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A Brief History of Cushman Golf Carts
Cushman Motor Works was founded in Lincoln Nebraska in 1901 by Everette and Clinton Cushman to produce gasoline motors. They left the company in 1919. The company was incorporated by new owner Charles Ammon in 1934. They started producing their well known scooters in 1936. It was not until 1954 that they introduced their first three wheel golf cart called a Golfster series 732 which was a 24 volt cart. Note the green and white cart above. In 1957 the Ammon family sold the company to Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC), most well known for the Johnson and Evinrude brand of outboards. 1957 was also the year of the first 36 volt series 732. The industrial cart, series 731, remained 24 volt until 1958 when they made it 36 volts. In 1961 they closed down a foundry they had and converted it over to aluminum die casting. This is where they built the first 18 hp engines that went into the meter maid Trucksters and the "Shark Nosed" series 735 golf cart. For more detailed history on Cushman go here: www.nebraskahistory.org/sites/mnh/cushman3.htm
All the three wheel series 732s were produced until 1967 and were powered by electricity except for the short lived "Shark Nosed" gas powered series 735 which was produced from 1961 to 1964. Note the orange cart above left. In 1964 they introduced an impression molded fiberglass body version of the 732 series which they kept through 1967. Note the silver with light blue flames above. From 1963 to 1968 they also built the electric and gas series 731 Director and Executive industrial cart. The series 731 Executive was a four wheel cart with a fiberglass body. The Executive model also came with a headlight and horn. It came out with an 8 hp Kohler engine option beginning in 1965. The Deluxe Golster came with either tiller steering or a steering wheel. The steering wheel model also had a different nose piece. They also produced the series 736 Scotsman model 881009 from around 1964 to 1968. This model came with an 8 HP Kohler engine. Around 1969 they came out with the Scotsman model 898105. This model came with a 5 HP, 14.1 cubic inch, four cycle Briggs and Stratton engine. From 1965 to 1967 Sears sold a re-badged series 736 with this same 5 HP engine. The Sears model number was 809.656750. In 1968 they sold the same cart only with a 6 HP engine, their model number 809.656751. 1970 was the last year for the Scotsman model.
1968 saw their first four wheeled golf car, the Gran Cushman Golfster model GC-400. This steel body cart was also produced in the three wheel model GC-300. Note the dark blue GC-300 above. Both models could be purchased as either gas or electric. The gasoline GC400 used a Kohler 10hp model 241 while the GC300 had a kohler 8hp model 181 until 1972 when they came with the 10hp 241. The GC400 kept the 10hp until 1974 when they installed the 12hp Kohler model K301. The Town and Fairway version of the GC400 came out in 1968. It had an additional rear facing rear seat. It came in either 36 volt electric or with a 10hp Kohler K241 engine. It was produced until 1975. In 1974 they came out with the Combo 1 which was like the Town and Fairway except that it had the added feature of having the rear seats being able to fold down for golf bags. They only made this cart from 1974 to 1975 and they only produced 273 according to my sources. The 60s were the heyday for the Cushman line of golf carts.
They dominated the market until Harley introduced their gas golf cart which made inroads in their market share and later the influx of carts from Poland, the Melex, took a lot of their market as well, although they continued to dominate the electric cart market. From 1972 until 1975 only the four wheel version was manufactured. All golf cart production ceased on June 27, 1975. The company continued building industrial vehicles and in 1989 was purchased by Ransomes Ltd. In 1998 Textron, who owns E-Z-GO, purchased Ransomes. Cushmans are still being built today by Textrons Jacobsen Golf and Turf Products division.