Chicagoan Norman A. Siegel began Moto-Scoot Manufacturing in 1936. By 1939 Time magazine noted Moto-Scoot as America’s largest scooter manufacturer, Siegel “…the Henry Ford of the scooter business.” Siegel’s company was involved in war-time production which ultimately caused financial difficulties, the end of Moto-Scoot production and closing of the company in the early 1950’s.

Somewhat different from a motorcycle, a short wheelbase and small wheels characterize the scooter. The dictionary explains; “a two or three-wheeled motorized vehicle that has a low seat and a bottom platform for resting the feet.” In some definitions “sitting over the engine” and mention of the “step-through” feature is also typical.

This Moto-Scoot features front suspension, automatic centrifugal clutch integral with a Salsbury-type transmission or CVT, a package compartment, locking ignition and, originally, kick-starting. Some models had two-speed transmissions. Now powered by a modern recoil rope starting Tecumseh engine, a Briggs & Stratton was original.

Originating in Europe and America in the 1930’s, the scooter is a small, efficient personal transport device. A resurgence in popularity in America since about 1990 has a wide range of these typically step-through machines available. Recently electric motor driven machines have come to market.

This Moto Scoot is one of many American and European scooters, power cycles and mini-bikes on display at the National Motorcycle Museum, including a fine bright orange Salsbury scooter. It’s on loan from the Jill and John Parham Collection.

    • Stock Engine: Single Cylinder Air-Cooled Briggs & Stratton (Replacement: Tecumseh)
    • Starting: Kick Lever (Rope Recoil, Replacement)
    • Clutch: Centrifugal
    • Primary Drive: Salisbury-Type Variable Speed Belt Drive
    • Final Drive: Chain Driven
    • Frame: Steel Tubing
    • Suspension: Spring Fork
    • Brakes: Rear Only, Pedal Operated
    • Tires / Wheels: 4.10 / 3.50 X 6.00 / 4.10 / 3.50 X 6.00
    • Wheelbase: 50 Inches
6 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:


    I’m betting this is “AMA Hall of Famer” Mary McGee, so thanks for reading, and writing.

    Great to have you as a Museum supporter, Mary.


  2. Walter A Ellison
    Walter A Ellison says:

    I have a 1940 motor scoot for sale I’ve had it for 40 years ever been outside I’m 85 years old I need to know the value what thank you

    • Jerry Hodge
      Jerry Hodge says:

      I had one in 1948 . I was 12 years old . I would be interested in buying your Moto Scoot , would like pictures and phone number or ill will give you mine ,call me 865 310 7826

  3. David Eddy
    David Eddy says:

    May I contact someone with questions about my Dad’s Moto Scoot that we are trying to restore? Believe his version is a 1945. Also looking for an original engine or proper replacement. Thank you.


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