Higgins tank bike

Discussion in 'BIKE I.D. & VALUATION QUESTIONS' started by ParkRNDL, Feb 2, 2020.

  1. ParkRNDL

    ParkRNDL

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    My first ballooner, first tank bike (unless you count '60s Schwinn Slimlines :) ). Trying to find at least a year and maybe a model.
    20200202_135532.jpg 20200202_135005.jpg 20200202_135242.jpg 20200202_135131.jpg 20200202_135348.jpg

    The friend who sold it to me found this online:
    received_181999919869673.jpeg

    Sure looks like the same bike minus some (probably expensive) parts... :rofl:
     
  2. sandman

    sandman

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    Nice project . Late 40s Color flow . Three hole tank , non jeweled .
    The beehive springer fork and the bat wing lights will be the fun ones to find at a responsible price . Or just rat it out ?
     
  3. ParkRNDL

    ParkRNDL

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    Late 40s, huh? Thanks for the info! I was starting my image search with 1951 and not finding anything, but now that you said that, there are some model year 1950 model year Columbias and Columbia-built Higgins that have lots of the same design features.

    Yeah, not too worried about finding "correct" parts. Definitely leaning towards a mild rat build, using as much as possible of what's already there.
     
  4. sandman

    sandman

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    I think it's Murray built . It may even be a Elgin 4 star with a Higgins tank ?
     
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  5. RivNut

    RivNut

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    Looks like what is there is all original to the bike as originally built. Parts to put it back to original would probably cost more than it would be worth for resale, will be difficult to find. But the older JC Higgins balloon tire bikes are nice riders . Grease the bearings, put some good tires on it, and enjoy. Post a picture of the serial number for more info.
     
  6. ParkRNDL

    ParkRNDL

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    Serial # is up there in the first pic, a couple of sources have told me that makes it a 1951, though I can't find much to back that up. Yeah this is definitely going to be a rider. The wheels had lots of loose spokes and a couple of broken ones, so I put on a set from a Target Schwinn cruiser, and added fenders I had around that also happened to be gray. Definitely a nice rider; I have been looking for an old ballooner for a while and this fits the bill perfectly.
    20200208_175349.jpg
     
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  7. RivNut

    RivNut

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    Finding the correct fenders for this bike will be a challenge. Not so much the fenders, but the fender braces. I have a similarly dated JC Higgins. Take another look at the picture your friend found for you. Notice how the horizontal braces go outside the fender and line up with the stripe on the chain guard and how that color "flows" across the entire bike.

    My Higgins was built by Monark. Take a look at the serial number 9n it. 20190926_214815.jpg 20190926_214605.jpg
     
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  8. sandman

    sandman

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    Surprising the rain gutter fenders look really good on it . Another thing about the Higgins fender braces to look out for is the little tab that joins them to the axles are easily broken off .
     
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  9. kingfish254

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

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    Interesting. That frame and tank are definitely Columbia/Westfield built. Ocassionally they made bikes for Sears under the Higgins branding. I would date it early to mid 50s. It has the Color Flow type tank port holes, but that is a Westfield tank without a doubt. Cool score.
     
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  10. kingfish254

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

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    It was built in 1951 by Westfield (Columbia).
    1951 R200000 - R539588
     
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  11. ParkRNDL

    ParkRNDL

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    I have noticed those fender braces on pictures of other bikes online. LOVE the way the accent color stripe starts at the front of the guard and wraps all the way around the rear fender, and the front fender mimics the design. Definitely not holding my breath on finding a set of them, but I'd certainly grab them if I saw a set relatively cheap. I kinda like it the way this one is shaping up, though.

    thanks! I picked the bike up knowing I had those fenders in the basement and hoping they'd look ok. I didn't realize how much smaller they were than old school balloon-tire fenders till a friend pointed it out to me and I started looking at pictures to compare.

    Yeah, I love the frame design. Isn't the extended top tube to the looped seatstays also a Columbia thing?
     
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  12. kingfish254

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

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    Yes, that is another Columbia tell.

    Your frame is basically the same frame as the one I had for Firewing. You can see in this pic how fat the Columbia fenders are.

    BEFORE:
    [​IMG]


    You have a cool blank canvas. Have fun!!!!
    AFTER:
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Wildcat

    Wildcat

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    Nice looking rat! That sure looks like one I saw in another thread somewhere. It's probably not that common as I could only find one pic of that model on the internet.
     
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  14. ParkRNDL

    ParkRNDL

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    I read an interesting tidbit about that yesterday (but I know I'll never be able to find it again to back it up...)

    It's pretty common knowledge that bikes badged as J.C. Higgins could have been made by Murray, Columbia, Huffy, or any one of several manufacturers. What didn't occur to me is that the Sears catalog for any given year will show only bikes made by the primary supplier for that time. So if Murray was making most of Sears' bikes in 1951, then the catalog will show only a representative Murray model at each price point/feature level. Adds a whole bunch of guesswork/mystery to the process, and explains why the 1951 Sears catalog doesn't show this bike, though the serial number makes it a Columbia-built '51 model.
     
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  15. sandman

    sandman

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