[CR] A Rare and Mysterious Hetchins

(Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PX-10LE)

Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2011 17:48:58 +0000
From: "Norris Lockley" <nlockley73@gmail.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR] A Rare and Mysterious Hetchins

A week or so ago I called upon the accumulated wisdom of the CR Listers to advise me whether I should buy..or not buy a couple of rare French bikes that have been offered to me...It was the principle of buying even more bikes that perplexed me..not the particular brand of bike...although I could have that pair of really rare bikes for less than the price that the 71 Rene Herse on Ebay has already clocked up with days still to run. The jury is still out for me..and I will get back to the Listers shortly.

However..in steeling myself to actually sell a frame or two..I started taking some photos of frames I might move on to make room for others ( acting on advice received from the List). Before actually offering any frame either to Listers or to Ebay, I thought it wise to ensure that I was 100% certain of what I was about to move on.

One of the frames is a 20.5 all-chrome curly Hetchins from the early 1960s. Now....I have owned and still own quite a few Hetchins...but I have never seen one like this particular one..No, Sir! It isn';t one of the Latin Series..or at least I don't think so..it doesn't have any lug pattern that I have ever seen on a Hetchins..and so I thought it might just be a mid-range model such as an Italia.

Checking on every Hetchins-linked site I know of yielded no insight, so I decided to go to the fountain of most Hetchins knowledge, Leonard Ingram, the V-CC marque secretary. Len quickly resolved a query about what I thought was a 1930s Brilliant model that had a fork with a late 1950s serial number, but he was at a total loss to enlighten me about the chrome frame..

More information and jpegs flowed through the ether, but Len has had admit defeat. At first he thought that the frame must be a rogue copy...but a very good one. The frame bears the same number as another frame on Len's list - one for which he has the build card. That frame is both bigger and of a different model altogether..and known to exist.

The rear triangle of the chrome frame is identical to those of two other Hetchins that I have both of which were built in the same year as the chrome frame. Other features are standard to some Hetchins frames...but of later date. The particular lug pattern has never been seen on a Hetchins by Len, before. He is at a loss to explain the frame but accepts that it is legitimate..possibly a prototype.

The lugs are, I have decided, reworked and reprofiled Nervex Serie Legere, although I thought at first that I had spotted elements of Oscar Egg Super Champion ones. The lugs are very finely thinned and tapered.. The frame is in excellent condition, its chrome being almost but not quite, immaculate. When I bought the frame it had received some form of lacquer coat that had tarnished very slightly to yield an impression almost of a faint brass/gold plate effect. As this had begun to wear off in places such as the down tube, I removed it from the frame, but have left the covering on the fork. The transfers are recently added self-adhesives.. The paint on the head-lugs and the head tube was applied by the previous owner to highlight the lugwork. It would be very easy to remove it.

I would be grateful if the Hetchins afficionados on the List would cast their all-knowing and all-seeing eyes over the frame and offer me the benefit, once again, of their accumulated knowledge. Perhaps, even, the frame was an export-only model that has found its way back to the UK.

Who knows..Certainly I don't..nor does Len.

Photos athttp://picasaweb.google.com/nlockley73

I await your answers with baited breath.

Norris lockley

Settle UK