After being sold to a new owner in Switzerland, our first Airborne scooter was removed from the museum on November 16, 2017, with plans to attend the 75th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. Because the scooter was a favorite of many visitors, soon after the sale a search for another scooter began. One was located and purchased by Eddy Schultz. The scooter was beautifully restored by Tom Purvis. In October of 2018, the newly restored 1944 Cushman Airborne 53 was added to the museum for display.
In the later stages of the war in Europe, Allied paratroopers used these scooters to maintain contact between units, increase their mobility and haul small loads. The Cushman Motor Works designed the Model 53 Airborne Scooter to be airdropped by parachute or carried by glider. Some scooters, like this one, had a hitch to pull a model M3A4 general-purpose utility cart. By adding certain equipment, the cart could be converted to carry a .30-cal. or .50-cal. machine gun or even a 81mm mortar. Cushman made 4,734 airborne scooters for the military beginning in 1944. The rugged, simple Model 53 could travel through a foot of water, climb a 25 percent grade, and had a range of approximately 100 miles. The scooter is powered by a Cushman 1-cylinder 16M71 producing 4.6 hp. The scooter weighs 255 lbs and has a maximum speed of 40 mph.
Also added to the museum was a 1944 M3A4 Hand Cart. The cart is shown in the photos below.
Interesting fact: The 82nd Airborne used many of these in France after D-Day.