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  1. #1
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    1930/32 Swift. Help/info needed!

    Bought this last night off of ebay, but can find little info about Swift on the internet.
    I've searched BF and Old Roads, but find nothing.
    Seller called it a 'Swift Cheylesmore' and the age is his estimate.

    All I know for sure is that it was made in Coventry, England, and Swift also made cars pre WW2, in the 20s at least. They definitely did not make bicycles after 1939.
    Cheylesmore is a suburb of Coventry, and, I presume, where the factory was.





    The chain-wheel is the distinctive feature for me.

    Apologies for the pics, poor quality ebay stuff, but will post high definition ones when I actually collect it Wednesday.
    I'm sure (I bet!) there is someone on BF who can tell me more....

    Viscount.

  2. #2
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    You got to say that the chain-wheel is a cool art deco design, with all the curves, and definitely dates it.
    I thought somebody would have told me lots about it by now....
    I got faith in BF........

  3. #3
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Very interesting stuff, can't believe that no one has chipped in here!

    It sounds as if the factory closed up in 1931, so the bike would not be older than that.

    http://www.theswiftclub.co.uk/register.html

    (they'd like you to register your cycle, too )

    East Hill
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  4. #4
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Thank you Lanky Lass!
    Can't believe it either.
    But I know this is such an interesting machine.
    I've got it here now and it looks better than on Ebay.

    The saddle (worn) is an Lycettes Aero Elastic.
    The wheels are steel, but are painted with a blue and green stripe in the centre (where the brakes don't rub) and are obviously original.
    It has excellent mudguards, with original green lining, and front forks which don't have drop-outs, just holes which you have to stretch the forks to fit/remove the wheel.

    Will post some good pics tomorrow for all to see.
    (Had my grand-kids here today and all was confusion!)

    I am absolutely convinced this is my best find to date.
    And cannot believe that nobody on BF has any info on this lovely machine.
    The chain-wheel is a classic art deco period design.

    Not checked your link yet but will do so now.

    Many thanks: )

  5. #5
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    Nice looking roadster. Have you tried http://www.transport-museum.com/ ? I emailed them recently and they were very helpful and past on some great contacts. One being a 75 year old gent in Coventry called Dave Mac - tel (024) 7668 3239. He has been making and repairing Rudge Whitworth bike parts (mainly motorbikes) although he has a few push bikes. I bet you he could tell you a nugget or two about Swift. I'd be interested to see some better pictures of your bike as I have a 1939 Rudge Whitworth. Probably a few similarities. I'm having a mare putting this back on Help needed fitting rear rod brake spring
    Good luck with it.
    Pit Canary
    Last edited by pitcanary; 10-28-07 at 11:47 AM.

  6. #6
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pitcanary View Post
    Nice looking roadster. Have you tried http://www.transport-museum.com/ ? I emailed them recently and they were very helpful and past on some great contacts. One being a 75 year old gent in Coventry called Dave Mac - tel (024) 7668 3239. He has been making and repairing Rudge Whitworth bike parts (mainly motorbikes) although he has a few push bikes. I bet you he could tell you a nugget or two about Swift. I'd be interested to see some better pictures of your bike as I have a 1939 Rudge Whitworth. Probably a few similarities. I'm having a mare putting this back on Help needed fitting rear rod brake spring
    Good luck with it.
    Pit Canary
    Thanks for the tips Pitcanary!

    In fact I have already emailed the Bicycle Curator (Lesley Robertson) at CTM, but she's on holiday right now, so I wait!!
    (I met her briefly last year when I was in Coventry and got a tour of their bicycle store!!
    Amazing!!)

    I've also found the Swift Register (thanks to Easthill : )) and working on that one.
    They have around 200 Swift bicycles on it apparently.

    Meanwhile I have some better photos now, and having given it a closer look, it is an interesting machine.



    Still pretty dirty, but I'm working on it..
    It was used often by the previous owner who used to take it in his camper on holidays!



    The saddle is in need of recovering, but really comfortable.

    Swift also made their own free-wheels by the look of this:



    Can't do much for your problem though, because on the Swift the rod that comes down to the rear brake is a pretty crude arrangement, whereby the rod is simply bent around the BB!!
    May be it isn't original, or a part could be missing.

