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Mystery Nervex Lugged Frame and unusual serial numbers

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Mystery Nervex Lugged Frame and unusual serial numbers

Old 06-11-17, 08:57 AM
  #1  
MrJustin72
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Mystery Nervex Lugged Frame and unusual serial numbers

Hi

I've just joined the Forums and would like some help in identifying a recent Ebay purchase. It looks to be a 1950's English frame with Nervex lugs. The dimensions are 22.5 inches BB to seat tube. Top tube also 22.5 inches. It was resprayed plain black which I've now sanded down to the bare metal. I thought it to originally be a Holdsworth (maybe Typhoon from late 50's) as the frame looks similar to my Whirlwind. However, it's the serial numbers that are confusing me. On the BB is stamped 231033 on the drive side. This same number is stamped at 12 o'clock on the headtube, just above where the headbadge would have been. Unusually the same number is also stamped into the patterned fork crown on LHS. There are other numbers also stamped into BB namely 5349 on non drive side, with '53' at right angles to it. Also, there is L62103 stamped into the BB. This is in addition to the usual long Nervex serial number. Other clues, there is 56-57cm between the headbadge holes. The rear brake bridge is straight but quite ornate with diamond shaped braze on's at each end. The seat stays are wrap around, in the style of 50's Claud Butlers. The drop outs are Cyclo Benelux with no serial numbers stamped on. There are also pump braze on's along the downtube.

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Old 06-11-17, 02:32 PM
  #2  
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hello and welcome to the forum MrJustin72,

thanks for sharing this fascinating frameset.

crown looks to be Vagner model DP.

"long NERVEX serial number" is a description of the shell's dimensions.

gear hanger appears to have been added on. not one of the forged ones as available from Campag but more likely cut from a stamped bolt-on gear hanger.

fine job with photos and text description. serial placement and format when combined with frame ends, seat stay treatment and headplate fastener dimension are all valuable clues which should twig someone's memory.

"oh that we always received such excellent information on these frame ID queries!"

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Last edited by juvela; 06-11-17 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 06-11-17, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
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(snippage)

gear hanger appears to have been added on. not one of the forged ones as available from Campag but more likely cut from a stamped bolt-on gear hanger.


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Add to that it appears the lower portion of the rear drop appears to be cut short.
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Old 06-11-17, 03:14 PM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
Add to that it appears the lower portion of the rear drop appears to be cut short.
Thanks Lynn,

Noticed this as well, same on both sides.

Purpose? Easier wheel removal/insertion?

Perhaps owner liked to do "rough stuff"/"path" and wanted to run a somewhat larger than typical tyre cross section.

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Last edited by juvela; 06-11-17 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 06-11-17, 03:46 PM
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The Cyclo dropouts (including the fronts, which are a fairly "old-fashioned" pattern) and lack of integral derailleur hanger suggest a construction date late 40s or early 50s at the latest. Ditto for what appears to be a hole for zerk fitting on NDS of the BB. By the early 50s most builders of quality frames had adopted forged dropouts from Simplex or Cyclo, and slightly thereafter, the thicker Campagnolo and Simplex variety.

I was going to suggest, based the similarities in semi-wrap seat stay caps and the dropouts, but mostly the serial number, that your frame might be by R.O. Harrison; however, the classiclightweights site's Nervex page says that their castings and stampings weren't imported to Britain before 1950. Harrison's serial scheme seemed to be month last digit of year, followed by cumulative frame number. I recently came by one that's 402907: presumed to be April 1950, frame 2907. Serials on on steerer tube and BB reading upright across underside of downtube entry. There are other differences, that might be explained by your frame being a few years later; but unless the cumulative part of the serial is incorrect, it's probably not Harrison's. Also, I think he used detachable head badges earlier on, but switched to transfers later.

One other general dating clue might be whether the head tube/down tube lug has a pair of horns facing front (earlier) or a "fishtail" there (later). One other observation: Cyclo made cut dropouts earlier for both front and rear, and obviously the rear ones on this frame are forged, while the fronts are old-timey in shape and also cut; so it seems to me that early 50s, in a "dropouts-transitional" era, is likely. Coincidentally, the same rear dropouts (but not same fronts) appear on the Carlton Clubman posted by NickFavicchio today.

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Old 06-11-17, 09:27 PM
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I cannot offer help except I DON'T think it's a Holdsworth, and it DOES look like a nice frame (with some slight mods) and interesting to find out if it gets ID'd!
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Old 06-12-17, 02:01 PM
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Thank you all for your help so far. The RO Harrison suggestion makes sense but I think you're right about the serial number. My thoughts are that it's possibly a 1953 frame from the shorter serial number, and maybe 23 could be February 1953? The 1033 could be the total numbers produced and the '49' maybe the frames produced that year? Does anyone know if any other frame builders used 6 digit serial numbers? I've attached a Brampton BB cup which confirms it's definitely an English thread. I've also attached a few more photos showing the earlier Nervex pro lugs. The front forks look to have been chromed as well.
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Old 06-12-17, 07:05 PM
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Whoever fashioned it had a bit of a compulsion regarding numbers, that's for sure! Maybe all these older ones are like that, once your remove all the paint. I hope you get to the bottom of it.
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Old 06-12-17, 09:08 PM
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This is the first time I've seen a frame provided with such a plethora of numbers! I am seeing 231033 showing up on the BB shell, head tube and fork crown. Probably stamped on the fork steerer, too, at that rate

And then all the other numbers on the non-drive side of the shell. Btw, is that a crack I see inside the top of the seat tube? I'm afraid it is. Easy fix for any competent framebuilder, tho, and what more perfect candidate - no paint to fry!

Neat score. I hope someone ID's it soon.

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Old 06-18-17, 07:13 AM
  #10  
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I'm now thinking this could be an early Ernie Clements frame (pre Falcon) from the design and what I believe to be the original serial number 5349. Also a late 40's Ernie Clements has come up on eBay and the rear brake bridge matches. What I think has happened at some point is another frame builder/repairer has adapted it in the past and plugged up the lubrication hole on BB, cut down the drop outs as well as renumbering it.
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