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I'm curious to know if anyone on the forum is actively restoring or showing Doodle Bug scooters. I know that a few have been shown in various AACA events over the years, so there are at least a few of you.

Or maybe you had one as a kid...I'd love to hear about that, too.

Never heard of a Doodle Bug scooter?

Here is a photo from Don Jackson's shop (Yesterday's Rides Metalworks) for reference. Doodle Bug scooters were manufactured by the Beam Manufacturing Company of Webster City, Iowa from 1946-1948 and were sold by Gambles (under the "Hiawatha" brand) and Western Auto (under the "Western Flyer" brand). The scooters were powered by either a kick start Briggs and Stratton NP or kick start Clinton 710 with fluid drive clutches (and later centrifugal clutches). All were painted red from the factory and about 40,000 were manufactured. About 10 years later another scooter, the Forall, was manufactured in Illinois based upon the Doodle Bug scooter.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Do you have any idea where a manual for the doodlebug can be obtained? My father passed away last fall, and I am finding parts all over the place labeled doodlebug. I really would like to see it completed for him. I have also found many Cushman parts and engines. It seems like he was just storing parts away.

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Yes, Doodle Bug literature, reproduction parts, and expert advice can be obtained from Don Jackson at Yesterday's Rides Metalworks. Yesterday's Rides Metalworks

His site also offers part sketches and a general description of what everything is, so you should be able to identify most of your parts that you've got on hand. There is also information on the site about how to get in touch with Bill Moore and the Doodle Bug Club of America. The Doodle Bug club holds an annual meet each September in Webster City, IA...it is THE place to be if you're into Doodle Bugs.

There is another gentlemen in Arizona that sells what he calls the "Doodle Bug Bible." It is a bound volume of all known Doodle Bug manuals and technical bulletins. I have his information at home and will dig it out later tonight and forward the information to you.

I hope that you get the Doodle Bug back in one piece. If you have questions, are looking for a particular part, or have some extra parts to sell, do not hesitate to contact me.

As far as Cushman scooters and parts go, they have a very large following, and are definately worth saving in most cases. There is lot of information and links to clubs, etc. that can be found on the web.

Disclosure: In case anyone on the forum is wondering about me...I am not Don Jackson, do not work for Yesterday's Rides Metalworks and do not have any stake whatsoever in his company, other than as a customer. I am simply a scooter enthusiast with a particular interst in Doodle Bug scooters.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Scooter Guy</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

There is another gentlemen in Arizona that sells what he calls the "Doodle Bug Bible." It is a bound volume of all known Doodle Bug manuals and technical bulletins. I have his information at home and will dig it out later tonight and forward the information to you.

</div></div>

Well, it took me longer to come up with a name and number of the gentlemen behind the "Doodle Bug Bible," but here it is:

Stephen Elliott

c/o Silver Lady Antiques

P.O. Box 730

Tombstone, AZ 85638

(520) 457-3933 day or night

If you are ever in the area, stop in Silver Lady Antiques. If you're lucky you might catch a glimpse of Stephen's Dusenberg Boat Tail Speedster.

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  • 2 months later...

Just found this place.

In 1955 I got a Doodlebug rolling frame and motorised it when I was

in high school. Recently I got another one not so complete and I'm

working on it.

Here are some patents that turned up on Google patents

that relate to Doodlebugs.

MERTZ MOTOR SCOOTER - Google Patent Search

POWER TRANSMISSION DRIVE ADJUSTMENT - Google Patent Search

BRAKE CONTROL AND ACCELERATOR - Google Patent Search

DRIVE WHEEL ASSEMBLY - Google Patent Search

ROTARY FLUID COUPLING - Google Patent Search

DAVIS - Google Patent Search

Mine is missing the sheet metal, motor, drive train, seat, handlebars, fenders and front wheel so there is a lot to do. Harbor Freight had tires and tubes so that is a start. The Doodlebug is a lot more complicated than later scooters.

Best regards, Charlie

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  • 2 months later...

Mine is missing the sheet metal, motor, drive train, seat, handlebars, fenders and front wheel so there is a lot to do. Harbor Freight had tires and tubes so that is a start. The Doodlebug is a lot more complicated than later scooters.

Hi Charles-

A lot of information is contained in the small metal tag riveted to the forktube of Doodle Bug scooter frames.

The first line indicates what model the scooter left the factory as and what engine was mounted.

The second line is the serial number.

The third line reveals where the scooter was sold and again states what model it is. The letter before the number 1046 will either be a "G," a "W," or "WG." The letters are abbreviations for Gambles, Western Auto, and Wheel Goods, respectively.

Knowing what model Doodle Bug you have will help you get it back together correctly. The Doodle Bug was produced by Beam Manufacturing Company from 1946-1948 in five official models, simply designated A, B, C, D, and E.

