The serial number, near as I can tell, is 4601207, which is notable for a couple of reasons. First, the serial number indicates this is a 1946 frame. Second, if I’m reading the number correctly it is exactly the same as one that is specifically mentioned on the Hobbs website. Curiously, that site doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2002. It raises the question in my mind: If this is the same frame then where has it been over the past fourteen years and by what circuitous route did it travel getting to my garage?
Also interesting is the owner’s name and club affiliation painted along the top tube: ” A BURNET MIDDX R.C.” I interpret the latter to be “Middlesex Road Club,” which is still in existence, and which lists an “A Burnet” on the MRC Club Records page for the 24 hour men’s solo in 1947. I’ve reached out to the club in hopes of discovering a bit more information.
I rather fancy this frame and am a bit torn about how to build it up. First off, I do not foresee a repaint taking place – the aged surface is quite lovely and there is a real honesty to the beausage. Clearly every mark was earned over the life of this bike. In all likelihood, this model – a Superbe, if I’ve pegged it correctly – would have had a three speed hub. The 110mm rear spacing (actually, more like 113) leads me to consider either a three speed fixed, or a single speed fixed. Period Airlight hubs paired with 27 inch rims would be a really nice touch. I think I have a Williams 42t cottered crank in the parts bin, which might have been an appropriate choice back in the day.
There are lots of nice details to appreciate, tempered by a rather painfully ham-fisted repainting of the head badge graphic. The graphic appears to have been touched up with model paint, and I’m hoping to be able to gently tease that garbage off of the frame with a careful application of artist product…my fingers are crossed!
The Reynolds 531 transfer dates to the 1946 – 49 era, I believe.