Cohort Sighting: Heinkel Tourist Scooter with Sidecar – The Mercedes of Scooters

Heinkel tourist 1956 f

The British called this “The Rolls Royce of Scooters,” but it seems to me that “The Mercedes of Scooters” seems more apt, especially since Cohort Hannes captured it in front of a very lovely Pagoda SL.  A dealer in Massachusetts even advertised the Heinkel as “The Cadillac of Scooters,” its accolades reflecting its high-quality construction, durable four-stroke engine (when two-strokes were the norm), and lofty price tag.  And the name “Tourist” was not over-reaching either; back in the fifties, Germans with more Wunderlust than D-Marks were driving them south for vacations in Italy, Spain, and such (but with their wives, not the family dog).

heinkel _gross

Heinkel Flugzeugwerke was of course banned from building aircraft after the end of WWII, so it turned its engineers to more earth-bound vehicles: bicycles, mopeds, scooters and the Heinkel bubble car. All of them were built to much higher standards than average, which also affected their price and sales.

Heinkel tourist 1953- 1956 fq

The Tourist was capable of touring, with a top speed of 60-70 mph, although presumably not with the side car. Except for the very first batch, Tourists had a 174cc ohv single cylinder engine, with some 9.5 hp. Getting over the steep Alpine passes back then took patience.

Motorroller 3

But that paid off, as this happy couple in Spain demonstrated with their Maico sidecar rig. Now that’s the way to really see the countryside, puttering along with the balmy ocean breeze in one’s hair.


And here’s a couple of German women touring on their scooter. Who needs men, anyway? Or maybe they lost them in the war. Nothing can stop the German Wanderlust, except maybe a war. Which meant it was very pent up by the early fifties.

Heinkel tourist 1953- 1956 rq

These two aren’t likely to head south, but at least they’re out enjoying the ride on their Heinkel.