Not So Innocenti…
November 17, 2011
Our first Britney Spears-inspired headline heralds the (maybe? sorta?) return of famed Lambretta maker Innocenti in a story that hasn’t garnered any media coverage, but once we blow it out of proportion here, it may send a few Austrian IP attorneys into a tizzy.
Jeb (of FIDO fame) spotted an interesting badge on the electric car shown at 4:28 in this video collage of electric vehicle photos from EICMA:
What? “Innocenti Italy” with the old-school Innocenti logo and Mini-style wings? A search for “Innocenti Trilogy” brings up very little, aside from a couple videos and this site, which may or may not be the manufacturer, which lists the beast as “available.” It’s unclear if that means “available” as in “available to buy and drive, somewhere in the world.” or “available” as in “we’re ready to build it for you, Western importer!”
Now of course, Innocenti did build Minis (and a variety of other cars) back in the day, we’re not experts in this area of scooter-related arcana, but all the examples we’ve ever seen bore the hybrid British Leland/Innocenti logo. BLMC licensed the Mini design to Innocenti in 1961, and the Italians had great success with their arguably-superior version of the British original. BLMC bought Innocenti outright in 1972, just as Lambretta production ceased. Shortly later, Innocenti closed up shop for good, and BLMC went bankrupt in 1975. DeTomaso revived the brand name shortly later, while BLMC became part of the Rover group.
Innocenti-badged cars have been produced as recently as the late 90s, in Europe and Brazil, seemingly with Daihatsu, Fiat, and even Yugo connections. Leyland’s “Mini” trademark went to Rover and then to BMW, but the ownership of the Innocenti name is unclear. In any case, even if the Innocenti name is legit (and we all know that even if the maker honestly believes they’ve legally secured the trademark, there’s always someone waiting to prove them wrong) we’d guess BMW would have something to say about the use of the “Mini wings,” obviously implying a Mini pedigree. It’s all conjecture at this point, and the vehicle is probably far more exciting to scooter historians than to actual motorists.
Also of note: at 2:24 there’s an e-Schwalbe for all you Fuji Rabbit/Zundapp Bella (or vintage Simson Schwalbe) fans, and at 5:25 there’s the electric single-headlight I*****t Velocifero that you probably shouldn’t get too excited about.