scooter exhibit at petersen auto museum
i just got back from a little vacation in california, and i had the fortune of visiting a really terrific museum with a fantastic temporary exhibit chronicling scooters in america. the petersen automotive museum put together a great collection of vintage scooters (and a few modern ones) in a beautiful, well-thought show. outside of this temporary show, they also had an amazing regular installation of automobiles and motorcycles; i’m going to sneak in a motorcycle pic or two below. if you’re at all into scooters and you’re in the los angeles area, i highly recommend seeing this exhibit. it should run until may 2012.
apparently, scooters were initially marketed to affluent women. i’m not even sure who they market scooter to now in the u.s.; i don’t see scooter ads anywhere.
here are some of my fave pics:
a 1912 harley-davidson. while not a scooter, it was interesting to see the belt drive and the bicycle pedal start.
the 1947 salsbury model 85 was a pretty neat attempt at a futuristic look! the model 85 was manufactured in pomona, california. similar to a car, it had a “stop” pedal and a “go” pedal, and its transmission was fully automatic. The 6hp, 4-stroke engine propelled it up to 45 mph and it got about 65 mpg. we’ve had pretty environmentally friendly vehicles in the u.s. for a while, I guess.
the 1939 moto-scoot and moto-kar. pretty distinctive looking. way neater than a can-am spyder.
a 1937 cushman autoglide. cushman, originally a builder of engines for industrial and farm use, started making scooters mainly as a means to sell surplus engines.
a 1944 cushman airborne model 53. this scooter was designed to be dropped by parachute, along with paratroopers, to provide basic transportation when they landed. fat, soft tires were used in place of suspension, and they could travel through a foot of water. top speed: 40mph.
one of the more ridiculous scooters I saw at the museum, a 1947 mohs. apparently, the world’s largest scooter, at 13 feet. built by bruce baldwin mohs when he was just 14 years old!
a 1960 grasshopper, with original carrying case, built by ohlsson & rice inc. pretty neat.
1960 bobcat. if i could use this instead of a golf cart, i bet i’d golf a lot more. it has a spring loaded kickstand that automatically engages when you stand up.
1984 honda gyro. i saw a few of these on craigslist a year or two ago in boston. i totally want one, but the 3-wheeled configuration means it’ll take up even more room in my garage.
1984 honda motocompo, tucked inside the trunk of a 1984 honda city. the scooter isn’t so pretty, but it does make me wish my scooter fit nicely into my trunk.
a honda supercub. considering it’s the best-selling vehicle in the world, i was a little disappointed that they had one in such poor condition.
a fuji rabbit. i forget the year, but it was produced between 1946 and 1968.
below, the obligatory vespas. you can’t really have a scooter exhibit without a bunch of vespas. check out the vespa car at the end!