[CR]Raleigh in the 1960s

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From: "P.C. Kohler" <kohl57@starpower.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
References: <BAY131-W48622AFF3B542FD81BE267A1E80@phx.gbl>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 21:29:56 -0500
Subject: [CR]Raleigh in the 1960s

Raleigh Cycle Co. bought out Carlton in spring 1960 just before they were themselves acquired by Tube Investments which owned the giant British Cycle Corporation which by then owned pretty much made every other major British cycle company except Falcon-Elswick, Dawes and Holdsworth.

By 1961 all Reynolds 531 production was shifted to the Carlton Worksop works recognising that Carlton had THE reputation among clubmen that Raleigh didn't at the time. Production of the final variant of the 12-year-old Lenton Sports ended and the RRA Moderne had disappeared three years earlier. In the UK, all Reynolds 531 tubed machines were badged as Carltons and eventually in the US as Raleighs. Raleigh USA didn't sell too many of these prior to 1969 and their 1966 catalogue has a single 531 tubed machine which was sold as the "The Raleigh Carlton". Carlton also made 531 frames badged as Dunelts and other TI Raleigh marques. The Dunelt badged version of the International is the most commonly seen of these in the US.

For its Nottingham-built range, Raleigh decided to "go modern" with the 2030 tubed Raleigh "Blue Streak" (named after a British ballastic missile of the era) in 1960 which was soon joined by the Raleigh Gran Sport and Raleigh Sprite by 1962. For the UK market, the range included the Record, Rapide and the Royale. All of these were 2030 tubed and frustratingly so as they were otherwise beautifully fitted out with primo components of the era (I suspect most of the Brooks Swallow saddles one sees of this era came from these machines!) and had the most delightful and elaborate "racy" transfers and paint schemes all designed to give the staid Raleigh line a new look. These all had the new version of the Heron Crest headbadge which was used c. 1962-69. These models stayed in production until c. 1967(ish).

Now, the most intriguing and downright rare Raleigh of this fascinating "in between" era was the Record T.O.B. (Tour of Britain) frameset which special order only and for the UK market. This was of Reynolds 531 db with Campagnolo or Benelux fork ends, chromed lugs, fork socks and fork crown and absolutely primo racing specs with 72 angles and wrapover seatstays. But where was this made?? It was badged and sold as a Raleigh in the UK, not Carlton and has no Carlton decals, at least from the brochure pix. So was this made, in obviously small numbers (I know of one person who actually owns one) at Lenton, Nottingham or Worksop??

Peter Kohler
Washington DC USA