ELGIN Decoluxe

The Renaissance Man

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Pro Member
Nov 24, 2012
8,009
18,971
The Tropics of Alabama

With the 1939 New York World's fair in full swing, and with all of the attention on futuristic styling,
Fair1.jpg

the designers at Murray Ohio Manufacturing Company set out to produce an all new Art Deco inspired deluxe bicycle like no other.
The project dubbed 'DECOLUXE' was very secretive although rumors of the new design began swirling around the industry in late 1940.
The first prototype was built in the summer of 1941 and was shown to the executives of the Sears and Roebuck Co. who quickly jumped at the chance to be the sole retailers for this new and innovative two wheeled stunner! After two years of planning and delays, the new 'Elgin' branded offering was set to begin production sometime in the first quarter of 1942. However, before tooling at the Ohio plant for the new bicycle could be completed, the Japanese launched an attack on Pearl Harbor thrusting the United States into World War II.
arizona_pearlharbor.jpg


With the country focused on the war effort, the 'Deocoluxe' project was shelved and was eventually scrapped. The one prototype stayed at the Murray facility and reportedly was even used by couriers to move about the plant when needed.

Years later these rare never before seen photographs surfaced and are the only known photos of the original bike.

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The Renaissance Man

__CERTIFIED DIVER__ (Open Water & Open Dumpster)
Pro Member
Nov 24, 2012
8,009
18,971
The Tropics of Alabama
After tireless research and an extensive search for the whereabouts of the lone Decoluxe, bicycle builder Jim Henderson (aka The Renaissance Man) found the bike at an undisclosed location in a store room of a warehouse building. Remarkably the original paint and chrome was brought back to life with some polishing and good old fashioned elbow grease and this is how the bike looks today!
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The Renaissance Man

__CERTIFIED DIVER__ (Open Water & Open Dumpster)
Pro Member
Nov 24, 2012
8,009
18,971
The Tropics of Alabama
OK, so here's what really happened.:happy:

I picked up this '41 Elgin frame last winter from forum member Pookie42. I'm constantly looking for old girls frames to try my convertible tanks on and this one looked very promising!
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Not long after I got the frame, I bought a '57 Schwinn Wasp and turned my attention to it instead of the Elgin because it was a complete bike. As the build off began to appear on the horizon I decided that I'd build the Elgin.

After researching all types of art deco references, I knew what I wanted and began gathering parts and making plans. I've had the Higgins skirt guards in my stash for years and never found a good fit for them. It didn't take more than holding one up to the frame to decide that this was it!

My plan from the beginning was to build a bike that could have been but never was. To achieve this I tried to make the parts naturally flow with each other and finished with paint that hopefully looks like old dull paint that has been compounded and waxed to look shiny again.

Like many other bikes here on RatRodBikes, there are parts from many different manufacturers and vintages and styles.

Many of the parts came from forum members including @Pookie42, @American Vintage Bicycle Supply, @The_Black_Monark, @Road Master, @Jarod24 and @KEMPRACING. Thank you!

________________________________

The build thread is HERE for anyone who's interested.

The Cliff Notes are as follows:
1941 Elgin girls frame
TRM Convertible Tank
CWC Shockmaster fork
Prewar Elgin triple step wheels
Schwalbe Fat Frank 26x2.35 tires
1930s/40s era Torrington art deco handlebar stem
Huffy middle weight handlebar
Foxgrips reproduction Airflo grips
prewar Diamond skip tooth chain
prewar Lazy Heart chain ring
Persons majestic tear drop pedals
Monark deep fenders
Huffy fenderettes
J.C. Higgins Colorflow skirt guards
CWC Western Flyer/Hiawatha chain guard
Prewar long spring saddle (customized)
lucky seven seat post
Colorflow fender brace/custom drop stand
custom deco fender braces
LED headlights and tail lights



Detail Photos:

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Aug 25, 2012
2,714
4,073
Montréal Canada (Québec)
i predict people getting fooled in the future thinking this story is true , oh wait, i just ruined the prank :doh:;)

It actually look like its a never before seen old special edition bike , Amazing work though the whole build ! can't wait to see some more angles of this beauty in colored pics:41::praise:
 
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Jul 21, 2014
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With the 1939 New York World's fair in full swing, and with all of the attention on futuristic styling,
View attachment 30563
the designers at Murray Ohio Manufacturing Company set out to produce an all new Art Deco inspired deluxe bicycle like no other.
The project dubbed 'DECOLUXE' was very secretive although rumors of the new design began swirling around the industry in late 1940.
The first prototype was built in the summer of 1941 and was shown to the executives of the Sears and Roebuck Co. who quickly jumped at the chance to be the sole retailers for this new and innovative two wheeled stunner! After two years of planning and delays, the new 'Elgin' branded offering was set to begin production sometime in the first quarter of 1942. However, before tooling at the Ohio plant for the new bicycle could be completed, the Japanese launched an attack on Pearl Harbor thrusting the United States into World War II.
View attachment 30562

With the country focused on the war effort, the 'Deocoluxe' project was shelved and was eventually scrapped. The one prototype stayed at the Murray facility and reportedly was even used by couriers to move about the plant when needed.

Years later these rare never before seen photographs surfaced and are the only known photos of the original bike.

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View attachment 30590
View attachment 30574 View attachment 30575




The B&W photos look good! The warehouse was good choice.
 
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