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Moto Scoots Are Chicago's Underrated Legacy But This One Needed An Update.

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Goldenrod

I live for the CABE
Those pesky ladies are covering up most of this 1950 Beauty. All of them are about the same age and two should be in bikinis. This is a short box version. My dear Whizzer friend, Reg Williams, took this clumsy box with wheelbarrow wheels and replaced them with a moped set of wheels and their real set of brakes. He slapped in a Harbor Freight one-banger with a Comet transmission so the girls can pull out stumps and still fly past stunned, fat tired bikers. The body is not without its charm but I wouldn't blame any insensitive Italian babes on Vespas who laughed at them.
I have a reputation of being a speed wimp because I have a well developed sense of survival. Worms crossing the road are safe around me but someday I might open it up and give my pacemaker a real test. It has been quiet since I took a Polar swim in the Arctic Sea. In Barrow, Alaska you get a patch and a certificate "to take home or put in in your casket".
At least once per year my eighty year-old Whizzer friends stay at our inn and ride 168 miles on quiet roads along the lake. I'll post an invitation before the next June ride. To cover any spillover from the free inn we can pitch in for a room down the street. We go about 160 miles during the weekdays. That little squirt, Mr. Monarch from the CABE, tags along like an old trooper.
1728263


1728264

I wrote the history of Moto Scoot. There is always someone who likes history.


Iron Dreams And Velvet Claws

An Early History Of Motoscoot Scooters From The Mouth Of The Founders Kid, Bud



By Ray Spangler

I bought two Chicago Motoscoots in 1994 and fell in love because of the campy design of the scooter with two types of usable trunk. I called people in Chicago named Siegel until one person directed me to Bud Segel, the son of the man who designed and made this scooter. I collected material, put it all in a booklet and gave it out free to all Motoscoot owners. I started a Motoscoot registry and found that Herb Singe owned about half of all known motoscoots. Today I am answering the request for more articles for our magazine.

Twenty-year-old Norman Siegal worked for his dad repairing and delivering autos. While riding the streetcar back to the shop he designed a bolt–on-to-car return vehicle. Times were tight in 1931-32 but he managed to build a scooter using a hit-and-miss engine from an old washing machine and his child’s baby carriage wheels.

This model worked so well that he soon received orders for 10 more. Not having a building location, he cut a deal with the owner of a vacant building. It was a when I get paid, you get paid situation. The project was so tightly budgeted that he had to tear plumbing out of the building to form the handlebars. These were later replaced with new pipes.

In 1937 Norm was featured in a book titled “Today’s Young Men”. Each week, a bright and promising young man was described and these stories were supposed to inspire each “Little Joe Beanie” reading the magazine. To my astonishment, I was able to obtain a copy of this book on loan. The book picked well: Orsen Wells, Tom Dewey (presidential candidate 1948), Joe Mc Carthy (basher of commie pink liberals and others), Philco T. Farnsworth (first T.V. demonstration), Ben Adamowski (Chicago Polish Hero), Abe Fortas and Cliff Utley (News Reporters) Harold Stassen (Ran for president).

This is a quotation from the American Bicyclist Magazine in 1939:

“Through a national advertising campaign, a public demand for Moto-Scoots was created. Bicycle dealers and hardware merchants found that handling [was] a profit making proposition.”

“Rental agencies employing four, six or ten Moto-Scoot found by renting them out by the hour or half-hour, they could pay off their Moto Scoots and start reaping a golden profit. This business proved to be an important part of Moto-Scoot sales.”

“The first Moto-Scoots built in the South Chicago Ave plant are the new exclusive 1939 models. These incorporate all features of beauty, safety, and sound construction. Looking at these models, it is hard to believe that such engineering could be incorporate in a scooter.”

I learned that the famous Chicago Pier was one of these locations. The three wheelers may have been rented there. My opinion is that the wheelbarrow tiers were inferior to the large Cushman tires making it ride like a wheelbarrow. If it had bumpers was it a rental?

One feature made the new factory unique. The factory had a banked oval track to demonstrate the goods. Norm’s eleven-year-old son, Bud, often tested these goods. The track could be viewed by potential customers from the second story office.

