1960 Centaur 49cc Folding Scooter

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1960 Centaur 49cc Folding Scooter

(Now sold)

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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.

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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.

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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? 🙂

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I told him to bring it over to show it to me, so it ended up in my garage.

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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.

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The scooter was manufactured by Lombard Industries in Massachusetts, between 1960 and 1962, and sold for $410.

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Here’s my Centaur on display at Amberley Scooter and Microcar Show, August 2007 (I sold it a year later).

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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).

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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.

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It’s interesting to compare its design with the American Centaur.

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Photos courtesy Scootering Magazine, 1992