The most famous crate scooter in the world must surely be the one borrowed by Marty McFly in Back To The Future, he famously snaps the crate section off the top and uses it as a skateboard – creating the modern skateboard in the process.
The truth of the matter is that no one really knows who was the first to do this, it’s believed that in the 1950s Californian surfers began “Sidewalk Surfing” when there were no waves using similarly modified crate scooters. Over time this evolved into its own unique thing, the term “skateboarding” was coined, and the rest is history.
Also known as a “skate cart”, the crate scooter you see here dates back to 1945 and it shares an obvious visual similarity with the scooters used by the kids (and borrowed by McFly) in Back To The Future. It uses the standard construction technique of a single thick plank that has a crate mounted to the top, with broom handle handlebars, and wheels provided by a single rollerskate – an additional metal fin has been added to the top of the crate on this model, I assume to provide high-speed aerodynamic stability.
Before you all start sending me emails, let me clarify that that last statement was facetious.
This crate scooter is known as “Zippy” due to the name painted on the side, the front features a skull and crossbones – a common decoration for crate scooters at the time. It was discovered by Santa Barbara Surfing Museum Curator James O’Mahoney at the Rose Bowl Flea Market 40 years ago and it was on display with the museum for years.
The scooter is now coming upon for sale with Bonhams, the price estimate of $700 to $900 USD seems like an absolute steal for such a remarkable piece of history. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.
Above Book Extract: “Skateboard Retrospective”. Schiffer Publishing, 2000.
Images courtesy of Bonhams
Ben has had his work featured on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with millions of readers around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.