Scooter Guy

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  1. Start by getting the Doodle Bug "Bible" from Steve Elliott. He was selling them for $50 at the Doodle Bug Reunion. It contains all of the manuals and parts lists and also contains the owners manual for the engines and for the accessories. Yesterday's Rides manufactures reproduction parts or can restore your original parts. Their website has lots of good information. Don is the only direct source for parts. Jim Kilau in Minnesota sells Don's parts, if that makes more sense for you. Buying used parts (like on Ebay) is a real crapshoot. There is really no telling if the parts are usable or not until they show up at your house. I've spent some serious money on some original parts only to discover on arrival that they were being unloaded because they were irreparable. I don't know where you really want to go in this restoration, but would caution you that most of the Doodle Bug scooters seen online are not completely correct...even some of them billed as "completely restored." I'm not here to rain on anyone's parade, but even some of the Doodle Bugs that have won awards in AACA class judging aren't 100% correct. It's best to study the factory literature and ask people like Don Jackson (owner/operator of Yesterday's Rides) a lot of questions. I'm happy to help, too, if I can. The engine is correct (according to the tag), but should have a kick starter. They did not use a rope/pull starter. The paint you'll probably have to source locally. See if your paint shop can figure out what "Cessna red" (as in the airplane) is...that's the right color. Going to the Doodle Bug Reunion is can see Doodle Bugs in every shade of red you can imagine.
  2. A Doodle Bug in very interesting. I wonder how it got there. Did Brazil have Gamble or Western Auto Stores in the 1940s? Both of those companies were based in the midwestern United States and both grew rapidly, but I didn't know either to have a truly international presence. Otherwise, an individual or company imported it...and I wonder when that was. Could it have been in Brazil since new or do you think it came there much more recently? Speaking of Doodle Bugs outside of the USA, I did recently confirm that Doodle Bug Scooters were sold new in Canada through a hardware store chain there in the 1940s called Macleod's. I had wondered for a long time and finally found a catalog offering the scooters for sale there. It is unclear, however, if Beam Manufacturing (who actually built the scooter) supplied them or if Macleod's stores were buying and flipping scooters that were actually built for Gamble Stores. I am looking for information on any connection between Macleod's and Gamble's or Western may just be the Canadian Gamble's brand or some such thing. EDIT: As to your paint questions...they were ALL red when new. EDIT #2: According to the Minnesota Historical Society, Gambles purchased Macleods in 1945. Macleods had 270 stores that operated in Western Canada. The MHS has no evidence that Gambles ever operated in any other location outside of the United States.
  3. The Lowther Lightning... Was yours the airflow model shown here that features that wild front body work and goofy handlebars? They had another model without that called the Playboy. The only Lowther's that I know of are all 1949. I'm not sure if that was the only year they made them or not, but every piece of dated material I've seen seems to suggest that. I'm not sure that they ever sold that well to begin with, so (I'm speculating here) I doubt there are very many left. I've seen a couple of them amongst Vintage Motor Bike Club members during the annual meet in Portland, Indiana, but that's it.
  4. That's the one. It was on Ebay, being sold out of the Baltimore, MD area. I bought it sight unseen and would say that it exceeds my expectations. This is the only complete, original Forall that I've ever run across. I know there are one or two examples of the early version that have been restored and there is another early version in Jim Kilau's collection that is a shriner scooter, but that's it for complete machines. I have photos of the remains of two or three others; those are the only ones I know of, but there must be a few more out there. This is a good example and mostly just needs to be cleaned up, though it has become apparent that someone attempted to monkey with the carb at some point, but all that's missing are a couple of linkage rods or springs along with the air intake tube. Everything else is there and works good. There are no reproduction parts for these scooters, so it was essential to me to find one with all of the scooter specific parts in place. There are some dents, dings, and rusty spots, but overall the appearance and the paint are so good that I'm going to leave it original and work to preserve it as it is. This may be the only complete, original paint late model Forall out there. It even has the original serial tag and water-slide Forall decal on the front fork tube. It just seems like it would be a shame to re-do it to perfection and erase all of that history. Whoever had this for all these years cared about it and generally took pretty good care of it. It was definitely ridden, but seems to have only seen light use. The seller found it in a storage unit at auction and didn't really know what it was. He wrote in to the Doodle Bug Club and they got the word out that it was going up for sale. The price was right on it, but getting it to Texas from Maryland was a nightmare. Fellow scooter and motorcycle enthusiasts had been telling me for some time that Uship was the greatest thing since sliced bread, so I decided to give it a try. It was an absolutely awful experience (the only good thing being that scooter eventually showed up for delivery) and the bottom line is that I will never use Uship again.
