Bonner Lab with Ugly Vehicle, 1954

I was looking at this pretty early picture of the Nuclear Research Lab (later named the Bonner Lab in memory of Tom Bonner ’32, ’34), intently studying the landscaping when I finally looked over at the sleek automobile over on the left. And then I noticed that . . . other thing . . . next to it.

I have seen a lot of vehicles in these old pictures, from mule-drawn wagons to  scooters to all kinds of tractors, golf carts, and jalopies and even an occasional ice cream truck but I have never seen anything like that before. Usually you can tell at glance what the function of a vehicle is. Not here, though.

Also–I’m just going to say it–it is ugly. A mule is better looking than that thing.


Bonus: This is prettier.

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8 Responses to Bonner Lab with Ugly Vehicle, 1954

  1. It has three wheels. Looks like the engine is in the rear, driving the single rear wheel.

    Is that an ice chest on the front with a T-handle? Ice cream truck? Or is it a toolbox?

    Maybe it is an early version of a maintenance cart. Zip around the campus and hop off when needed.

  2. That might be a Cushman logo on its flank.

  3. marmer01 says:

    That is a postwar Cushman Package Kar, used for mail delivery. I’ll bet you found its ice-cream delivery cousin, painted white and with a bell, to be a much more delightful sight during your childhood.

    The Buick is a 1950 Super.

    • marmer01 says:

      Yeah, I didn’t look closely enough at the picture. That is a slightly later variant with a steering wheel instead of handlebars, as in the pictures posted by Wunderwood and William. But it’s definitely a Cushman Package Kar, probably the precursor to the campus mail electric carts.

  4. Bill Peebles, Hanszen '70 says:

    That’s a variation of the Cushman Model 39 3-wheel scooter built for the army during WW II.

  5. wsdeigaard says:

    I was slightly concerned when I heard ugly vehicle and saw the beautiful ride in the foreground. With some much needed zooming, I saw what you were describing. I can’t agree it’s ugly, though, since it’s got utility. I think it is a Cushman Package Car. I can’t find an exact match, but these come pretty close:

  6. cburrus says:

    It is indeed a Cushman 3-wheel scooter with the single cylinder engine under the seat. I had an earlier version with handlebars rather than a steering wheel in 1947. They were definitely not ugly!

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