A: Standard Briggs & Stratton powered scooter. Single control lever, "horse hoof" side covers, five slot belt guard, fluid drive, fuel shut off in tank, fuel filter on carb, push/pull kill switch, white grips

B: Same but with Clinton engine.

C: Side covers rounded at bottom, Briggs & Stratton powered, single control, black grips, toggle kill switch, fuel filter on tank with shutoff, three slot belt guard, change to centrifugal clutch

D: Same, but with cut out on left side for belt pulley.

E: Super Doodle Bug. Rounded side covers, Cut out on left side, Briggs and Stratton powered, throttle (left) and brake (right) plus parking brake

Regarding the parts that you need:

The sheet metal side skirts will almost positively need to be reproductions. Originals do exist, but they are usually too beat up to straighten out. Also, note that most side skirts were steel, but in very rare cases were aluminum.

The correct motor will be difficult to source. It could have been a Briggs & Stratton NP Type 306705 that is correct for Standard Model A Doodle Bugs (24-5501 A), C and D Doodle Bugs (24-5501 C and D); Type 306715 that is correct for Super Doodle Bug ("E") (24-5501 E)

It is also possible that Briggs and Stratton NP type 306707 and 306709 engines are correct for Model C and Model D Doodle Bugs.

Model B Doodle Bugs were equipped with the Clinton Engine. The use of Clinton Engines in the Doodle Bug Scooter (known as the "Model B") was short lived (only an estimated 750-1,000 machines), as Beam and their clients Western Auto and Gambles, preferred to use the Briggs and Stratton NP. Many Clinton engines had to be overhauled. The problem with the Clinton engines was so bad that Clinton Engine Corporation President Don Thomas wrote a personal check for $25,000 to reimburse dealers. Briggs and Stratton NP engines were also rumored to be cheaper than the Clinton Engines, costing Beam Manufacturing Company only $33 each when purchased in lots of 2,500.

Either engine is hard to find. They were used on a number of scooters, so it's not just the Doodle Bug guys that are hunting for them. Add to that the small engine collectors, and you're got some elusive little engines. Most that do pop up advertised as being for Doodle Bugs are actually not correct. When a correct one does come up, expect to pay upwards of $1,000 to get it.

The handlebars, fender, front wheel (two pieces) might be located as originals, but really good reproductions exist at Yesterdays Rides Metalworks mentioned above. An original front fender that isn't rusted to death will cost big bucks! Yesterday's Rides also has floorboards, if you need that. The seat will probably need to be a reproduction as most originals are missing, torn, or chewed up by rodents. Tires and tubes are available in the correct size and pattern from Coker tire. As you put the front end together, be sure to make sure you don't put the forks in backwards and that they are not bent. If they are bent, the front fender will likely hit the inside of the frame when turning or the turning will be very stiff. It should be tight, but not stiff.

The drive train, rear hub, acceleration/braking assembly are all unique to the Doodle Bug and are extremely difficult to locate as originals. You'll have to probably get lucky and locate a second Doodle Bug with those parts still present in order to get them. Of course, reproductions of these items do exist.

Beam also used quote a few of their own in-house fasteners on the Doodle Bug, so the standard fare from your local hardware store is not always correct. This stuff is pretty much impossible to find, but reproductions are available from Yesterday's Rides.

I seen and have done a lot of study on Doodle Bugs...most are NOT restored correctly because they lack the items unique to that particular model, have wrong fasteners, incorrect engine and/or clutch, wrong style side skirts, wrong grips, wrong tires, and are painted/finished/decaled incorrectly.

Edited by Scooter Guy
Updated with more accurate information (see edit history)
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The scooter is also missing its tags so I don't have that

information either. What would be really nice is a set

of drawings with dimensions for all the parts.

So far I have made the lower counter-shaft bracket

and the three hole offset pulley and the bottom

brake lever using the patent drawings and pictures

I could find. The aluminum parts were machined

from solid using manual machines in my basement.

I found an old V-pex clutch similar to the A65S and

made dies to straighten out the back shell that was

all beat out of shape and turned the pulley faces back

to cones. They were badly worn. I made a sleeve to fit

the 3/4" bore to a 1942 Briggs N I so the drive train

is about done.

The V-plex clutches are shown on page

66 of the January 1952 Popular Mechanics but the one

for Doodle Bugs has no dimensions.

I found a proper gas tank and made a set of strap

clamps to hold it on. The old straps were gone except

for a couple of nubs that were spot welded on but

they told me what size metal to use. The hook

details came from pictures.

I adapted a 4" steel wheel from General Tire that

is more like the original than the die-cast minibike

hub that I had before. It has a 4 bolt aluminum hub

and I press fitted an aluminum tube bored out for

5/8" bronze bushings.

The rear wheel and hub were there but the drum

was badly worn cone shaped with a chunk missing.

