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  1. #1
    Senior Member Skyshroud's Avatar
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    1947 Hobbs - Worth Investigating?

    Hey all,

    I was hoping to gather some opinions on this Hobbs frame that I recently came across. Seeing as I have been looking for one for ages, coming across this by accident was rather amusing. I am waiting to hear back from the seller concerning the history of the frame as well as price, but any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

    According to the seller, the components are as follows:
    Reynolds Hiduminium alloy handle bars,
    Burlite of Birmingham brakes,
    Williams crank arm & EbW AP 48 crank wheel,
    Philips pedals,
    Lytaloy handlebar stem,
    Lucifer dynamo front & rear lights,
    Bayliss Wiley & Co. rims, and,
    Sturmey Archer Pat 596137 rims.

    The last I heard, the seller had also located a seat post as well as 1940's handlebar tape. They are selling it on behalf of the original owner who had it made in 1947, and it "can be sold as is, pro-cleaned, or completed to spec". It has been dry stored for its life so far, and structurally the bike is solid, the crank seems to move well, but out of the four rims available, one has a spoke missing.

    That is all the info that I am working with so far, my main concern would be whether that rust is only on the surface, or whether it could have penetrated deeper into the frame. Its a 24" ctt (seat tube), so I assume roughly a 23.5" ctt (top tube), which should still be in my useable range. I have attached photos below - they are not the greatest, but they were the ones that were made available to me.

    Any thoughts?

    bike-020-765x544.jpg bike-022-765x544.jpg bike-023-765x544.jpg bike-032-765x544.jpg bike-037-765x544.jpg bike-039-765x544.jpg bike-040-765x544.jpg bike-047-765x544.jpg bike-0211-765x544.jpg bike-0361-765x544.jpg

  2. #2
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    Oh, yes, definitely a yes. Hobbes was a top notch frame maker and the components listed are pretty much the best there was at the time.

    The rust is what it is; no point in speculating. I wouldn't get too upset about it just yet. The paint looks pretty good; and that's really important.

    Bayliss Wiley and Sturmey Archer manufactured hubs, not rims; I don't know what the rims are but I'm sure they're fine.

    The hubs on the bike appear to be Harden (and the patent number 596137 seems to confirm this) which is a very good thing indeed. Those hubs alone can fetch a couple hundred bucks on ebay.

    The EbW AP 48 codes on the chain ring tell us it is a 48 tooth Williams chain ring made in 1952.

    This isn't an appraisal forum, but I'll send you a pm with my guess about its value.

    edit:
    Oh, wait, you don't do private messages... okay, well, I would hand over a couple hundred bucks without the briefest hesitation. Above four or five, I'd start hesitating and rationalizing, because I don't need another bike; but otherwise I'm sure I'd gladly pay five hundred or more.
    Last edited by rhm; 04-18-14 at 08:27 AM.

  3. #3
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    More than worth investgating - the rust doesn't look bad at all and should be able to be dealt with easily. My Planet Pintail had the worst sort of rust seen on the Hobbs all over, and the paint shop have managed to strip it back nicely. The fork crown should rechrome nicely too, if you're that way inclined. So if I were you I'd be all over that - lucky you!
    http://velofellow.wordpress.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member markk900's Avatar
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    +100 - unless the price is astronomical I wouldn't hesitate. Especially since this is apparently one of your grail bikes. It looks to be in really good shape for its age and will turn out great I am sure.

    ps. Love the taillight brand: Lucifer....and I always thought Lucas was the prince of darkness.

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    what is the date code/serial number in the first photo?
    Hobbs of Barbican

  6. #6
    Senior Member Skyshroud's Avatar
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    I sent another message yesterday, so I am waiting to hear back about a few extra details. I currently have my fingers crossed that it has not been sold yet . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Block View Post
    what is the date code/serial number in the first photo?

    According to the seller, it reads: H471200.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Oldpeddaller's Avatar
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    Yes, really worth serious consideration. Rust doesn't look too bad at all in the photos and everything there looks to be 'cleanable'. Lovely frame and hubs. Good luck!
    Oldpeddaller - The older I get, the better I used to be !!!" ***** If at first you don't succeed - hit it with a hammer.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Skyshroud's Avatar
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    Received an update - apparently the owner wishes to do a full restore on the bike before selling. However, he wants to keep everything original (including the paint), and just get it cleaned up. The price is still 'TBA' though.

    They also posted a shot of one of the restored hubs. Which leads me to think that when completed, this will be painfully pretty. If I am able to snag it, it may turn out to also be painfully pricey, but we shall see.


  9. #9
    rhm
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    I would try to dissuade the seller from doing a 'restoration' of any kind. Tell him you want the appropriate patina; tell him what he's done to that hub is not helping. Tell him whatever. Good luck!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Skyshroud's Avatar
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    Hey all,

    Apologies for the bump in the thread after quite a delay, but I find myself once again in need of your guidance. After keeping in contact with the seller through the 'cleaning up' process, they have since decided to sell the bike 'as is' without doing any more work on it. As it stands, it looks like they preserved the patina on most of the componentry and the frame (apart from the hubs and pedals).

