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The last pre-'W'-format Worksop serial? 1973 Carlton Professional A9999

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The last pre-'W'-format Worksop serial? 1973 Carlton Professional A9999

Old 03-16-20, 04:14 PM
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mikemowbz 
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The last pre-'W'-format Worksop serial? 1973 Carlton Professional A9999

As Worksop-built Raleigh aficionados are aware, there was a notable transition in serial # format 1973/1974 with the introduction of the 'W' serial format in which the digit following the 'W' (which continued to be the prefix for all serials until the end of the Worksop factory's working days) denoted the last digit in the year of fabrication.

Prior to this, things were a bit haphazard, though mostly more-or-less decipherable based on available data. A letter followed by 4 digits, typically...with the relevant letter prefix by no means obviously sequential (not in any fashion that those of us used to reciting our ABCs in that order would properly fathom, at least). i.e. 'F' = 1971, 'A' = 1973...

As I understand it, the prefix in use immediately prior to institution of the later 'W' serial format was 'A', covering all or part of 1973, with the 'W' format beginning late 1973 or 1974.

Which brings me to a recent eBay score: a 1973 Carlton Professional frame and fork, serial A9999.

Bike is a Raleigh Pro by another name - but head badge and evidence of Lagoon-blue overspray (Team Carlton signature colour) on the steerer of this obvious repaint does seem to indicate it was one of the Carlton-badged models sold in UK or European markets.

Has been repainted gold with foil Carlton decals and a Reynolds decal that's a few years too late in style. Original head badge (I presume).

'CC' Carlton Cycles BB cutout. Brampton Victor fastback seat lug. Sloping fork crown. Etc.

'A9999' stamped on the BB, and '9999' stamped on the fork steerer, partly overlaid by the aforementioned Lagoon Blue overspray...though paint on the fork legs has been removed to reveal bare chrome.

Perhaps the last frame built at Worksop before they switched to the 'W'-format serial?

I don't consider this possibility a terribly significant thing, if true...but perhaps just the kind of arcane nugget that only a vintage bike nerd could appreciate?

Pics later today!

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Old 03-17-20, 03:09 PM
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Pics as promised:

DSC01305 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr

DSC01310 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr

DSC01308 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr

DSC01307 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr
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Old 03-17-20, 05:05 PM
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Looks like a 25.5" Raleigh Professional frame to me. The Carlton catalogues from the early '70s suggests the actual Carlton model sold in England only went up to a 24" frame size. If it is a stock English frame the measurement from c-t should be a 25" at max. The US market had the half inch sizes (23.5, 24.5, 25.5) but I think the Carlton branded ones were on the inch, like 23, 24, 25.

​​What is this one?
​​​​
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Old 03-17-20, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Looks like a 25.5" Raleigh Professional frame to me. The Carlton catalogues from the early '70s suggests the actual Carlton model sold in England only went up to a 24" frame size. If it is a stock English frame the measurement from c-t should be a 25" at max. The US market had the half inch sizes (23.5, 24.5, 25.5) but I think the Carlton branded ones were on the inch, like 23, 24, 25.

​​What is this one?
​​​​
Does look like 25.5in centre of BB to top of seat lug, based on a quick measurement. Approximately ~57cm TT. Definitely a tall one - I'm almost 6' 3" and have just-adequate standover clearance.

As noted in OP, original paint colour prior to the rather obvious repaint appears to be Lagoon Blue or a very close facsimile thereof (based on ample overspray present on fork steerer, and on some very small remainder elsewhere on fork - inspected close-up in person under good light, most definitely not Raleigh 'mink' blue). Fork matches frame numbering: '9999' stamped on steerer.

Head tube has only two head badge rivet holes, not the three that would be present to secure the Raleigh 'heron' head badge.

The head badge present is currently attached with adhesive, rather than riveted, but has period-correct appearance.

Could you tell me where you've seen the relevant early 1970s UK Carlton catalogues? I've looked, but have not come across that material online.
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Old 03-17-20, 07:29 PM
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You'll learn a lot from this fellow's post about his beautiful 1971 Carlton Professional refurb. I have scanned copies of the 1970 and 1971 catalogues but the information for the professional frames that I have is all shown in his post:

THE FLYING WHEEL: 1971 Carlton Team Professional Mk3

You'll note the two advertisements (1970 and 1971) for the Mark III frames in particular only show the Carlton Professional being built in up to a 24" model. This is at the same time that the Raleigh Professional here in the USA was definitely being advertised as coming in 24.5" and 25.5" frame sizes for the larger models.

-Gregory
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Old 03-17-20, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
You'll learn a lot from this fellow's post about his beautiful 1971 Carlton Professional refurb. I have scanned copies of the 1970 and 1971 catalogues but the information for the professional frames that I have is all shown in his post:

THE FLYING WHEEL: 1971 Carlton Team Professional Mk3

You'll note the two advertisements (1970 and 1971) for the Mark III frames in particular only show the Carlton Professional being built in up to a 24" model. This is at the same time that the Raleigh Professional here in the USA was definitely being advertised as coming in 24.5" and 25.5" frame sizes for the larger models.

-Gregory
Thanks for the link. I'll have a more thorough read tomorrow when I've got a bit of time to myself after work!
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