HomePick of the DayWill Road King make you king of the road?

Will Road King make you king of the road?


The National Museum of American History (aka the Smithsonian) has a 1945 Cushman Motor Scooter as part of its permanent collection. The Pick of the Day is a year-more-recent model, a 1946 Cushman Road King advertised on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Conroe, Texas.

“The classic 1946 Cushman Road King Scooter offers a real trip down memory lane,” the dealer says in the advertisement. “With its classic storage area behind the seat, these scooters were used both commercially and for pleasure. 

Motor scooter ready to hit the road
Motor scooter ready to hit the road

“Our scooter has a fresh coat of red paint and a 10 horsepower engine. Also has a 2-speed transmission and rear drum brakes.”

Sadly, that’s all the dealer has to say about a vehicle that is a true American classic. Well, that’s all but the fact that the asking price is $3,900.

Fortunately, we can visit the Smithsonian’s website for more information about Cushman and its products:

“Founded in 1901 as a manufacturer of small internal-combustion engines for farm equipment and boats, the Cushman Motor Works added motor scooters to its product line in 1936,” the AmericanHistory.si.edu website informs. 

Motor scooter manual included
Motor scooter manual included

“Filling a gap between bicycles and motorcycles, the Cushman scooter was popular among high school students, adults (as an economical “second car”) and small businesses. Passenger and cargo models were available. Farmers, salesmen, housewives, and many other people ran errands, made deliveries, and enjoyed pleasure trips. 

“In particular, the Cushman scooter provided expanded personal mobility for two generations of young people. Some states required a driver’s license, and some did not require one.”

The site goes on to tell of the role Cushman military scooters played during World War II, that civilian production resumed after the war and peaked at around 15,000 scooters a year in late 1950s, with imports eroding the company’s market share in the early 1960s.

“Cushman stopped building motor scooters in 1965 and diversified into golf carts, utility carts, and other small motorized vehicles.”

The Cushman Motor Works was founded by brothers Everett and Clinton Cushman in Lincoln, Nebraska. Among the company’s post-war scooters was the Road King, which added “jet age” styling.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

View previous Pick’s of the Day here.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


    • Since this website’s launch, we also have covered other vintage vehicles, in large part because the people who enjoy and collect cars also enjoy and collect motorcycles, scooters, even vintage boats and aircraft and decorate their homes and garages with automobilia/Road Art.

      • The biggest Cushman Husky motor was 8 horsepower. The 1959 Super eagle with the high compression piston put out 8 & 1/2 horsepower. The OHV Silver Eagle put out 12 horsepower. Get you specs straight there bucco. And your Road King looks very similar to a Pacemaker, since it doesn’t have a two speed gear box, and a clutch.

      • I like seeing all the oddness profiled here- haters gonna hate, trolls gonna troll, but I gotta say I dig the way ya roll.
        Haven’t seen a Cushman since I was a kid in the ’60’s. Memories, donchakno.
        Keep it up. More fans than the bitter, I betcha.

      • On positive note I do enjoy viewing most of the pick of the day vehicles. The option exists as it does with multi media to read what is interesting or appealing to me. The same holds true responding to daft and imprudent comments from some viewers.

  1. I had a 1949 cushman scooter when i was a kid – about 13 or 14 – i got it to run and had alot of fun with it ! I believe it was used by the chicago police dept and by the blue paint – also if i can remember it had a reverse also ! Was very heavy also

    • Perhaps you should take a look at what’s for sale in Cushmans on the national club’s Facebook page. Those that have been fully restored, as well as those maintained in near mint condition DO command high prices, considering these scooters retailed 6o-odd years ago at $600-$900. They are NO toy scooter. Here in MN the 1959 Eagle I own is designated as a motorcycle, for registration and plates, therein a motorcycle endorsement is also needed to ride it legally. Mine has a 9 HP motor, weighs 225 lbs dry, has a “suicide” shifter (but a centrifugal clutch), original Cushman tires, and with the wind at my back goes about 55 mph. On a 7-1/2″ wheel, believe me when I say 55 mph is flying. It’s beat up on some friends multiple times for forgetting to manually roll back the throttle (no spring). Mine is undergoing a partial restoration, mechanically, right now. Rebuilt once and stroked to ten thousandths over, I calculate that the motor should be sustainable for another 264 years. You get what you pay for. Mine was $2500 and worth every nickel to me. So very cool. You’ll see a million or more harleys (have as 76 shovelhead myself) before you’ll ever see even one Cushman out on the roads, my best guess. That exclusivity also commands higher prices.

  2. YEESS! i owned one of those Cushmans, took the head off had it milled/planed for more compression!
    in the dirt every time it fired a stroke the rear tire would do a little SPIN!
    15yrs old thought i was a KING!

  3. I think old Cushman’s are classic !, they made millions of them and quit in ’65 so their all old by now. I had an old one, probably a late 40’s, back in the early 60’s that we basically used as a mini bike. No engine cover, just a tractor seat Lot of fun and took a beating! I think I heard someone is re making them?


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