Since it's a 55, I'd leave the dropouts as is and pick up a nice Sturmey Archer hub for it. An FC or FM model would be nice.
Littleton, CO 4" of new powder which will be gone by noon tomorrow.
> From: "peter naiman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Date: Sat, 05 Jan 2002 05:01:18
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [CR]originality vs rideability
> I recently purchased a 1955 Hetchins Magnum Opus Phase 2 from the UK, the
> bike is stunning with a very fine repaint and rechrome. The decals are not
> quite right as the seat tube decal is a 1952 Coronation. The jpgs sent to me
> were somewhat in detail, so I went ahead with the purchase. Upon receiving
> it, I noticed the the rear dropouts were not right. They are shortreach
> horizontal Campag from post 1975. Also, the derailleur tab had been cut of
> prior to rechroming. A proper derailleur hangar from the era cannot be
> fitted, as the dropout is to short. The seller has offered to either take
> the cycle back or make good financially on the repair cost. I've decided to
> give to Bike to Peter Mooney to have a tab brazed on and have the hangar
> painted to match the frame colour. The MO will be built with a mostly 1969
> Campag NR group, but with a very nice NOS highflange HI-E wheelset. Fully
> built as a "Custom Bike" this will be a real head turner. I wrote flash of
> the Hetchins Site and the following was his reply. I'd like other opinions
> as well.
> Alias Peter Naiman
> Boston, Mass
> Peter, The 'purist' old-timer autmobile scene probably thinks that the hot
> rod scene does horrible things to Model A Fords, but I've seen some stunning
> hot rods. Owning a vintage bicycle, Hetchins or otherwise, sooner or later
> raises the issue of originality vs rideability. To keep an old-timer in
> absolutely original condition is laudable and, for the sake of future
> generations, highly valuable as a piece of historical evidence. On the other
> hand, if you want to ride it, you have to admit that 1950s brakes just
> aren't safe on the road anymore. If someone ahead of you with dual pivots
> slams on his brakes, and you have spongy old Universals or Mafac Racers, you
> will likely ram into him and bung up both bikes. I understand and appreciate
> both points of view. As a dedicated fence-sitter myself, I have both
> variations in my Hetcins stable. I have 3 in as original a condition as
> possible (modern 27" rims, couldn't find any old Fiamme Red Labels in decent
> condition), and two in slightly modernized condition (indexed gears, dual
> pivot brakes) for riding and showing off and turning heads and so on.
> Now, getting back to your bike, I find it curious that the previous
>> owner had the derailleur tab filed off. Did he run a fixed gear on it?
>> Fixed-gear people are a breed apart (Andrew Moore, Sheldon Brown, et al).
>> Have you considered keeping the bike in fixed-gear trim? It's not as though
>> you don't have enuf other bikes to hang NOS Campy stuff on, right?
>> Re-brazing a filed-off tab onto the dropout may bugger the chrome on the
>> chainstay, due to the re-heating. Do you want to risk that?
> As a 'hot rod' show bike, I'd say anything is permitted. Since the
> triangle has been altered anyway, it will never be an original condition
> bike, so go for it, I say! Make it the best damned head turner at the show.
> But document everything you do to it, otherwise some future curator of the
> Historic Hetchins web site is going to have nightmares trying to figure out
> what it is.