Bud also drove against boys almost twice his age in the company’s sponsored races but not at the factory track. One day in 1941, Norm and Bud engaged in a race. The track had some crating lumber positioned so the track was not two lanes in all places. As the Segels approached this part of the track, neither chickened out and Norm “knerfed” Bud into the lumber pile, totaling the new racer. Bud saved himself from injury by ducking into the car. As he pulled his son out, Norm said, ”That’s to show you that you do not have a friend on the race track.

Norm ran the Decapitation School of Racing, 101? The cars had knerf bars and the act of Knerfing was bumping an opponent into the wall or other racers.

At the second plant, a ramp extended down from the second story through a hole in the floor. All heavy equipment was located on the ground floor and the assembly, painting and offices were located on the second floor. As the scooters were finished they were rolled down the ramp for testing.

Norm was the holder of 20-30 patents including basic patents on the centrifugal clutch. Before automakers tinted windshields they used the steel hood shading the top of the windshield. Norm invented that. Norm made prototypes of the first mini bike. It was powered by a (Canadian) Villiers engine and had a four-speed transmission. This made it unbelievably fast. Norm snuck it into a big bike race and beat them all. Bud thinks that these did not have fenders. No known scooter/bikes are known to exist, even in pictures. Also lost is the gold plated Moto-Scoot that was hung high up in the office.

The company bought many different types of engines and hooked them up to a large gas tank. They put them all on the same artificial load and ran them until they broke down. This was to choose the best engine for their scooter but they also advised the engine companies on how to make their engines run longer after they tore the losers apart and did a post mortem. The Lawson engine had a feature that stopped the engine when it ran out of oil. That may have been the reason they chose this type of engine for their machine. If the machine had a shift, the style got a new name, For example: a long box delivery with a two speed became an Imperial Delivery.

Into this idyllic life flew waves of Japanese planes, which changed everything. Norman could not get steel without a government contract. Two New York shysters with government contracts to make G.I. bunk beds and 105 howitzer ejection sleeves showed up at the factory. They proposed a plan that would save his business. He would give them 49% of the factory in stock, he could retain 49% and two trusted employees would get 1% each. Shortly after the agreement, The New York jerks bought the two 1% shocks for $10,000 each, declared bankruptcy and auctioned off the hard assets to their friends. They owned the factory and started producing war goods without Norman. This seems incredulous to those who are not familiar with the level of corruption in Chicago.

Norman took a war job at Goodyear and designed part of the tail wheel for the Corsair fighter plane but he was ordered to design a piece that he thought would be dangerous. He was threatened with being fired which meant being drafted. He quit and worked briefly for the Junior Toy Company and when his draft notice came he would not go back to Goodyear. Norman, father of three, controlled his destiny by enlisting in the Marines Corps as a combat engineer—Fifth Division.

Somewhere in the Pacific he began to fabricate his own combat scooter. He started by ingratiated himself to several troopship machine shop officers and he soon had fashioned a centrifugal clutch. Which he kept on his person.

As he hit the beach at Iwo Jima, Norman found a few spare minutes to bury his combat clutch, while under enemy fire. He was ordered to take a position at the end of the defensive line –nearest the ocean. A Japanese counter attack tried to wade around his position. Norman and his foxhole mate began firing at them alerting the defenses to the threat as the return fire killed his friend and Norman received head wounds in two places.

The family has kept the helmet. One bullet split and one part cut an interesting groove around inside of the helmet. His friend Scooby often joked that bullets would bounce off lucky Norm and injure him so Norm wrote, “This one didn’t get Scooby”, inside of the helmet.

As Norm recovered in the hospital, he worried that Japanese shells might destroy his clutch so he escaped the hospital and made his way back to the beach and unburied his Clutch. Then he got caught by an officer who thought that a soldier who was well enough to go clutch hunting for his private property should be well enough to shoot Japanese. He soon was wounded in the arm with a samurai sword. As Norm deflected the blow another Marine shot the sword’s owner. Norm survived five invasions and was awarded five Purple Hearts, s bronze and Silver Star.

Norm was part of the security detail that guarded the soldiers as they raised the first flag on the top of Mount Suribachi so he was 50 yards away from the first flag. Another larger flag, which could be seen by all marines on the island, was raised for the famous photo.

