Scooters have always fascinated Dean Bergdall, Mayflower Drive, Waynedale, especially the Cushman. Cushman Motor Scooters were built in Lincoln, Nebraska from 1936 until 1965. Dean began tinkering with engines in a high school shop class at the age of 14. Back then all his friends and cousins had Cushman scooters, Dean wished he did too. “Boy, you could ride those scooters on the road back then! You didn’t need a license,” said Bergdall, “and for a kid that’s 14, that can’t drive, that’s a pretty good thing.”
A few more years passed and no Cushman, but at the age of 16, Dean could now drive a car. He started his own shop repairing small lawnmower engines so he had money to buy gas and maintain his car, but his love for scooters remained.
Dean’s dream to own a Cushman finally came true about 10 years ago. At the age of 39, he purchased his first Cushman a 1963 Super Silver Eagle. The scooter was purchased for $2800 during a Cushman Show in Portland, IN. Since that time Dean has put his heart into restoring and showing Cushman Scooters. He won 2 years in a row at the Vintage Motorbike Club Show, Portland, IN with his 1961 Cushman Road King. This model was the last year that the 60’s Series Step-Thru was made. It has an 8hp Husky Cushman engine with a 2-speed transmission. The seat upholstery is original and the factory colors were duplicated to specs.
“Restoring a classic Cushman Motor Scooter is rewarding. Many times I sell them before I can get them finished”. According to Bergdall, Cushman made the very best engine. It is reliable, dependable and powerful. “Many guys my age want to relive their youth by restoring the old scooters that they had when they were young.” These restorations created a demand for new parts to replace original parts that were rusted beyond repair. Dennis Carpenter Reproductions, Concord, NC recognizes this need and builds replacement parts. Locally Dean Bergdall and Eldon Rybolt create replacement frames for the Cushman Scooter. Dean is currently rebuilding a 1955 Cushman Husky 5hp flathead engine. He said that in 1959 Outboard Marine Corporation improved this engine to an all-aluminum to compete with Honda.
Cushman had been in the engine business since 1901 but the Cushman Scooters were not manufactured until 1936. Cushman Scooters and the Cushman Husky engine were used at military facilities during WW2. Cushman also made an Airborne version for the military with a channel iron frame that was designed to be dropped by parachute. Dale McCormick, an Aboite resident is the proud owner of a 1948 Civilian Airborne Scooter. Maybe someday he will take it out of the box.
Cushman enthusiasts dream of not only riding these scooters but owning their own. The Cushman Scooter is still alive. Let’s keep ’em rolling boys! Maybe we’ll see a few in the Memorial Day Parade.