Three motorbike ads - Harley, Honda... Cushman?

In the September 1961 issue of Popular Science, there appeared three motorbike ads, mere pages away from each other, but miles away in their customer base. But this being 1961, everyone in the ads looked like the Cleavers.

First up, a Harley-Davidson funtacular fun-o-rama sales event, where everyone is as square as the day is long. Better still, all the fellas brought their gals along because the ladies are totally into Harleys, too, just like real life! Nice try, The Marketing Division of the Harley-Davidson Corporation.

Little known fact: Harley-Davidson dealers would
let you test drive these indoors.
I'm amazed that the Ranger model - their "trail bike" - has no rear suspension at all. From an engineering standpoint, this makes my eyes hurt to look at. To be called a proper motorbike, anything must at least have a suspension. I have spoken!

While it is possible that the average Harley buyer in 1961 did look like Pat Boone, I have a feeling this was wishful thinking on the part of the advertiser. And even if this ad's squeaky clean depiction was accurate, soon The Seventies would happen. And, well, the less said about that, the better.

The Honda 50, or "Cub" is, in James May's opinion, "the greatest machine ever". In terms of number of units built, durability, and simple utility throughout the world, he has a point.

When Top gear shot their Vietnam Special, James chose a Honda Cub to drive the length of the country. The world is never brighter and the sun so warm as when Jeremy Clarkson (a lifelong motorcycle hater) is completely sad and wishing for the sweet release of death. Few things in life have made me laugh as hard as that episode. So much misery. So much funny. Find it on Netflix as series 12, episode 8.

Yeah! A Cushman Silver Eagle! The new one! What's a Cushman? Well, they're mostly four-wheeled golf cart looking things used by groundskeepers all over the world. I don't know what this Silver Eagle thing is for. Maybe Cushman was hoping you'd figure that out for them? That Ken doll seems to be enjoying his.

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Steve Miller said...

Legend on the back of the quintessential Harley shirt: "If you can read this the bitch fell off."

As for those Cushman things, they are highly collectible and you would NOT believe the prices they command!

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Thanks, Steve! I didn't know about the Cushman's value, but I can't say I'm shocked. Collectible value is about rarity, not coolness (usually).

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