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Sears (Puch) Compact DS60 Scooter- 1966
Long before internet shopping there was the Sears Roebuck & Co. catalogue. Started as R.W. Sears Watch Co., the mail-order firm offered watches and jewelry in the late 19th century. By 1894, under Sears Roebuck & Co., the catalog expanded to include sewing machines, sporting goods, musical instruments, saddles, bicycles, baby carriages—and would keep expanding until 1993 when the “Big Book” was discontinued.
Mail-order motor sports vehicles were a diverse lot. Sears began selling American-made Cushman scooters under their “Allstate” brand since 1948, but also imported various Vespa models from 1952 to 1969, also re-badged as Allstates. In 1954, Sears began importing small-displacement two-stroke motorcycles from Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch, A.G, or Puch, like the Compact DS60 Scooter seen here. Their relationship with Puch lasted until 1979. The last year of sales in 1966-67 the Allstate was simply called the “Sears” scooter.
Because Sears was a mail-order rather than a manufacturer, their business was able to connect to a larger base of rural American communities. Offering small European bikes provided these communities simple, reliable fun with an exotic flair of adventure: “Styling and spirit of a cycle combined with the comfort and economy of a scooter make this Compact a leader on campus or anywhere around town,” reads a 1966 advertisement from the Sears catalogue pages.
This 1966 Sears Compact DS60 Scooter, made by Puch, sold by Sears, Roebuck & Co. could arrive at your local store, painted lustrous cream or cream and red two-tone. It was a cross between mini-motorcycle—with its gas tank between the knees-and a scooter, with a familiar pressed-steel legshield and copious body panels. The engine was an aluminum 60cc 2-stroke single with flywheel magneto ignition, mated to a foot-operated 3-speed manual transmission, and capable of achieving a speed of 42 MPH and touting 100 mpg.
By the late-60s, facing increasingly rigorous environmental, EPA and DOT regulations and growing pressure from Japanese companies, which were rapidly improving technology, adding features, and expanding their model ranges and dealer infrastructure, brought an end to nearly two decades of mail-order motorcycles.
Manufacturer: Steyr-Daimler-Puch, A.G.
Country of Origin: Austria
Engine: Air-cooled two stroke single, 3.9 hp
Top Speed: 42 miles per hour
Years of Production: 1957-1968
Number Produced: _____
Original Cost: $329.00 cash or $16.00/mo x 24 mos.