The Cushman company operated from 1903 to 2003. Most famous for golf carts, “Meter Maid” trucks, industrial and landscaping equipment etc., Cushman also made scooters from 1936 to 1965. They received a huge boost during WWII producing scooters for the war effort. These scooters were used on military bases, airfields, and were even “air-dropped” with the troops in the case of the Cushman “AIrborne”. Their most successful scooter was the Cushman “Eagle” which looked like a small conventional motorcycle. I want to highlight the Cushman Step-Thru’s which look like a real scooter and are works of art.
There were several models of Step-Thru’s, most notable of them were the “Road King” and “Pacemaker”. Cushman’s were also sold under the “Allstate” brand through Sears. The only American manufacturer to do so. All other Allstate’s were European built scooters.
Power and drive options varied with engines ranging from 4-9 hp and drive was either centrifugal clutch or some had a two-spd transmission (auto shift). Another neat quirk is that you rolled the throttle forward on a Cushman as opposed to back like on a regular bike. Suspensions were crude, as were the brakes. But they had style. Like the cars of the 50’s the styling was a result of the “Jet Age” and thus very elegant and fantastic to look at. They weren’t terribly fast, 35-40 mph was the norm. But they reportedly got good mileage, around 75 mpg. Most of the classic literature pushes them as a alternative to a second car. Most ended up in the hands of intrepid youths who bought them used. There are some fantastic stories and adventures involving Cushmans that can be found online. A couple great sites are the Cushman Club of America webite, and Jim’s Cushman Scooter Site which is one of the most comprehensive Cushman sites on the web.
I’ve said it before but I’ll repeat it. I love these scooters. Their sound, appearance, and history is so quintessentially American. I’m always looking hoping for a gold mine of a scooter “pick” in my travels. Restored these scoots run $5000 and up depending on the model, engine size, and accessories.
So keep your eyes peeled. There might just be one of these classics waiting to be discovered somewhere hoping for you to save it.