Classic camera: Paris to Tibet April 1951


Tibet-bound Lambrettas and riders

The four – Guy Camba, Yves Ponzi, Pierre Palmieri and Michel Le Clerc – rode through France, called in to visit the Pope in the Vatican, and then boarded a boat to Greece. From there, they went to Turkey, before leaving Istanbul bound for Syria. From Syria, it was to Lebanon then on to Baghdad, Iraq, and then into the desert, heading 2200 miles to Iran. There was some epic mileage at this point – 1200 through Pakistan before nearly 3000 miles into India.

In September, six months after setting out, they made it to Tibet. Not content with that, they seemingly carried on, going back via India before taking a boat to Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. Total mileage at the end of the journey was reckoned to be 14,300 miles.

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Camba documented the journey in a book, De Paris au Tibet: 23,000km sur mon scooter. Le Clerc, particularly, seems to have got the ‘bug’ for epic scooter feats – between 1952 and 1954 he rode from Alaska to Tierra del Feugo, Chile, thereby going right from the northern tip to the southern base of the Americas.

The 1951 jaunt done in the quest for publicity for Lambretta, which was about to launch the Model D for the 1952 model year. Following on from the C, the Model D underlined and strengthened Lambretta’s place in the market.   bike

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