1947 Salsbury Model 85 Scooter

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This motorcycle was found in Arizona while on a motorcycle tour. It was purchased from Terry Smith who is known to be the Salsbury expert in the nation.  This is a Model 85 that was an original rolling chassis with a new engine and drive-train by Terry Smith. The current owner took the bike home and did a complete professional restoration to compliment the running gear. The motorcycle is on permanent display and ready for the next owner to shine, show, and ride. The demo stand goes with the bike. This Salsbury Scooter is titled and licensed in California.

Back in 1936, a man named E. Foster Salsbury co-developed the Salsbury Motor Glide, a scooter with an enclosed drive-train underneath the seat. His later development of the first Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) to be used on a scooter made his product such a success that he even tried to license the design internationally. This design defined the second generation of scooters worldwide, and inspired competition from Cushman and even Harley-Davidson. One of the most interesting Salsbury designs was the Salsbury Imperial Rocket (also known as the Model 85), which was designed to entice car drivers to switch to a scooter.

How did Salsbury plan on stealing market share from car drivers? First of all, scooters usually had a twist throttle, like a motorcycle. Car drivers weren’t used to that, so Salsbury changed the controls – this scooter has a foot-operated brake and gas pedal. The interesting bodywork (styled with jet plane influences as Salsbury had lent his efforts to designing airplanes for WWII) covered nearly everything to keep riders clean. The engine was good for 6 horsepower and with a CVT, a rider could actually get up to 50 miles per hour. Reports estimate that between 700-1000 were produced.

This is one of the rarest  and most exotic scooters ever! Built by Northrop Aviation after E. Foster Salsbury was inspired to create the scooter by seeing Amelia Earhart scooting around Lockheed Airport in Burbank CA on an old moped! These were considered the Cadillac of scooters. The 85 series had jet-aged styling just like the Northrop xf89 Scorpion. These machines are very rare and sought afte


Possibly 35 miles on this motorcycle after restoration


High-tech enamel, color matched to the correct original sample found on the bike. This paint was done by a professional body shop and it is of excellent quality.

Sheet metal

Sheet metal is original. It was prepared with love by a quality body mechanic. Sheet metal is smooth and well fitting.


Original chrome pieces were re-chromed during the restoration.


This drive-train was completely gone through by Terry Smith. It is a rebuild of the original equipment found in the original motorcycle. It starts easy and is a smooth ride, performing correctly. The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) functions correctly.

Wheels & Tires

Rims were properly prepared and then painted. Tires and tubes are new.


Clean, clear, California title and registration
Engine #
Frame #

Valuation Resource Guide

This motorcycle would rate as a 1+ on the NADA scale.



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