Monday, 26 November 2012

A graphic illustration of how the economic crisis in Europe has affected development of the old Innocenti Lambretta factory in the Lambrate area of Milan. On the left is a shot I took in November 2011 soon after demolition crews had pulled down two of the huge buildings where Innocenti cars were built (and where Maserati BiTurbos were assembled). On the right is the same area 12 months later, November 2012. Apparently apartment towers are supposed to be rising from the ruins here but apart from the security guard at the gatehouse there was no activity and no sign that much had gone on in the last year. (as usual click on the photo to enlarge).

Thursday, 22 November 2012

New gates block the entrance to the Centro Studi at the old Innocenti Lambretta factory in the Lambrate area of Milano. Apart from this not much has changed in the year since I was last here. The economic crisis seems to have put paid to more development on the old site.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Back to that same old place, sweet home Milano! Back in Milan for EICMA 2012, now to find a spare few hours to see what has happened at the old Innocenti Lambretta factory in the Lambrate area of this fine old city in the last 12 months.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

For our Italian readers, of which there are quite a few. This document from,Milanochecambia.AreaCronologia/aree_id,33 goes some way to expaining the strange goings on at the old Innocenti Lambretta factory in the Lambrate area of Milan. It looks like the long promised real estate development fell foul of the GFC and that is why Innse suddenly re-appeared at the site last year under the stewardship of Camozzi Group. The owners of the development company Rubbatino 87 ran out of money and either sold or leased the old Innse building back to Innse. There is also another park planned for the site as part of the "Metrobosco" or metropolitan bushland park that is supposed to ring the city. It will be called Parco Lambretta if it ever gets done. Finally some recognition of the history of the site.

Friday, 20 July 2012

It is amazing how the legend of Innocenti and Lambretta have been wiped from memory at the old factory site in the Lambrate area of Milan. The park in the middle of the old site is called Parco Maserati and the Piazza on the site is called Piazza Vigili del Fuoco (Firefighters Square). However there is one place where they pay homage to the mythical product of Innocenti. In the middle of the Piazza sits the Bar il Lambrettino. Sharing its name with a creek which ran though the factory which was used by Innocenti as the moniker for some of it's mopeds this is a great little bar to drop in on if you are walking around the site. Of course being in Europe you can even get beer on tap in this little Cafe.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Overview of part of the Innocenti factory in Milan showing the immensity of the operations conducted there. The Lambro on the left and the small ant like people give some perspective. This is (I believe) a still from the film Mafioso which was filmed in and around the Lambretta factory.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

A picture of me wandering through the ruins of the old Innocenti factory in the Lambrate area of Milan alongside an image of the complex during production. In the RH shot GP (dL) 150s roll off the line while finished models including J Ranges and Lambros await delivery to customers. In the LH shot I wonder how such a huge and important industrial complex could have been allowed to close. British Leyland's usual incompetence coupled with declining scooter sales, militant unions and government inaction.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Looking out from under the Auto Strada flyover which disects the old Innocenti factory site on a rare sunny November day in Milan. This is looking away from the city at one of only 2 of the major structures which still remain. This one is derelict whilst the Innse building next to it is alive and teeming with workers. I suspect this building is where Lambretta and Lambro assembly was done after the various parts were pressed, foundered and painted in other buildings which once stood behind where I am standing and now long gone.

Friday, 4 May 2012

This fabulous photo has appeared many times on the web but very few people seem to understand it's signifacance. Probably taken in 1968 during the final SX150 (not SX200 as many have claimed!) production, it appears to be a delegation being shown a new model. The photographer has no doubt been told not to get any of the new models details in shot but click on the photo to blow it up and you will see that it is the new dl or Grand Prix (in the UK, Australia etc) model.The bike they are looking at seems to have the tell tale square headlight and angled seat of a GP150 (as it is white and red) but look at bottom right behind the legshields of that SX - a pre production set of GP panel stripes is clear to be seen along with the black plastic tail lamp. A great moment in time shot of a group of people (probably importers from a foreign market) invited to the Innocenti factory to preview the new Lambretta model while in the background production of the new bikes continues, the Ochre Yellow of a GP200 clear to be seen.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Looking over the river Lambro towards the rear of the Centro Studi at the old Innocenti factory on a typically gloomy November day in Milano. Click on the photo to enlarge it and you can clearly see the name still on the back of the building. The one from the front is long gone as can be seen in the previous post. This building is in good condition, wouldn't it make a great place for a Lambretta Museum!?!? The building seems to be currently used as a construction site office for the apartment tower developments which are to the right of this shot and which cover most of the older part of the site closest to Lambrate FS and the centre of Milan.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

One of the most interesting buildings still standing at the old Innocenti factory in the Lambrate area of Milan is the Centro Studi or Design Centre. Standing next to the River Lambro and facing towards Via Rubattino it is quite a lovely setting with the tree covered car park area out the front. The rear overlooks the Parco Maserati that was created when the freeway went through. Interesting that they called it Maserati (they built Maserati cars at the factory under DeTomaso's stewardship) and not Innocenti or Lambretta. History whitewashed again! The view was not so nice when the factory actually operated as shown in the model - the back of the Centro Studi overlooked the electricity sub station which furnished the plant with it's power needs.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Curved rail line running into the building closest to the Auto Strada at the Via Rubatino end. The location is circled in the model shot. I have never seen photos of the rail operations in action at the Innocenti factory but they must have been quite complex judging by the remaining evidence. If anyone has any photos of this rail infrastructure in action at the Lambretta factory I would love to see them!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Enlarged view of the Factory model on display at Vittorio Tessera's museum clearly shows the rail lines as they were intended to be built. You can see the line running into the factory building at lower right along with many other lines running around the site. I still find it incredible that such a massive industrial complex was allowed to fall into disrepair. Thanks for nothing British Leyland!

