Fold Away Scooter: Pair of 1960 Valmobiles

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The Valmobile was a small scooter from the 1950s that was designed to fold up in a suitcase shape for traveling. It was originally conceived and built in France and then later production moved to Japan. The seller has two of these little marvels for sale, but neither are currently running. Considering the simplicity on their design, hopefully that would be an easy matter to rectify. They are located in Claremont, California and available here on craigslist for the package price of $5,500 (BTW, they sold for under $300 new!). Thanks to rex m for this little tidbit!

The Valmobile “suitcase scooter” was born in France and manufactured by Martin-Moulet until the mid-1950s. After not finding much success in Europe (which is odd given the growing popularity of Italian-based Vespa at the time), Hirano Motorcycle Co. took over and started making them in Japan in 1956. They found more demand as Japan and the U.S. were experiencing some “scooter mania” and Hirano was able to establish a better dealer network. The Hirano Valmobile came with an air-cooled 50cc, 2-stroke engine that put out less than three horsepower with a single-speed transmission (kind of like the CVT scooters use today). Hirano sold about 100,000 of the bikes through 1961 when production ceased.

When the scooter was not in use, it could be packed away in its self-contained suitcase and unfolding simply required one to lift up the seat, take out the handlebars, cross-member, and front wheel, and put it all together without tools. Supposedly this could be done in 30 seconds, but that probably was after getting good at it! The little scooters weighed just 75 pounds, so it was easy enough for most people to deal with. The seller has two of these scoots for sale, both from 1960; one is in original condition, while the other is an older restoration. Neither is running at the moment, but they both kick over. A set of decals is provided for each which were probably not put on from the beginning. Once you get them going, they should be able to go 35 mph (on teeny, tiny wheels).

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  1. doug edwards

    I’ve got one I’ll sell for $1000. It received a lot of attention at a VW bus campout. see LEAKOIL – KI 2020

    Like 1
    • StuMember

      Doug, where are you? How to connect? Thanks. SP

      Like 0
    • Sparky Witham

      Is yours up and running?

      Like 0
  2. sign guy

    Can you say Motocompo?

    Like 0
  3. John b

    I have one of these that i stalled working on…anyone know where i can get parts and decals for them?

    Like 0
  4. 4spdBernie 4spdBernie

    Super ez to ship, just slap on a UPS label and you’re good to go.

    Like 1
  5. chrlsful

    no. I do some sailing & you’d think “Nice for once U get there.” Naw, the bikes are better

    they have mostly 2 strokes but even the 4 stroke is better than the valmobile

    Honda hada piece like this (above cite?) that came outta da trunk.
    I need bigger wheels (safer), larger frame, person (not child) szed transport. Even a vespa hada 10, 12 inch tire, no?

    Like 0

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