1960 Centaur 49cc Folding Scooter
I saw this 1960 Centaur advertised in 2005. I’d bought too much at the time, so I passed on it. It had apparently come from Tyrells Racing Factory in Woking when they closed down their workshops, and was rumoured to have been used by them as a paddock bike in the early sixties.
I forgot all about it. Then a guy named Glen phoned me. He’d heard I was into oddball stuff, and wanted to know if I was interested.
He’d bought it, restored it, but was now ready to sell it and start another project. Aren’t we a fickle lot, we vintage enthusiasts? 🙂
I told him to bring it over to show it to me, so it ended up in my garage.
The engine is an American Clinton 49cc. It runs fine, and you start it like a lawnmower, with a pull-cord. I believe the company are still in existence, making industrial engines.
The scooter was manufactured by Lombard Industries in Massachusetts, between 1960 and 1962, and sold for $410.
Here’s my Centaur on display at Amberley Scooter and Microcar Show, August 2007 (I sold it a year later).
Val Mobile Scoot-in-a-suitcase
This is the original folding scooter, the Valmobile.
Its inventor, M. Bouffort, demonstrates the Val Mobile, powered by a Villiers 98ccm, for le Scooter magazine (May, 1953 issue).
Here’s a photo of my old Hirano Valmobile – they were made by the Japanese under licence. Scootering magazine did a feature on it before I sold it in 1992.
It’s interesting to compare its design with the American Centaur.
Photos courtesy Scootering Magazine, 1992