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Mystery Mistral

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Mystery Mistral

Old 06-07-15, 02:42 PM
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jonwvara 
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Mystery Mistral



Here are a couple of images of a Holdsworth Mistral frame I'm helping a local high schooler build up. He couldn't care less exactly when it was made, and there's no good reason why he should care. But I'm curious.

It's spaced for a 120 hub, although the brake pads seem to be positioned for 700 wheels. No idea what wheelset was on it last. Campagnolo dropouts and a Tange headset, though of course the headset may not be original--ditto for the SR crankset. The crank is date-stamped 1985, which seems pretty late for this bike. As far as I have been able to learn, no one has cracked the Holdsworth serial number code, but for what it's worth the SN is 066455.

I was initially confused by the apparent lack of a 531 decal, since I thought that all Mistrals used 531 tubing. On closer examination, though, there seems to be a faint ghost mark of a decal near the top of the seat tube--I doubt that it will show up in the bad photo. The 27.2 seatpost would seem to be compatible with Reynolds 531 tubing, yes?

The remaining paint is sound, but there are a lot of scrapes, scratches, and inept touchup work. It should build up into a pretty nice rider. Or maybe I mean a nice, non-pretty rider.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Holdsworth frame 1.jpg (101.8 KB, 85 views)
File Type: jpg
Holdsworth frame 2.jpg (101.4 KB, 69 views)
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Last edited by jonwvara; 06-07-15 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 06-07-15, 07:44 PM
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Hi jonwvara,

The serial number looks like a 1985 number to me. When Holdsworthy moved into their larger Oakfield Road factory late in 1975 until their takeover by Marlboro in 1985 they used a 6 digit number system which always began with 0 and progressed sequentially including Claud frames in the same system. I have seen a confirmed 1984 Holdsworth Triath-Elan on Kilgariff's site with serial number 056767. I also have found a 1985 Claud Butler Majestic Mixte with number 064865 which is only 1590 frames earlier than your own. (the factory was producing approx. 10,000 frames per annum by this time) This is pretty good evidence that the frame number 066455 is a 1985. See summary attached to a Flickr pic of my '68 Claud:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/767624...7648723035788/ Hope this is of help.

Is there a Mistral decal on this frame? Kilgariff states the Mistral may have been offered in 1984 but was not to be found in a 1985 catalog. The Mistral he has in the '83 catalog has a lamp post braze-on - I notice yours does not.

D

Last edited by allend; 06-07-15 at 07:50 PM. Reason: math
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Old 06-07-15, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by allend View Post
Hi jonwvara,

The serial number looks like a 1985 number to me. When Holdsworthy moved into their larger Oakfield Road factory late in 1975 until their takeover by Marlboro in 1985 they used a 6 digit number system which always began with 0 and progressed sequentially including Claud frames in the same system. I have seen a confirmed 1984 Holdsworth Triath-Elan on Kilgariff's site with serial number 056767. I also have found a 1985 Claud Butler Majestic Mixte with number 064865 which is only 1590 frames earlier than your own. (the factory was producing approx. 10,000 frames per annum by this time) This is pretty good evidence that the frame number 066455 is a 1985. See summary attached to a Flickr pic of my '68 Claud:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/767624...7648723035788/ Hope this is of help.

Is there a Mistral decal on this frame? Kilgariff states the Mistral may have been offered in 1984 but was not to be found in a 1985 catalog. The Mistral he has in the '83 catalog has a lamp post braze-on - I notice yours does not.

D
Hi Allend,

Many thanks for all that. There is a Mistral decal on the top tube--you can barely see it in the photo I posted, where it just looks like a scrape. Let me know if you'd like to see a photo of the decal itself.

JV
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Old 06-07-15, 08:24 PM
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interesting. The lack of downtube shifter braze-ons, long drop-outs, 120 spacing would put it in the 1970s one would think. The over the BB cable routing was seen in the 1980s and brazed on top tube cable guides were seen in the early 1970s even. So one with no knowledge of holdsworth would certainly guess 1970s. It's a nice frame and my size. I am somewhat lusting after it. Show us the final build.
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Old 06-07-15, 08:26 PM
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A 1985 with over the BB cable routing, 120mm spacing, and long Campagnolo drops? I dunno. Looks about 10 or 15 years earlier to me. But I know nothing about Holdsworths.
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Old 06-08-15, 05:20 AM
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Hi again,
If one studies the catalog pics and specs sheets from Kilgariff's site you can see that the Holdsworth Mistral model in 1983 did indeed have Campy dropouts, over the bracket cable guides and a 5 speed freewheel. There is no record of an 84 catalog and by 1985 the Mistral was no longer listed in the catalog, although the Brevet and Special did still have over the BB cable routing.
Holdsworth Models
Late 1983 Catalogue
1985 Catalogue
D

Last edited by allend; 06-08-15 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 06-08-15, 06:24 AM
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Just considering the graphics:

1976 Catalog:


1978 Catalog:


1980 NOS frame:


Assuming OP's friend's bike is in original paint, it isn't much earlier than 1980.

Holdsworth was a factory-made custom bike. As I understand it, you had to order the frame to be made. So maybe there were a lot of options....
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Old 06-08-15, 09:58 AM
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Holdsworth seemed to hang on to the past [longer than maybe they should have]. For example, my '73 Record still came with the bronze Record rear derailleur (NR came out in '67?), and the Record FD still had the cable stop. The crankset is a cottered steel unit - although cottered cranks were still in use then, even my '72 Gitane Interclub (entry level bike) I bought way back then had an alloy cotterless crank.
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Old 06-08-15, 10:02 AM
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Very interesting, I would never have expected to see a bike from the mid 80's with those attributes.
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