So let me tell you how I became a believer. A disciple of the church of Ignaz Schwinn and Al Fritz. A dozen or so years ago, when I first started putzing around with old bikes again as an adult, the hype surrounding Sting Rays all but put me off. I mean, they're all just kids' bikes, right? Why should some of these things fetch hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, when I can pick up a similar Ross or Murray for the cost of an oil change? And who wants the bike they built to be picked apart by "serious hobbyists" for having the wrong year sissy bar, or the wrong style pedals, or modern, affordable tires instead of rare and pricey 40-year-old rubber that's been meticulously preserved in a moisture-controlled basement? But I digress. Though the high-end Sting Ray scene is still a little incomprehensible to me, some things do change. Now, minty Ross and Murray (and other) muscle bikes can go for big money too, depending on model. And on the flip side, patina is in, so it's okay to collect vintage stuff that's NOT minty and therefore more affordable to acquire and more practical to take out and enjoy. But most significantly, my outlook on the hobby has changed. In the last few years, I've played with enough old bicycles to have learned that Schwinns have a certain feel to them that you don't usually find in the other brands, and I'm not as averse to dropping a Benjamin or two on some decent bones to start a project. I've also been riding with a group that has a lot of Stingrays and Krates and Fastbacks, and man, have I been jonesing for a Fastback of my own. Which brings me to the Trexlertown swap meet last September, where a friend who also happens to be an expert on Schwinns convinced me that I'd be an idiot not to bring home the pile of Coppertone Fastback bits that someone was willing to let go for $125. And so I bought my own little piece of the Sting Ray mystique, and began to resurrect (but not restore) a kid's toy that's two years older than me. Some of the parts are "wrong," but overall it looks pretty right to me. Click here for the build thread.