Thanksgiving and Hanukkah (sp?) are just a couple of days away, people have been camping out in front of Walmart and Best Buy for days now to get the best deal on stuff that they say they are giving as presents but you and I know that most of those folks are buying up that stuff for themselves and…they actually think they are getting a great deal. However, you and I are a lot smarter than that, we use ebay and Amazon and shop in our jammies.
At this time of year we motorcycle collectors and restorers start thinking of friends that we would like to get a gift for and as we start this process we put our friends into the ‘naughty vs. nice’ list. The ‘nice’ list gets stuff out of the Aerostich/Riders Warehouse catalog, the ‘naughty’ group gets whatever piece of crap we can find at our local motorcycle boneyard or on ebay. Today I found the ultimate ‘Lump of Coal’ for someone’s Christmas stocking.
We all have a friend that we just love torturing with junk, what we actually don’t think about is the effect it has on that persons significant other (somewhat tolerant wife), Oh well. A twenty year old fruit cake that has been passed from one friend (?) to another over the years is one thing but a vehicle dropped off in the driveway is entirely something different.
For that friend (?) you believe deserves a lump of coal I present to you a 1950 Cushman 3 Wheeled Rust Bucket. No motor, no trans, you’re gonna have to push it anywhere (out to the curb I would imagine) and hope that your neighborhood organization doesn’t send you some nasty letter and a fine.
If you have a friend (?) that has a very good sense of humor or that you would like to really irritate I’d contact the seller of this fine piece of Americana and ask him how much he’ll pay you to take it off his hands.
Click on the pics below for more info and a few more pictures. Have fun thinking of the one friend (?) that deserves this more than anyone else.
Every now and then you simply need a vehicle that will get you to and from the grocery store, the local nursery, or just to cruise around the town and have people looking at you like you’re some sort of crazy eccentric. Or, maybe you are a retired mailman and remember driving one of these for your daily deliveries and you want a piece of your history.
The Cushman Mailster is all that and more…or less depending on how you look at it.
Cushman was started by the Cushman brothers back in 1903 in Lincoln Nebraska making motors for farm equipment. In 1936, during ‘The Great Depression’, started making scooters. Then during World War 2 making utility vehicles.
When the war was over Cushman was sitting on a lot of their 3 wheel vehicles, a lot. Somebody in the sales department was smart and went to the postal service and said, “hey, I’ve got a great idea to make mail delivery faster, easier and more efficient, it’s called the ‘Mailster’!!
Well, by the late 1950’s one third of the US Postal Service was using the ‘Mailster’ to deliver your Sears catalog to your doorstep along with your water and electric bills. And maybe the collection notice from Household Finance company. However, the mailmen really didn’t like the Cushman all that much. The Mailster was way underpowered (7.5 horsepower), was unreliable, had bad brakes and was pretty inconvenient to load and unload. And, on top of all that, they tended to tip over if you went around a corner at more than 25 MPH. They were so easy to tip over that a big dog (who we all know love mailmen?) could actually knock one over!? But…they were good enough that the New York Police Department even used them.
Negatives aside, this a very cool piece of motorized history and can be a lot of fun for somebody who lives in a small town (as do I), or a retirement community (as I don’t). But…There is another idea out there…the perfect tailgater!
Think about this, put a cooler inside, a grill in the back, a keg on the side..you have the coolest portable party machine in town!!
I found this Westcoater/Mailster on ebay and thought this would really be a fun vehicle to have. Cushman has an amazing history from basic scooters, to the mailster and truckster to some very Space Age styled scooters in the 50’s and golf carts. This is a very cool vehicle, licensed as a motorcycle. This one is a runner but probably needs the basic going through. For more info and more pictures, click on the pic’s below.
Well, here we are again looking at something way too cool, a ride that will give you a huge grin on your face for a bunch of reasons. First, it’s a classic scooter; second, it’s a Cushman (you don’t see those around every corner); third it is so strange looking that the cool factor is off the charts.
Cushman scooters were the epitome of sturdy, reliable, and trustworthy…the Boy Scout of scooters. Cushman built the scooter used by the military through World War 2 and beyond, the US Postal Service, schools for maintenance, hunters, golf courses, and anywhere you needed a trouble free utility vehicle. But Cushman wanted more, they wanted the general public to buy their scooters.
Cushman scooters were not what you would call stylish by any stretch of the imagination, clunky is the description I would use. But then Buck Rogers joined the design team. Welcome, the Road King. Jet age styling with Cushman low tech. Fun to ride and draws looks from everybody. The looks range from “what the hell is that?” to “wow, that is so cool”. I would love one.
Cushman brought the centrifugal clutch to the scooter world with their two speed transmission..twist and go. The twist was interesting though, you actually roll the throttle forward, opposite of normal motorcycles, took a bit of getting used to I would imagine. The Road King got an estimated 75MPG out of its 8Hp Cushman Husky motor and topped out at around 50mph. Can it get out of its own way? yeah, kinda but who cares, it’s just too much fun to ride.
