Since the invention of the Cushman Motor Scooter in 1936,
millions of Americans have become acquainted with this machine
either through first-hand experience or association.
A product of the Cushman Motor Works of Lincoln, Nebraska, the
scooter was not only the dream machine of teenagers, but also found
a place serving society as a post office and military vehicle.
Eventually, Cushman was driven out of the scooter business by
foreign imports, especially Honda.
Largely through the efforts of Bill Somerville, of 1200 Kygar
Road, Ponca City, Oklahoma 47604, a Cushman Club of America was
formed in 1982, and now boasts over 900 members.
‘Cushman Club of America was founded in 1982 because I could
not find any information or parts for a Cushman scooter that I had
purchased,’ wrote Bill in a recent letter to GEM. ‘I
started looking for a Cushman Club and could not find anyone who
knew of one.’ Deciding the time had come for the formation of
such an organization, Bill ran an ad in Hemmings Motor
News to find some people to talk with about scooters.
In the three years since that first ad, the Club has held three
national meets and published a wide range of books, such as
owner’s manuals, parts books, repair manuals, and
paraphernalia. The most recent meet was held in Cleburn, Texas, on
June 28 and 29.
Somerville’s main interest is the Cushman Eagle scooter,
since he had owned one in junior high school. ‘In trying to
research the Eagle,’ he writes, ‘I found that there were no
books at all on Cushman even though at least a million kids had
owned or wanted one during the forties, fifties, or sixties. Most
of the older people who had worked at Cushman were now gone or had
destroyed their literature. I decided I had better do something or
pretty soon everything would be gone.’
The ‘something’ which Bill did, was to collect
information, pictures and write a book called, A History of the
Cushman Eagle, a handsome 32 page 8′ x 11′ softbound volume
which includes history of the model and copies of brochures and ads
some in full color.
The Eagle was apparently conceived in 1949, and the first list
price for the Model 765 was $209.05. The standard color of the
Eagle was a bright, cheerful red, though by 1950 models were
available as well in blue, green or cream. The book details various
model changes throughout the production years, which ended in 1965.
Finally, crushed by increasing competition from Honda, the Eagle
was discontinued when even drastic price reductions failed to save
Bill Somerville’s book, and his enthusiasm for Cushman
motorcycles, are to be admired. His is a fine example of a
collector who has managed to get others with the same interest to
work together in saving another part of American technological
history. Individuals interested in learning more about the Cushman
Club of America and their activities should write to the club at
1200 Kygar Road, Ponca City, OK 74604.