I am a little surprised at all the interest that this bike has stirred up. Is it possible that many people have actually started to believe the exaggerated and ill-informed hype that the seller has used in his description ? Reminds me of a carnival barker or a used-car salesman trying to unload a real canine. (Apologies to the many wonderful dogs and dog lovers out there )
I pulled out an original 1938 Raliegh catalog that I had squirrelled away and took a look for some clues. I suspected the bike wasn't the highest quality just from looking at the sellers' photos. Turns out that the Ebay bike seems a dead ringer for the "Sports model 31" on page 12 of my catalog. The model 31 was the lowest priced of the various "enthusiast" bikes that Raliegh offered. It originally came with a mattress-style saddle and a small tool bag, and white enameled fenders, er, I mean MUDGUARDS. Tubing is not specified but can be safely assumed that it is NOT 531 or HM. Tubing doesn't even begin to be specified until one reaches the "Silver Record model 40", two models higher in the line. The "Record Ace" is specced with 22 guage High Manganese tubing - I believe this was the forerunner to 531. The RRA was available in 20,21,and 22" sizes - not 21" only as someone else noted.
So what we seem to have is a lower level sports bike in what kind of condition ? Well, if you worship patina and rust then this one is a real beauty. Where is the front brake ? Why do the crankarms not line up to each other ? The handlebar grips, stem, saddle, and pedals do not appear original.
I would be happy to find this sort of bike on heavy trash night. And as a town bike it certainly would work well and be somewhat distinctive.
Wow ! This is the first time I've ever come across an error or distortion in an Ebay listing . . . Have others had this experience ? (grin !)
E Pluribus Unum (Latin for "Let the buyer BEWARE !" ), Mike Fabian in foggy San Francisco