I know that most of you gear heads are worried about the clutch. The combat Moto-Scoot was completed at a rest camp in Hawaii and rolled on a set of Stinson observation plane wheels. The Onan portable landing light motor was used to power the contraption that was louvered like a Moto-scoot. The scooter could pull as many Marines who could hang on or two ladies could ride comfortably. The engine had a very heavy flywheel and the jackshaft was connected to a right angle gearbox. The engine had a propensity to break ale shafts when “racing”. I would like to say that the scooter was ridden around the ship’s deck but sadly; the scooter was left on the main island.

After the war, Norm raced small cars and invited all his friends to have hors oeuvres in his basement. The guests went upstairs for dinner but Norm and some of his friends weren’t hungry. By the time that they finished dessert and returned to the basement to enjoy after dinner drinks, all of the parts of his racecar had been passed through a window and assembled in the basement. The dinner party was an excuse to play a trick on all his friends.

Norm was always known to have a heavy foot when driving so it was not surprising that a miscalculation on a curve caused his death. An Illinois Whizzer guy, Dick Pagles brought his first Whizzer home on a streetcar in 1947. He was a friend of Norm’s son Bud and drove him home from the University Of Illinois to be with his family for the Jewish funeral.

Later, Burton “Bud” Siegel used that U. of I. mechanical engineering education to become “one of America’s most successful independent inventers and the founder of Budd Engineering Corp. in Skokie, Illinois.” He holds more than 90 patents in 35 fields, he was 1986’s inventor of the year, and won a presidential award. Of all of Bud’s inventions, my favorites are: a self–serve dog food dispenser, hydroponic garden controls (for your marijuana project), crook-catching automated surveillance monitors, the vending machine, mechanical memories that position our car seats, an automatic sewer cleaner (for your poop), gear train for the moon rover, ultrasound rodent repeller and toys. While I am feeling stupid, I’ll do a rap up of my thoughts.

The family is understandably bitter about the American Moto-Scoot Company Clysters who stole the company and manufactured scooters of Norman’s design, after 1942. I consider my two Moto-Scoots to be monuments to a person who was a bizarre combination of Mario Andretti, Henry Ford, Audie Murphy and Steve Martin. It has been my great honor to restore and take care of two of Norm’s Chicago babies and talk to his amazing son Bud. They lived the story of what America was, and should be today.
 
Last edited:

razinhellcustomz

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Those pesky ladies are covering up most of this 1950 Beauty. All of them are about the same age and two should be in bikinis. This is a short box version. My dear Whizzer friend, Reg Williams, took this clumsy box with wheelbarrow wheels and replaced them with a moped set of wheels and their real set of brakes. He slapped in a Harbor Freight one-banger with a Comet transmission so the girls can pull out stumps and still fly past stunned, fat tired bikers. The body is not without its charm but I wouldn't blame any insensitive Italian babes on Vespas who laughed at them.
I have a reputation of being a speed wimp because I have a well developed sense of survival. Worms crossing the road are safe around me but someday I might open it up and give my pacemaker a real test. It has been quiet since I took a Polar swim in the Arctic Sea. In Barrow, Alaska you get a patch and a certificate "to take home or put in in your casket".
At least once per year my eighty year-old Whizzer friends stay at our inn and ride 168 miles on quiet roads along the lake. I'll post an invitation before the next June ride. To cover any spillover from the free inn we can pitch in for a room down the street. We go about 160 miles during the weekdays. That little squirt, Mr. Monarch from the CABE, tags along like an old trooper.View attachment 1728263

View attachment 1728264
I wrote the history of Moto Scoot. There is always someone who likes history.


Iron Dreams And Velvet Claws

An Early History Of Motoscoot Scooters From The Mouth Of The Founders Kid, Bud



By Ray Spangler

I bought two Chicago Motoscoots in 1994 and fell in love because of the campy design of the scooter with two types of usable trunk. I called people in Chicago named Siegel until one person directed me to Bud Segel, the son of the man who designed and made this scooter. I collected material, put it all in a booklet and gave it out free to all Motoscoot owners. I started a Motoscoot registry and found that Herb Singe owned about half of all known motoscoots. Today I am answering the request for more articles for our magazine.

Twenty-year-old Norman Siegal worked for his dad repairing and delivering autos. While riding the streetcar back to the shop he designed a bolt–on-to-car return vehicle. Times were tight in 1931-32 but he managed to build a scooter using a hit-and-miss engine from an old washing machine and his child’s baby carriage wheels.

