- Feb 9, 2008
- Reaction score
That's a 1956 Cushman Highlander. When I wasn't quite 14-years-old, two friends and I bought one from the friend of a friend. It was red and really beat-up. There were no serial numbers, as it had apparently been assembled mostly from junkyard parts. It was not a licensed motor vehicle. Speed probably topped out at 25-35 mph until we blew the engine. Of course, none of us had a driver's license. After we blew the engine, we weren't sure what to do; try to fix it or just dump it somewhere.
Ultimately, one the trios older brothers found a Cushman Super Eagle engine at a local junkyard. It was $30.00 and we had to extricate it from the mangled mess of the Super Eagle, which had been in a fatal accident.
With considerable assistance and a few more dollars, a kid who worked at a local garage, shoehorned the larger engine into the Highlander. As beaten up as it had looked earlier, with the new engine, it looked worse, as the sides of the engine covering/base of the seat had to be pounded wider. But the speed was easily doubled. My older brother followed behind me in his car as I opened the Cushman up...55 mph and it felt like I was about to take off into space. Not that the Cushman could ever do a wheelie, but we fabricated a wheelie bar to attach to the rear frame. That was only because we lengthened the seat to the rear so that the three of us could ride on it at the same time.
For license plates, we used facsimile plates that you used to get in boxes of Quaker Puffed Oats.
So, why this tale, today?
This morning, I thought I heard my garage door open. It's a tuck under garage and sure enough, something or someone tripped the switch that opened the garage door. I checked to see if anything was taken. Nothing gone, no footprints on the driveway.
It reminded me of the Cushman and Jimmy, one of the trio. He was a weird kind of kid, who as an adult, was extremely successful. He'd built a dialable frequency garage door opener just for shitz and grinz. He'd walk through the neighborhood, twisting the dial and opening garage doors just for the fun of it.
One day, all three of us are on the scooter. I'm driving in the city, speed limit 30 mph, and I've got the Cushman going flat out, weaving between cars. Several cars behind us, a siren comes on, the cops. They are in pursuit in traffic. I take a hard left, cut in front of an oncoming car and duck between businesses into a residential area. Now there are multiple sirens.
Jimmy, thank goodness, has the dialer with him. We're praying that somebody along the way has an electric garage door opener. We get lucky and a double garage door opens, no cars inside. We zip in and close the door. I get off the scooter and knock on the door from inside the garage to the house. Nobody home. I suppose we hung out for about an hour, then back on the scooter and home.
Occasionally, if there's power bump, my garage door will activate and I'm guessing that's what happened. The clock on my stove called for a reset.