GTR GRABBER

Discussion in 'BUILD OFF 12 BUILD JOURNALS' started by JNOACK, May 13, 2017.

  1. JNOACK

    JNOACK

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    I was hoping to save this build for the MBBO in september, but I seem to have a back log of musclebikes that need to be restored, so I'm sure I'll have a cool bike for then too. This build will simply be a restoration, which is kind of out of character for me. I like to add custom touches, but there's something about this bike that makes me want to make it close to what it would have been. And, because I'm not building anything new, I'll do my best to entertain you with the story and some history.

    Here we go.

    Chapter 1 - The Decal

    I never intended to own this bike. It happened by accident. I saw it pop up on Facebook. Someone was showing their recent score. A strange and rare bike called the GTR Grabber that was the ice breaker bike in a deal for Schwinn. A friend of mind asked the guy who posted pics, if he could get a better pic of the chain guard so that he could reproduce the decal for his Grabber. I had offered my decal reproducing services, but just needed to get a picture of the bike straight on. No such luck. The guy had already put the bike in storage. I inquired again and as bike collectors often do, I asked if it was for sale. Now I was going to be able to get a really good look at that decal for reproduction purposes.

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    Chapter 2 - The Deal

    I managed to agree on a price with the seller and had the bike shipped to the border. I'm in Canada and shipping a bike from the US to Canada is never a cheap option. So, I order a whack of stuff and drive an hour and a half to pick it up and make it worth the trip. I've only had to pay tax once so far, and even with my time and gas money, I come out way better than I would if I had to pay shipping and brokerage. Anyway, I use a service called Kinek which accepts parcels at a Hardware store just across the border. When I got there, I got all my packages and was sent out to a barn to find the last one, the bike. It wasn't jumping out at me. I was looking for a bike box, in a stall labeled "N" where a box with Noack written on it should be. Where is my bike? I was a little worried, but then I found the box, and I was a lot worried. At the back of the pile of boxes in the "N" stall was the worst packed bike I have ever seen. I've only ever had two bikes shipped to me, but I imagine this one would rank up there with the worst of many of the ones you have seen too. I started regretting the emails to the seller asking about when he was going ship. He had mentioned that he was having difficulty locating a bike box. I should have been more patient.

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    Chapter 3 - The Damage

    When you see a picture of a bike online it always looks way better than it is. This bike is a perfect example of this fact. The fun of opening the box and revealing the treasure inside was ruined because most of the bike was already poking outside the box. The plastic knob on the classic 5 speed stick shift had found its way through the flimsy cardboard and scraped its way all the way from Indiana. I got all the bits out of the box quite easily and put the carcass on the stand to assessed the damage. When I stepped back and looked at the bike, I was immediately less concerned about the poor packing job, because the bike was really rough to begin with. It was worse than I thought, even though I originally thought it was okay in the pics. Lots of rust, the kind you can't recover from. The forks were bent in several directions. Pitted, brake rubbed rims. Corroded dented fenders. I felt like I had just purchased an expensive frame. Sigh....

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    Chapter 4 - The Don

    I'm pretty hard to rattle. I slept on it for one night, but then I broke and wrote a somewhat harsh message to the seller named Don. I rightfully complained about the poor packing job, and questioned his description of 'good' chrome. I suggested he step up his game for future buyers. No response. I messaged back a day later and apologized for my rant. You take a chance when you buy a bike online. Some sellers won't even bother to give you a chance to be the buyer, and this guy took the time to send a bicycle my way. Initially I was a little hot, but I was still glad that I acquired a pretty rare bike, which is what I'm into. Anyway, after the apology, I did get a response. Don offered to send me the brochure that he received with the bike which highlights some interesting history. I wouldn't have this information if I hadn't cooled down and reflected. Thanks Don! You can't search google and find this stuff out. Heck, you can't even search google and find a picture of this bike....yet.

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    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
  2. Chad T

    Chad T

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    Cool bike! Never seen one. Look forward to watching the resto.
     
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  3. Scribble

    Scribble

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    Awesome story and really cool bike. It always amazes me that theres still bikes I have not even see before.
     
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  4. kirkpatrick

    kirkpatrick

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    Pretty pitiful packing job. Surprised nothing was twisted or broken. Good luck with the project.
     
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  5. Funkme

    Funkme

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    I guess some people just don't know how to unbolt pedals or even know what a tool is.Lucky it survived it's travel ordeal.(was it united?):rofl:
    I had a guy ship a whole electra jeremy and a schwinn cruiser frame to me from UK in the same box. The box was just a normal bike box half the size of the one above.Both bikes arrived in perfect condition.

    Will be watching this restoration,nice to see a keeper stay a keeper.
     
