[CR]1930's - 40's mystery bike...lugless Claud Butler?


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Date: Wed, 13 Oct 2004 09:05:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: Michael Davies <msdavi59@yahoo.com>
To: Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]1930's - 40's mystery bike...lugless Claud Butler?

I have several 'mystery bikes' I'm dying to identify...I was going to wait until I had some photos but am still working on borrowing a digital camera..perhaps later this week I'll be able to post some photos...in the meantime curiosity has got the better of me....here's number 1.

Today's bike is, to the best of my knowledge, a Claud Butler. However, enquiries to Cliff Scheiner leave me with the impression that he doubts the serial number (# 27951) fits that marque, so I'm open to suggestions. I was given this bike in the mid 1960's by it's original owner, who I was led to believe had purchased it new around WW2. It looked fairly ancient when I recieved it, was painted in a faded salmon color, and had, to the best of my recollection, Claud Butler decals, including a CB transfer where the headbadge belongs. The bike was extremely lightweight and the frame (19") was completely lugless. In the early 1970's I outgrew this bike and handed it off to my younger brothers to ride. Fast forward 30-some years, and I have retrieved the bike from my parents basement. It's in hideous shape, all that remains in the frame, fork and seatpost. I'd like to restore it as I has tremendous sentimental value to me......the man who gave it to me meant a lot to me and I'm sure he'd be turning in his grave to think the bike might be on the road again. Here's what I've learned of the bike since I've had the frame these past few months. It is extremely lightweight, very thin tubing (1.125" diameter all three main tubes) and entirely lugless. The serial number 27951 appears on both the lower bottom bracket and the rear of the steering tube. The front drop-out spacing is 90mm, while the rear is 115mm. It has Chater Lea rear dropouts. The bottom bracket is an odd size (63.5mm width shell, with standard English thread) so I don't have a BB spindle to fit...all mine are 68mm or larger...can anyone help me here?. The seat tube takes a 27.2mm seat post..does this, coupled with the OD of the tubing, help identify whether it is Reynolds tubing, or something else. The frame has no braze-ons apart from lamp bracket on right front fork, mudguard attachment points on the dropouts, luggage rack mounting points on the seatstays, and lamp mount on the right seatstay. Prior to talking to Cliff, I had convinced myself this was a late 1930's CB "Mass Start" model, as that was the only CB I could find that was lugless. Incidentally, the CB catalogs describe that model as 'welded', whereas my frame is clearly brazed. Were there any other British makers who made a brazed, lugless model in the 1930 / 1940's that sounds consistent with what I have here (I'd be very surprised if the bike was more recent than that)? Oh..one more mystery..I was hoping to be able to find the headbadge transfer under all the paint (I'm almost certain it had a transfer there). What I found instead were two holes, very neatly soldered closed, where the headbadge would have gone. Given the lack of care the bike has received since I last saw it, I find it difficult to believe one of my younger siblings could have done this (I asked and they say no, anyway, plus it's done well), and wonder whether it could have come from the factory this way? Is this consistent with WW2 rationing...hard to believe they rationed headbadges, but perhaps the raw materials to make them? Thanks for any help you can offer

Michael Davies
St Louis