Mad Genius glues a Yamaha RD350 engine inside a 1960s Lambretta scooter
Are you the type of person who likes to come up with combinations that most people would never think of? If so, you might enjoy this build from a guy named Kelvin. As he tells the story, he had a Yamaha RD350 sitting down, then he got a frame from a 1963 Lambretta scooter. The synapses started firing in a peculiar way, and so he decided to see if he could do something amazing with that old Lammy shell. Thus, the Yambretta was born.
Kelvin considers himself a regular guy who likes to work on bikes, just to be clear. He’s the kind of guy who learned to love tearing himself away from his father’s side as a child, and continued that love into adulthood and working on his own projects. He doesn’t consider himself an engineer by profession, just a shed guy by passion, really.
Yet you wouldn’t know that by looking at what he did here. Watch the video and you will see that everything is extremely beautiful and tidy. Sure, it’s well wrapped, but there’s a neatness to this build that you don’t always see in every custom, especially from someone who just does it in their spare time, and not as a as a professional builder.
How long did it take? All told, Kelvin says it took about a year to complete. The process involved a lot of trial and error and, as you’d expect, creative problem solving using non-standard parts. There’s a Volvo water pump involved, although Kelvin didn’t elaborate. There is also a fuel pump from a Yamaha R1. A Lambretta loom is involved, but bits of Yamaha wiring are also in the mix. The tidy little radiator is neatly stowed in the front, which you can see if you open the glove compartment.
From installing the Yamaha gauges up front, to assembling everything, to hand-crafting the exhaust, Kelvin did most of the work himself. One thing he didn’t do on his own was the Kenny Roberts-inspired paint job, which he hired the services of a professional shop for. It is, by the way, a starting machine, of course.
How much did the set cost? Because Kelvin sold the parts from the RD350 donor bike that he didn’t need, he estimates the whole thing only cost him around £5,500 (about $6,246), more or less. Of course, that doesn’t take into account the long hours it took him to complete the project, but who counts when it’s something you’re just doing for fun?
It’s an amazing build, and must be pretty amazing to see in person. If you’re wondering how fast it goes, Kelvin says he got it up to around 90 mph. He hasn’t had it on a dyno and doesn’t plan on doing it because he’s not a racer. However, given that the original Lambrettas only produced about six horsepower, the original 39 horsepower that the RD350 produced when new is an absolutely bonkers upgrade, even if the actual number is not exact.