Motorcycle Classics

Mustang Reborn: California Scooter Company

Ed Seidner founded one of the largest motorcycle superstores in the country, Bert’s Mega Mall in Covina, Calif., which today sells new Hondas, Ducatis, Triumphs and many more. Son Steve ran that operation until he branched out on his own, starting motorcycle accessory company Pro-One Performance Manufacturing.

Ed never had a Mustang, but his friend Billy Buster had one when they were kids and Ed always wanted one. Steve grew up hearing stories about Billy Buster and his Mustang, so he decided to do something about it. He bought an unrestored 1954 Mustang on eBay and took it home to the Pro-One production facility to restore it, a surprise gift for Ed. Steve quickly discovered three things: Customers walked right past ultra-sleek Pro-One V-twins for a better look at the unrestored Mustang; the Mustang was a simple design; and the little bike was solid. In fact, after Steve drained the stale gas, cleaned the fuel lines and filled the bike’s peanut tank, the old Mustang started on the first kick.

Steve’s response was swift. With the 56-year-old Mustang as a template, he started California Scooter Company, making the bikes he believes Mustang would build today. The new CSC motorcycles are EPA and CARB approved with modern amenities like electric start, turn signals, speedometer, hydraulic disc brakes, etc.

The bikes are built in La Verne, Calif., about 30 miles from the original Mustang factory, while the engines are sourced from Asia. Three years after introducing the 150cc CSC 150, CSC introduced the 250cc P-51, taking the P-51 designation from the World War II Mustang airplane. With its larger 250cc counter-balanced single overhead cam engine, the P-51 absolutely rips. The Mustang formula — short wheelbase, light weight and 12-inch wheels — still works.

So how does the new compare to the old? Fully broken in, my 150cc red CSC Classic tops out at about 66mph. With their 320cc engines, the original Mustangs were crazy fast. My geezer buddies tell me a stock Mustang would do 70mph (how they knew that is beyond me, as Mustangs didn’t get speedometers until the late 1950s). I’ve touched 80mph on the new P-51.

I’ve ridden vintage Mustangs, but because of their value I was afraid to push them too hard. The old Mustangs feel a little wobbly to me, but of course they have old forks and old tires. The new bikes benefit from more than 50 years of advancements in technology. When I take my CSC on Glendora Ridge Road, the bike is light, tight and an absolute delight through the twisties. Which bike is faster or better is moot. Both are awesome, and each offers a riding experience like no other. There’s one fact, though, that riders of vintage Mustangs and new California Scooters both have to accept: You can’t go anywhere without drawing a smiling crowd.

Read about the history of Mustang in The Magnificent Mustang Motorcycles.

  • Published on Dec 7, 2012
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