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Automoto : of what era is this specimen?

Old 06-08-20, 05:49 PM
  #1  
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Automoto : of what era is this specimen?

Just found this Automoto. What really caught my attention is how light the bike is, I'd say around 21lbs. The PO repainted it so a "full" restoration seems out of question but it'd great to know more about the bike. 1950s? 1960s? What do you think? Obviously the safety break levers and the handlebar are not original, the wheels have been changed and so have the derailleurs. I don't know much about the Shimano 333 shifters, but stem shifters on a bike this light is surely surprising and they don't seem very French. Maybe the crankset and the brakes are original?

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Old 06-08-20, 06:06 PM
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-----

headset, chainset, pedals and brake calipers appear to be the only remaining original fittings

on the plus side can see no evidence of abuse, damage or modification

as Automotos go it is relatively late, perhaps early 1960's

to see a good deal of Automoto all in one place visit the tontonvelo forum

this will help you to see where it fits in the history of the marque

-----

Last edited by juvela; 06-08-20 at 07:42 PM. Reason: spellin'
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Old 06-08-20, 07:13 PM
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The early MAFAC "Dural Forge" brakes will also net $50-75 if you are parting the bike out.

As to weight I'd wager it's closer to 26 pounds than it is to 21.
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Old 06-08-20, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
The early MAFAC "Dural Forge" brakes will also net $50-75 if you are parting the bike out.

As to weight I'd wager it's closer to 26 pounds than it is to 21.
That would be my guess, too. Nice, eclectic selection of interesting and fairly valuable parts, though. Nice score for the money. Worth parting out, or keeping just to ride
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Old 06-08-20, 09:20 PM
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If I remember correctly ( and I may be wrong) Automoto ceased to exist in 1962 so Your bike looks like it has upgraded parts.

There is a French website(tontonvelo) that has a Serial # database available but its all in French so you got to translate everything into English so its a little time consumig to get he info.
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Old 06-08-20, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Manny66 View Post
If I remember correctly ( and I may be wrong) Automoto ceased to exist in 1962 so Your bike looks like it has upgraded parts.

There is a French website(tontonvelo) that has a Serial # database available but its all in French so you got to translate everything into English so its a little time consumig to get he info.
Good thing I speak French! I'll look it up.
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Old 06-09-20, 04:16 AM
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Gosh, my vote fwiw on a pre "bike boom" frame like this is part out some of the non-original parts and replace them with later, but still French, parts. It is such a nice looking frame, with good chrome that just needs some TLC, and great looking original crank. Plus it seems the chrome "socks" front & back are an unusual bonus feature, as far as Automoto's go. Add a few decals from Velocal's Automoto selection and Voila! https://velocals.com/automoto/

A bit about automoto here: AutoMoto, Main
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Old 06-09-20, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jonny7 View Post
Found this Automoto for $65 and decided to buy it since the derailleurs alone might be worth this price (600AX). But what really caught my attention is how light the bike is, I'd say around 21lbs. The PO repainted it so a "full" restoration seems out of question but it'd great to know more about the bike. 1950s? 1960s? What do you think? Obviously the suicide break levers and the handlebar are not original, the wheels have been changed and so have the derailleurs. I don't know much about the Shimano 333 shifters, but stem shifters on a bike this light is surely surprising and they don't seem very French. Maybe the crankset and the brakes are original?

...





Great find.
At least the rear brake (front brake not visible) is from the earliest "dural forge" type, the one with the oiler holes:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mafac_...57648874564082
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mafac_...7648874564082/

These were seemingly only made for about 2 years, starting from 1951/52. Quite rare. So if the brake belongs to the frame originally, which seems very likely to me, the bike might be from around 1953. Frame's rear Simplex drop outs look very 1950s to me, too.
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Old 06-09-20, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by KenNC View Post
Gosh, my vote fwiw on a pre "bike boom" frame like this is part out some of the non-original parts and replace them with later, but still French, parts. It is such a nice looking frame, with good chrome that just needs some TLC, and great looking original crank. Plus it seems the chrome "socks" front & back are an unusual bonus feature, as far as Automoto's go. Add a few decals from Velocal's Automoto selection and Voila! https://velocals.com/automoto/

A bit about automoto here: AutoMoto, Main
Thanks for the decal website! What would you use to clean the chrome and get rid of the rust on the MAFACs?
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Old 06-09-20, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by jonny7 View Post
Thanks for the decal website! What would you use to clean the chrome and get rid of the rust on the MAFACs?
For the Chrome socks (and fork lugs), I'd just use an inexpensive chrome polish from an automotive store like "Turtle Wax Chrome Polish & Rust Remover." I'd use that on the crankset too. For the small chrome parts from the brakes, I'd soak those in an oxalic acid bath, and then brush with a steel brush (many posts here on oxalic acid baths and you can purchase that dry on ebay). Or I'd get some pre-mixed liquid rust remover (though that tends to get pricey in large amounts). If necessary I'd set up a bigger oxalic acid bath for the socks, and the crankset (but, I don't think that will be necessary!). I'd polish the Mafac aluminum parts with "Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish." I'd then finish all the small metal parts, and the chrome socks, with "Renaissance Wax" microcrystalline wax for some protection. But hey, start of with 3-4 dollars invested in chrome polish, some rags, and within a half hour I bet you'll be very happy with the progress!
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Old 06-09-20, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Manny66 View Post
If I remember correctly ( and I may be wrong) Automoto ceased to exist in 1962 so Your bike looks like it has upgraded parts.

