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This is my mother in law's bicycle from when she was a child. While cleaning out a lean-to on the back forty I found this bike inside. I was hoping to give her a bike that is identical to hers that is restored for a birthday or Christmas.

With that I need to learn more about this specific bike.

My Mother-In-Law was born in 1952 in Eastern, NC. Given that I would assume that the bicycle purchased at a local hardware store, from the sears catalog, or was handed down from a sibling. Her three older sisters were born between 1932-1942 - thus if this was a bike of theirs it would probably be from 1937-1948... but I find this scenario less likely as they are half siblings.

All of that together, I would have to assume that the bike was built in the 1955-1960 time frame.

Thank you for taking time to look through these photos and any guidance is appreciated.

Side profile Front by basket Sprocket and pedals Front wheel and brace for basket Saddle pan and springs

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It's seen better days :) –  John Hunt Jun 25 at 13:17
    
As ruff as that bike looks it probably could be restored. I would not put hard miles on it but she was born in 1952. –  Blam Jun 25 at 14:01
    
@Blam: Yes, with new everything it can be restored. –  cherouvim Jun 25 at 15:02
    
If I were you I'd start with trying to clean up the frame and the forks, because I think ultimately that'll determine whether it flies or not. I suspect even if someone recognised it, you're probably going to be measuring things like the bottom bracket for size, and finding and fitting something compatible. And I never realised we had a "rust" tag on here before, so +1 for that! Good luck. –  PeteH Jun 25 at 17:37
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A classic girl's bike of the era. Not much to distinguish it except that the style of joining of fork times to head tube was often a "trademark" of a particular brand. You can also fairly easily determine whether the rear hub is Bendix or New Departure. IIRC, Bendix was mostly Schwinn, while New Departure was most other brands. Also, Schwinn usually had a welded-on kickstand. My take is that it's not practically repairable to riding condition but it can be cleaned up for use as a lawn ornament or whatever. –  Daniel R Hicks Jun 25 at 18:42

3 Answers 3

Your bike is a JC Higgins sold at Sears stores. Not exactly sure of the year but I think most Komet hubs were used in the late 50's into the 60's. Just Google JC Higgins bicycle and I'm sure you'll find a picture of one just like yours. Good luck and don't give up on it. When she sees it looking like it did when she was a kid, it will bring back many childhood memories. That is priceless.

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The bike pictured here looks very much like the one in question: brickhouseantiqueshop.blogspot.dk/2012/06/… (Picture link: 1.bp.blogspot.com/-eqwlDwMr1EU/T9-yUlUXQtI/AAAAAAAAAkY/… ) –  Kenned Aug 6 at 12:15
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Thank you for all of your help and encouragement. When I arrived home from work I flipped the bike over, got some of the serial numbers. From what I can tell the bike seems to be a 1956/1957 Schwinn Spitfire Ladies - Model F71c.

Below is a 1956 Schwinn Spitfire - Model F71c. Schwinn Spitfire Ladies - Model F71c

I have come to this conclusion on two parts...

1 - the Serial Number The M0D502 serial renders this on the Schwinn Cruisers Website. Built: 08/13 to 08/23 of 1954 or... Built: 09/06 to 09/07 of 1956.

2 - The only example I can find of a Top Tube connected to the down tube with a Welded tube (I am unsure of the term used to identify this) was on a '57 Spitfire. (See below) This is the 57 Spitfire

My mother in law was given the bike at 6 or 7 years of age.... so I would assume that the bike was built in the Fall of 56, sent to a local hardware/farm storm where it sat for a year in inventory and picked up that next fall/winter.

Would an expert agree on the likelihood of this bike being a 1956/57 Schwinn Spitfire?

Thanks again for all of your help.

The Serials read M0D502 - 46772 - 13 5 124 The Serial reads M0D502 (small top left) The Serial reads 46772 (medium right) The large Serial reads 13 5 124

Bolted Kickstand - Not Welded Bolted kickstand

Komet Super? Does anyone know about this Komet Super denotation?

Thanks again for all of your assistance

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That dropout is not in that bad of shape. Why are you giving p on that bike? –  Blam Jun 29 at 22:34
    
@Blam I am not giving up. I have been sanding the bike down every night after work. I have started with soaking all of the structurally sound parts in kerosene. Next day I will take it out and use a brillow pad to remove as much rust as possible and then let it soak again. For some of the flat metals I would soak, then hand sand, then use a random orbit sander at 600 and have moved down to 1500 for some areas. Structurally a lot is still strong so I am not giving up. I would still love someone to confirm the year model and information about the serial numbers and the Komet Super. Thanks! –  user12751 Jul 1 at 17:27
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I'm no kind of an expert but your bike doesn't look like a Spitfire to me. The Spitfire's top tube and down tube are significantly curved but your bike's top and down tubes are almost straight, with only a slight curve. The Spitfire top tube meets the seat tube on the horizontal but yours is angled up. The short welded tube between the top and down tubes on the Spitfire points above the front axle; on your bike, it points roughly to the point where the tyre touches the ground. –  David Richerby Jul 28 at 22:52
    
I think the Komet super is a brake lever - see sheldonbrown.com/sutherland/CB-IGH-2-sachs.pdf –  Batman Aug 2 at 19:51
    
As David pointes out, the curvature of the frame doesn't quite match, but also the fork has "twin crowns" on the rusty one, but the Schwinn has a unicrown type fork. Kevins answer below seems much more likely. –  Kenned Aug 6 at 12:17

I would not give up on that bike.

Stuff that is definitely bad you can most likely replace: wheels, fork, headset, handle bars, crank, seat post and seat.

Stuff that would be hard to find is OK. Fenders and chain guard are fine.

To me it is worth seeing how bad that frame is. At the crank it looks pretty good. Pull the rear wheel and check the dropout - if bad give up. Pull the seat and fork and see if it is rusted from the inside. If you have rust from the inside then give up. If inside looks OK then hit the worst rust with 600 sand paper. If you can sand to bare metal by hand in a few minutes then you only have surface rust. Yes you may have more than just surface rust here but it would only take an hour to find out. If you could restore THAT bike that would be cool.

Based on a comment to your own answer you trying a restore. When (if) it comes paint time consider a car paint shop where they have a real paint booth and professional paint. They will tell you if you got all the rust. If you leave any rust it will eventually bubble through the paint. It is hard to paint like pro (with a booth). Be flexible on the color and live with a color that is going on a car. A custom color is expensive as they have to buy the paint and mix it.

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