Post-Sale Update: After 18 bids, this Salsbury Imperial 85 with Sidecar sold for $20,000.
Back in 1936, a man named E. Foster Salsbury co-developed the Salsbury Motor Glide, a scooter with an enclosed drivetrain underneath the seat. His later development of the first CVT to be used on a scooter made his product such a success that he even tried to license the design internationally. This design defined the second generation of scooters worldwide, and inspired competition from Cushman and even Harley-Davidson. One of the most interesting Salsbury designs was the Salsbury Imperial 85 Rocket, which was designed to entice car drivers to switch to a scooter.
How did Salsbury plan on stealing market share from car drivers? First of all, scooters usually had a twist throttle, like a motorcycle. Car drivers weren’t used to that, so Salsbury changed the controls – this scooter has foot-operated brake and gas pedals. The interesting bodywork (styled with jet plane influences as Salsbury had lent his efforts to designing airplanes for WWII) covered nearly everything to keep riders clean. The engine was good for 6 horsepower and with a CVT, a rider could actually get up to 50 miles per hour. Reports estimate that between 700-1000 were produced, but very, very few came with a factory sidecar.
This specific Salsbury Imperial 85 is one of the very rare examples with a factory sidecar. The seller claims just 4 exist, but I was unable to verify that. With that said, it’s supposedly 100% original and has been restored to ‘better than new’. The styling looks beautiful, and the condition truly looks fantastic. It’s only covered one mile since the restoration, and it’s ready for a new owner. This is a rare chance to own a beautiful example of the vehicle that defined what a scooter would be for 3 decades.
Find this Salsbury Imperial 85 for sale with a substantial opening bid of $15,000 in Granbury, Texas. I’m not sure a seller with no feedback and such a high opening bid will get any bites, but only time will tell