How two cousins stumbled onto their grandfather’s one-of-a-kind, WWII-era scooter

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Charles Harbaugh (left) and his cousin Phillip slowly pieced together the Salsbury puzzle left behind by their grandfather. Courtesy Charles Harbaugh IV/Kimberly Needles Photography

A few years ago, my cousin Phillip Wines and I were searching through the barns on our late grandfather’s Virginia farm when we stumbled onto something—rather, a piece of something—from a scooter of some sort. Then we found another piece, and another. Finally, a picture began to emerge, especially as we started to see military markings.

Charles H. Harbaugh Jr. enlisted to fight in World War II at the age of 18. He was part of the D-Day invasion and fought at the Battle of the Bulge. As a C-47 pilot in the 27th Air Transport Group, he took part in the Berlin airlift after the war. In letters home from England, he had mentioned a scooter that he used for rides around the countryside. He named it “Anna Louise.” The identity of “Anna Louise” is subject to question, though I believe she was an English girl my grandfather fell in love with.

My grandfather cherished the scooter and wanted to keep it. Because it was military issue, he broke it down into pieces to evade detection, and soon it found a place on his farm.

Harbaugh 1939 Salsbury Model 72 pieces
Courtesy Charles Harbaugh IV

One day after our discovery, I posted pictures of what we thought was a Cushman on a Cushman Facebook page. Jerry Temple, president of the International Salsbury Restorers Society, soon informed us this was no Cushman, but a vintage Salsbury Model 72—one of three known to exist, and the only one remaining with military markings.

Jerry wanted to restore it and drove from Ohio to pick it up. His work was fantastic, and we debuted the scooter in 2018 at the eighth annual Middletown Car and Truck show on Main Street. Now it resides in the local Harley-Davidson dealership.

To Phillip and me, the scooter is not so much a relic of a bygone era but a memorial to a member of the Greatest Generation. We can’t think of a better way to honor him.

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