Original image provided by Puchverkstan.se

When you think of 1960s scooters, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Probably a Vespa, right? Or maybe it was even a Lambretta?

It’s no wonder – during this time, they were seen as the go-to brands if you wanted to get a stylish scooter.

But it wasn’t because they were the only 1960s scooters available.

It’s easy to forget this, but there were other brands that offered scooters, too, around this time.

And those are what this blog post will be about. We’re going to talk about 1960s scooters that did not wear the Vespa or Lambretta badge.

However, we’ll not cover rebadges, so you’ll not see scooters like the Sears Allstate on here.

If you would like to know more about the Sears Allstate, though, I’ve got an entire blog post dedicated to it, which you can check out here.

Puch DS50 (AKA “Puch Alabama”)

puch alabama ad sweden 1965

Image provided by Puchverkstan.se

The Puch DS50 (or “Puch Alabama” in Sweden) was one of Puch’s few scooter-like models.

Despite its small 50cc engine, the DS50 was strong enough to handle two people.

To make it exempt from licensing requirements in Sweden, the Puch Alabama’s top speed was restricted to 30 km/h.

The advertising brochure from 1965 (seen in the image above) even makes a big point about this.

In the headline, the ad refers to the Puch Alabama as “A True Scooter Without Licensing.”

Although for some unexplained reason, this scooter also got a reputation as an “old man’s moped” in Issue 4 of the Swedish moped magazine Puchjournalen.

Cushman Eagle

Interestingly, Cushman made unique scooters called the “Parascooter” and “Airborne” for the US Army as early as during WWII – years before the first Vespa was even a concept.

The Eagle, however, was a much later product, made between 1958 and 1965.

Underneath the motorcycle-inspired frame design, the Eagle had a 313cc single-cylinder engine and a top speed of 88 km/h (or 55 mph).

Some Eagles even made it as far as Belgium, where they became known as “Belgian Cushmans.”

Even so, Cushman halted all scooter production in 1966 and switched to making golf carts and industrial vehicles.

If you’d like to know more about the Eagle, the National Motorcycle Museum in Iowa has a whole page dedicated to it.

You can even see one for yourself if you want to visit the National Motorcycle Museum itself.

Harley Davidson Topper

Yes, you read the right – that’s the same Harley Davidson known for their cruiser and touring motorcycles like the Sportster and the Electra Glide.

It’s strange to think that the same brand associated with the stereotypical rough biker would get into the scooter business – but they did.

With its 165cc two-stroke engine, the Topper was Harley’s first (and so far, only) attempt at a motor scooter.

The starter is the most interesting thing about it, which used a rope-recoil system, as demonstrated in the video below:

And with only 3,800 Toppers ever made, you’ll be lucky if you ever see one in the wild.

Triumph Tina

Triumph is another brand you wouldn’t normally associate with 1960s scooters, but who made them regardless.

But Triumph didn’t just make one scooter, unlike Harley Davidson – they made 3 of them, such as the Triumph Tina.

Aimed towards women, the Tina was advertised as a “shopping basket” vehicle that was easy to ride.

Sadly, this shopping basket had more than a few mechanical problems, including a seizing CVT drive belt and a significant design flaw that even broke the ankle of Edward Turner, the scooter’s designer, during a test ride.

If you’d like to discover more about Triumph’s short-lived stint at making motor scooters check out the article about it here on The Dual Wheel Journey.

Heinkel Tourist 103 A2

As the last Heinkel Tourist model, the 103 A2 had a 174cc four-stroke engine, a top speed of 110 km/h (70 miles per hour) and a trailing-link fork that replaced the telescopic forks of the previous models.

And since Heinkel had a background in aircraft manufacturing (for the Luftwaffe, in particular), the Tourist scooter had a highly effective streamlined frame design.

It may have been more expensive than the typical Vespa or Lambretta scooters, but its heavy frame also made it more stable and comfortable.

By the time the Heinkel Tourist was discontinued in 1965, 55,000 103 A2s had been built.

And despite its design, the Tourist has attracted a cult following – especially in the United States, where the Massachusetts scooter dealer named Walter Johnson marked it as the “Cadillac of Scooters.”

There’s even a US-based site called heinkeltourist.com with buyer’s guides and repair tutorials – all about the Tourist.

TR 150 Troll 1

Amidst this 1960s scooter craze, it’s easy to forget that the Cold War was still in full swing at this time.

But despite this, not even the Iron Curtain could keep these 1960s scooters out.

It’s somewhat well-known that there are unlicensed Vespas rebadged as “Vyatkas” (after the river of the same name) in the former Soviet Union.

But many don’t know that there were scooters made exclusively for the Eastern Block countries.

One such brand was IWL, based in East Germany which made scooters between 1955 and 1964.

One of these scooters was the TR 150 Troll 1 (short for “TourenRoller Ludwidsfelde,” meaning “Ludwigsfelde touring scooter”).

And even though it has a ” 1″ in its name, there were no successors – since, in 1965, IWL was ordered to switch to making trucks by the East German government.

Furthermore, in the German and European markets, the name “Troll” projected images of foul, man-eating creatures.

Not exactly an image you want people to associate with a scooter.

Zundapp Bella

Let’s stick to Germany for a while, although this next scooter was made in West Germany by Zundapp – a company more known for their WWII motorcycles and sports mopeds (mainly the KS 50).

The Bella was officially launched in 1953 and made until 1964. So although it wasn’t an original 1960s scooter, it was made during the 1960s – hence why it’s on here.

Available with both a 150 and a 200cc engine, the Bella was often seen as a luxury motor scooter – just like the Heinkel Tourist 103 A2.

Curious to discover more about the Zundapp Bella? Read the full article about it here.

Fuji Rabbit 150

Original image by Eric, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although the Japanese would later dominate the motorcycle industry during the 1980s and still go strong to this day, some scooters had something of an early start.

The Fuji Rabbit, made between 1946 and 1968 by Fuji Heavy Industries (now part of a company known as “Subaru”), was one example.

Inspired by the scooters used by American soldiers during and after WWII, the Fuji Rabbit was one of the most hi-tech scooters of that era, as it featured:

 

  • Automatic transmission
  • Electric starter
  • Pneumatic suspension systems

It was also one of the first Japanese scooters that could reach speeds of 97 km/h (60 miles per hour).

And even though this scooter isn’t all that well-known outside of Japan, it has earned a special place in Japanese pop culture and has become a collector’s item.