    My main question to you relates to sizing - being 6'3", I generally look for 24"/61cm frames. However, I also own a 59cm and a 60cm which I use without a problem. The measurements for this frame work out to be 23.5"/60cm from centre to the top of the extended seat tube, with a rough estimate of 58cm to the top of the top tube. I suppose I am wondering whether I should get over myself and have a bit more seat-post and jump at the chance for snagging this Hobbs, or keep looking for a larger frame, which is probably very unlikely to be found.

    On a secondary note, if I do snag this bike, should I have those small rust spots taken care of with some careful cleaning and touching up? I have included some newer photos from the seller below.


    bike 028.jpg bike 029.jpg bike 030.jpgbike 033.jpg bike 048.jpg bike 049.jpgbike 050.jpg

  11. #11
    Senior Member markk900's Avatar
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    I'd grab it (unless the price has skyrocketed due to the "part-restoration")....I'm 6'1" and don't mind a little extra seatpost showing; if you eventually decide you don't like it you can always sell it....but if you don't get it you've possibly missed a grail bike never to be seen again.

  12. #12
    vintage motor kroozer's Avatar
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    I would get it if you like the price. If a larger one comes along later, it would be an easy matter to sell. I've seen Hobb's frame on Hilary Stone's website every so often, they are not common but they do show up.

  13. #13
    Get off my lawn! Velognome's Avatar
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    Grab it....as you age that extra 1/2 will be a blessing when you dismount

  14. #14
    Senior Member Skyshroud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    This isn't an appraisal forum, but I'll send you a pm with my guess about its value.

    edit:
    Oh, wait, you don't do private messages... okay, well, I would hand over a couple hundred bucks without the briefest hesitation. Above four or five, I'd start hesitating and rationalizing, because I don't need another bike; but otherwise I'm sure I'd gladly pay five hundred or more.
    Thank you for the guidance on price. I have tweaked my settings, so PMing should now be possible if that is a safer course of action in terms of any further suggestions relating to price. I received a message from the intermediary seller this afternoon in which I finally received a rough price estimate:

    "In light of not yet having a conversation about price I can not speak for Ray [*The original owner of the Hobbs, selling through the intermediary]. Personally though I feel 300/400 is a fair price. I am not sure what your opening or ballpark idea is/was? Once completed you will have a rare and valuable bike. I believe any restoration and including the purchase price will mean if you ever decide to sell. You should still make money rather than lose."

    I understand that this will be the purchase of a bike complete with high end components, but that does seem like a rather high price to me. I have seen Hobbs frames, and complete bikes in wildly different condition go for a huge range in price. It will need some work to get it back on the road, but I would rather not go higher than 250. Ideally I was hoping for something closer to 175-200. Is that unreasonable?

    Edit: I have not made a counter offer as of yet, still bouncing some ideas around and doing some number-crunching.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Skyshroud's Avatar
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    My apologies for the random bump, but after meeting both the original owner as well as the intermediary and settling on a price that we both thought fair, I have acquired my personal Holy Grail! I will try to post some photos in the coming days . . . Looks like I will have a good winter project this year.

    My thanks for your guidance throughout the process, it was much appreciated.


    PS: I may keep pestering you with questions as I get the Hobbs ready for the road again.

  16. #16
    Senior Member inkandsilver's Avatar
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    Yes, photos please! Congratulations - very cool bike!
    197X Raleigh Grand Prix (beater) -- 1977 Centurion Semi-Pro (all-arounder) -- 1987 Schwinn High Sierra (dropbar conversion) -- 1996 Trek 930 (MTB) -- 2011 Jamis Coda (supercommuter)

  17. #17
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    Looks like the makings of a very regal looking bicycle. Going to cost a bit to fully assemble it in reasonably age appropriate parts though.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Skyshroud's Avatar
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    As promised, I have attached a few photos of some of the parts. Most will need a good clean, but I am looking forward to the project. This will be my first attempt at a full bike revival - and I will try to keep everything as original as possible. The bike is complete apart from a few nuts and bolts, which should be relatively easy to locate.

    DSC_0106.jpg DSC_0107.jpg DSC_0108.jpg DSC_0109.jpg DSC_0110.jpg DSC_0115.jpg DSC_0116.jpg DSC_0117.jpg DSC_0118.jpg DSC_0119.jpg DSC_0121.jpg DSC_0124.jpg

  19. #19
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    Glad someone has finally got hold of the Hobbs to put Back on the road.
    I did try to get it but got very fed up with all the change of minds and price rises.
    If you have spare set of wheels for my Hobbs I would be very interested.

    Cheers Steve

  20. #20
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    Very nice bike!