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  6. JNOACK

    JNOACK

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    Chapter 5 - The Pamphlet

    The thing I love about muscle bikes is the fact that there are so many makes and models, particularly in the US. I still stumble upon rare and unique models that I didn't even know existed. In Canada, our main collectible brand is CCM (canada cycle and motor). The interested thing that I learned about the GTR bikes is that they are basically Canadian made CCM bikes re-branded and sold in the States through General Tire out of Ohio. My first GTR is a Sidewinder that I restored. The equivalent model in Canada is called a CCM Charger which came in many different models such a 3 speed, a 2 speed Duomatic, and a Coaster. The equivalent bike to the Grabber is the CCM Firebird which can often be seen with a red checkerboard seat. Ironically, I'm Canadian and have yet to acquire the Canadian versions of the bike. (lots of competing buyers up here)

    My Grabber vs. A Firebird

    15219376_1244419605593798_4961303350336262025_n.jpg firebird.jpg

    My Sidewinder vs A Charger

    GTR_1.jpg charger.jpg


    The pamphlet I received from Don has some really cool information in it. Firstly, it highlights the original meeting that took place between General Tire and CCM executives in Toronto. Although there is no year provided in this document, I'm guessing it would have been some time between 1968-1970. The literature also identifies many other GTR models that I have never seen or heard of, including the Spoiler and the Hugger. My favourite part about the booklet is the limited time promotional offering of the Westinghouse Headlight Transistor Radio, a $12.95 value. I've since been able to acquire two of these NOS radios on eBay and luckily I got them for around $50US each. A bargain in my opinion.

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  7. LukeTheJoker

    LukeTheJoker Moderator

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    Cool find, good storytelling and great rare bike, looking forward to the build!
     
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  8. sdframe

    sdframe

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    The important thing is that now the bike is in the hands of a real bike guy.
     
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  9. late for dinner

    late for dinner

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    Cool whip, back story and bike history.
    I hadn't seen that chain ring on a CCM before getting one on a camel back CCM frame I was given. Now I know a little more.
    Nice save on a rare ride.
     
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  10. JNOACK

    JNOACK

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    Chapter 6 - Paint

    This is only my third Rat Rod Build Off Rodeo. My first first kick at the can was the MBBO#5. Unfortunately I didn't get to the finish line because of paint. In the interest of time and quality, I get all my frames powder coated. It makes total sense. I found a guy who does a great job for a great price. He blasts, paints, and clears, and I don't have to do any of it. All for $100-120 CAD. We're talking around $75-85 of those US dollars. I know right?? The only catch? I have to be patient. When you get a great guy, that does a great job, don't irritate him with deadlines. Let him do the job at his own pace. So I wait patiently for a call or text that tells me my frames are done. This time I took out my frame at the beginning of the build off so that it doesn't take me two build-offs to complete one bike the way this one did:

    http://www.ratrodbikes.com/forum/in...ons-fastback-100-3-speed.102656/#post-1038514

    So here's the finished frame and fork in Candy Red. Ooooooh Candy!!! I ended up using a fork from a CCM Cheetah girls frame since the one that came on the grabber was bent and rusted pretty badly. IMG_7878.JPG IMG_7881.JPG

    Chapter 7 - Shifting Gears

    I knew I needed to replace the shifter and luckily I was able to find one NOS on eBay that included the overload tube. Wasn't cheap, but it's oh so nice.

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    I also acquired some identical NOS rims from Backpeddling Bike shop here. They were delivered to me at our winter bike show in February. This bike has been coming together for several months using several different methods of acquisition. Beg, borrow and steal, but mostly just pay, pack and ship. I measured and ordered spokes for the front and back wheels which I finally got around to building a few days ago. If my memory serves me correctly 203mm on the front and 208mm on the back. Just have to tension and true the wheels and add the axles. The tires are NOS General Brigadier 20 x 1-3/8" white walls which I was flabbergasted to find online for $13 US each with a limited time free shipping option. I'd buy more now but the regular shipping is $28. I should have bought a few sets. Who knew Coker Tire had a stock pile of bicycle tires for sale on their website. There, I've told enough people now, that the stock should be running low. But, how many people are lacing up 20 x 1-3/8 rims for an old Grabber of Firebird? If you ever see a 24 x 1-3/8 version of the same tire, I'd love to put one on my GTR Sidewinder.

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  11. Scribble

    Scribble

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    Candy !!! Looks awesome.
     
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  12. JNOACK

    JNOACK

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    Chapter 7 - The Other Decals

    So, if you've been reading along, you know that this whole project started because of the chain guard decal. I simply wanted a picture of the chain guard to help reproduce a decal for a friends bike. I ended up just buying the bike. I'll talk about the original decal a little later. In the meantime, I took some time to re-draw the head badge decal and the seat tube decal. This didn't take me too long because I already had the base of the design from my Sidewinder build. I sent the files off to be printed the other day and will probably get them in a week or so. They get printed on a foil mylar, so everything that is grey in the picture will be foil. I ordered a couple extra head badges for my friend Patrick who I also made chain guard decals for. If anyone needs reproductions made, I'm pretty good at Adobe Illustrator. All I need is a decent photo to reference and I can re-draw any decal.

