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I found this bike at the Spring Carlisle yesterday.
I don't know what it is, but a skiptooth balloon tire bike with a straight downtube ought to be interested either way, right?
The seller (who also didn't know what it was, but was sure it was prewar) wanted $75, I offered $50, we agreed to $65. It seemed interesting at first, but I quickly found it wouldn't roll due the deformed tires hitting the fork. When we got back to the car, I couldn't really break it down readily, since a lot of the hardware was rusted. So, I was beginning to think buying it was a mistake.
But, we made it fit (good thing for station wagons). Anyway, I got it home and started looking it over today. Here's what it looked like:
Interesting sargent stripes on the fenders:
Clearly, from the fender holes and dropout shape, it had a drop stand once. Too bad someone replaced it with a new-fangled kickstand...
The bike has a New Departure Model D hub:
And it had this headbadge taped to it:
However, the impression on the head tube from the original badge is rectangular, not round. Plus, someone engrave "large tricycle" on the back of the Colson badge, so I'm sure that it's unrelated to the bike.
Last edited by expjawa on Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
So, I put it on the stand and started dousing it liberally with PB blaster. To my surprise, most all of the hardware came free. Also surprising, underneath the oxidization and rust staining, a lot of the original paint was still there. I spent a few hours with steelwool, WD40 and even polishing compound and came up with this:
The only decaling on the bike is this on the seat tube:
There are numbers stamped on the BB shell, but not much:
It reads "735 FS" and below that, what appears to be "D8". The last part isn't fully stamped, but it doesn't look like there are any other characters stamped anywhere.
Head tube up close:
There's enough of a difference in paint fade to make out the shape of the original badge. It was rectangular, and it had scalloped out corners.
The fenders had a white stripe along the length of the peak that terminated just before the stripes.
Much of that is faded and gone now.
And, where the chrome survived on the handle bars (from under the grips), there's a Torrington script still visible:
I was able to remove the seat post, take the seat mount apart, and turn it around so that it was offset rearward instead of forward. It looks like someone had the forsight to grease the seat post, thankfully. I was also able to get the chain to loosen up and (grudgingly) crank around several times. I expect that with some work, it might actually be serviceable. The only thing that's still a sticking point is the stem; I'm able to loosen the quill and I can turn it back and forth slightly inside the steer tube. But that's it so far, I can't yet get it to move much or slide out. But since it at least moves some, I have hope that PB Blaster and effort will solve the issue. The stem is bent to one side, so the bars don't sit level. But that appears to be the only real damaged or problematic component on the whole thing...
A little more clean up over the weekend.
I swapped out the bars, grips & stem for ones I had that were somewhat similar. The original stem is bent, so I'll have to try to straighten it. However, for the moment, I didn't want to remove the grips so I could take the bars out. I also mounted new tires. The original ones (were Firestones) had to be cut off. The previous tubes and rim liner strips were a pinkish rubber, so they might even be original. It appears that the rims were originally also painted red. Both wheels ran fairly true, and all the spokes had reasonable tension on them. They are small diameter spokes and rusty, I might want to respoke the wheels at some point.
I've had almost everything apart at this point, and all the hardware has come loose (a bit lucky there, I think), even the axle adjustment screws. I've cleaned and regreased the bearings, save for the head bearings, as I haven't gotten into there yet. There were no markings on the crank; I don't know if that's normal for a Colson. Also, when I had the crank out, I expected to find dirt, dried old grease, etc. I did not expect to find saw dust. The source of it is a dowel inside the down tube, with is dry rotting. The only way that could be in there is if it was done during manufacturing. But I can't think of a reason why...
One more thing that might be a clue: as I've said above, the badge shape impression in the paint does not match the Colson badge that came with it. It also does not match any of the Colson badges I've found googling it. It does match, however, Firestone badges of the era. There are several on eBay right now, such as:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Firestone-Arche ... 19d03bad98
I've found no other brand badges that matched the shape. Also, that could tie into the serial number markings, with ended in the letters "FS". Maybe that designated a Firestone bike? The bike also wore Firestone tires. So in the end, maybe I'm looking for info on a Firestone Sentinel and not a Colson Sentinel...
Colson made bikes for Good Year around that time, I don't think I've heard of Firestones by them, but anything's possible! -Adam
Dragging home rusty old bikes since 1980!
8 posts • Page 1 of 1
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