Ranging from kits you could build an entire house from to firearms, apparel, bicycles and jewelry, Sears-Roebuck offered it all, except maybe for food. Beginning in 1948* they offered Cushman scooters rebadged as “Allstate” and catalogued a range of scooters and motorcycles through the late 1970’s. Sears first offered this Compact scooter in 1957.
Sears imported small-displacement two-stroke motorcycles from the Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch, A.G, or Puch (pook), from 1954 to 1979. You may recall a range of mopeds, scooters and even two cylinder motorcycles up to 250cc’s.
The Allstate Compact used small wheels, has a short wheelbase, is light and nimble, useful in urban areas, derived from the needs of Europeans seeking utilitarian transportation. The pressed steel frame, leading link fork and swingarm rear suspension were cheap to produce. The 60cc Compact sold for around $300.
An interesting part of the design is the shrouded, fan-cooling set-up for the engine, great on a hot day sitting in traffic. Also a wonderful thing to polish! Unlike the “step-through” Cushman or Vespa, the more conventional Compact had the fuel tank between the rider’s knees and is a nicely styled machine. Being a pre-mix two-stroke, the fuel tank cap had a built in measure for lubricant. A gallon of gas blended with a measure of oil and you were good to go.
By the early 1960’s the chant, “Honda prices start about $215,” was heard across the land. The Japanese were creating strong dealer networks and exporting some great, more sophisticated two-wheelers into America. Sears, and Montgomery Wards, the other big catalog merchant in America, did not try very hard to compete, offering the same simple machines for a couple of decades, then abandoned the market around 1980.
This Allstate Compact is graciously on loan from James Slaughter. It’s one of about 18 scooters and mini-bikes you will enjoy looking at when you visit the National Motorcycle Museum, Anamosa, Iowa.
- Engine: Horizontal Fan-Cooled Single
- Type: Two-Stroke, Piston Port
- Displacement: 60cc’s
- Carburetor: Bing 1/17
- Ignition: Flywheel Magneto
- Lubrication: Pre-Mix
- Horsepower: 3.9HP
- Starting: Kick-start
- Chassis: Pressed Steel
- Transmission: 3-Speed, Foot Shift
- Final Drive: Chain Driven
- Suspension: Leading Link / Swingarm
- Brakes: Drum/Internal Expanding
- Wheelbase: 46 inches
- Wheels/Tires: 3.00 x 12″ / 3.00 x 12”