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  13. JNOACK

    JNOACK

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    Chapter 8 - Shakin' off the Rust

    We've all read our share of rust removal techniques and tips. Some of us have even tried them all. Your kit might include some sort of steel or brass wool, tin foil and some coca-cola. I've always been a fine steel wool kinda guy with a little bit of lubricant. I've never had problems with scratching which some people have suggested is a good reason to avoid steel wool. The only thing that I hate is trying to get the rust out of the hard to get areas. I've read about Evaporust, but it isn't available in my area. Recently a buddy suggested a similar product called Metal Rescue which is sold here in Canada at Canadian tire. It's endorsed by Frank from American pickers. I bought a jug, and needless to say it worked far better than I anticipated it would. Check my pictures below for the evidence. The caked on rust that took over the seat pan of this bike looked like a tall order for the Metal Rescue, but after a couple hours, some serious removal had taken place!! The nice thing about this stuff too is that it's non toxic and it can be re-used. I found myself running around the shop trying to find things to de-rust. I'm also retrospectively kicking myself for all the rusted bicycle parts that I ever threw away. It's not cheap at $34.99 CAD, but I'd like to get a couple more jugs and fill a larger container so that I can do fenders and larger parts in one dip. I also bought some WD40 degreaser in a big jug that works great for bearings and cups. Some of the tedious jobs of bike restoration just got a little easier.

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  14. kingfish254

    kingfish254 CHECK OUT MY SALE THREAD FOR COOL STUFF! Pro Member

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    Great to see you bringing this back to life!
     
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  15. OddJob

    OddJob

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    JN, I love your detailed step by step, or rather, chapter by chapter. Really helps us feel like we are there alongside you on this build.
    The candy red is perfect, so cool to have that pamphlet with the historical info, and anybody that uses products endorsed by the American Pickers is alright by me! :bigsmile:
     
  16. Indyjps

    Indyjps

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    This is a great build, very yniqur bike. Love the details.
     
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  17. JNOACK

    JNOACK

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    I'm glad to have people like you following along. It makes it worth telling the story. Stay tuned...
     
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  18. JNOACK

    JNOACK

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    Chapter 9 - Renovatin' and Restoratin'

    For those of you that don't know me personally, I've been on parental leave since September after the birth of our first daughter. When I show up at the school where I teach wood shop, everyone asks me how my holiday is going? Um.... holiday?? I've dragged enough sacs full of poop to the curb in the last year to officially un-declare my leave as a holiday. I'm not complaining though. Watching my little girl grow up this first year has been a luxury that I wouldn't trade for all the NOS bikes in the world. I must admit that I naively thought I would have more time to get things done, but babies keep you very busy and large chunks of time are few and far between. I've had to really adapt the way I work on projects. I'm used to spending hours focused on projects. I even neglect eating because it takes too much time. Days can literally vanish into thin air. Now, I'm finding I have to get things done in half-hour, and hour increments, or for a few hours when my wife and daughter have gone to bed.

    Luckily I have had more time for bikes though, since I haven't had to worry about the planning that's involved in being a wood shop teacher. For this build off, I've been juggling many different projects. My en-suite bathroom has demanded most of my time and I have still managed to squeak in some bike stuff here and there.

    I am happy to announce that the bathroom I ripped apart two months ago is complete!!! My wife and daughter are champs!! My wife, for putting up with the mess and clutter, and my daughter for being able to sleep through the construction noise. She gets that from me, since I grew up in a house with a basement shop. There were always saws running. Typically it's before and after pics of bikes on this site, but let me change it up with the bathroom.

    Before:
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    After:
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    So after I took this last pic, I cleared all of my tools out of the bedroom, cleaned up the shop a little and put the grabber frame on the stand, so that I can hopefully start assembly this week.

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    I do have one other restoration on the go which had to come off the stand while it waits for a new seat that I have to sew. Pretty cool little scooter that I couldn't find much info on at all. Please message me if you know some history. It had an "MW" head tube decal on it. I've seen a few similar ones online, but there's not much to be said about them. I have two of them that I bought on Kijiji for $40. Kijiji is like craigslist here in Canada. It's owned by eBay, and I'm not sure why it doesn't exist in the US. Anyway....

    Bathroom, done. Scooter, almost done, Grabber, well on its way!

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  19. OddJob

    OddJob

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    Bathroom looks great! That scooter is really cool. I don't think I have seen one of those before. My first thought on the MW was Montgomery Ward, although I don't think they ever used their initials in that way.

    Bring on the Grabber!
     
  20. sdframe

    sdframe

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    I keep scrolling back to the candy red pics. Stunning! When our third child was born (a little girl) my wife had complications and I had to take care of the baby for the first month. Best month of my life.
     
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