Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Hagar
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Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby Hagar » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:39 pm

G'day All, I've just acquired this vintage speedwell frame. As pictured, it's exactly how I received it. There are no other parts and the seat stays are missing.

As best as I can tell, from some fairly fruitless Googling, is that it's a Bennett Speedwell, Sydney made. I'm guessing the date to be 1930s or 1940s. It's a surprisingly light frame. The rear dropouts are a bit interesting. The only numbers are pictured.

I'm trying to decide what to do with it. I am quite enamoured with it, but I'm not prepared to throw a shedload of dollars after it to find all period correct components because so much is missing and it won't be original even after I finish. I do have a bunch of older components that I could fit it up with and turn it in to a rider. I have a set of seat stays from a later Speedwell that I could make fit, a set of vintage shape drop bars, an older decent cottered crank set with pedals and a nice Sturmey-Archer 3 speed setup. I'd lace that up to a set of older style alloy 27 inch rims.

If I fit the 3 speed rather than a coaster rear hub (that it may have had, judging by the small hanger on the chainstay), I'd have to sort out brakes. The rear would be easy, because it already as provision for callipers, but I'd need to drill the fork for the front callipers. Now I know that the moment I pick up the drill, I'm heading down a sacrilegious path. (and there's that little square thing on the rear-centre of the fork (last pic), which I'm yet to investigate)

All that, and I'm thinking maroon powdercoat (the rust on the top tube is as far as I'd allow surface rust to go and the lettering is effectively gone), with some hand detailing and decals.

Am I being silly and disrespectful? Is this frame something that deserves better, bearing in mind how much is missing?

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Torana68
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Re: Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby Torana68 » Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:49 pm

POWDER WHAT????? where is that cat o' nine tails ........ I do wonder, that frame WAS a complete bike not that long ago but someone has stripped and lost(???) all the other bits, if you track back an owner or two that may well still have the bits, :( :( :( :( , pass it on to a collector would be my suggestion, it has little to no value as is, maybe swap it for a complete frame.
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"It's only original once"

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drubie
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Re: Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby drubie » Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:36 pm

I think the basic philosophy should be "don't do anything that can't be undone" rather than do nothing. I'd put your later seat stays on it and get the rust under control. Put a back pedal brake setup on it and use it for path cruising or riding with your kids if you got them. I mean, why not? Not every speedwell was a racer, most were basic transport. Could be the coolest pub bike in your suburb.
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.

Johnj
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Re: Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby Johnj » Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:44 pm

My guess is that this frame dates from the early 1930s. The BSA-style snail-cam dropouts and nickel-plate fork-crown suggest a good quality bike. I posted a 1935 Speedwell price list here if you want more information. The frame you have posted is probably a bit earlier, so I don't quite know where it fits in the model lineup. The model name should be in the red and white shield below the Bennett and Wood decal on the seat-tube. I looked at the photo, but couldn't quite make it out.

I agree with Roger, powdercoating would be a bad idea. It's not like 1930s frames with any original paint are common.

If you're in Sydney I could swap you a complete 1950s Speedwell frame and sundry bits if you're interested. Repainted, so powdercoat would be appropriate. It would probably also be a bit safer going down a steep hill.

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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:22 pm

28" wheels with wider tyres may be more appropriate for this vintage.
Do the trade with John.

maccayak
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Re: Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby maccayak » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:06 am

I agree with drubie, but at the end of the day its your bike. I think they look great cleaned up with original patina. Maybe look at ways to preserve the patina. I have a frame in similar condition, (project for another day), I cleaned it and clear coated it. It came up really well and the clear brought out the colour. It reminds us of the history of these bike. Cheers.

Torana68
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Re: Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby Torana68 » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:39 am

.... and chase up missing parts, as I said this was a complete bike until recently
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"It's only original once"

feelthewheel
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Re: Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby feelthewheel » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:48 am

Powdercoat is the devil's work. Do not go to the dark side.

Hagar
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Re: Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby Hagar » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:10 am

Thanks for the replies guys. I won't go ahead with the build as I described. At this point it's probably best for me to pass it on to someone who has the time/ability to preserve what's left. Finding lost parts is probably not an option; it had passed through at least one set of hands in it's current state before it came to me.

It only owes me $30, and (I know that this isn't the right place for a "for sale" ad) I'd be ok to pass it on for that, with the seat stays. I note that Johnj seemed a bit interested, so I'll offer him first bite. I'm in Brisbane, so there'd be postage to consider too.

Johnj
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Re: Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby Johnj » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:20 pm

Only taken a couple of years, but I've had replacement stays made in the style of the originals. These were done by John Kitchen, from photos supplied by Roger. With the BSA style lugs and nickel fork crown and tips I suspect this might be an Imperial roadster, early-mid 1930s.

I might build it as a roadster, with coaster hub and upright bars. Another possibility is as a 1920s racer, with a Ducks plunger brake, or stirrup brake on the rear wheel.

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Derny Driver
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Re: Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby Derny Driver » Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:15 am

That looks great John

Hagar
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Re: Advice on a Vintage Speedwell (Pic Heavy!)

Postby Hagar » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:10 pm

Cool!!!

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