  5. Well, in that case, I suppose it's worth posting what little info I know about the Forall Scooter... The Forall was produced from 1957-1959 by Bob Baugh and the Illinois Foundry in Springfield, Illinois. Baugh was the owner of the foundry which was apparently one of the largest in Illinois though by the mid to late 1950s it had apparently fallen on hard times and much of the property was sitting idle. The story is that Baugh saw the remains of a Doodle Bug Scooter around town and borrowed it from the owner in order to use it as a basis to create his own scooter. He later thanked that person by gifting him the first Forall Scooter off the line. He took the Doodle Bug Scooter back to his plant and slightly redesigned it. It was enlarged (compared to a Doodle Bug) by about 1/3, which some Doodle Bug parts being direct bolt-ons for early model Forall Scooters, such as the handlebars and gas tank. A distinguishing feature of the Forall was the cast aluminum floorboard and (on later models) a cast aluminum belt guard. The later model, as shown above, is what mine is. Both the floor board and belt guard are cast aluminum, the handlebars and gooseneck are adapted from bicycle parts and are chrome, and the gas tank mounted on the cross bar is from Whizzer. The control system is slightly different on a Forall than a Doodle Bug and is not intuitive. Throttle is left and brake is right. They are not spring operated, so the throttle and brake both have to be manually opened and closed...kinda dangerous if you asked me. They use bicycle shift lever style controllers. The rear band brake is made from a section of V-belt that rubs against the rear hub, rather primitive braking! The engine is a 2 1/2 hp Tecumseh / Lauson that is all aluminum and has a mercury clutch running to a countershaft, just as on the Doodle Bug Scooter. The late 1950s what an interesting time in small engine history as well, as Tecumseh bought up Lauson, dismantled the company, and continued using the name. However, early Tecumseh era Lauson engines said both Tecumseh and Lauson on them (this one does). These days both Tecumseh and Lauson are gone. It is thought that there were 1800-2500 total scooters built and that all sold new for $189. One source indicates that these may have been sold through Macy's, but I've been unable to confirm. There are no traces of a dealer network whatsoever. Unlike the Doodle Bug, these were marketed as more utilitarian scooters for adults to ride. Baugh tried a "fleet" approach to selling these to factories, cities, police departments, etc. but that ultimately failed. I suspect that one reason why is because the design was rather low-tech and primitive for the late 1950s. They were slow and not nearly as stylish as a Cushman, Vespa, or Sears Allstate (Puch) motorcycle. It is also said that legislation in Illinois meant the end of the Forall which was suddenly deemed not street legal for lack of registration, insurance, and lights/safety items. Bob Baugh's son, was a noted hot rodder and drag racer in the 1960s and 1970s, but apparently had no interest in the Foundry once his father died. It's an interesting, rather obscure piece of scooter history. My interest in them come from their connection to the Doodle Bug Scooter.
  6. I have no details, but would like to add that I'd love to know the exact route that is used. Add me to the list of folks that would love to see photos, too!
  7. That's a really cool idea. I know it has been done (non-AACA) in the Indianapolis area. The Stutz complex still stands (and is "restored" / occupied / in daily use) as do some other buildings noted for their automotive past.
  8. Ok, I figured out the brake mount. I know nobody is really reading this thread, but I'll close the loop on that one anyway...there is a small hole through one of the frame "cross members" that the end of the brake band bolts to. It was gunked up with grease and road grime. Once it was cleaned off...lo and behold! There it was. Now I just need to keep it from dragging...hmmmm. Also, I think the air filter tube mentioned earlier is just a length of romex but that there is some kind of 90 degree elbow (possibly?) at the bottom of the carb for it to clamp on to.