I turned the drum to a true cone and made a shell

to fit it and pressed it on, Then I tapped 6 screws

from inside and turned the outside true. A band

brake for a go-kart from ebay fits OK.

The handle bars were mostly gone so I adapted

a set from a 1940s bike that will work. The stem

was 7/8" diameter and hollow so it was cut off

square and bored it out for an adapter shaft that

was pressed in and secured with a taper pin. The

other half is 3/4" diameter to fit the scooter

steering tube. It will have a twist throttle and a

brake lever from a minibike.

I made a cardboard pattern for the floorboard

and will see if I can make dies to turn the edges

like the original. The front fender will be easier

to make in halves than trying to raise it in one

piece.

The frame and back wheel shells had been chrome

plated at one time then rusted some and had

some paint sprayed on. The kickstand clip is

gone too.

It has a minibike seat now but the original was

made like an innerspring mattress. That was

the suspension. Maybe an old mattress will

turn up for the springs.

It seems Harry Mertz designed the whole

scooter himself. All the dimensions are simple inch

sizes and the angles are 10 degree increments or

so.

The unshielded bronze bushings were cheap but

they needed to be cleaned and oiled frequently.

Balloon tire bikes of this period needed much less

attention so Doodle Bugs probably didn't get

very much either and the same mechanics were

working on them too.

Later minibikes were more durable and a lot simpler.

I will try to make no changes that could

not be reversed later. It will certainly not be a

perfect restoration but the only person to be

pleased is me.

This is a very interesting project.

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  • 6 months later...

Just a story...

When I was a kid in the 50's, a neighbor kid had a Doodle Bug, and we used to ride together. (lived small town in south eastern Kansas) I remember riding on the gravel roads to a real small town a couple miles away, and we would go to a store there to get candy.

I would ride on the back holding a gas can, otherwise we couldn't get there and back on one tank of gas. For some reason I remember it had a Briggs & Strat engine...and I remember the front fender, and what were at the time.....big lawn mower tires.

Riding the Doodle Bug was a big deal back then....I helped my friend and his dad work on it sometimes....although I had no clue what it was about, but I sometimes think that started me on the path as an avid car guy...fixer-builder...that I still am today. I still have my car magazines from 1957 & 58

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  • 4 months later...

I just bought a Super Doodle a couple of weeks ago But I had No idea what it was untill I found this forum, and other sites, So now I need to try and find some parts, The two main parts are the front fender an the drive adjuster jack shaft, I am new on here so I hope I am doing this right. thanks jfh2599

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I just bought a Super Doodle a couple of weeks ago But I had No idea what it was untill I found this forum, and other sites, So now I need to try and find some parts, The two main parts are the front fender an the drive adjuster jack shaft, I am new on here so I hope I am doing this right. thanks jfh2599

I'd love to see a photo of your Super Doodle Bug. Where did you find it? What condition is it in? Does it have the original engine? Have you verified that it is a Super Doodle Bug?

If you posted a few decent photos, I could probably tell you quite a bit about what you have and what you would need to restore it, if that's your intent.

PLEASE...whatever you do, don't modify it irreversibly! There are not many of these left, so please don't cut up an original frame! If what you'd rather have is a modern mini-bike for the grandkids to ride, send me a note. I'll buy the Super Doodle Bug off you and you'll have the money to buy a couple of minibikes.

You'll be unlikely to find non-reproduction from fender for sale. This is for two reasons. First, not much original sheet metal survived 60+ years on a small scooter designed for kids to ride since most were run into the ground. Second, the ones that do still exist are probably still attached to bike just as they left the factory. See, the design of the Doodle Bug front fender does not allow for it to be removed without removing the handlebars and sliding out the entire front fork assembly.

The jackshafts are even harder to find. You will likely have to resort to a reproduction part from Don Jackson at Yesterday's Rides Metalworks.

Unless it has been all hacked up lately, have a look at the Doodle Bug Scooter wikipedia article. I originally wrote and posted the content (and periodically have to change it back). The wikipedia police don't like the fact that I don't cite and sources or give any reference material, but so what...I've got tons of factory documentation and have taped conversations from people that designed them and worked in the factory. Those are my sources. I wrote the entry to help people know when they've come across a Doodle Bug scooter. Perhaps it will be beneficial to you.

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I don't know how to put on pic's, I am trying to do the best I can because I had one of these when I was about 10 years old BACK IN THE FIFTYS.

It has the stock tires and the rear still holds air but the front is blown out.

Let Me Know what You think.

Thanks Joe

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I don't know how to put on pic's, I am trying to do the best I can because I had one of these when I was about 10 years old BACK IN THE FIFTYS.

It has the stock tires and the rear still holds air but the front is blown out.

Let Me Know what You think.