    The rear wheel is shod with a "Camel Cycle Tire".
    American spelling, so I'm wondering if it is an old USA product.

    Got plenty more pictures if anybody wants to see them!

    Thanks for the Dave Mac contact. I will pursue that one.
    And I for one would be interested to see some more pics of your machine too!

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    Looks in pretty good nick, and a great piece of history. I've really got into the pre war roadsters, especially when you think how many got destroyed for the war effort. The Swift freewheel is class. I'd like to see a photo of the headbadge. I'll post some pics of mine when it is done. Hopefully not to long. I've had the rear hub serviced, I've repainted the frame and forks as it had been done already, and pretty badly. I'm waiting on the bb axle to be repaired. I can't wait to get out on it.

  8. #8
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    Can't say much on your bike but Swift dates back to at least 1891.Built by Coventry Machinists Co.,Cheylesmore Works,Coventry.M.A.Holbein road 361 miles 1446 yards in 24 hours at herne track in 1891 on a Swift to set a new record.
    So just jump on your Swift and ride it 362 miles in 24 hours and beat his distance....I pushed 25 miles today and I'm dying!!!

  9. #9
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Does the tyre look as if it could be original? Apparently Camel Bicycle Tires are still being made:

    http://www.huskybicycles.com/Merchan...Store_Code=hbs

    Quote Originally Posted by viscount View Post
    Got plenty more pictures if anybody wants to see them!
    Absolutely!

    East Hill
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  10. #10
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frameteam2003 View Post
    Can't say much on your bike but Swift dates back to at least 1891.Built by Coventry Machinists Co.,Cheylesmore Works,Coventry.M.A.Holbein road 361 miles 1446 yards in 24 hours at herne track in 1891 on a Swift to set a new record.
    So just jump on your Swift and ride it 362 miles in 24 hours and beat his distance....I pushed 25 miles today and I'm dying!!!
    Thanks! I thought/assumed that the machine was made in Coventry but the seat-tube decal says "Swift....Birmingham."



    Poor decal and not a brilliant photo!
    I think they got taken over by another company at some point and may have had a factory in Birmingham.
    Seems odd though, that it should be called the Swift Cheylesmore if it was actually made in Birmingham.
    There is another (poorer) decal on the down-tube so I'm certain of the name and model.

    Not sure I want to attempt the distance/endurance record just yet, because I had the rear wheel off to clean and check this morning and the free-wheel is a little 'gritty,' so I want to fix that before using it.
    Even then I'm not too sure, because I'm 1946 vintage myself!!

  11. #11
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Thanks Easthill.
    When I read yours this morning and saw the Camel link I got to work and cleaned the rear wheel/hub/etc.
    Underneath the dirt I found "Made in Thailand" on the Camel, and it even had a narrow reflective stripe!!!
    Well, it's good to start the day with a laugh!?

    But anyway, here's a couple more detail pics:



    The nuts are missing off of the chain tensioners...
    The lidded hub oiler is a nice detail, but I cannot make out the markings on the hub yet.





    The paint on the rims is a very nice touch, and most survives.
    (Shame my focus is on the carpet rather than the rim!!
    Got a good camera, but the operator needs help!)


    The frame paint is not so good and poses a dilemma.
    How to deal with it?

    Seems sensible to preserve what remains, but where it is missing it needs treating in some way to prevent rusting that doesn't detract overall.

  12. #12
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pitcanary View Post
    Looks in pretty good nick, and a great piece of history. I've really got into the pre war roadsters, especially when you think how many got destroyed for the war effort. The Swift freewheel is class. I'd like to see a photo of the headbadge. I'll post some pics of mine when it is done. Hopefully not to long. I've had the rear hub serviced, I've repainted the frame and forks as it had been done already, and pretty badly. I'm waiting on the bb axle to be repaired. I can't wait to get out on it.
    The machine has no head-badge, just decals (Head, seat, down-tube + rear mudguard) and most are poor after 75 years or so!
    But here's the head-tube remains:



    My interest in yours stems from my previously oldest rescue, which was a ladys 1947 Rudge Sports Superbe.
    Lovely machine from the immediate post-war austerity period, even though it was in the Raleigh stable by then.
    Always been on the lookout for a pre war example since!
    You want to see it?
    It's on BF elsewhere but can't see any reason I shouldn't repeat it in a different view here...



