used as a go-to high-performance tuning option by many Lambretta and Vespa racers of the '60s, '70s and '80s before eventually losing out favor to the cheaper and more efficient Japanese carburetor offerings and later Italian DelLorto carbs.
Auto-Lube - The term Auto-Lube refers to any of the various "oil-injection" systems used on many two-stroke scooters and motorcycles. While some manufacturers, like Austria's PUCH added this feature to their motorcycles very early on, it wasn't until the late '60s that the idea really started to catch on. While Innocenti only offered the feature on their oddly-styled Lambretta Cometa model, Piaggio began offering their Spica-designed Auto-Lube as an option on all Largeframe models beginning in 1968. Interestingly, in the four-wheeled world, Spica is most famous for their ingenious high-performance, if delicate, mechanical fuel injection system used on the Alfa Romeo Montreal V8 as well as on all USA-market Alfa DOHC models from 1969-1982.
Bing - Bing is a German carburetor brand that was supplied as original-equipment on many early license-build Lambretta models made by NSU in Germany. Bing carbs were also standard equipment on later, non-Lambretta NSU scooters as well as many other German and Austrian machines like the Zündapp Bella, Durkopp Dianna, Heinkel Tourist, PUCH Twingles, Etc.
Cad - see Cadmium
Cadmium - Cadmium, or "Cad" is an element of the periodic table with the chemical symbol Cd and an atomic number of 48. Because of it's excellent corrosion-resistance, cadmium makes an incredibly good plating material for hardware fasteners and other components. Cadmium plating can be identified by its signature dull white-silver color. While still widely used in the aerospace industry, cad began to fall out of common use in the automotive/motorcycle/scooter world by the early '70s in favor of the less expensive and less toxic Zinc plating. Luckily, with our shop being located in Southern California, we have access to so much of the legacy of the SoCal aerospace industry and we are able to get real cadmium plating done for our restorations and for our clients.
Carburetor - In simplest terms, a carburetor (or carb, for short) is a device that meters and mixes air and fuel in appropriate ratios in order to be efficiently burned by an internal combustion engine. In general, the carburetor controls not only the ratio of the air/fuel "charge," but also how much of the charge is allowed into the engine at and given time, by means of a throttle slide, flap or valve to facilitate acceleration.
Carello - Carello is an Italian manufacturer of lighting equipment. They were an OEM supplier of headlights and related equipment to Innocenti and others in the 1950s and ’60s.
CEV - CEV is an Italian manufacturer of lighting and other electrical equipment. They were an OEM supplier of headlights, taillights, switches and related equipment to Innocenti and others in from the ’40s-’70s, and were a principal OEM supplier to Piaggio in the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s, particularly essential for meeting the ever-more-complex USA DOT regulations of the era.
Chrome/Chromium - Chromium, or “Chrome” is an element of the periodic table with the chemical symbol Cr and an atomic number of 24. Chromium is a hard and lustrous metal, often used to plate on top of steel, brass or other metals. While primarily used as a cosmetic coating for trim, tail light housings, headlight bezels, switch covers, etc., hard-chrome is often also used to line cylinders, carburetor slides, and on some suspension components to offer strength, durability and corrosion resistance.
Concours - In automotive terms, “Concourse,” or more completely, “Concours d’Elegance” originally referred to the gatherings of custom, coach-built motorcars in the grand salons of Paris in the days between the world wars. Later, the term and the events themselves began to focus less and less on custom vehicles and more on preservation of both older coach-built as well as factory-build machines. Today, Concours d’Elegance events are held all over the world and bring together the best of the best in factory-accurate restoration. Judging is usually based on a 100-point system, in which different values are assigned for different categories. A vehicle might have a perfect, factory accurate paint job and trim, but might loose 5 points for having the wrong markings on the bolt heads or the wrong brand of lenses on the lighting equipment, etc. Important to note, that points are often deducted for “general over-restoration.” If something is chrome that should be cadmium or if the restorer used modern two-stage (base/clear) paint, even if its the best chrome job and the deepest, shiniest paint job in the world, the entry will loose points for not being period, factory accurate.
Cutdown - While sometimes confused with the Skelly style, a “cutdown” is a type of custom scooter in which some or all of the legshield bodywork is cut off to make a thinner, more streamlined appearance, either for a Skelly-type look or for more aerodynamics on high-performance machines.
Dealer Special - This term refers to any of a number of signature “custom” schemes done by scooter dealers, primarily in Britain, to set their Vespas and Lambrettas apart from the competition. Dealers would take the standard machine that everyone received from the distributors and add custom offset-color paint-jobs and graphics, as well as sometimes adding specially-made exclusive accessories and even going so far as signature engine modifications. Famous examples are the Eddie Grimstead specials of the ’60s and the Armando’s Specials of the ‘80s.