Thanks Joe

Does yours still have the serial number tag on the frame? Look for it on the fork tube between the cross bar and the floor board.

It should say something like:

Hiawatha or Doodle Bug

Model:

Serial:

Type:

At the bottom it will either say Minneapolis, Minnesota and Los Angeles, California or it will say Beam Manufacturing Company, Webster City, Iowa.

From the tag I can determine about when it was made, where it was sold, and exactly what model it is. The letters and numbers in the actual "model" line are really of little help, but if you have the tag, let me know what it says anyway. The most important info is what it says in the "type" line.

Have a look for that and let me know what it says...we can go from there. If the tag is gone, the only way I could determine exactly what it is would be to see photos.

The tires are available as reproductions from Coker tire. This is a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE deal for the Doodle Bug scooter world, as without them collectors would be forced to use old, unsafe, and likely dryrotted original tires, or poorly fitting go kart tires. The reproductions from Coker are faithful to the original General Jumbo Jr. tires.

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I am sorry to say but the ID tags are missing, but it dose have dual controls witch I have sent them to Don @ Yesterdays rides. I have tried to find those tires from Coker but have had No luck finding them, I would send Pic's but don't know How or where to put them?

I have found a Mdl. N Briggs it's being shipped

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I am sorry to say but the ID tags are missing, but it dose have dual controls witch I have sent them to Don @ Yesterdays rides. I have tried to find those tires from Coker but have had No luck finding them, I would send Pic's but don't know How or where to put them?

I have found a Mdl. N Briggs it's being shipped

For the coker tires, go to cokertire.com and click on "catalog."

The jumbo jr. reproduction tires are on page 44 under a Cushman logo.

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Here is a couple more. Every thing on the frame is sound all the bushings and bearings are in good condition, Handle bars & forks are straight, complete brake levers & band. The hubs, wheels & sprocket are great shape.

Nothing has been altered on the frame, the tank bands have broken off but the cross bracket is fine.

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Thanks for taking the time to post pictures.

It does appear to be a Super Doodle Bug, from the last production run. As the Doodle Bug was being phased out, Beam Manufacturing shipped all of the Super Doodle Bug parts to Des Moines for the New Monarch Machine and Stamping Co for final assembly. I've been told that at the very end, Monarch shipped all of the parts back to Beam Manufacturing in Webster City, Iowa and the very last of the scooters were assembled in Webster City.

I'm told that NOS Doodle Bug parts were kept on hand at Beam Manufacturing Company in Webster City until they were all scrapped in the late 1950s. There are also stories of plant worker coming upon 20-something new, complete, unsold scooters in storage at the plant and offering to buy them for $20/each. The story goes that his offer was turned down and the scooters were sent to the crusher.

The gas tank brackets are almost always broken off when you find a Doodle Bug. With the gas tank cantilevered off the rear end of the scooter, they were especially prone to damage.

Yours has a Whizzer gas tank mounted indicating that it might have seen use as a Shriner scooter. They often rode Doodle Bugs and frequently would add Whizzer gas tanks, foot brakes, different throttle controls, etc. My most recent Doodle Bug purchase does not have a Whizzer tank, but it does have a foot brake and a modified throttle linkage.

Edited by Scooter Guy
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Do You have anyplace that may have parts, I allready sent the controls an cables to Yesterday to rebuild them, and He has all the reman. parts but being close to orig. I hope to find countershaft & pulley assembly[jackshaft] I have the adjusting bracket that attaches to the frame & axle, and a front fender.

Thanks again

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The real cast aluminum jackshafts are difficult to locate. My most recently purchased Doodle Bug is a Model B (the one with the Clinton engine) that the seller decided he was going to part out. Thank goodness I came across it when I did...he only sold one part, but guess what it was? The jackshaft.

Don Jackson (Yesterday's Rides) is the parts source. I'm actually not sure if he has the jackshafts...you'd need to call and ask about that. I know that, like most people in this kind of business, he has much, much more than is listed on the website.

Otherwise, coming up with parts could be a long, painfull process, but no worse than those here that restore some exceptionally rare cars.

You might try beating the bushes in your area a bit. I think there are many, many more Doodle Bugs out there than are currently known about. There are only about 1,000 thought to exist, but I think the number has got to be several times that. They are hidden away in garages, barns, basements. The Doodle Bug is so small that people can stash them just about anywhere.

Edited by Scooter Guy (see edit history)
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  • 5 weeks later...

Hello I'd like to introduce myself and say hello, my name is Marc and I live in California.

My 8 year old was bugging me to pull down an old go-cart frame from the garage ceiling and fix it up to ride around on.

Long story short it's a bit of a lost cause which got me thinking I should restore my Doodlebug instead.

I picked this up from the grandson of the original owner who lived in Spreckles CA.

Spreckles was a company town (back then) for the Spreckles sugar factory and the he bought it to ride the mile or two to work.