This model worked so well that he soon received orders for 10 more. Not having a building location, he cut a deal with the owner of a vacant building. It was a when I get paid, you get paid situation. The project was so tightly budgeted that he had to tear plumbing out of the building to form the handlebars. These were later replaced with new pipes.

In 1937 Norm was featured in a book titled “Today’s Young Men”. Each week, a bright and promising young man was described and these stories were supposed to inspire each “Little Joe Beanie” reading the magazine. To my astonishment, I was able to obtain a copy of this book on loan. The book picked well: Orsen Wells, Tom Dewey (presidential candidate 1948), Joe Mc Carthy (basher of commie pink liberals and others), Philco T. Farnsworth (first T.V. demonstration), Ben Adamowski (Chicago Polish Hero), Abe Fortas and Cliff Utley (News Reporters) Harold Stassen (Ran for president).

This is a quotation from the American Bicyclist Magazine in 1939:

“Through a national advertising campaign, a public demand for Moto-Scoots was created. Bicycle dealers and hardware merchants found that handling [was] a profit making proposition.”

“Rental agencies employing four, six or ten Moto-Scoot found by renting them out by the hour or half-hour, they could pay off their Moto Scoots and start reaping a golden profit. This business proved to be an important part of Moto-Scoot sales.”

“The first Moto-Scoots built in the South Chicago Ave plant are the new exclusive 1939 models. These incorporate all features of beauty, safety, and sound construction. Looking at these models, it is hard to believe that such engineering could be incorporate in a scooter.”

I learned that the famous Chicago Pier was one of these locations. The three wheelers may have been rented there. My opinion is that the wheelbarrow tiers were inferior to the large Cushman tires making it ride like a wheelbarrow. If it had bumpers was it a rental?

One feature made the new factory unique. The factory had a banked oval track to demonstrate the goods. Norm’s eleven-year-old son, Bud, often tested these goods. The track could be viewed by potential customers from the second story office.

Bud also drove against boys almost twice his age in the company’s sponsored races but not at the factory track. One day in 1941, Norm and Bud engaged in a race. The track had some crating lumber positioned so the track was not two lanes in all places. As the Segels approached this part of the track, neither chickened out and Norm “knerfed” Bud into the lumber pile, totaling the new racer. Bud saved himself from injury by ducking into the car. As he pulled his son out, Norm said, ”That’s to show you that you do not have a friend on the race track.

Norm ran the Decapitation School of Racing, 101? The cars had knerf bars and the act of Knerfing was bumping an opponent into the wall or other racers.

At the second plant, a ramp extended down from the second story through a hole in the floor. All heavy equipment was located on the ground floor and the assembly, painting and offices were located on the second floor. As the scooters were finished they were rolled down the ramp for testing.

Norm was the holder of 20-30 patents including basic patents on the centrifugal clutch. Before automakers tinted windshields they used the steel hood shading the top of the windshield. Norm invented that. Norm made prototypes of the first mini bike. It was powered by a (Canadian) Villiers engine and had a four-speed transmission. This made it unbelievably fast. Norm snuck it into a big bike race and beat them all. Bud thinks that these did not have fenders. No known scooter/bikes are known to exist, even in pictures. Also lost is the gold plated Moto-Scoot that was hung high up in the office.

The company bought many different types of engines and hooked them up to a large gas tank. They put them all on the same artificial load and ran them until they broke down. This was to choose the best engine for their scooter but they also advised the engine companies on how to make their engines run longer after they tore the losers apart and did a post mortem. The Lawson engine had a feature that stopped the engine when it ran out of oil. That may have been the reason they chose this type of engine for their machine. If the machine had a shift, the style got a new name, For example: a long box delivery with a two speed became an Imperial Delivery.

Into this idyllic life flew waves of Japanese planes, which changed everything. Norman could not get steel without a government contract. Two New York shysters with government contracts to make G.I. bunk beds and 105 howitzer ejection sleeves showed up at the factory. They proposed a plan that would save his business. He would give them 49% of the factory in stock, he could retain 49% and two trusted employees would get 1% each. Shortly after the agreement, The New York jerks bought the two 1% shocks for $10,000 each, declared bankruptcy and auctioned off the hard assets to their friends. They owned the factory and started producing war goods without Norman. This seems incredulous to those who are not familiar with the level of corruption in Chicago.

