Farm Collector Blogs > Field Notes

Whizzer With an Unusual Transmission

2-speed Whizzer

I was excited to get my first Whizzer at age 13. I traded an electric train that I had outgrown and $10 cash for it. I rode it slow around the yard so Dad could hear it running. A few days after I got it home, Dad could hear knocking (but I didn’t).

My dad had a lawnmower repair shop. He put me to work taking out the Whizzer’s side-plate screws. He made sure I kept track of them and that I put each screw back into the hole it had come out of.

I hitchhiked to the next town (Brazil), where there was a Whizzer shop. I bought new inserts (85 cents, if I remember correctly), came home and put it all back together. Before long it was knocking again. That time, Dad had me remove the crankshaft. He checked it and it was flat on top. He honed it back to round and then I put in oversized inserts. It lasted for many more miles for me and three subsequent owners.

Please note the clutch in this photo. It is a 2-speed automatic, the only one I ever saw. I don’t remember if it was made by Whizzer. I would twist the gas handle grip up and it would start; then I’d put it back to idle and it would shift automatically into high gear and away I’d go. It was explained to me a planetary gear that made the two speeds, which meant very little to a 13-year-old boy. I’ve worked on motorbikes, motor scooters, cars and lawnmowers all my life, but I still have never taken apart a clutch like that, so I still do not know how it worked.

I traded the Whizzer for a Cushman motor scooter. After I retired and entered my second childhood, I bought another Cushman; I am still riding it at age 77.

James Creek, 8100 S. St. Rd. 157, Clay City, Indiana

From Sam Moore: Thanks for the note about your Whizzer. At least you got one; I never did. According to a Whizzer website, the 1950 Sportsman was introduced with a “Bi-Matic” transmission, a 2-speed automatic that shifted up at about 15 mph. It sounds like that’s what yours had. It seems the Bi-Matic wasn’t very reliable; it was only made for about a year, which could explain why there are so few around.