If you were lucky enough to make it along to the 2011 Bonneville Speed Week trails you may have spotted this sexy little bike and probably said to yourself, “what the hell is that?”. What you see here is actually a customised 1952 Cushman Eagle belonging to first time Bonneville competitor, David Harto.
The Cushman Eagle was produced by Cushman Scooters between 1936 and 1965 and was their most popular model of scooter. It was a “penny a mile” scooter (75 miles per gallon) producing around 9bhp from its 318cc flat head single motor which topped out at around 50mph. Obviously in standard guise this machine was no record setting, salt flats racer so David had a lot of work to do.
Useless fact: During World War 2 Cushman was the only manufacturer permitted to continue sell motorised vehicles to civilians due to the fact that their scooters were considered to be “energy savers”.
The engine capacity of the Eagle placed it in the 250cc class so David set his sights on breaking the 73mph record. Work on the Eagles motor included a custom cam, porting and polishing and an overbore which produced a dyno result of 93mph. The 1st Bonneville run was marred by an early stall but that didn’t put David off, he simply kicked the bike alive again in the middle of the course and completed his run. Pass 2 was marred by issues with jetting, ignition and timing so he never got the bike out of first resulting in a 42mph run. His third run however was a good one but disappointingly we couldn’t dig up a final result.
Aside from Davids efforts at Bonneville what we love the most about this bike are the cosmetic changes. The front end of the Eagle has a custom built girder suspension to keep it true on the salt, new larger wheels with drum brakes were fitted and a new tail section was fabricated in raw steel. Infact most of the bike remains raw steel which must have taken a beating out on the salt. What we love most about the bike though is its tank, it’s original and comes complete with 50+ years of wear and tear. Very cool indeed.