Norman took a war job at Goodyear and designed part of the tail wheel for the Corsair fighter plane but he was ordered to design a piece that he thought would be dangerous. He was threatened with being fired which meant being drafted. He quit and worked briefly for the Junior Toy Company and when his draft notice came he would not go back to Goodyear. Norman, father of three, controlled his destiny by enlisting in the Marines Corps as a combat engineer—Fifth Division.

Somewhere in the Pacific he began to fabricate his own combat scooter. He started by ingratiated himself to several troopship machine shop officers and he soon had fashioned a centrifugal clutch. Which he kept on his person.

As he hit the beach at Iwo Jima, Norman found a few spare minutes to bury his combat clutch, while under enemy fire. He was ordered to take a position at the end of the defensive line –nearest the ocean. A Japanese counter attack tried to wade around his position. Norman and his foxhole mate began firing at them alerting the defenses to the threat as the return fire killed his friend and Norman received head wounds in two places.

The family has kept the helmet. One bullet split and one part cut an interesting groove around inside of the helmet. His friend Scooby often joked that bullets would bounce off lucky Norm and injure him so Norm wrote, “This one didn’t get Scooby”, inside of the helmet.

As Norm recovered in the hospital, he worried that Japanese shells might destroy his clutch so he escaped the hospital and made his way back to the beach and unburied his Clutch. Then he got caught by an officer who thought that a soldier who was well enough to go clutch hunting for his private property should be well enough to shoot Japanese. He soon was wounded in the arm with a samurai sword. As Norm deflected the blow another Marine shot the sword’s owner. Norm survived five invasions and was awarded five Purple Hearts, s bronze and Silver Star.

Norm was part of the security detail that guarded the soldiers as they raised the first flag on the top of Mount Suribachi so he was 50 yards away from the first flag. Another larger flag, which could be seen by all marines on the island, was raised for the famous photo.

I know that most of you gear heads are worried about the clutch. The combat Moto-Scoot was completed at a rest camp in Hawaii and rolled on a set of Stinson observation plane wheels. The Onan portable landing light motor was used to power the contraption that was louvered like a Moto-scoot. The scooter could pull as many Marines who could hang on or two ladies could ride comfortably. The engine had a very heavy flywheel and the jackshaft was connected to a right angle gearbox. The engine had a propensity to break ale shafts when “racing”. I would like to say that the scooter was ridden around the ship’s deck but sadly; the scooter was left on the main island.

After the war, Norm raced small cars and invited all his friends to have hors oeuvres in his basement. The guests went upstairs for dinner but Norm and some of his friends weren’t hungry. By the time that they finished dessert and returned to the basement to enjoy after dinner drinks, all of the parts of his racecar had been passed through a window and assembled in the basement. The dinner party was an excuse to play a trick on all his friends.

Norm was always known to have a heavy foot when driving so it was not surprising that a miscalculation on a curve caused his death. An Illinois Whizzer guy, Dick Pagles brought his first Whizzer home on a streetcar in 1947. He was a friend of Norm’s son Bud and drove him home from the University Of Illinois to be with his family for the Jewish funeral.

Later, Burton “Bud” Siegel used that U. of I. mechanical engineering education to become “one of America’s most successful independent inventers and the founder of Budd Engineering Corp. in Skokie, Illinois.” He holds more than 90 patents in 35 fields, he was 1986’s inventor of the year, and won a presidential award. Of all of Bud’s inventions, my favorites are: a self–serve dog food dispenser, hydroponic garden controls (for your marijuana project), crook-catching automated surveillance monitors, the vending machine, mechanical memories that position our car seats, an automatic sewer cleaner (for your poop), gear train for the moon rover, ultrasound rodent repeller and toys. While I am feeling stupid, I’ll do a rap up of my thoughts.

The family is understandably bitter about the American Moto-Scoot Company Clysters who stole the company and manufactured scooters of Norman’s design, after 1942. I consider my two Moto-Scoots to be monuments to a person who was a bizarre combination of Mario Andretti, Henry Ford, Audie Murphy and Steve Martin. It has been my great honor to restore and take care of two of Norm’s Chicago babies and talk to his amazing son Bud. They lived the story of what America was, and should be today.
That's a great story.. Love the history aspect of two great men taking an idea and bringing it to fruition only to be screwed by a war profiteer.... God bless Norm and his associates for a COOOL little scooter...
 
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