I got some paperwork with it, the shop manual and some registration papers from 1953.

The story goes he rode it for a year or so but got so upset by his co-workers hiding it on him when he wasn't looking he bought a Chevrolet pickup and let his kids (and then Grandkids) use it for riding around in the fields.

It sat around for the next 30 years or so and when the family was clearing out the barn they found it buried under, well I don't really know.

I worked with the grandsons wife and she new I was 'into' scooters, I have an old Lambretta and a couple of Vespa's, and she asked if I was interested in buying it.

I went and had a look, I didn't even haggle, gave them what they were asking and loaded it on the truck and brought it home.

I have a friend who is a Cushman man but I had never heard of a Doodlebug.

I have some photo's, I will attempt to attach them, these are from when I brought it home in October 06.

Since then I have dismantled it, media blasted the frame, wheels and forks etc and primer coated them.

That's about it.

The motor needs a magician, it has compression, but I am too scared to put a wrench near it for fear of shearing something off.

What do you think?

I think it is a Super, because it has the brake and park brake, the engine is an NP.

I hope you can see the embossing on the I.D. plate.

A few months after I bought it the wife came up to me with a package, it was the side skirts!

They had found them in another shed on the property!

They are aluminum with rounded ends.

I'll have to dig them out of storage and take some pics.

Anyway (hopefully) here's some photo's.

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Hi Marc,

Neat story on how you came by your Doodle Bug. It is indeed a Super Doodle Bug as the tag indicates it is an "E," and it has the dual control levers with parking brake.

Your machine actually looks pretty good in terms of what you're starting with. It has a correct Briggs NP, correct type of clutch, correct (late) carb, both control levers, jackshaft pulley, frame ID tag, and all of the sheet metal. It's amazing that you ended up with the original side skirts (they are supposed to be aluminum and rounded). A lot of folks incorrectly use sheet steel to make reproductions. Aluminum is the way to go.

It looks like there is really little rust on it, too.

A word of warning...don't junk any of the nuts, bolts, or screws on it yet. Some of the fasteners were made in-house only for the Doodle Bug and are darn near impossible to find replacements for. Even if it looks "gone" you may want to try to refinish it or may need to use it as a pattern to fabricate a new one.

Be careful with the motor, too. They are cast iron and can crack pretty easily, especially on the head fins and around the PTO side (clutch side) if things are forced. If you really want it done up absolutely perfect, pull the motor and arrange for Raceway Services (google them) to restore it for you. They do precision rebuilds and then will refinish it as new. That level of service/restoration isn't for everyone, but if you've got the desire and the money, it will come back built better than a F1 racing engine. I would try to avoid a mower repair shop, unless you happen to find an old timer with a love for vintage engines that has lots of NOS parts on hand, which would be unusual for this model.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Edited by Scooter Guy (see edit history)
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Hey Scooter Guy, thanks for the reply.

I haven't thrown anything out, but all the bits are in a bucket so that's going to be fun, especially since I dismantled it 4 years ago!

My Cushman friend used to have a small engine shop in Washington State years ago and actually did training at Briggs, he got it running but didn't dismantle anything, even the plug looks well corroded in there.

The one gosh *@#$ thing i did was snap the jack shaft mount when removing the axle, but I had it re-welded (not very well) so it needs to be cut again and done properly, although it will 'work' as is.

The gas tank cleaned up pretty well, it had a mouse nest in it, but some of the threaded part that the lid screws to is missing from rust so a new one would be good.

The folks who used to own it were never able to locate the belt guard, so I don't have one.

I got new tires from Coker, I don't know if you've ever seen those, but they are not what I'd call a very accurate remake, the tread is about 3/8" narrower (a lot when placed next to the General Jumbo's) and have Made in Vietnam quite prominently embossed in the sidewall......not cheap either, I've seen dolly tires at Harbor Freight that are a closer representation in build even if they don't have the cross hatching and General Jumbo written on them (and about $8 each).

I do have a question about paint.

I imagine it was a single stage enamel, and maybe just 'red' my initial thought was to rattle can it and I have done that to the wheels and front fender, is there something more correct, I have a guy lined up who will spray everything for me professionally if I want.

I don't want to put a fortune into this, just tidy it up, but do it as correctly as possible, I was thinking of taking the seat spring to a mattress manufacturer to see if they could replicate it, but I guess most folk just use a block of foam rubber.

