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This page updated February 2012

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JIM IS A COLLECTOR, NOT A DEALER

JIM DOES NOT DO APPRAISALS

Jim loves Schwinns of all varieties. Two of Jim's most prized possessions are a pair of 1940s schwinn-built balloon tire bikes. A Schwinn-built 1946 B.F. Goodrich CHALLENGER and a 1947-48 Schwinn-built SPITFIRE. Both are in original un-restored condition.

NOTES: The Schwinn factory had a catastrophic fire in 1948, and all factory records of serial numbers were lost. Only in the past few years has data been assembled to pin-point (by serial number) exact model years of bicycles built prior to this fire. Previously, only images from Schwinn brochures and catalogs along with casting date codes on axles and cranks were used to date these older bikes. Thankfully some originals survived with original bills of sale that prove what serial numbers match what dates of sale. With this information, a database is being built that can determine what year a pre-1948 Schwinn was built. Both of Jim's bicycles featured on this page have been contributors to the database of serial numbers.

- Jim doesn't claim to be a Schwinn expert, but he is a huge fan of their bicycles. -

IMAGE NOTE: click on photos for an expanded view

1946 SCHWINN-BUILT

B.F. GOODRICH CHALLENGER

Same as the Schwinn DX model

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Original paint "survivor" - Not restored -

At more than 65 years of age, this very rare original is unusual and unique. Jim is a fan of original patina and this is one of his favorite collectors items.

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A very lucky find way back in 1992 - Jim's "meter-reader" told him about this bike. (This man had known about it since he was young.) It had sat for decades in the furnace-utility room of a farm house near Jim. When Jim found the bike, it was covered in dust and the tires were badly cracked from being flat for so long, but overall it was in superb condition.

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Schwinn made bicycles for the chain stores for many years. There were no batteries in the headlight and the horn tank. Therefore these items are in good condition and work perfectly. 99% of the time, there are old batteries in there that have melted-down and corroded these components rendering them useless.

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The tires on this Schwinn-built B.F. Goodrich model are authentic reproductions of the original type "Typhoon" brick tread models

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Jim took the bike completely apart and serviced, cleaned and polished everything. It is 100% ready to ride. The original leather seat is very fragile so when Jim rides this bike he changes the seat and pedals to prevent damage to these items.

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The well known Schwinn Quality sticker attests to this bike's heritage.

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The famous Bendix Coaster brake

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The only things on the bike not original are -
(A) The tires.
(B) Jim repainted the Indiana-made "Delta" headlight (This paint was color matched from the interior surface of the light. and it is more white than the fenders which are more of an egg-shell color.)
(C) Jim did some minor restoration on the original pedals. The rubbers are original. He refinished the end plates. The bike has never been "dropped" on it's side.
(D) Years ago Jim refinished the fender support-struts with a special paint made by W├╝rth.

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IMAGE NOTE: click on photos for an expanded view

1950 - SCHWINN BLACK PHANTOM

1950 Schwinn Black Phantom
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1950 Schwinn Black Phantom

Jim's Restored 1950 Black Phantom.

Built on September 21st 1950

1950 Schwinn Black Phantom

An older mid-1990s restoration. Some parts are original and some are exact reproductions, the rear reflector is correct for a later production Phantom but not for the 1950 model.

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1950 Schwinn Black Phantom

The bicycle is missing the front drum brake backing plate and shoes as well as the cable and brake handle.

1950 Schwinn Black Phantom

The white paint that separates the black and red colors is hand painted and exactly like the way in which they were originally done. The overall paint is exquisite.

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IMAGE NOTE: click on photos for an expanded view

1947 (or early 1948) SCHWINN-BUILT SPITFIRE

1947 Schwinn Spitfire bicycle

Jim's 1947 (or early 1948) Schwinn-built "Spitfire" is in exquisite original condition. Jim found this one in 1992 and it is one of the finest survivors known to exist. It is a basic women's model made by Schwinn for sale by bicycle stores that were not actually "Authorized Schwinn Dealers". Back in those days, this was common as local hardware, tire, appliance, and department stores often sold bicycles. Schwinn built these bicycles for this market so that their quality products would be available in every market segment.

 

1947 Schwinn Spitfire bicycle

Even though this bike was built after WWII it features the "pre-war" type rear fold-up center stand. These are made of aluminum.

Photos of these stands in the retracted position are rare. Jim deliberately photographed this bike with the stand retracted so as to contribute historical information to the internet.

 

1947 Schwinn Spitfire bicycle

The chrome chain-guard is original to this bicycle, but is "dealer installed". This was such a basic model that it actually was built without a chain-guard. But, it was common for bike dealers to install this type of bolt-on accessory prior to sale.

1947 Schwinn Spitfire bicycle

The "bell" on the handlebar is also original to this bike. Probably purchased and installed at the dealer for the original purchaser. The ownership history of this bike has been lost to the ages, but for sure it must have been sitting in heated storage for decades as it had almost no use.

1947 Schwinn Spitfire bicycle

The rear reflector is original and the fender is in very good condition. It is common for fenders to be banged-up on the rear from backing the bike into objects.

1947 Schwinn Spitfire bicycle

 

1947 Schwinn Spitfire bicycle

The "pin-stripes" seen on the frame in this image are "hand painted" - Schwinn commonly employed women to do this work as they seemed to have a more artistic hand and the patience to perform these intricacies. When looking closely, one can see that the person who painted these white stripes was very talented!

1947 Schwinn Spitfire bicycle

The rear hub and brake were of the brand; "New Departure" The only brake on this bike is operated by pressing backwards on the pedals. This is known as a "coaster brake"

1947 Schwinn Spitfire

In this image one can clearly see how the rear stand brackets are integrated into the axle mount area. Also, one can see the sprocket for the "skip-tooth" (inch pitch) chain type. It has the same spacing as more modern chain but the sprockets have half as many teeth with much wider spacing between teeth. The gearing on this bike is 10/24 - For a more modern bike, this would be equal to 20/48 teeth gearing

1947 Schwinn Spitfire

In this image one can also see the "skip-tooth" (inch pitch) chain. This type of chain was used into the early 1950s. New chain of this type is no longer made and collectors often pay premium prices for surviving "New Old Stock" examples to be used for their restorations.

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1947 Schwinn Spitfire

No caption necessary

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