  9. This is a longshot, but it never hurts to ask... I'm looking for good photos or a diagram on how the brake is mounted on a 1959 Forall Motor Scooter. I know I have all the parts and that the cable is hooked up correctly (it works), but where or what does the "non-cable" end of the brake attach to? There has to be something, but I can't determine the location of any mounting point and the images I have don't have enough detail for me to see where this goes. Also, I know there is a tube or hose that connects the air filter to the carb. Photos and information on what this is supposed to be like would be highly appreciated. It is the only part on my entire machine that I'm missing. Mine is a late model (1959) with the whizzer gas tank, cast aluminum belt guard, chrome bicycle handlebars and gooseneck, and the "version 2" floor board. These were a bit different than the early models from 1957 and 1958, but any help would be appreciated. Here's a late Forall like mine:
  10. Yamaha Townmates were made from '83 until '95 but were never a US market bike, so someone brought it over from (probably) the UK. It's "modern" so if you go for this make sure it has paperwork or it's absolutely one to "pass" on. They are not really desirable in terms in being a collector's item. Sourcing parts for 17 year old European market Yamaha could be interesting. I doubt you'd find much (if any) dealer network support stateside. Even in the UK, I'm not sure what the parts sources would be like and how long the Yamaha dealer network will support these. These aren't worth very much money, so you could be really upside down on this quickly if you tried to restore it. If you want something that style, a Honda Passport would be a much better option, in my opinion, especially if you want to ride it on regular basis. They were sold in the US for many years and came in several different colors (red, yellow, blue, etc...). Honda dealers usually can/will be able to obtain parts for them. They are virtually bullet-proof.
  11. Parts are always the issue with the more obscure foreign scooters. I say "obscure" in the sense that it's not a Vespa or Lambretta with plentiful parts sources in the US. Zundapp built a really nice, high quality machine, and they built tons of them...BUT...most of them are still located in Europe. There was an export model that ended up in the US, but they don't seem to have ever come here in great numbers. There is no "known" parts supplier in the US, so those wanting to restore them either need to buy parts bikes or be willing to deal with parts sources in Germany. If you can deal with the communications issues, are willing to pay in euros, and are willing to take on the headache of shipping parts in, you can get almost anything for them you might need. Something to keep in mind...I have a rare model Vespa in my collection that is a Euro-spec machine (a separate version was done for the US market with lots of changes). Since it is a Euro-spec, none of the US sources stocked the correct Euro specific parts. So, I ordered what I needed from a supplier in Germany and arranged to import the parts. Since my order included some items that US Customs officials deemed "safety and/or pollution control devices without DOT approval," (a tail lens, exhaust system, brake and clutch levers) my shipment was seized by US Customs officials. It took over a month of calls, forms, and explaining that I was working on reconditioning an "antique" vehicle of European origin and that DOT-approved parts from US based suppliers don't exist. They didn't really care what I had to say, but ultimately did accept the forms I had to file and released the shipment. It's also worth mentioning that customs did open up the boxes and go through the contents. So...if you're willing to contend with all of that, I say go for it. However, I'm almost positive you could buy one already finished for a fraction of what you'd spend just on importing parts for this one. There always seem to be a few for sale through the Vintage Motor Bike Club and occasionally there is one posted on or similar. Here's the best Bella site out there:
  12. It's absolutely not a Vespa. Looks to be a mid to late 1950's Zundapp Bella Scooter.
  13. Let the buyer beware, I suppose. Regardless of the price, I sure hope that whoever purchased it at Auburn knew they were getting a car that had been subjected to modifications. I would be incredibly irritated if I had purchased the car on the auction description alone and had then seen the show.
  14. Woodill - Wildfire Series II Roadster - for sale | Classic Cars For Sale | Classic and Sports Car Here's a link to more information about the Woodill Wildfire seen in the show. It was just sold by Worldwide Auctioneers at the Auburn Auction for $66,000.
  15. The episode last night made me sad and was actually hard to watch. They took a really great unmolested, original Woodill Wildfire and (quite frankly) hacked it up. Throughout the show they went on and on about how rare and valuable the car was while proceeding to destroy original equipment: -They replaced the original wheels and wheel covers with new wire Dayton wheels -cut down the original windshield -cut the back bumper brackets -undid the original gas filler configuration -recovered the nice original seats with black leather -then painted the hood of the car black. They're only original once and this one won't ever be again, sadly. All it really needed was some detailing and it would have been good to go.