    Got lots more pics of it if you want to see them.

    You from Cov I presume?
    I ran the Coventry Cycle Centre (Stoney Stanton Road, by the canal bridge) for a while last year and came across numerous local machines in the process. Pollard, OBrien etc.
    But never a Swift!

  13. #13
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Viscount, at least you know now that you can get replacement tyres for your machine !

    I can make out 'Abingdon' on the hub, but 'workolid A'?

    This has turned into a most interesting thread!

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  14. #14
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by East Hill View Post
    Viscount, at least you know now that you can get replacement tyres for your machine !

    I can make out 'Abingdon' on the hub, but 'workolid A'?

    This has turned into a most interesting thread!

    East Hill
    That's what my (poorish) eyes tell me too.
    Wormolid was my first thought!

    Abingdon is Oxford and Morris, isn't it?
    Certainly car/engine production and engineering generally in that period.

    Had a response from the bicycle curator at Coventry Transport Museum this morning requesting pictures, so I expect some illumination shortly.

    She thinks the dates (30/32) are "worrying" so I'm hoping that it's earlier.
    (Earlier the better as far as I'm concerned!)

    Might well be earlier since the sellers guess is wrong/vague, in that he didn't know production stopped in 31, according another informant.

    And, I've written to the Swift Bicycle Registrar, who will no doubt have more, useful information.
    Could be quite interesting.....

  15. #15
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Wormolid occured to me too, but genealogy being what it is, my guess would be 'workolid', because the fourth letter doesn't look enough like an 'm'.

    Yes, Abingdon was certainly a thriving center for automobile production at that period, so that would not be a surprise there!

    The SB Registrar should have some very interesting information, and I shall look forward to seeing the results of your enquiries.

    East Hill
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    Viscount,
    The transfers are lovely, if a little faded. It's a tough choice with the paintwork. I would certainly try and salvage the decals. Mine had already been badly brushed painted before I got to it, with no sign of the original underneath. So I have had to repaint. This is a photo as I got it.

    Your 47 Rudge is a beauty. I'd love to see more photos. I have a 38 ladies Raleigh I'm thinking of selling. It's been repainted and the rims are cracked but it's all there. Let me know if you want pics.
    I went to the Beamish museum today, where there is a 1906 Rudge Whitworth singlespeed, that is something else.
    No I'm not from Coventry, I just got into the Coventry thing through the Rudge, I've read up a lot since. And really, it produced some unrivaled machines in the very early days.
    Why are the dates "worrying"?

  17. #17
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pitcanary View Post
    No I'm not from Coventry, I just got into the Coventry thing through the Rudge, I've read up a lot since. And really, it produced some unrivaled machines in the very early days.
    Why are the dates "worrying"?
    Hi again!
    Your machine is so cool. Put some more pics on here when it's done.
    I realised you were not a Coventry guy when I saw your posting this morning.
    (with your new signature)
    But, so what!!

    I've had a mad day communicating with the Coventry Transport Museum.
    Sent them loads of pics, and they have never seen anything like mine!
    Despite having a Swift tricycle and other machines in their collection.

    And all the local knowledge.
    Well, it looks very 'interesting!'

    When she said "worrying" she meant that it didn't fit into their current knowledge.
    So it may be older than I think!! ( It can't be newer, can it?)

    If the local Coventry museum doesn't know much about it, it must be a good prospect, and may be rare.
    I hope so.

    Also I called your friend/contact in Coventry today and had an interesting chat.
    He sounded busy as hell, but still had time to discuss Swifts.
    He can't be that old!!!
    The main point he made was that The Swift Cheylesmore was a top of the line model in its day.

    So I wait to see developments...
    Looking good though.

    I'm going to apply Kurust to the paint-loss areas as a temporary measure.
    No way am I going to lose the remnants of the decals, or any of the the original paint.
    My plan is to conserve it as best I can in its current condition.
    And seek advice later.

    Tonight I won a similar period leather Wrights saddle on ebay which will go on the Swift while I sort out the worn original Lycetts.
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...MEWN:IT&ih=014
    It's an ongoing process.

