As well-known as The Who’s 1973 album Quadrophenia is, not many people know that there’s a 1979 film adaptation with the same name.
The movie takes inspiration from clashes between the two dominant subcultures in 1960s Britain – the mods and the rockers.
But this is not a review of the movie itself.
Instead, we’ll look at Quadrophenia’s scooters and motorcycles and some interesting trivia about them.
While I will try to avoid spoilers, I must issue a cautionary spoiler alert.
Lambretta LI 150 Series 3
Let’s start with the scooter choice for the main character Jimmy (played by future Parklife star Phil Daniels).
Jimmy’s scooter is a 1967 Lambretta LI 150 Series 3 – one of Innocenti’s most successful and best-selling models.
The most exciting thing about the one from the movie is what happened to it. In 2008, an auction house sold Jimmy’s Lambretta for £36,000.
1965 Lambretta 200 GP
In the center of this picture is a blue 1965 Lambretta. Although it’s only in the background and is anachronistic for the 1964 setting (the GP wasn’t instroduced until 1969), it’s one of the most interesting Lambretta models.
Exclusively made for the British market, the GP 200 features a unique blue color scheme, mechanical disc brakes, and safety balls at the end of the handlebars.
It was also capable of a top speed of 110 km/h (68 mph), largely thanks to a new 22mm carburetor design.
If you’d like to know more about the 200 GP, casalambretta.us has more info.
Here we have another Lambretta GP, as ridden by the character Chalky.
While it’s difficult to tell if this is the 125, 150, or even the 200 model we just looked at, it’s worth knowing that all GP models were designed by Giuseppe “Nuccio” Bertone.
Bertone was an Italian designer whose design portfolio included famous vehicles like the Ford Mustang and the Lambretta Luna scooter.
As for the “GP” itself, it stands for “Grand Prix” – a fitting title, given this scooter’s more sporty design, especially when compared to the Series 3.
1973 Piaggio Vespa Sprint Veloce
So far, we’ve only looked at Lambrettas, but now, it’s time for a Vespa to make an appearance. Specifically, it’s a 1973 Piaggio Vespa Sping Veloce.
Just like the Lambretta GP 200, it’s anachronistic for the year Quadrophenia is set in. And ironically, it receives more screen time than Jimmy’s scooter.
Anyway, the Veloce is a special version of the standard 150cc 2-stroke Vespa Sprints made between 1969 and 1976.
The most considerable trait of the Veloce is its powerful engine, larger carburetor, and increased 7.7:1 compression ratio.
And in case you didn’t notice, the Veloce in the image above is ridden by The Sting of The Police fame.
BSA A7 SS Shooting Star
So far, we’ve only talked about the Mod scooters – but what about the choice of transport of the rockers – their arch-rivals?
Let’s start with the one ridden by Jimmy’s friend Kevin (played by Ray Winstone) – the BSA A7 SS Shooting Star.
First introduced in 1954, the Shooting star is a special version of the standard BSA A7, sporting a black frame and a new set of cast iron drum brakes.
The bike also has a 500cc straight-twin engine with a top speed of 140 km/h (90 mph).
Despite that, however, the one in Quadrophenia is apparently no match for a couple of Italian 2-stroke scooters. Strange.
Take a look at the motorcycle in the foreground – the one riding “two-up.” That’s a Triumph T100 – most likely a 1967 model.
Just like the BSA Shooting star, the T100 also has a 500cc engine and got its name because it could “do the ton” – i.e. do 100 mph (160 km/h).
For a while, it was actually Triumph’s fastest model, until 1959 when the Bonneville T120 came around and stole its thunder.