Lohner-Roller L 125 scooter, 1954
Even before World War II German manufacturers such as DKW had started producing “auto-fauteuil motorcycles” with two-stroke engines. But Italian motorised scooters such as Vespa and Lambretta were the ones that launched the scooter boom in Austria after the war. In the age of the economic miracle the affordable, personal means of transport for city life came to epitomise the notion of “Mediterranean joie de vivre” and was the vehicle of choice for many young people.
Austrian manufacturers adapted to the demand and began producing motor scooters with their distinctive design. The Lohner-Roller L 125 scooter came onto the market in 1954. It featured a self-supporting steel body. The two-stroke Sachs engine with three-speed transmission had an output of 6.1 bhp and a top speed of 80 km/h. From 1956 the Lohner motor scooter was also available with an electric starter. Demand was strong, and the waiting times for the Lohner L 125 were long.
Unlike motorcycles, the engineering on motor scooters was not on show; instead, it was concealed behind smooth and often brightly painted sheet metal panels. Motor scooters were designed to be as comfortable and as simple to operate as possible. With its large footboards the Lohner L 125 also made for a comfortable ride, even for two people. The front area comprised a spacious lockable compartment. The large side panels were easy to dismantle for convenient access to the carburettor, engine, chain and rear wheel.
Interest in motor scooters began to wane in Austria in the 1960s. But in large parts of Asia and in some African countries the scooter remains an important and widely used means of transport.
“Let’s go Italian!” – in the 1950s nothing summed up la dolce vita better than the motor scooter. Austria’s domestic industry also picked up on the yearning for more Mediterranean joie de vivre.