    More pics of my smashing 47 Rudge are available here:

    http://flickr.com/photos/bikesruz

    More available if you want.
    (PM me is best.)

    It is a public space and you can see several other bicycles of mine if you follow the thread/links.
    Got lots of other interesting machines!

  18. #18
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by East Hill View Post
    Wormolid occured to me too, but genealogy being what it is, my guess would be 'workolid', because the fourth letter doesn't look enough like an 'm'.

    Yes, Abingdon was certainly a thriving center for automobile production at that period, so that would not be a surprise there!

    The SB Registrar should have some very interesting information, and I shall look forward to seeing the results of your enquiries.

    East Hill
    Hi Easthill=)
    Watch this space then.
    Pitcanary gave me a lead, and I have others to follow up.
    I will report all here for the public record.
    Looks very promising as I write.

    I'm still waiting for a response from the Swift registrar, and that may well provide good leads/information.
    The curator at the museum also gave me a tantalising contact who has not yet replied to my phone calls.
    Will report it all here. (I will call her again as soon as I post this...)

    Fascinating stuff, isn't it?
    And a pleasure too!

  19. #19
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    I enjoyed your photo montage of the trip to the Worcestershire Beacon very much! Not to mention looking over the rest of the bicycles in your collection .

    I shall indeed keep my eyes 'on this space'.

    East Hill
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  20. #20
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by East Hill View Post
    I enjoyed your photo montage of the trip to the Worcestershire Beacon very much! Not to mention looking over the rest of the bicycles in your collection .

    I shall indeed keep my eyes 'on this space'.

    East Hill
    The trip to the Malverns and the Worcestershire Beacon was one mad escapade.
    Two friends of mine took a fancy to my RSWs and I parted with two of them (I converted them, so to say!: ) and we thought 'why not go out on a trip together.'
    Three RSWs in convoy must be a rare sight nowadays....
    And off we went!!

    OK, it wasn't too far away, 6/7miles or so, but it was a severe test of the little machines coming down the hill.
    I got a blister off of the rim testing it at the bottom!!!
    But all was well, and we got home safely.
    Which speaks volumes for RSWs.

    Tonight, while writing this, I get a call from the Swift Bicycle Registrar!
    He's intrigued too.
    Didn't add too much to my collected knowledge, but more will come shortly for sure.
    He's going to stop by and have a good look soon.
    Gets interestinger and interestinger....

    My bicycles on Flickr are a moment in time.
    I have a good turnover and not all are still in my possession.
    But they are all much loved, even if they don't stay long.

    I moved into a tiny flat in June and my bedroom is my bike park nowadays.
    Six is too many!!!
    So I need to concentrate on essentials.
    Sold two on ebay this last weekend, but still got an early 50s Phillips arriving Friday.
    Too many bikes, as someone already said.

    But it's all good fun.

  21. #21
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    Now then, look what's just come on fleabay
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/VINTAGE-ADVERT...QQcmdZViewItem

  22. #22
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pitcanary View Post
    Now then, look what's just come on fleabay
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/VINTAGE-ADVERT...QQcmdZViewItem
    Now then, me just put a modest bid on it!
    Looks so much like mine!
    Can't read the print on a download though.

    We will see.
    Actually I've found other ads/posters, but nothing illuminating yet.

  23. #23
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    It certainly reads 1924 top left. So you could be in the 20's.
    I spoke to Dave Mac today. He's fixed my axle, sourced me two Rudge transfers and is giving me two new cotter pins all for 14 quid. What a gentleman.

  24. #24
    Elitest Murray Owner Mos6502's Avatar
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    The hub, possibly?


    Abingdon Works Co. of Warwickshire Birmingham.

    AHA! Of course! the cap reads "ABINGDON WORKS LTD A"
    Last edited by Mos6502; 10-31-07 at 05:03 PM.

  25. #25
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mos6502 View Post
    The hub, possibly?
    Abingdon Works Co. of Warwickshire Birmingham.

    AHA! Of course! the cap reads "ABINGDON WORKS LTD A"
    The walls are tumbling down...

    Brilliant find!

    East Hill
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