After the 1954 Stella Replica "affaire" I am a little timid about flagging up any more "specials" for List members to bid for..
However a very special "never-seen-that-one-before" bike has recently appeared on UK eBay and has still two and a half days to run, having just reached it's Reserve at £150.
For all you collectors who like a piece of good old British cycling history in your stable then this is one you should not miss. I have been around quite a long time and I used to actually live within a handful of miles from the factory/workshop where this machine was made, but I have never, ever..seen one of these before..it is Rareissmme..if that is how it is spelled.
In the early 60s, having taken a spell out of the cycling business..and entering teaching, I used to take groups of 15 year-old leavers-to-be on career visits. One such visit took me to the workshops of Carlton Cycles in Worksop..not very far from where Robin Hood (one of my ancestors, my grandparents told me) used to chase Maid Marion around in Sherwood Forest, when he was not causing the Sherriff of Nottingham some grief.
It was there that I saw copper=tacking of frame tubes..and brazing with compressed air and town gas torches of frames in a blacksmith's hearth. Presumably some years earlier than my visit, some highly skilled frame-builder had turned his skills into producing a Donovan special frame...this being the era when Gerald O'Donovan and his brother owned Carlton Cycles. i recall always returning from those visits loaded down with free sets of tubes and lug-sets for the school-leavers to practise on. No doubt there will still be unknown unbadged frames turning up at bike "Jumbles" in the area..built years previously by a classful of grimy teenagers.
The bike is fully 1950s style..and presumably it represented the top of the Carlton range, boasting "Donovan" transfers on its down tube..it is possibly the "wanderlust" model
The bike can be found on No 6596735743. I have no connection with the seller except that he has had some very tempting stuff for sale recently..and he has persuaded me to win a few of his auctions with the quality of his offerings.
If all goes well I shall be visiting him tomorrow evening ..he lives about 40 miles away from me in the Lake District on top of the very windy Shap Fell..and I have to pick up a number of frames and bits from him.
So..if anyone is interested in the "Donovan" I should have first hand knowledge of it tomorrow..and could report back to the LIst immediately. If anyone wants to bid seriously, I would be willing to collect the bike and get it to the States.