  16. I did this just over one year ago... I followed the instructions carefully, sent in my money (calculated from fees stated on their website) and plate and registration showed up about 2 weeks later. I was warned "that will never work," but I figured it was worth a try to see what happened. I had been looking into Broadway at the time, but there are horror stories of states rejecting titles generated through Broadway. That was an $800 bet I didn't want to make. In fact, I overpaid and they sent the difference back! No previous title or registration needed, no inspection, no nothing. The story goes that the bike was plucked off the streets of Pavia, Italy where it was still in daily use and brought back in a container. I strongly suspect that it was essentially imported illegally, but Vermont asked no questions and essentially legalized the bike. I also need to emphasize that I did not falsify documents or change any numbers. I told them what they wanted to know...nothing more, nothing less. This would probably be harder to do with a car. Nobody seems to care that much about old scooters, they're just happy to take your money!
  17. reply wasn't really a direct response to your question, but was rather a posting concerning the general subject and original poster's questions. Sorry for the confusion! I'm not sure if Broadway (or others) could work in your case.
  18. I recommend seriously looking into going through the Vermont DMV. They clearly spell out the regulations and the fees on their website for all of the services that they offer. This is (or was) one of the states that the title service companies were using. There is no need to use a company like Broadway when an individual with some time and attention to detail can absolutely do it on their own and for hundreds and hundreds of dollars less than a title service company charges. Vermont works because of their current title and registration laws and the fact that they do not have any sort of residency requirements. I have a rare Vespa Scooter that came into the US on in a container of antique furniture and was used in a movie/photo prop house. I had absolutely zero paperwork and was never titled or registered in the US. I bought it from the prop house without any paperwork (broke my own rule there), got it back together, got insurance on it, and went through Vermont to get license plates and registration (non a title). However, since Vermont is not a title state in my particular case, I can take the registration I have into the DMV in my state as proof of ownership and get a title (after showing that Vermont is a non-title state). Or Vermont is perfectly willing to let me have a plated and registered scooter that will likely NEVER be located or operated within their state. I did it all by mail and was COMPLETELY HONEST about what I had, where I got it, what I paid for it, and where it came from. I did provide a bill of sale and the other forms as required on their website, but that's it. Vermont had zero issues. I paid the fees and the plates and registration showed up. In fact, I decided that it was so cheap to keep the Vermont registration, that I just renewed it with them. Point being that you CAN deal with this yourself if you are patient and detail oriented and that it can be completely legal IF you are completely candid throughout the process and don't try to mislead anyone or hide anything. Just absolutely do your homework before you do anything. You may run into problems with the fact the the vehicle (the original poster's) previously had a title. There are MANY "ifs" in this process. Nonetheless, check into Vermont...they have provisions for this.
  19. I can speak to American Pickers not being fake or staged, HOWEVER, a lot goes on that you don't see on TV. For example, when Mike & Frank do their "freestyling" on the show and show up unannounced, it really is their first contact with the property owner, but the production crew may have already done a site visit and/or may have been onsite for a number of days already to scope the place out and get camera locations prepared. They also have more vehicles and more people with them than you ever see on the show and buy far more than is ever shown on tv. In many cases, they will stay onsite at a single pick site for days and will look at EVERYTHING. They really do drive the van, but they also have other trucks and trailers along so that their buying isn't limited to just what fits in the van. Also remember that they are never really out there alone. All of the overhead shots of them driving down the road are done by helicopter, so this is far from being an amateur affair! The biggest reason they are always finding great stuff on the show is because they spend a lot of time doing their homework. They have leads absolutely pouring into their shop (since they are "famous" and on tv these days, people are dying to be picked by Mike and Frank). They ask for specifics on the quantity, the condition, they get photos of items, feel out prices, etc., etc. all before anyone ever sets foot onsite. It all but guarantees that they will end up buying good stuff during filming. Storage Wars...I dunno. I've been to a few storage auctions and I've definitely never seen anyone stumbling upon cars, boats, motorcycles, atvs, and rare guns in them. Usually it's nothing but household junk. That one really does make me wonder.