Anywho, thanks for the answer and advice, I really do need some motivation to get started on this, as it's been four years already, but it will make a nice winter project, I'll take pics as I go, anyone is welcome to urge me along :)

-Marc

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hi im brandon i had been cleaning out my granfathers farm and found a scooter under some stuuf no motor but not in bad shape was about to scrap it when i decided to look on the internet and found it was a doodlebug i later found a motor in the barn still on wood blocks never started with the briggs tag still on it from my research i believe its from the later model wondering if anyone can tell me if i should restore it it had been sanded down a little bit but over all in very good condition all i am missing is the red lense from the tail light and the two clamps from the gas tank i bought a new seat i was wondering if i should just put it back together and keep it the way it is or strip it down and do a full redo i think this was the model c numbers from the engine are model np type 306715 serial 713826 on the tag on the neck read model says nothing serial 153290 type w 1046 and a triangle inside a circle my grandfather also gave me the owners manual to it and the original pa title and actually i just looked at the title and it says the engine # and its the same as the engine thats on the blocks so any help would be good im going to try to upload some pics

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Wow! what a cool find! Maybe the engine was sent away for maintenance and never re-installed. That's the first time I've seen the Western Flyer logo on one of these.

I'm no expert, Scooter Guy will chime in hopefully, but it looks to me like the side skirts have squared off ends and maybe that's a fluid clutch, which would indicate it's a fairly early model.

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Marc,

To respond directly to a couple of things you mentioned:

There are multiple versions of the belt guard, so make sure you get one for a late production Super Doodle Bug (Briggs engine). The mounting points are different for the very earliest scooters and for the Clinton Engine scooters. Also, yours should have the three slot guard.

It is interesting to hear your experience with the Coker tires. They are regarded as the only "correct" available tire. I have not seen them marked that they are made in Vietnam. For what it's worth, I always save the tires (if at all possible) but it's not really very safe to even cosider riding on 60+ year old tires.

Yes, paint was originally single stage "red." I've had mine professionally painted and I don't know exactly what paint code was used. Most guys that restore them have them clear coated, too. It especially helps to protect the decals which were the water slide type. I've spray painted plenty of stuff, but wouldn't do it to a Doodle Bug, personally. Maybe you're a better painter than I am, but I save the spray paint for stuff like the patio set that sits outside year 'round.

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Brandon,

Thanks for posting. It appears, from looking at the photos, that the scooter is an early model C sold by Western Auto as a Western Flyer.

I came to that conclusion because of the following:

1. "Horse's hoof" side panels

2. No pulley cut out on side panels (would indicate later model)

3. Handlebars that appear to be for the single control lever

4. Briggs NP engine with fluid drive clutch

I can't tell what the finish really looks like since your photos are pretty small. In some of the photos the sanding that was done looks pretty serious, while in other areas the paint appears to be untouched. I would restore it, but remember they are only original once. If there is enough there, leave it in its original finish. There are very few complete machines that have original paint and such.

If you do repaint it, I would order new side panels from Yesterdays rides and keep the ones that you have (at least the one with the Western Flyer decal) aside. Personally, I'd rather use a reproduction part with reproduction decals than paint over that one.

It's interesting that the engine was pulled and set aside. If the numbers match the original paperwork, the engine is most likely the original one to the bike. I wonder if it was pulled due to problems actually in the fluid drive and sent out for service. The fluid drive clutches were known to be problematic and were phased out fairly quickly in favor of the V-plex.

Unless your grandfather is available to tell you, it's likely that nobody will ever know exactly why it was torn apart. Perhaps someone intended to restore it at some earlier point? That might make the most sense and would also explain why some areas were sanded and why the ID tags were pulled off the frame.

Do you only have what's pictured? If so, be aware that you're missing a lot of the smaller parts and "detail" items.

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Unless it has been all hacked up lately, have a look at the Doodle Bug Scooter wikipedia article. I originally wrote and posted the content (and periodically have to change it back). The wikipedia police don't like the fact that I don't cite and sources or give any reference material, but so what...I've got tons of factory documentation and have taped conversations from people that designed them and worked in the factory. Those are my sources. I wrote the entry to help people know when they've come across a Doodle Bug scooter. Perhaps it will be beneficial to you.

UPDATE:

As of Nov. 22, 2010 my original Wikipedia entry on the Doodle Bug scooter is all but gone. Most of the information in the currently available entry is incorrect. I will no longer claim any responsibility for the content and will not continue to battle with anonymous "editors" of my content that think they know better. Instead, I will monitor this thread and respond to posts and questions posted here as I am able to.

This thread currently contains the most authoratative information available online for the Doodle Bug Motor Scooter.

If there's something you want to know that hasn't been talked about here, please send me a private message or post your question for all to see. I'm happy to help out and hope that having this information out there keeps a couple more Doodle Bug scooters alive. From what's been posted thus far, that seems to be the case.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi guys, I am Fred and live in Missouri. I have a couple of Doodle Bugs as well as a custom built 3 wheel bug with a box in the front. I use it for looking for scooter parts at scooter meets.

One of my Doodle Bugs is a Clinton engine model that appears to be unrestored and the other is a Super Doodle Bug with a Briggs engine. I also have a For All which was based on the Doodle Bug but built 10 years after the Doodle Bug went out of production.

