1949 Salsbury Imperial Model 85

In America, Scooter by Abhi1 Comment

Post Listing Update: Despite 30 bids on eBay, bidding did not meet reserve at $8,100.

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 Rocket (also known as the Model 85), which was designed to entice car drivers to switch to a scooter.

Salsbury Imperial Model 85 - Left Rear

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. For more information on the Salsbury, check out the International Salsbury Restorers Society website.

Salsbury Imperial Model 85 - Right Side

This example (VIN: 14538) has $3,500 in receipts for recent work that entails a mechanical rebuild and cosmetic restoration. In the process, the frame was powdercoated and the engine was given an electric start conversion – but you can still kick start or use a rope pull to get the engine fired up.

Find this Salsbury for sale in Anamosa, Iowa (looks like it’s out of the National Motorcycle Museum) with bidding up to $7,300 and the reserve not yet met