DelLorto - DelLorto was the primary manufacturer of carburetors and related fuel system components for the majority of Italian scooters and motorcycles throughout the 20th century.
DOT - Short for the United States Department of Transportation
Headset - Term used for the cast “handlebar” assembly on a scooter.
Innocenti - Innocenti was the parent company of Lambretta. Originally a manufacturer of tubing and scaffolding assemblies, Ferdinando Innocenti was inspired by the American Cushman scooters that he had seen American servicemen tooling around Italy on at the end of WW2. He decided to take this simple design concept, but to add a more elegant motorcycle-esque engine/transmission unit to turn it into a practical vehicle for post-war European cities. The first Lambretta scooters hit the streets in 1947, after Piaggio’s 1946 launch of the Vespa.
Iron - Cast Iron - Iron is an element of the periodic table with the chemical symbol Fe and an atomic number of 26. Cast iron is used prominently for engine cylinder blocks and Iron is the primary ingredient in various types of Steel which is used to make everything from gears and driveshafts to chassis frames and body panels and trim.
LOBO - The most prevalent OEM hardware brand/marking used on many '60s and '70s-era Italian vehicles and occasionally on earlier machines as well. See Also 3F, SBE, Plain Head
Mod (1) - Short for modification. This can refer to aftermarket work like performance engine "mods," or it can refer to official factory changes made to vehicles at certain periods in time. Probably the most famous example of this in the scooter world is the official Pre-Mod and Post-Mod Series 3 Lambretta designations referring to the arrangement of the headset, chrome-ring, legshield array which changed in the mid-'60s and requires care to be taken in order to source compatible replacement parts.
Mod (2) - Short for "modernist." The term refers to a youth-oriented subculture originating in late '50s-early '60s Britain and later revived to varying extents in the '70s, '80s and beyond throughout the rest of the world. Original "Mods" were primarily characterized by their embrace of Continental European fashion, American music (originally mid-century modern Jazz, but later '60s R&B and Soul), and of corse Italian scooters. Stereotypically, "Mod" scooters are the ones that you see covered in excessive amounts of chrome accessories, clusters of fog-lamps and driving lights and, most notoriously, huge arrays of rear-view mirrors on long chrome stems. This look hit its peak in England around 1963 with young mods competing to one-up each other with more and more clutter, sometimes supplied by scooter-specific accessory manufacturers, but just as often it was comprised of stuff stolen off of locally parked Jaguars, MGs and Healeys. Soon, however, the impracticality of this style made itself known and re-streamlining became the norm again, even for "Mods." Still, this cartoonish look would eventually live on, thanks in no small part to a particular rock opera film of the late '70s which sparked a "Mod Revival" throughout the '80s. Still, this style of scooter is mostly favored by "scooterists" who do more photo-ops than they do riding. While an interesting snippet in scootering history, the significance of the "Mod" phenomena is generally regarded by those on the inside of scooter culture as being a bit overblown by those on the outside. That said, creating a period-authentic "Mod" bike can be quite a fulfilling project, except these days, we tend to buy our Lucas lights and Stadium mirrors from British car specialist distributors or we hunt down originals on eBay, rather than nicking off of parked Jags.
NOS - The term NOS is an abbreviation for the somewhat slang-term "New Old Stock", meaning original parts that were manufactured in the period that a classic vehicle was produced, but have remained unused for many years, usually in original packaging, etc. NOS parts, if they have survived in good condition, are considered the "holy grail" parts for restoration work.
OEM - The term OEM is an abbreviation for Original Equipment Manufacturer. The term generally refers to a newly manufactured part for a vehicle, supplied by the same company that made the part for the vehicle originally. The term can also mean any company that supplies components to a vehicle manufacturer. For instance DelLorto made all of the carburetors for Piaggio Vespa models, so DelLorto is/was a Piaggio OEM. And currently, newly manufactured DelLorto carburetors are considered OEM items.
Piaggio - Piaggio & C. S.p.A. is the parent-company and inventor of the Vespa motorscooter. Founded in 1884, the industrial firm quickly became one of Europe's premier producers of locomotives and railway carriages and later moved on to aircraft manufacture. Like other Italian Aeronautics firms, sanctions following WW2 forced the company to shift it's focus away from aircraft. These sanctions, coupled with post-war economic conditions and fuel shortages led Piaggio to focus on inexpensive personal transportation. The resulting Vespa scooter mobilized and economically revitalized a war-torn Europe and propelled Piaggio into becoming one of the most successful industrial firms in Europe. In addition to the Vespa brand, Piaggio also currently owns several other former competitors in the two-wheeled game, such as Moto Guzzi, Gilera, Aprilia, Bianchi, Derbi and others.
