Genuine Scooter Company pulled the wraps off their latest custom Buddy scooter this week, and it was a bit of a surprise. After a long-standing partnership with Chicago's Ferrara Pan Candy Company (itself started in 1908), Genuine got together with them again to produce something special - the Lemonhead Buddy.
Genuine's relationship with Ferrara Pan goes back a long way. Sister company Scooterworks has long dropped boxes of Lemonheads, Cherryheads, Boston Baked Beans and other Ferrara Pan candies in their scooter parts boxes, much to the delight of those opening the boxes on the other end. Their partnership reached a peak back in 2005 with the Atomic Fireball Stella. That 150 scooter limited run tweaked the performance of the Stella two-stroke with higher gearing (allowing a slightly higher top speed), and added a sleek new seat, yellow wheel rims, red hubs, a special mudflap, different grips and a coin tray, never mind the graphics package. They sold out very fast, and (like the original Stella special version, the GB 150) are a desired machine.
The new Lemonhead scooter represents a new peak in the Genuine-Ferrara Pan relationship. Lemonhead is based on the familiar Buddy 50cc, already a popular, peppy two-stroke and one capable of some highly interesting modifications if one is interested in that (after the warranty expires!). The Lemonhead is a limited edition of 200 units, each with it's own number plate. Other modifications include a "Pucker Power" Lemonhead speedometer, a bright yellow custom seat, a Blue Buddy logo, and a combination of whitewall tires and yellow-painted rims. A bonus is included in the form of a very cool Lemonhead lunch box, filled with a type of candy that one will immediately recognize. At an MSRP of $2199, the Lemonhead hits a "sweet spot" in the Buddy line-up.
Company president Philip McCaleb said that the Lemonhead "isn't for everyone" and that "it's something that we like to do for fun." He continued, "I'm probably gonna take some heat for it, but it really captures the spirit and fun that we have in this little company." I asked him how the Lemonhead happened and he said that it was similar to how the Atomic Fireball came to be. He said that they started talking about doing another Ferrara Pan scoot a couple of years back but it got pushed around on the schedule (probably due to the Stella four-stroke adventure), and only got back on track early last year. He reminded me that they specify every aspect of the scooters that they produce in partnership with companies like PGO and LML. That means that they work alongside the engineers in those companies to come up with something unique for the United States. "It's actually a product designed by both companies at that point" said Philip. "And this is what you get -- a fun product that is not available anywhere else in the world, and one that will sell out quickly". He fell silent when I asked what was coming from Genuine next, and would only say that "you and your scooter dork friends will love it - imported from Chicago!"
Thanks for the time, Philip, and keep doing what you do.
What's next: More local scooter shops of Detroit