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Mar 25, 2011
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I picked up this Schwinn yesterday:


I'm trying to pin down the year. The serial number is H29488, located on the bottom bracket shell. So, I know it's no later than '52. However, I can't find a serial number sequence in the online databases that it fits into. 1951 had numbers that started with "H", but they all appear to be followed by 6 numbers, where my serial has only 5. It isn't old enough to have a skip-tooth drivetrain, so that ought to bookend it on the other end. Any thoughts?
 
Mar 25, 2011
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Some additional details that might help -

Serial number:


Seat post clamp bolt has a D-shaped, "AS"-script head:


Bendix coaster brake (Bendix script is barely visable through the layer of paint), although the rims don't appear original, so it may not mean much:




Notches in the front fender and stem bracket indicate it had truss rods once:




The grips were a translucent red before being sprayed black:


Feather chain guard & big Phantom-style sprocket (clearly not skip-tooth):


And a better shot of the frame overall:
 

NLCTVWguy

Rollin' on 20's
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Jul 22, 2007
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OK here's what I'm going to go with, because the bike as it is doesn't make sense.

I'm going to make an assumption that under all that paint and crud, perhaps a repair or crusty chunk of bondo or paint has obscured a final digit in the serial. Doesn't look like it but it also doesn't look conclusive.

I'm going to go with H29488X (maybe a lightly stamped 1 hiding in there?) which gives August 8, 1951.

For the model of bike, I'm going with an "Equipped Standard", model D-13.

http://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1951_1960/1952_04.html

Here's what I think happened. The skiptooth chain got rusty or broken and they couldn't find a replacement. But someone had a 1960's Huffy wheel hanging around with the Bendix standard hub in it. So the wheel gets replaced. Now the 1/2" pitch chain isn't all that happy on the front sprocket. So they grabbed a gear (more likely, the entire crank set) from a junked Phantom or Panther....

The "feather" guard only goes on the straight-bar bikes (and their matching female models, like my wife's '47). The Phantom/Panther big sprocket only goes on deluxe bikes with the big chainguard. But anything can happen in the junkyard...

Too bad about the truss rods being missing. Fabricate a pair or keep your eyes open on here. That is in fact what those front fender dents are for. They're a bit different from the indents for a springer fork- those have 4 dents of roughly equal size. You have 2 wide and 2 smaller indents.

I would sandblast this thing, repaint it how you like it, and just ride and enjoy it. Keep your eyes open for a Schwinn S-2 rear rim, or maybe a pair of nice painted ones. Front looks original under all that black paint.

EDIT: Almost forgot: Remove the front tire. Inside one of the fork legs, near the bottom, you might find a tiny number stamp, something like 08+1, which would date the fork to Aug, 1951. (Or '61, you really couldn't be 100% sure.) But it's another source of date codes for this bike.
Have fun!

--Rob
 
Jan 21, 2009
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If the repaint(s) are cheap, and they didn't sand it down, then some clues will show. There may be a name visible on the chain guard, and the decals may still be on the seat tube, also the scrolls on the front of the frame, if it had them originally. The chain ring may be the original, my 53 Schwinn came with that same chain guard and phantom style sprocket, even though it was a basic bike, probably a Meteor. You can check the cranks for a 2 digit date also, on the inside center portion.

The serial numbers on the chart are funny. On the day where your number would fall Aug 08, 1951, they would have made over 12,000 bikes in one day if they kept in sequence, so I think yours is from an earlier date, and they skipped some numbers because they knew they were already used. The other days they only made 2000 or 3000 bikes on average. From Findley's pages, yours may be the unequipped D12, with truss rods and torpedo light. Holes in front fender?

http://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1951 ... mdls1.html
 
Mar 25, 2011
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Thanks for the input guys. So, this is what would be considered a "DX" model, right? I've not worked on anything prior to a cantilever frame Schwinn, so I'm not familar with them.

I had thought that maybe there was another character in the serial that was obsured, but I didn't see evidence of it. I'll try to sand some more paint off it tomorrow to be sure. There are no holes in the front fender to indicate a head light was there, but there are two depression in about the right place. Could be someone did a poor job of trying to fill them before painting.

It could be some early rat rodder mixed and matched parts before painting everything flat black - it does seem like that was the astetic they were going for. But I'm going to reserve judgement until I've had a chance to dig deeper into it. I've got two or three other bike projects on my plate now...

By the way Rob, if you'll be in Albany, well, I'm a 4-hour side trip away. Not that close...
 
Sep 29, 2008
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Rear fender has been replaced. Is the kickstand tapered? If so, it's a '46. Grips should be chubby Schwinn script grips. It's basically a parts bike now. You should feel no guilt stripping it and redoing it the way you want. Gary
 
Mar 25, 2011
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No, the kickstand looks to be a constant diameter. The grips look to be from a Western Flyer (see the "WF" logo on them - upper right). Both bikes I bought from the same guy had Western Flyer parts on them.


The front hub appears to have a Schwinn script on it, but its hard to pick out entirely. I tried to get picture of it, but couldn't get the camera to focus on the lettering. I agree that the rear fender doesn't match, it doesn't wrap around the sidewalls as far as the front (or extra Schwinn rear balloon fender I have). The front fender is pretty mangled, so I'm not sure if its worth an attempt at repairing.


Getting back to the serial number, I'm pretty convinced at this point that there is no 6th digit. If there was, it would have to be so light as to not have touched the shell. See:


One more shot of the bike overall, but from the left side, so as to better see the frame:
 
Jan 21, 2009
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That's a great bike to start out with. You don't worry about keeping it original, so any change you make is fair game. A straight bar frame like that works great for just about whatever you want to do. You can see the original red color of the bike on the fork tube, the part hidden by the frame. Usually it wasn't sanded down to repaint and hasn't been exposed to the elements, so the color will look like new. It's possible all that black paint will come off with oven cleaner and the original paint may be usable, or give a clue to the model. I think the year will only be found on the cranks, 2 digits for the year. I noticed your forks have a slight rearward bend, no problem though, those blade forks are heavy and can be bent back. I did that to a fork from a starlet, they take some work to bend them. However, if you're ratting this out, a springer may be the way to go. Anyway, it's full of possibilities. You should start a thread on the build.
 
Mar 25, 2011
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Oh, I have no worries or guilt about originality. Some former owner already botched that, so that door's wide open now. As far as what I'll do with it, well, that's unknown at the moment. I've got a number of other projects already, so I'll see where I decide to put priority. Maybe I'll save it for next May...

I'm not sure if the fork is bent or if the angle of the photo makes it look so. You're probably right though. I don't know about replacing it with a springer fork, though. That's so over played IMHO, as are a lot of the popular design elements in rat rodding... I dunno, we'll see.