The Cushman name is best known for the little three wheel gas ‘Meter Maid’ vehicles that plagued tardy shoppers as the ‘Maids’ wrote parking tickets.
Cushman has a long history of manufacturing utility vehicles and golf cars. They made their own twin cylinder, 4 cycle engine that powered their “Truckster” (the ‘Meter Maid’ & a 3 wheel golf car known as the ‘735’) vehicles.
Their most common golf cars, however, were powered by an 8hp or 10hp Kohler single cylinder 4 cycle engine. They also offered a 36 volt electric golf car powered by a GE motor coupled to a Cushman differential.
The last golf car came off the line in 1975. After that Cushman focused on utility vehicles for turf care and burden carriers for industry. Eventually the entire company was purchased by Ransomes of England, although the main manufacturing facility remained in Lincoln, Nebraska. In late 1998 the company was purchased by Textron Corp, the parent of E-Z-GO golf cars and Jacobson Turf Equipment.
The car pictured above is a Cushman Combo. The rear seat flipped one way for golf bags to be carried or flipped the other to carry 2 extra riders facing rearward. The car came with many accessories including lights, turn signals and brake lights, long top and a windshield.
Cushman had lots of different vehicles and designs over the years. Some were battery powered electrics and others had gasoline engines. Many had nothing to do with golf. The ‘Meter Maid’ was one that could cross over from being a small municipal runabout to being a golf cart. The early ones had 3 wheels and an 18hp 4-cycle gas engine made by OMC. Outboard Marine Corp., owned Cushman and manufactured various other engines (outboard motors for boats) and vehicles for entirely different applications.
Cushman golf cars were powered by either a 36 volt electric system or by an 8hp, and later a 10 hp, 4-cycle Kohler engine. Repair parts are still available for many of these cars but the cosmetic body and trim pieces are long gone. The belt drive clutch components on the engine and differential are also long gone. Treat them carefully!
There are two important numbers associated with the Cushman vehicles. One is the MODEL number and the other is the SERIAL number. On the golf cars they are located in different places. Usually the Model Number is found under the seat to the driver side of the shift lever console. The number is stamped into a plate riveted to the console and the number usually starts with an ‘8’, like 898100 or 880429. This number is most important because of all the different models Cushman made. Many were very similar in look but the wiring schematics differed.
The serial number is commonly found stamped into the metal side rail, just below the floorboard on the driver side. Rust or several coats of paint may obscure the 6 digit number. It is not as important as the model number but it helps to have it on hand, especially for the non-golf car vehicles. The ‘Meter Maids’ and turf ‘Trucksters’, as they were called, may have the serial and model number on the dash console near the emergency brake pedal.
Cushman “Scotsman” Model, circa 1964
Cushman entered the golf car business very early. Pictured is the ‘Scotsman’ model which dates back to the early ’60’s. This very versatile vehicle could be used for golf or a dump bed could be purchased for yard work (pictured below with a top). The golf bag holders doubled to hold garden tools if used as such. This neat little package had a 5hp, 14.1 cu in, 4 cycle gas engine with electric start. It was 40″ wide and 78″ long with a top speed of 12mph. Slick! The picture on the left shows the same car used for golf but without a top or a dump bed.