Thursday, 5 November 2009

Come on St Jude, I need you

Hmm.....I hope its not lost cause time just yet. Prayers to St Jude have been made and candles lit.
I recently "won" a Planet Pintail frame on fleabay. I must admit that I got it for a quite reasonable price which was just as well as I did not know anything about Planet cycles in general or even the Pintail model specifically.
It turns out that what I've ended up with is an extremely rare frame made from Accles and Pollock Kromo tubing which is an equivalent of dear old 531. Its pretty light and the tubes are joined by Nervex Professional lugs with simplex dropouts, so its no amateur job and quite high quality, although likely to be a "hand built" production jobby. My guess is that it was made sometime during the 1950's or 60's. There's a lot of deep pitting behind the bottom bracket (the first place a frame will go if you run it with mudguards on and don't clean it down properly) but it's been given the structural OK by a well known frame builder friend. I now have to decide what to do with it. A respray will involve a lot of making good of tube surfaces even before paint, a service provided more or less by any reputable builder, but I have found a specialist who has a patented process. (Of God...more expense). Then there's the problem of matching the original colour. I think I've found the nearest RAL but getting it in anything other than powder coat is proving an interesting challenge. From the very limited information available I've only found them made in 2 colours, a light grey-green or a sort of flesh tone. Mine is flesh but with bits of the green in, neither of which are obvious choices to the modern pallette. Internet searches have drawn a blank, the Classic Rendezvous community have come up with only a little less than f*** all and I'm still searching the National cycle Museum and Veteran Cycle Club archives.
So. The big question of the day is do I a) Struggle to restore it as it originally rolled out of the Tildesley Cycle Works in Birmingham or b) Restore it as best I can using modern colours and parts from the 70's or80's. The former will likely involve a good deal of beg steal and borrow, but will hopefully produce a machine that is "period correct". The latter is more of a temptation as I think I have a Shitmano Crane front and rear mechs and levers from the late 70's stashed somewhere in the woodpile and I'm sure I can build the rest up to make the finished machine a nice vintage ride.
Do I go for approximate and well ridden or an exact replica ready for a museum?


wightrider said...

I have a Tildesley Cycles, Planet Works, Birmingham frame believed to be 1940's 1950's. No idea what the tubing is although the chainstays look similar in profile to yours. I'l,send some photos if you wish. My research has come up with nothing too.

Adrian said...

Hello i am new back to the bike scence after may years away - i have not seen it yet but i have been offered a Tildesley Planet Works Racing cycle - i cant find anything about the bike of Tildsley can anyone help with links etc>