A Cushman, no, a Cusman, in Cuba

   Pretty scooters come from Italy. For those who instead wanted a rugged scooter, the source for three decades was Lincoln, Nebraska, home of the Cushman Corp. factory that turned out tough, reliable two-wheelers between 1936 and 1965.
   Cushman's most famous product? The Military Airborne Model 53, a foldable, lightweight scooter designed to be dropped with parachute troops in World War Two. It didn't work out so well on the battlefield, but is much valued by collectors today.
Cushman logo, spelled correctly
  I saw the above step-through Model 52 or 54 Cushman — never mind the missing "h" — in Varadero. Built, as it says, in 1948, it's had some reworking over the years. The tube-style forks and front disc brake, for example, would have been later additions, and the cowling has received some well-executed aluminum patches. I couldn't tell if that cowling concealed the original 221-cc, 4-horsepower engine. The bucket, I figure, serves as storage compartment.
  The Cushman name lives on as a line of light industrial trucks produced by a subsidiary of Textron Inc. in Augusta, Georgia. And this '48 Cushman survives as an economical means of daily transportation in Cuba.


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