There is a French website(tontonvelo) that has a Serial # database available but its all in French so you got to translate everything into English so its a little time consumig to get he info.
Originally Posted by jonny7 View Post
...





...
I found this table on the TontonVélo website:
https://forum.tontonvelo.com/viewtop...art=60#p206370

Judging from the frame number of your Automoto, around 1953 might be realistic indeed.

That frame seems to be in beautiful condition given its age.
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Old 06-09-20, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
on the plus side can see no evidence of abuse, damage or modification
The dropout appears to have been castrated to fit the Shimano derailleur:



as Automotos go it is relatively late, perhaps early 1960's
That seems a reasonable guess.
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Old 06-09-20, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
The dropout appears to have been castrated to fit the Shimano derailleur:


-----



noticed this truncation as well

assumed it was done to gain room for the insertion/removal of wheel when fitted with a large cross section tyre






-----

-----
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Old 06-09-20, 11:57 AM
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I have drop outs like that on a Jeunet and think they are great--Forged Simplex, provided without a derailleur hanger from the get-go: Not a case of the hanger having been cut off later in time. Gives complete flexibility on what brand of derailleur you put on. I opted for a Huret derailleur to maintain the French theme. Does help to have a spacer on the left side since the auxiliary hangers create spacing on the right side.
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Old 06-11-20, 11:51 AM
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So according to the Tontonvelo forum, this would be a 1953!
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Old 06-11-20, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by KenNC View Post
For the Chrome socks (and fork lugs), I'd just use an inexpensive chrome polish from an automotive store like "Turtle Wax Chrome Polish & Rust Remover." I'd use that on the crankset too. For the small chrome parts from the brakes, I'd soak those in an oxalic acid bath, and then brush with a steel brush (many posts here on oxalic acid baths and you can purchase that dry on ebay). Or I'd get some pre-mixed liquid rust remover (though that tends to get pricey in large amounts). If necessary I'd set up a bigger oxalic acid bath for the socks, and the crankset (but, I don't think that will be necessary!). I'd polish the Mafac aluminum parts with "Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish." I'd then finish all the small metal parts, and the chrome socks, with "Renaissance Wax" microcrystalline wax for some protection. But hey, start of with 3-4 dollars invested in chrome polish, some rags, and within a half hour I bet you'll be very happy with the progress!
I agree, but stress that ONLY steel parts go into oxalic acid. Aluminum does not like oxalic acid.
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Old 06-14-20, 06:41 AM
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Out of curiosity... does the front brake match the rear one (oiler hole MAFAC)?
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Old 06-14-20, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by qd-s View Post
Out of curiosity... does the front brake match the rear one (oiler hole MAFAC)?


Ha! You made me notice the replacement screw!
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Old 06-14-20, 07:58 PM
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Oops, question was about the front brake! Yes it's exactly the same.

Originally Posted by dweenk View Post
I agree, but stress that ONLY steel parts go into oxalic acid. Aluminum does not like oxalic acid.
Pardon my ignorance, but what parts of the brake are aluminum exactly?
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Old 06-15-20, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jonny7 View Post
Oops, question was about the front brake! Yes it's exactly the same.



Pardon my ignorance, but what parts of the brake are aluminum exactly?
The brake arms, pad holders, and straddle cable hanger are aluminum. You could use Evaporust and not worry about - it is kind to aluminum.
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Old 06-16-20, 03:39 AM
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Thanks for your reply!

Originally Posted by jonny7 View Post
....
Ha! You made me notice the replacement screw!
That's a pity because the chromed bolt that has been replaced on your rear brake had a non-standard 14 mm hex head unique to the oiler-hole "dural forges". Later generation Mafac centerpulls have 12 mm heads. An exactly matching spare will be probably unobtainable because of the brake's rarity.
Apart from the different sized heads the bolts are identical, so the later 12 mm specimens will fit your brake (in case you want to replace). The difference would hardly be visible.
There should be abundant supply of 12 mm bolts because the later Mafacs were quite common in the '60s and '70s.

Originally Posted by jonny7 View Post
Oops, question was about the front brake! Yes it's exactly the same.
That is good news.
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Old 06-16-20, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jonny7 View Post
So according to the Tontonvelo forum, this would be a 1953!
Glad you got your questions answered, very nice Automoto, I'd have taken that for 65 in a heartbeat kbut then I got a soft spot for Automotos even if they were pretty much mass products)
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