Iso Milano (Diva) De Luxe 150
Classic Scooterist|February/March 2017

Bristol’s Carole Nash Classic MotorCycle Show always brings out rarities and the 2016 event was no exception with a host of unusual scooters on display. Rubbing handlebars with an IWL Berlin, and a rare Coswio Jika Pandora on the Vintage Motor Scooter Club stand was one with a curvy Latin lovely adorning the legshields.

Andy Westlake

Finished in a stunning red and white livery the beautifully restored scoot could on first glance have been a typical model from one of the ‘big two’, but closer examination revealed it was an Iso Milano (or ‘Diva’ as it was known in the rest of the world). It was only built between 1957 and 1960 – when the parent company then decided to concentrate its efforts on the Gran Turismo car market.

It’s regarded as one of the best scooters of its generation, and one which is now highly prized among collectors and aficionados. Imported into the UK by Stuart & Payne Ltd of Broad Street, London EC2, and later sold by Doug Miles of 75 High Street, Droitwich (interesting, that was four years after the last one rolled out of the Bresso factory) the Iso Milano is now owned by West Country enthusiast John Cross, who later in the year invited me along to take his rare beast for a spin. However before we fired it up John told me a little about how he came to get the Milano; 40 years after he had his first one:

“When I was a kid, our scout troop inherited a go-kart powered by an old Villiers engine. We soon got to know a lot about the mechanics, as it needed plenty of tinkering to keep it going. I decided to get a motorbike to tear around the fields behind where we lived and then one day my mate Jed alerted me that while he was doing his paper round, he’d seen one dumped in a backyard. The following Saturday we went round to see it, but on arrival I discovered it wasn’t a motorbike, but an old scooter with the name of Iso Milano on the legshields. The main thing was it had an engine (which was seized) but the owner was only too pleased to get rid of it, so we started to push it home.

“We hadn’t got very far when a police car pulled-up alongside. The officer asked us: ‘What do you think you two are doing then?’ Taking a closer look, he could see that the scooter was just a rusty wreck and we weren’t going to be riding it, so he let us go. Back home we took the head off and after enlisting some help from my dad – he didn't like two wheelers, but as he worked at the REME, he knew a lot about engines – he told us the best thing to do was to pour plenty of diesel down the bore and then use a piece of wood, along with a big hammer. After just a few clonks, the piston was free. With the head secured and some new petroil in the tank, we soon had it fired-up.

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