Owners of the early scooter partake in a joyride hosted by Darwin couple
By Kristen Miller
DARWIN, MN Members of the Cushman Club of Minnesota wouldn’t let a little rain ruin their spring meet June 5, which included a 120-mile ride from Darwin to Rosco and back.
Eddie and Ileen Johnson of Darwin Township hosted the annual event this year, which attracted around 40 riders from all across the state. The Johnsons last hosted the event 12 years ago.
Many of the riders who participated owned a Cushman scooter as young boys before the company, based in Lincoln, NE, stopped making them in 1965.
Now, owners like Eddie collect the classic machines and ride them as hobby.
“It’s something to keep your youth alive,” he said.
Eddie bought his first Cushman scooter from Herb Thulin’s used car lot in Darwin for $50. Unfortunately, he had to take it back though because he was unable to get the title.
In his later 20s, Eddie purchased another Cushman, a 1959 Super Eagle, and has owned one ever since.
Now, Eddie has one other Cushman scooters a 1965 Super Silver Eagle. Last year, he sold his 1946 Civilian Airborne.
The most Eddie has owned is seven at one time.
He has given them an overhaul by purchasing new parts that have been reproduced at a company in Charlotte, SC. He admits this can become fairly expensive, but they are still running strong.
Most of the scooters in the group are capable of doing between 55 and 60 mph, though they stay off major highways, he said.
About three times a year, the Minnesota Cushman Club members have the opportunity to get together for a ride hosted by one of its own.
They also have the chance to partake in the 100-mile “Rough Rider Ride” at the 28th National Cushman Club of America Meet June 14-18 in Sturgis, SD.
Minnesota was the host of the national conventions in 1998 and 2008, Ileen said.
“It’s a neat bunch of people . . . we have fun,” she said.
Brief history of Cushman Motor Works
During World War II, Cushman manufactured more than 15,000 two- and three-wheeled vehicles for military use in camps, bases, and ports, around the world, according to the Nebraska State Historical Society.
In the mid-1950s, the company shifted to electric, three-wheeled vehicles and Cushman became known for its “golf cars.”
In 1957, Cushman was acquired by Outboard Marine Corporation, a boat engine manufacturing company best known for its Evinrude and Johnson boat engines.