    You mentioned opinions on what you should do with the rust and paint. I suggest scuffing the rust almost to bare metal, cleaning the paint and preserving the decals as best possible. I would then have the frame painted with satin clear coat. This will preserve the current patina without further corrosion. The satin finish will also keep the aged look that the frame currently has.

    Good luck,

    Mike
    Current Rides, Look 566 & d' Arienzo-Basso Daily Rides. Cannondale 800 Optimo, utility bike.

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    A classic back and forth on the topic of whether to restore, almost restore, or leave it be. Generally when I buy a classic bike, motorbike or car of the C&V category, I want it untouched (a barn find) or I want it completely restored such that it is completely correct and looks showroom new. I have many ill feelings about buying half restored items as the previous effort is almost always wrongly executed. In the classic car restoration circles there is a well accepted saying that "you do a restoration out of love for the make/mark, not to make as profit". The best examples can be enjoyed on "Barrett Jackson Auctions" (on TV and on the Web) where many a very fine car or truck sells for $45k that costs the restorer at least $90 -> $100k to restore and that is having already paid for the original target car.

    As far as this Hobbs goes. Imho, best left in the original condition as found although the recommendation to clean back the rust a bit and clear coat it seem very sound (I have done that approach). A full restoration would probably put the total cost in at $1,200 and net a bike one could net a sell for around $800 - $900 unless one is very fortunate. Again imho!

    /K

  22. #22
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    you may be interested in this thread, another 1947 Hobbs
    particularly at post 201

  23. #23
    Senior Member Skyshroud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by look566 rider View Post
    Very nice bike!

    You mentioned opinions on what you should do with the rust and paint. I suggest scuffing the rust almost to bare metal, cleaning the paint and preserving the decals as best possible. I would then have the frame painted with satin clear coat. This will preserve the current patina without further corrosion. The satin finish will also keep the aged look that the frame currently has.

    Good luck,

    Mike
    Quote Originally Posted by ksisler View Post
    As far as this Hobbs goes. Imho, best left in the original condition as found although the recommendation to clean back the rust a bit and clear coat it seem very sound (I have done that approach). A full restoration would probably put the total cost in at $1,200 and net a bike one could net a sell for around $800 - $900 unless one is very fortunate. Again imho!

    /K
    Thanks for the continued guidance! The current plan is to complete a 'preservation' rather than a full showroom-esque restoration. I want to clean everything up and remove as much surface rust as possible, but I want to ensure that the paint and decals remain original - as they are in quite good condition, albeit, rather faded after years in storage. I don't want to lose the authenticity, but safely preserve it and get it back on the road, where it deserves to be.

    Do you have any suggestions in terms of products and specific techniques with which to accomplish this?

    Incidentally, I suppose further details on the brand and the bike could be attained from the VCC? I can supply the history of the Hobbs that I received from the original owner if that would be of interest.

  24. #24
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    I use automotive products when working on bicycle appearance issues. Meguires Professional line of products, easy for me as I detail cars as a hobby, so I already have everything I need. Polishes, wax, chrome cleaners etc.

    As for how you clean but not restore your finish, always start with the least aggressive cleaning method. Start with water and mild dish detergent with a old dish towel. Then move to a stronger degreaser to remove stubborn deposits of grease or whatever may be built up on the paint.

    For the Hobbs, you should probably not get any more aggressive then the degreaser, you will probably start removing the finer decals and painted details if you use paint polish or scrub pads on the main painted areas.

    For the areas that have rust you want to reduce, you do want to use a scrub pad such as a Scotch Brite type pads that come in various strengths of aggressiveness. Again start with the least aggressive pad and move up only if needed. Some like to use a Dremel tool for tight areas. With either method take your time to be certain to not damage the area surrounding the rust or go down to shiny bare metal.

    There are satin clear coat spray cans available at most any hardware or paint store. I won't go into paint prep as you can look this up for yourself.

    Looking closer at the pictures of this frame, you may just want to coat the frame liberally with WD40. This will protect the paint and keep the rust from getting any worse. I see to many areas of rust that are mixed in with the decals and paint details you may want to preserve. The methods I suggested above will almost certainly cause further damage.
    Test the WD40 on the decals and paint details to be certain they will not be damaged.

    I expect to hear much grumbling about suggesting use of WD40, this is a good product that is useful in many situations. I have used WD40 as a rust preventer/reducer many times.Whichever way you decide to proceed, I wish you luck!
    Current Rides, Look 566 & d' Arienzo-Basso Daily Rides. Cannondale 800 Optimo, utility bike.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Salubrious's Avatar
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    Get a can of Kroil (kanolabs.com) to loosen any rusted hardware (brake cable adjusters for example). A tube of Simichrome is good for cleaning chrome without scratching (dulling) the finish. Consider a cotterpress for dealing with the crank. Don't use a hammer - unless you don't care about the bearing surfaces. If my surmise is correct, this bike will have a fairly high end BB and you may be quite impressed with the machine work that went into it.

    Fabulous bike- it will be a treat to ride!

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