Rail line running through one of the buildings in the old Innocenti Factory. As well as the branch line running from the goods shed to the main line at Lambrate (see prevsious post), there were other lines which ran around the factory. The large buildings which remain all have these huge openings at each side where a rail line runs joining the 4 buildings. This is at their northern end close to the Innse tower and the goods shed however there is another at the other end of the building.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Follow the road from the rail line in a straight line away from the city centre and you pop out here. Looking out under the freeway flyover towards the Innse tower with one of the dilapidated factory buildings on the right. Note the large doorway in the side of the building. These allowed direct access for more train lines which ran through the factory buildings. I assume these allowed componants to be moved from one section of the complex (foundry, paint shop etc) to the production lines.

The only remaining tracks of the branch line that ran from the main railway line to the Innocenti Factory. Did your Lambretta run down this line on it's way to the dealer? The photo at left shows where the line curved to join the main line near Lambrate FS. The photo on the right is looking away from the main line toward the factory. You can see the bridge where the Autostrada runs through the factory in the distance. This road is the one that has been extended past the Innse water tower and this rail line originally led into the shed in the photo in the last post. (clicking on the photos makes them bigger to see the detail)

Friday, 30 March 2012

When I first visited the Innocenti factory site the new road in the previous shot was not yet finished; you can see the borders for it in the right hand shot taken during construction. Next to the Innse water tower was this old building with railway tracks running through it, obviously a loading shed for incoming parts and outgoing finished machines. There was a branch line running from the factory through Lambrate to the main line near Lambrate FS and you can still see some evidence of it today. Lambretta scooters were apparantly shipped to the UK by this method and parts for Innocenti cars (based on BMC models) were shipped back from the UK.  Not my photos, provinence is unknown to me.

The same building from the other end showing the new caps on the roof, the old Innse water tower and another new road cutting the old factory into smaller and smaller pieces.

Monday, 26 March 2012

By the time I arrived back at the Innocenti factory site in November 2011 a new roof was in place on the old Innse building. This building is the second one to the right of the freeway in the Google Maps shot. There were men working on the roof and quite a few cars parked in the carpark. INNSE had indeed returned home. When I got home to Melbourne I found this on net . Amazing to see the old factory back in use and the Innocenti logos on some of the machinary.

Changes at Innse. Old Innse Presse sign (left) on the front gate had been replaced by November 2011 with a new one (right). I have seen people working at the old Innse building within the old Innocenti factory complex a few times over the years (and no, you are not supposed to be standing where I am to take the photo in the centre and I was chased out a few seconds later!). I always wondered what they were doing working in an abandoned site. I thought they might just be making it safe but no.......

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Innocenti was not only about the Lambretta. The company was a giant industrial complex consisting of 3 main divisions - the Scooter division which we all know and love, the manufacture of cars under license from BMC (later British Leyland) and a heavy engineering division. After the split up of the business the heavy engineering divsion was renamed INNSE (Innocenti Sant'Eustacchio) and continues to this day. Note the Innocenti logo on the large machine in the right hand photo. INNSE has passed through a few hands and now seems to be owned by the Camozzi Group.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

This model of the Innocenti Factory is on display at Vittorio Tessera's museum in Rodano near Milano. Not exactly as the real thing ended up but gives you a good idea of the scale. The river Lambro flows through the middle and this is where the freeway now cuts through, over the river. The shot on the right is the same model in what appears to be the Innocenti boardroom. Judging by the Lambretta TV175 S1 I would put this at around 1957.
Google map image showing the Lambrate area with the railway station in the top left. The city centre is off to the left and the freeway that cut the old Innocenti site in 2 can be clearly seen in the middle. The four long buildings on the right of the freeway show the scale of the place and that was just half of it. The building above the locating A and the one to it's right were demolished just before I visited in Nov 2011 - they were still taking away the bulldozers when I got there. They will be replaced by appartments if the GFC doesn't get them first!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Innse water tower still standing at the old Lambretta factory but is now heavily covered in graffiti. This is the beacon that allowed me to find the factory the first time around. I set out on foot from Piazza Duca with only a map and some vague old memories about where the factory stood and no idea if anything remained. I made it to the train station (Lambrate FS) OK but took a wrong turn. I walked out of town, under the freeway and was heading into the countryside when I saw the tower standing tall out of the fog which carpets Lombardia in November. Setting off across a farmer's field, I was chased off by a dog, his owner and a long arm rifle! So I walked the long way around!