I found a really nice Road King on ebay this morning that is a rider not a museum piece. It has the nicks and scratches that come with age but this scooter has aged very gracefully. The owner doesn’t state the miles but says it is a runner and has been gone over by a Cushman mechanic. It looks like it has a non stock muffler but that shouldn’t stop you from buying it.
There are quite a few Cushman websites and forums out there so finding parts, information, and support along with camaraderie will be easy. So, if you would like to have something that is truly unique and truly American, a Cushman Road King is something you should have. This is not your everyday grocery getter scooter, this is a Cushman Road King…too cool.
Click on the pics below for a bit more info and more pictures.
Now really, who amongst us that love vintage motorbikes wouldn’t love to have a bike that was designed to be parachuted out of an airplane behind enemy lines during World War 2? And how many of us have so many motorcycle projects filling the garage, evenings that are supposed to spent with the family, and money in the bank account, that have wives who would love to see us sitting on that bike falling out of an airplane….without a parachute? Raise your wrench, I thought so…pretty much all of us.
Next question, what if that bike was a scooter? Ah, not so many wrenches in the air this time. Come on you guys expand your horizons, think outside the gas tank. I’m not talking about your average Vespa or Lambretta (they wouldn’t handle being dropped off a curb much less out of an airplane), I’m going to something much cooler…a Cushman. Yeah, I know, Cushman made golf carts for a million years but they also made vehicles for the military. Cushman’s were strong and reliable, that was what was needed then ( it still is today when you think about it). Some models were touted as getting 100mpg but most got around 75mpg…at that time they advertised that you could ride a Cushman for less than a penny a mile.
There is a lot written about Cushman’s history and it’s pretty cool. Totally utilitarian but they also delved into the world of the futuristic with some of its designs in the ’50’s. Unique styling didn’t really help them then but today some of these models, especially the Road King model are highly desired by scooter aficionados.
The Model 53 also known as the ‘Airborne’, was designed to be parachuted out of an airplane to support the troops on the ground during World War 2. It had a number of uses during the war, the utility trailer that came with it could haul supplies to the troops and could even carry 50 caliber machine guns or 81 mm mortars. The Model 53 could forge a water crossing over a foot deep and climb a 25% hill…the Model 53 would go anywhere and do anything. Reliability was the key to its overall usefulness for the military.
At the end of the war there were still a lot of these models that had not gone to the government and were sold off as ‘Civilian’ models and could be had for a song.
I found a beautifully restored ‘civilian’ model on ebay this morning that would be so much fun to ride around town, the senior citizen trailer park or load it onto the bumper of your motorhome and hit all the National Parks. The owner has done a full resto on the scooter and shows only 1 mile? It should sell for a reasonable price and really would be an attention getter no matter where you ride it.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and a little more info.
This is a ride that not only will stand out at any bike night or bike show on the planet, it will be a hit at every hot rod show as well. On top of all the adoration you and your Cushman will receive, you get to ride it to and from the show… and, to work, to get groceries, take the dog to the vet (stuff it in the underseat compartment) then to church on Sunday. Truly this ‘Rat Rod’ Cushman is too cool for school.
This custom started life as a 1953 series 50 Cushman scooter, then Dr. Frankenstein got ahold of it. The 688cc Briggs and Stratton twin cylinder motor is surrounded by a cool fibreglass body with louvered aluminum panels installed to keep that engine cool. The ‘Rat Scoot’ has some special features you won’t find on your average, every day, run of the mill Cushman. Start with a driveway paint job, add a lawn tractor gas tank, a Chevy Impala tail light, a cigar box for a tool box on the front fork and, the final cool factor…silver glitter hand grips! How can you go wrong with those?
Every now and then you find something really special on ebay, this is one of those times and this is one of those things. You need this ‘Rat Rod Cushman’. Click on the pics for more info and more pic’s
If you were going to build a mini Harley Davidson what would it look like? How about an early ’60’s Cushman Scooter?!
Twist and go. Cushman Scooters were and are the Harley Davidson’s of the Scooter world. When I was a kid, our neighbor had Cushman, it looked like something straight out of the Jetson’s cartoon show.
I didn’t think much of it at the time but he rode it everywhere and always with a big grin on his face. Fifty years later I could easily see myself on that Cushman with that same big grin.
Cushman started building scooters back in 1936. The US military used Cushmans throughout WW2 and Sears sold a ton of them under their Allstate brand for years. Cushman stopped scooter production in 1965 and the remaining stock was sold as 1966 models.
Cushman didn’t go away. If you have an attachment to your nine iron or three wood you’re also attached to a Cushman, in the guise of an EZ-GO golf cart. The scooters and the company just keep going. There are so many resources for Cushman owners or wanna be owners out there. There is the Cushman Club Of America www.ccoa.com and one guy who is way into Cushmans as well as old Ford’s…go figure. Check out his stuff at www.dennis-carpenter.com
I found this really cool Cushman that…maybe, could replace my Honda Super Cub??!! There are some interesting features of the Cushman…you roll the throttle forward, opposite of a ‘normal’ motorbike, but it makes sense in a weird sort of way..? and it’s clutchless…how easy is this to ride? And how much trouble can 9HP get you into??