1952 Maico Mobil scooter
Maicoletta | 175cc | German | Two stroke
This wonderfully quirky machine long anticipated the current interest in maxi-scooters such as Yamaha's T-Max, and we reckon the Maico did it a lot more stylishly.
Maico was founded in 1926 in West Germany by Ulrich Maisch and was passed on to his sons Otto and Wilhelm. It began by building lightweight utilitarian two strokes, but eventually moved into motocross and enduro bikes and, for a while (in the 1950s), added micro-cars to the firm's manufacturing inventory.
The company is perhaps best known for its 247cc air-cooled two-stroke Maicoletta scooter fitted with an electric starter, four gears, a cooling fan and 14-inch wheels. The top speed was a very creditable 70mph. The Maicoletta was expensive to manufacture and buy, but it was a very high quality machine that quickly developed a near cult following.
The Maico Mobil (Lot S71 at Mecum Auction Chicago Sale, June 2016)) arrived in 1950 and remained in production until 1958. The two-stroke engine began as 150cc, 3-speeder. But that was soon enlarged to 175cc in order to handle the 250lbs of tubular steel frame and steel body. And what a body. With that huge screen, those capacious leg shields and the expansive footboards, the Mobil could handle all but the very worst of the weather. And because the bike was such a heavyweight and was fitted with telescopic forks, swinging arm suspension and 14-inch wheels, it handled more like a motorcycle than a scooter, which was the manufacturers intention. And for those long-legged touring jaunts with your significant other, the Maico Mobil had a large pillion saddle and was perfectly equipped with generous built-in luggage panniers. The Mobil also featured a glove box and carried a spare wheel.
We don't have the production numbers, but the bike/scooter wasn't a huge seller. This example was restored in Germany and was originally marketed as a "car on two wheels". So okay, there have been many other machines that came along before this one with the same boast. But that doesn't detract from the fact that this German example reloaded the concept, and did it so beautifully.
This bike, according to some, is "The Holy Grail of Scooters". We're racking our brains trying to think of another scoot that we'd rather have, and so far nothing's coming to mind. The estimate was $20,000 - $25,000. This Maico Mobil sold for $24,000.
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— Big End
Copyright Sump Publishing 2016