The Cambrian

Cushman ‘Truckster’ keeps on motoring along Moonstone Beach

William Scroggins shows off his 1950s Cushman “Truckster” on Tuesday afternoon on Moonstone Drive.
William Scroggins shows off his 1950s Cushman “Truckster” on Tuesday afternoon on Moonstone Drive. sprovost@thetribunenews.com

William Scroggins’ 1950s three-wheel Cushman “Truckster” scooter looks like a motorcycle crossed with a miniature pickup truck. To see it, you might not have thought that the funky ranch vehicle would have been a coveted treasure for four Cambria men whose only link has been ownership of the Truckster.

According to Jerry Greer, a title search on the vehicle would show that the city of San Luis Obispo bought the Truckster new and kept it for about five years.

Ownership then was transferred to rancher Jim Fiscalini, who “kept it on the ranch as a ranch vehicle,” Greer said. After Jim’s death, Larry Fiscalini “kept it stored inside for maybe 40 years.”

When Jamie Spitzley saw the Truckster, he decided he wanted it. Spitzley, who has a vineyard on Santa Rosa Creek Road, “is a gearhead like me,” Greer said. “Larry agreed, but only if Jamie agreed to keep it inside, maintain it well and care for it.”

Some years later, Greer had been working with Spitzley on restoring a paratrooper’s World War II motorcycle for the Estrella Warbird Museum in Paso Robles. Greer was “looking for something to work on in Jamie’s barn,” he said. “I saw one corner of the Truckster sticking out from under a new tarp, and immediately said, ‘That’s a Cushman Truckster!’”

It rang some memory bells for Greer, who remembered a similar vehicle at a drugstore across from his elementary school. “I bought the Cushman from Jamie, who gave me the same conditions Larry gave him. ... It has to be kept inside and I had to take good care of it.”

Will owns it and rides it every day with his dog Bella in the back. Everybody gets to see it. It’s the perfect next chapter of the Cambria Cushmaneers.

Jerry Greer

Greer knew how to do that, having built a well-known reputation for restoring and selling Indian motorcycles, as well as racing cycles on flat track.

He lovingly restored the Truckster mechanically and electrically, one gear or bolt at a time. He didn’t fix up the exterior or disturb the patina of its life on the ranch. “I wanted people to see it as it had been.”

Even so, the work wasn’t easy. “I actually had to manufacture parts” that were no longer available, he said. He enlisted help from “my former race-car buddies, cashing in ‘chips’ right and left.” But “I didn’t want to happen to it what always happens to pieces of farm equipment: They disappear. That wasn’t going to happen to this one. There was love connected with it. It was loved, and it was going to continue to be.”

His goal was to get it running and ride it in the Pinedorado parade. And so he did.

But Greer knew he wouldn’t be keeping the Cushman. “It deserved to be seen, but it had to stay in town, had to be taken care of.”

One day, Greer ran into William Scroggins of Moonstone Redwood at Cambria Hardware, which Greer calls the “worship service for all the men in Cambria.”

Conversation followed, with the end result that Scroggins now owns the Cushman and often has it on display at his gallery at 6100 Moonstone Beach Drive.

The same rules still apply: The Truckster needs to be seen, daily if possible. It must be cosseted, loved, respected and maintained.

Greer is pleased with the outcome for the little ranch-vehicle treasure. “Will owns it and rides it every day with his dog Bella in the back. Everybody gets to see it. It’s the perfect next chapter of the Cambria Cushmaneers.”

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