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by Stuart Werner

Around the time when the Imola was just a rumor in the US and the only mention of it was a paragraph in the back of Scootering International, a two page article came out in the June 1999 issue about an English engineer and scooterist working on a performance kit for small block Lambrettas called the GT185. At the time I didn’t see the point of this guys efforts because his kit was so similar to the Imola, but in cast iron.

Over the past four years Lambretta owners have seen a lot of different kits come onto the market and most would not argue that one of the best for the least amount of money was the 175 conversion. That was the case until about a year ago when the piston manufacturer ceased production of the high quality piston leaving scooterists looking for a kit that would provide inexpensive, reliable performance gains without having to modify bodywork. The GT185 has the potential to fill the current need for a high quality, low budget performance kit with similar power as the more costly kits with minimum effort to assemble out of the box.

While searching for a 175 conversion piston, I read a half page article in the Dec. 2002 issue of SI about the changes and advances Richard Taylor had made to his kit in three years. Some of the new features I liked was it has a reed valve that sits the carb. on the left side as stock, fits a GP air hose and is hardly noticeable as non-stock. I contacted Mr. Taylor and I must say he is a great guy to do business with. He is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his kit and more than happy to help with any questions. I went ahead with my purchase.

The kit I received was a preproduction cast iron cylinder kit with a displacement of 175cc, complete reed valve assembly, piston kit and 25mm manifold rubber mount. Mr. Taylor already matched the kit to a standard Lambretta case, so all I had to do was get the head reprofiled. Installation was straightforward with only the cylinder shroud needing trimmed.

So what’s it like to ride? The preproduction GT is a little less torquey in mid range rpms than the Imola, had a similar top speed of 65/70mph coupled with consistent easy starting and smooth running. I feel the GT has the same power as an Imola but has a wider power band and a smoother delivery of power.

Production kits will be versatile with five variations to choose from, one of which will be aluminum. All five will have two choices of intake manifold. Standard 25mm rubber mount entering on the left side as stock, or a 34mm manifold rubber entering on the right side less battery tray. Standard kits will be a 187cc cylinder, reed assembly with 25mm carb. mounting rubber and high quality Yamaha piston kit. The GT185 kit is expected to be for sale to the public through U.S. distributors WCLW and SCOMO in late Dec. 2003 for less than an Imola.

The set up I used was the following:

• Ser.3 LI125 box with 18/47
• GP crank/electronic ign.
• WCLW expansion chamber
• Mikuni 24 carb. Through stock air box, 165 main
• Lightened flywheel
• Yamaha clutch springs

For more details please contact Richard Taylor at:

Or for construction manual, price list, and 3-D CAD files:


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