Friday, July 15, 2016

World on Wheels series continues with AmericanMoto-Scoot circa 1946

Usually this time of year my custom-card making centers on baseball subjects. But this summer I've been more interested in non-sports.

My latest is a continuation of my World on Wheels series. The subject is a motor scooter I saw while watching an episode of American Pickers. In one of their barn scrounges, the guys found a clapped-out hulk of an American Moto-Scoot.

It took a fair amount of google-searching, but I finally found enough data on that scooter brand to make a creditable card back.

The Moto-Scoot company was founded in Chicago in 1937 by Norman Siegel. When he entered the military in World War II, the company was taken over by a group of local financiers. When production was resumed in 1946, the brand name had been changed to American Moto-Scoot.

The company had a broad lineup of solo and two-seat models. I saw several times on the internet that Moto-Scoot had outsold such standards as Cushman and Salsbury, but I never saw any  hard numbers to verify that.

Moto-Scoots were lightweight, versatile and dependable. Built on a 50" wheelbase on a welded tubular steel frame, the bikes could be had with either a Briggs & Stratton or Lauson engine, putting out about 2-1/4 hp.

The Moto-Scoot featured a two-speed Albion transmission with an Amsco automatic centrifugal clutch. The scooter featured such refinements as a kick starter, ignition lock and key and a full one-gallon gas tank.

At 165-180 pounds, depending on model, the Moto-Scoot boasted a fuel efficiency rating of 80 mpg. Top speed was tuted as 40 mph.

Siegel had an innovative marketing plan. While he had a few brick-and-mortar dealerships, and sold the scooters in the J&R Auto Parts chain, sales were primarily mail order, through such catalogers as Spiegel and Montgomery Ward.

One undated brochure on the internet shows prices between $111.50 and $146.50, depending on model.

I didn't read deep enough on the internet to know why the company apparently halted production in 1947 or shortly thereafter.

There appears to be a thriving market today for surviving scooters and parts.

I've got a number of other non-sports customs in the hopper but I'm going to make an effort to whittle away at my baseball backlog.

You can order this card. Unless noted, all of my custom cards are available to collectors for $12.50 each, postpaid for one or two cards; $9.95 each for three or more (mix/match). Complete checklists of all my custom baseball, football and non-sports custom cards were published on this blog in late May. To order, email me at for directions on paying via check/money order, or to my PayPal account.

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