I have several Cushman scooters as well as a Vespa, a Silver Pigeon and am working on restoring an Indian Papoose. As you probably already know if you are on this thread, old scooters are an illness but sure a lot of fun.

If you can, you should try to make the Doodle Bug reunion held in September each year in Webster City, Iowa. It is a fun and very laid back scooter meet with a great group of people.

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  • 4 months later...

It seems Harry Mertz designed the whole

scooter himself. All the dimensions are simple inch

sizes and the angles are 10 degree increments or

so.

I wanted to update this particular post with more detailed and more accurate information based on two more years of research since I originally posted a reply. The information posted below is accurate to the best of my knowledge as of August of 2013

Many of the patents that were filed for the design of the Doodle Bug are attributed to Harry Mertz of Webster City, Iowa, which is where Beam Manufacturing was located. However, in all of Harry Mertz's patents, he assigned the patent to the Solar Corporation, Milwaukee, Wis, a corporation of Delaware. Per Beam Manufacturing company brochures, Beam Manufacturing was a wholly owned division of Solar Corporation that operated as Solar's manufacturing arm.

The twist is that separate patents were also filed by George Fields and assigned to the Solar Corporation for the "same" scooter (which would become the Doodle Bug) and Fields filed his patent on the scooter as a whole 6 months before Mertz did the same.

It is entirely possible, likely even, that these two people knew each other and were working on the same project as the were assigning their patent applications to the same company, and Mertz even cited Fields as a reference is two separate patent applications. The first was for Mertz's design for the brake control and accelerator assembly; the second for the fluid drive clutch.

Mertz ended up as the person that actually received patents: the throttle/brake control mechanism, drive wheel assembly, jackshaft, fluid drive clutch, and even eventually for a complete scooter design (shown above) that is virtually identical to the production Doodle Bug scooters. Fields, on the other hand, received patents for some of the same components including another design drive adjuster (belt tensioner) / jackshaft assembly and also for a complete scooter design. While Mertz did cite Fields in two of his patent applications, Fields never did cite Mertz as a reference.

The Doodle Bug patent process timeline:

December 13, 1943: George Fields files for patent of his motor vehicle control mechanism to control both acceleration and braking

January 1, 1945: George Fields files for patent of his fluid drive clutch design

August 30, 1945: Harry Mertz files for patent of his jackshaft assembly. Mertz files a separate patent for additional brake control and accelerator control assembly

October 5, 1945: George Fields files for patent on his complete motor scooter design

March 18, 1946: Harry Mertz files for patent of his fluid clutch assembly

April 15, 1946: Harry Mertz files for patent of his complete motor scooter design

November 12, 1946: Harry Mertz files for patent of his drive wheel assembly

May 6, 1947: George Fields granted patent for his fluid drive clutch assembly

February 17, 1948: Harry Mertz granted patent for his complete motor scooter design

November 16, 1948: George Fields granted patent for his complete motor scooter design

July 13, 1948: George Fields granted patent for his motor vehicle control mechanism to control both acceleration and braking

January 11, 1949: Harry Mertz granted patent for his jackshaft design

July 12, 1949: Harry Mertz granted patent for both his brake / throttle control mechanism and for his drive wheel assembly design

October 17, 1950: Harry Mertz grantend patent for his fluid clutch design

From what I can tell, the final design of the scooter is attributed to Mertz but that Fields appears to have had the idea first and came up with a "primitive" Doodle Bug Scooter including all of the major components that were later refined and ultimately patented by Mertz. Going by that, Fields actually "invented" it and did, in fact, file for a patent for it a full 3 years before Mertz did (1943 vs. 1946). Also interesting is the fact that the Doodle Bug was not produced until 1946, so Fields' design for the scooter was evidently mothballed for 3 years and the scooter was "re-patented" by Mertz by the time production began. Also interesting is the fact that some of these patents were not granted until AFTER the production of the Doodle Bug has ceased.

Further complicating the issue is that the "old timers" and those that worked in the plant claim it was all Fields. Maybe Fields had some sort of "selective memory," but in video taped interview I have of him, he claims to have invented the scooter and pitched building it to the Beam Manufacturing Company in Webster City, Iowa. This could actually be true based upon the patent timeline shown above. Fields makes no mention of Mertz or any other "help," corporate or otherwise. If that was the case, George Fields certainly had his accomplishment overshadowed by Harry Mertz who ultimately received patent credit for most of the major components and a final design that was the closest to the production Doodle Bug.

Fields eventually wound up in Webster City and worked for Beam as the person that was essentially in charge of their scooter operation. I'm not sure what ever became of Harry Mertz.

Edited by Scooter Guy
Updated / Additional Information (see edit history)
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Hi Guys!

