We love a good historical scooter here at RideApart. Of course, when we saw this 1949 Cushman show up for an online auction, we couldn’t resist telling you guys about it. After all, Cushman Motor Works is a name with important ties to this country's history.
We've written about Cushman scooters before, including this adorable Truckster that went up for auction back in February 2020. This particular unit, however, is quite striking with its banana-split color scheme and its exposed frame. Check it out before it’s going, going, gone.
These sturdy-looking American-built scooters have quite the history. Cushman started producing engines way back in the early 1900s. At the time, however, their blocks were destined to be used in boats and farm equipment. It wasn’t until 1936 that the manufacturer stepped into the scooter segment as a means to increase its sales. The little scooters rapidly became the U.S. Armed Forces’ rides of choice during World War II as an alternative to cars and trucks.
While one of the most popular model is the Model 53—dubbed the Airborne because the Army would parachute them to its troops out on the field—this handsome-looking, post-war 54 is far more practical than its military counterpart.
This 1949 unit was produced in Lincoln, Nebraska, as a transition model between the Model 50 and the Model 60. For that reason, it was built using parts from the both models as a sort of Frankenscooter. Under the saddle, the little air-cooled Husky thumper is paired with a two-speed transmission and a foot-activated clutch.
Interestingly, while most models from the same era feature a cover around the engine and the rear frame, this one bares it all—which also greatly simplifies maintenance. Support is provided by two pairs of shocks attached to the front and back wheels while the only brake is a drum attached to the rear wheel.
Because there are no instruments or gauges, the 54’s mileage can’t be confirmed, but the current owner says he clocked between 100 and 150 miles on it since he bought it in 2010. According to the auction site, the owner says the scooter is registered as Planned Non-Operation (registration for non-operating and/or stored vehicles) in California since 2017.
So, who here wants to own a little piece of Americana on wheels?