  20. I feel compelled to address one of your questions specifically: 2) Why do you think the average member's age is 60? It's as much about money as anything. A few other users have mentioned this and I completely agree. This is (generally speaking) not an inexpensive hobby, but rather is one that requires (let's be honest here...) "disposable income." Age factors in because most young people have not been in the workforce long enough to accumulate enough wealth to be able to realistically afford the "buy in" it takes to be in the hobby. Instead they are pinching pennies trying to find a job, get married, have children, buy a house / pay the rent, pay the bills, pay back school loans, and keep their daily driver running so that they can get to work and pick the kids up from school. By the time all of those things are behind them and they've got a little money to play with, boom, they're 60+ years old. It has NOTHING to do with a lack of interest that seems to be brought up every time the "new generation" or "younger generation" gets mentioned. Every young person I know recognizes old vehicles and gets excited about seeing them. So what if they also get excited about seeing a modern Ferrari or Lamborghini on the road, too, or even a Honda or Toyota. They're car guys to the extent they are able to be and there's nothing wrong with that. The cars are getting older and older and the incoming crowd is getting, of course, younger and younger. It just means their connection to the machines will be different. That's not necessarily's just different. Maybe instead of saying "my dad had one of those," they'll be saying "my great grandpa had one of those" and that's ok. The membership needs to get past the doom and gloom outlook about younger folks and quit being paranoid that they just don't care and that they hobby will die. It's a huge turn off to the younger guys to be looked down upon with disdain by the older crowd fearful that they will scrap their precious cars when they're gone. "They" said that about Model T and Model A enthusiasts...that nobody would be interested in them anymore because all of the people that had them when new are dead and that the "young" people were only into hot rodding and their "modern" cars and muscle machines. This was in the 50's, 60's and 70's guys! And look...there are plenty of people still interested in Model T's and Model A's.
  21. The Doodle Bug Reunion is this weekend! September 13-15, 2012 at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Webster City, IA. It's the place to be if you're a Doodle Bugger. Hope to see you there!
  22. I believe that toys4dad is referring to "restoring" as actually sticking the cars back in storage vs. doing a restoration on the cars. I think the cycle means washing and waxing, but I too, found it a tad confusing. Even with that said, many questions remain from your posting... Are the cars all in running, driving condition currently or are they simply sitting in storage until someone can figure out ultimately what to do with them? Since I don't have a 100% clear picture of your situation, I'm making my suggestions based on my own experiences and some assumptions based on your post. The first thing I would do is deal with the cars in the dirt floor building as that is probably the worst storage situation of the three. Dirt floor buildings tend to be dark, damp, dusty, and home to critters. At the very least do make sure that there is a plastic tarp or sheet under the car to act as sort-of a vapor barrier. It's always a bit of a lost cause to do that in a dirt floor building because they almost never are heated, cooled, or humidity controlled, but it will help a little bit I. Air circulation is important, too, especially when it comes to covers. Whatever you do, make sure the car is not damp when covered and that the cover is breathable. Do not cover the car in plastic or with a does more harm than good. If you can get those cars moved into a better location, do it. The wood floor is interesting. This is, in my opinion, a great improvement over dirt floors, but the same general statements I made about dirt floor buildings apply here as well. For the cars in the concrete building, put a vapor barrier down on the floor under the car to help with moisture. The best advice I can give you is to get the cars into "driver" condition if they are not already and then maintain them in running and driving condition. The worst thing that can happen to a old car is that it just sits. They really need to be driven (not just started) to get up to temperature and correctly circulate fluids and such. Starting and running for short periods after prolonged sitting just creates lots of condensation and can be very hard on an engine, especially with older lubrication systems and fuel pumps. If the cars must sit (winter storage, etc.), then I would make sure they all have a vapor barrier under them and I would park each with plywood discs under the tires. Lots of folks will tell you to put the car on's great, but is a headache to do and makes it harder to get the car out when it's time to go for a drive. I would recommend completely removing batteries from cars that will be sitting long term. Put them on a wooden shelf (not on a concrete floor) connected to a battery tender or similar. If you have zero rodent issues, crack the windows a bit for circulation. If you do have rodent issues, get good mouse traps and be sure to stick some steel wool in the exhaust pipes so critters don't build a nest there (just remember to remove before driving!). Wash and dry COMPLETELY and then wax before storage. Do not set parking brakes (they can seize up). Most say that the fuel tank should be full and treated with Stabil. I recommend this, but Stabil doesn't last forever. Try to burn it up within several months. Gas goes bad after sitting for years with or without Stabil. Also be sure to check antifreeze levels and top off as necessary. I would change the oil annually for the cars that are driven. Before driving do make sure that the vehicle is safe. Check tires, brakes, lights, and other safety items before you set out. Best of luck! Enjoy them!
  23. The 26th Doodle Bug Reunion is coming up in Webster City, Iowa. September 13-15, 2012 at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds. See link for more information:Doodle Bug Reunion