Brand new member here..and the proud owner of a Doodlebug! I bought it last week at an auction from the original owner who bought it in 1948, I have known him all my life and never knew he had it,it was stored hanging from the rafters in an old shed, the scooter is all original and even has the original tires which are in very good shape yet it is missing the left side cover, he said the belt broke one day and he hung it up where it had remained untouched for a long time.

He told me he bought it from a Western Auto store in New York state.

It has the NP Briggs engine however the kick start broke and has been replaced with a rope start.

The side covers read Hiawatha and the tag is as follows

model is blank, serial number 151744, type W1046A.

It has one control for the gas and brake, I have never ridden one and cant imagine how that would work!

I am from S.E. Iowa and I wanted one for the historical aspect of it from Iowa.

Thanks ahead of time and I will post pictures soon.

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Caddy 55,

Great story!

Please post photos, if possible. I'd love to have a look.

Going on the the tag information that you posted, your scooter was indeed purchased from Western Auto. It was a model A, according to the tag. A scooter purchased from Western Auto would have been a "Western Flyer" badged scooter, and not a "Hiawatha," so perhaps the sidecovers are not original to the machine? Does it have a Western Auto headbadge or a Hiawatha headbadge with the Indian head on it?

Do you have the fluid drive clutch?

Original 5-slot belt guard?

Flared out side cover?

Any accessories (lights?)

Original paperwork?

When using the single control remember that you pull in to stop and that when you release the control lever, the scooter will take off full blast.

The kick start base for the engine is hard to come by. I do not beleive that it has ever been reproduced, so you'll most likely have to locate another engine and strip it for the parts. I know I sound like a broken record saying that stuff is hard to come by, but it is.

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September 15-15, 2011 is the Doodle Bug Reunion at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Webster City, IA, the home of the Doodle Bug.

The is the largest gathering of Doodle Bug scooters anywhere. The weekend structure is rather informal, but usually includes buy/sell area (and Don Jackson and Jim Kilau come with repro parts) and organized rides. In recent years the organized ride was the original test ride route through Webster City. I assume that will be offered again this year. Surving former Beam Manufacturing company employees usually attend and answer questions as well.

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yea Im an idiot....it says western flyer not hiawatha...I am missing a left side cover which is steel, (love to find a unrestored one) and I am missing the kick start assembly, the base looks fine. I just talked with one of the orginizers of the annual meet here in Iowa and he has seen my scooter and thinks it is an earlier model...scooter guy,why is my model section of the tag blank?..any ideas? as far as the clutch cover mine has four slots across the front and three on the side, it has one hand control, and has a sediment bowl on the carb if that means anything, the man I bought it from says the bike is all original except the rope start.

I plan to leave this as I found it cosmetically and make sure it is sound mechanically, I do plan to put a battery light kit back on it as well...thanks..Lynn

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From your tag on the frame, it left the factory configured as a model A, the first of the Doodle Bugs. Probably made in 1946 or early 1947. It sounds like the only non model A part you've got on your hands is the belt guard, which should have 5 slots on the big side.

For reference, it would have left the factory with a Briggs & Stratton NP cast iron kick start engine, 1.5hp, a fluid drive clutch with a 5 slot belt guard, pointed white grips, side covers that are flared out at the bottom (not rounded off), a single control lever, fuel shut off valve in the gas tank, and the fuel filter (glass) mounted on the engine rather than on the gas tank, and a push/pull kill switch.

Now that isn't to say that you don't have a model A Doodle Bug just because a model A specific part or two is missing. Parts that were broken or lost over the years may have been replaced with parts from later models. Such was the case with the model A that I have. It was so "wrong" that I initially identified it as an early model C until I looked past the parts and zeroed in on the frame tag and the other thngs that did point to it being a model A (it is).

Beam Manufacturing was not very consistent about some of the details like decals and stamping the serial tag. Probably only 1 in every 10 original Doodle Bugs I've seen actually has a model number stamped on the model line. Most were simply left blank, but since the W1046A is known to signify a model A sold at Western Auto, having the model line stamped in isn't as critical.

As an aside, the side covers were made in steel and aluminum. Aluminum covers are very rare and were used for only a short while on the very earliest production Doodle Bugs. Most have the steel side covers like you have. Beam actually used a pretty interesting mix of materials on the scooter that includes brass, bronze, steel, aluminum, and (if you count the motor) cast iron.

Please post or send photos. I'd love to see photos of a relatively untouched machine...there aren't many of those left in decent condition.

Edited by Scooter Guy (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have two Hiawatha Doodlebugs. One is running but not driving due to clutch issues. The other is still a basket case. Glad to see this activity here. For the longest, there has been very little reference on the internet. Any ideas on the exact length or belt number for the drive belt on a Super? Neither of my scooters had a belt when I got them about a year ago. Great thread.

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