I first became enamored with Witcombs at the Bicycle Place in Silver Spring when I was working in College Park, MD in 1976. I switched jobs, got a bit more disposable income and decided it was time to buy my dream bike, but by then, july of 1978, The Bicycle Place told me Witcomb of America had gone out of business. But would I like to get one from a guy who worked there that they thought was one of Witcomb's best frame builders. They showed me a frame they'd purchased from the New York bike show that year, a Richard Sachs. It looked great, so I ordered my tourer through them. With all the braze ons I wanted and the various paint panels, it came to the whopping price of $438.
I eventually got a used witcomb, small 'w' because it turned out to be one of the clunkers discussed earlier. It was a crit frame that just didn't handle that well. It had a heart shaped BB cutout that was huge. It seemed like the builder kept cutting away more and more metal until he got the heart right and never did get it right, not like those fabulous Weigle hearts. I eventually sold the bike to a nephew who wrecked it a couple of times till it really was pretzelled.
I met Peter at a GEAR in Connecticut back in 1989 and he gave me a bit more of the story. He said that one day the shop closed and the owner had tossed everything into the dumpster behind the building. Peter went dumpster diving and rescued the decals (actually stickers), I don't recall if he got the records. Peter sent me a set later for the witcomb I'd gotten repainted at Proteus Design. The decal set actually had a "USA" with a line above and below adjacent to the Witcomb on the downtube if I recall.
For what its worth,
Dan Artley Parkton, Maryland
<<<Jerry Moos wrote:>>> Don't know how I missed this last time. It is indeed a fascinating tale. And overall I think a happier one. True, Witcomb USA did not survive, while Masi did, but it sounds like there was not the personal conflict and betrayal that features in the Masi story, not to mention Mario's untimely passing. The Masi story reads a bit more like a Greek tradegy, or at least a Shakespeare tragedy. Maybe that's why it seems to draw so much interest.
So is there a sure way to tell a CT Witcomb from a Welsh Witcomb from a London Witcomb? I mean for instance an eBay bike, where one can't examine the quality of the work closely.