Plain Head - Plain or "unmarked," unbranded bolt heads were the norm for most fasteners on Vespa models from the '40s until the late '60s when LOBO, SBE, and 3F marked fasteners began to be phased in.
Powdercoat - Powdercoat is a type of painting process that uses electrostatic charges to bond dry-paint powder to parts. While powdercoat has a number of advantages in industrial applications (not the least of which is low-cost), it was not used in the period-production of vintage scooters, and therefore we do not use the process for any of our regular restoration work. While durable, powder coat tends to have a not-so-smooth, sometimes “orange-peel” surface and therefore it is not great for most parts of a custom build either.
SBE - One of a variety of hardware brands/markings used on many '70s-era Italian vehicles and occasionally on earlier machines as well. See Also LOBO, 3F, Plain Head
SIEM - SIEM was an Italian manufacturer of lighting and other electrical equipment. They were an OEM supplier of headlights, taillights, switches and related equipment to Piaggio for most Vespa scooters from the ‘40s to the ‘80s. Only on US-Market Vespa models of the late ‘60s and ‘70s was CEV to eclipse the grip that SIEM had on Piaggio’s business. Now owned by Grabor, SIEM is back to producing most of the items that they made for Vespa scooters and these parts are of incredibly high quality. And of course, these new SIEM products are available through our shop.
Single-Stage (paint) - The term Single-stage, sometimes called “one-pack” refers to the traditional type of automotive paint materials and techniques used throughout most of the classic era. Single stage paint is seldom still used by major manufacturers and is not popular amongst collision or even most restoration paint shops these days because of the skill level involved in making it look right. At Bar Italia Classics, we use traditional single-stage paint exclusively on our concourse restoration builds.
Skelly - A type of custom scooter originating in the late ’60s partially as a reaction to the over-done Mod look of the early half of the decade. A “Skelly” is basically a Lambretta that has had most or all of its bolt-on panel work removed. Weather this trend really grew out of wanting a more streamlined look or whether it started because somebody crashed their Lammy and didn’t have time to do any bodywork or paint before the rally is a matter for the historians to argue.
Stainless/Stainless Steel - Stainless steel (also known as INOX) is a type of Iron alloy with a high Chromium and Carbon Content. Polished stainless steel looks basically like “Chrome,” but arguable better, and definitely has much much better corrosion resistance than chrome-plated steel.
Steel - Steel is made from Iron infused with Carbon. Steel is very strong and malleable, but does not offer very good corrosion resistance which is why it must be plated or painted otherwise it will rust extremely quickly.
Street Racer - A type of custom scooter often consisting of highly modernized external parts and components as well as usually featuring major engine perfomance upgrades. The style is often associated with the German scooter scene of the '80s & '90s - the present.
Two-Stage (paint) - The term Two-Stage, also known as Two-Pack or Base Coat/Clear Coat, refers to the modern type of automotive paint materials and techniques used on most modern vehicles and in most collision, custom and restoration shops today. While two-stage can be more forgiving and offers a deep shine with less effort, it is not ideal for concourse restoration on vehicles from the era of single-stage material. While we will use two-stage on some custom jobs, all of our concourse restoration work gets traditional Single-Stage paint.
ULMA - Ulma was a popular Italian manufacturer of aftermarket accessories for scooters in the ‘50s and ‘60s. They also produced the factory OEM stainless-steel legshield trim for Piaggio used on the GS150, GS160, SS180, and Rally models.
Unit Construction - a term used for motorcycle engines in which the engine and transmission, while separated by cast walls and seals, are constructed and comprised of a single casing unit. Most vintage scooters are of unit-construction design.
Venturi - This term is used to describe the throat of a carburetor where air is pulled through and where atomized fuel is introduced. While a true Venturi tapers inward and back out to increase velocity by pressure manipulation, based on the effect named for Giovanni Battista Venturi (1746-1842), the term is applied today even to carburetors that do not make use of this tapper.
Zinc - Zinc is an element of the periodic table with the chemical symbol Zn and an atomic number of 30. Like Cadmium, Zinc is used to plate steel parts in order to promote corrosion resistance. While zinc is primarily thought of as being phased-in to vehicle production in the late-‘60s and throughout the ‘70s, there are still many examples of the use of Zinc plating before that. Carburetor components particularly are often found with zinc plating from the ‘40s and even earlier. We have discovered many other zinc plated items inside original sealed ‘50s NOS packaging from both Piaggio and Innocenti. We have even found examples of Zinc and Cadmium in the same sealed packages together, so it is clear that both coatings were used and could be considered to be “correct” for the period. But still, Cadmium does seem to have been the most prevalent, so generally with ‘40s-‘60s items our philosophy is, “when in doubt, go cad.”
3F - One of a variety of hardware brands/markings used on many '70s-era Italian vehicles and occasionally on earlier machines as well. See Also LOBO, SBE, Plain Head
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