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Moped Miscellany - No 2

1955 Zündapp Combinette

One of the many Continental European mopeds that appeared on the British market in the mid-1950s was the Zündapp Combinette.  At the beginning of November 1954, Ambassador Motor Cycles announced that they would be assembling Combinettes under licence at their works in Ascot for sale in the UK at a price of £59.  A few days later, one of these mopeds was displayed on the Ambassador stand at the annual Earls Court Motor Cycle Show.

Finished in grey, the Zündapp Combinette presented a rather stark appearance in comparison with other Continental machines.  The frame was tubular, with a single U-shaped large diameter tube as its main member.  Plain cycle-type mudguards were fitted and a rear carrier incorporated a skirt guard around the upper half of the rear wheel.  A small fuel tank was fitted below the saddle.  The main concessions to styling were the elegant chain and engine covers fitted to both sides of the machine.  The spring fork was rather rudimentary with a knuckle joint just below the steering head and the forward movement was controlled by a pair of small but powerful helical compression springs.  Another novel fitting was a long prop stand whose mounting point was unusually high up behind the bottom bracket.

Zündapp Combinette

When the Combinette appeared on the market in early 1955 its price was somewhat higher than had been anticipated, at £67 16s inclusive of Purchase Tax.  The colour scheme had also been changed to bronze with gold lining.

Although the Zündapp Combinette remained on sale in the UK into the 1960s, this particular model was short-lived.  The 1956 model displayed at the 1955 London Show had been substantially restyled with deep valanced mudguards, a forward mounted fuel tank on top of the frame tube, a conventional centre stand and a long exhaust pipe along the right hand side of the machine.  The strange suspension of the earlier model had been replaced with leading link forks and a two-speed gearbox had been added.

Technical Details:

Engine All alloy 50cc two-stroke (39mm × 41.8mm) with hard chrome liner
Transmission Single speed chain drive with separate chain for pedalling and a manually operated multi-plate clutch
Carburettor Bing, with semi-automatic choke
Brakes Front - 3.5in drum
Rear - Coaster hub
Fuel Capacity 4.5 pints
Fuel Consumption 116mpg *
Cruising Speed 22mph to 26mph *
Maximum Speed 32mph on level *
10mph up 1 in 10 gradient *
Price £56 10s 0d + £11 6s 0d PT
Tyre Size 26 x 2
UK Concessionaires Ambassador Motor Cycles Ltd.,
Pontiac Works,

* performance figures from Motor Cycle road test 24 February 1955.

First published - October 1988

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