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1938 Raleigh Golden Arrow

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1938 Raleigh Golden Arrow

Old 05-19-11, 11:57 PM
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auchencrow
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1938 Raleigh Golden Arrow

Raleigh Golden Arrows are easy to find. I just did a site search on C&V and came up two of them!

FTWelder’s:


SailorBenjamin’s


These two bikes made quite an impression on me, but frankly, I was oblivious to 3-speed Nirvana until acquiring my own Sturmey Archer AW-hubbed 51 Armstrong.

Then, Carl Brill stumbles on another GA at a swap meet


OK. That did it. Now I really had Golden Arrow fever. “Gotta get one” I said – I wished I’d be the next guy to stumble on one, I said, - but I knew there was a FAT CHANCE of finding one here in the D.

So, I was looking at CL, as usual, and noted that someone was selling a 60’s Raleigh Superbe with a grainy photo. I tried to ignore it, but it kept looking back. – I told myself it looked too small and it’s been tough selling anything around here.

(So too for the seller - because it sat there waiting for days with no action.)

Finally, I succumbed.
I met the seller at a gas station in Grosse Pointe. The bike looked old - and it was a very low price - so naturally, I bartered it down some more, and the deal was done.

I drove away thinking what a glutton I was for taking on such heavy-duty projects. Still, it was kind of cool. The lights still worked, and the paint was satiny smooth, despite a few rust spots here and there from some long lost clamped on accoutrement.

I took a few photo’s as the light was fading, and posted them on Sixty’s 3-speed thread, soliciting some additional information on my recently acquired Raleigh Superbe....



Then I noticed there were several things that did not seem quite right for a 60’s Superbe:
  • The wheels were the odd S-6’s, i.e., 37x597 vs 37x590 for conventional English 3-speeds
  • The stem was a clamp on instead of a quill.
  • It lacked the frame braze-on for the SA Pulley
  • The AW-8 hub lacked a date - or so I thought
  • The crank had a bolt on heron chain wheel.







The next morning I had a PM from Kurt. I can’t tell you what it said, (it’s against Bike Forums rules to reveal the contents of a PM) – but the title went something like this:

“You lucky, clueless, ba____d!”

I knew that was a good thing coming from Kurt. After all, how many ba____d’s are lucky enough to wish for, and get, a ’38 Raleigh Golden Arrow in just a few days.

- Still there were more questions, and more problems to straighten out.
Figuratively, and literally. . .

It seems there was some unfortunate reorientation of the head tube, which needed to be addressed.

The other revelation had to do with the fact that (despite its original black garb and chromed fork) this was actually a club bike, originally equipped with quick release Bluemel fenders and Lauterwasser style drops. The bars especially will be hard to come by, since the clamp diameter is of the obsolete 15/16” British persuasion.

The ’39 catalog calls for stainless spokes – these are galvanized. In addition, the unmarked wheels may not be original – The box section may be correct, but one would have expected them to be marked “Raleigh Endrick”.

The saddle too, while possibly original, was a Brooks Mattress style, not the Terry spec’d saddle for the club bikes.



- And why did it have an early Patent Pending Dynohub?





There are enough discrepancies with the catalog here, that I suspect it may not be a coincidence that this bike hailed from Grosse Pointe: For those of you who do not know, Grosse Pointe was the preferred address for the wealthiest men in the Auto Industry back in the 30’s. (Henry Ford for one had an estate there).

- and I think Henry would have been one of the very few who would have ordered a top-of-the-line “racing” Raleigh, only to have it all pimped out - “in any color - as long as it was black.”

Could this be his Raleigh?
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Old 05-20-11, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
After all, how many ba____d’s are lucky enough to wish for, and get, a ’38 Raleigh Golden Arrow in just a few days.
...and you didn't even know it was a '38 Golden Arrow until the entire forum let you in on it

-Kurt
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Old 05-20-11, 03:41 AM
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Congrats!

Don't forget this guy..
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ateichm...873630/detail/

My GA is missing the removable chainring option and has an undated K series hub. They all seem to be a bit off-specification and an odd lot all together.

The new guy, Carl Brill and myself also have the rivet type seat stays.

I really wonder about those odd seat stays.
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Old 05-20-11, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
...and you didn't even know it was a '38 Golden Arrow until the entire forum let you in on it

-Kurt
- And it's a darn good thing too, or I might have caved when negotiating the sale price!
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Old 05-20-11, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
- And it's a darn good thing too, or I might have caved when negotiating the sale price!
The Force is strong in this one.
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Old 05-20-11, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ftwelder View Post
Congrats!

Don't forget this guy..
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ateichm...873630/detail/

My GA is missing the removable chainring option and has an undated K series hub. They all seem to be a bit off-specification and an odd lot all together.

The new guy, Carl Brill and myself also have the rivet type seat stays.

I really wonder about those odd seat stays.

How did I miss THIS one?


^ with the exception of that rear rack and reflector, that looks like a pretty original specimen. Very sharp.

I am not altogether sure what original is though - I noticed most, but not all, lack the gold "Golden Arrow" lettering, and they seem to come in black -or (in your case, Frank) blue - instead of the cataloged gold color. Yours lacks the bolt-on chain ring, and Carl's the rear fender QRs'.
It seems the bolt on stays could have been an earlier variant - (especially if the K-series hub pre-dated the AW's, as I think they did.)
I have to conclude that Raleigh must have changed the specs often during its run.

Beyond getting that head tube straightened on mine, I am in a quandary on how to proceed. Finding those Lauterwasser bars will be a challenge and potentially expensive. Soma Fabrications (almost) makes a pretty nice replica, but the clamp diameter I need is the traditional British 15/16" diameter. (It sure would help though, because the northroads tend to put the grips back too far.)

- And If I do locate the bars, that raises the question of the appropriate fenders, and whether to retain the front hub and lighting or swap it for a non-dyno hub and re-lace both wheels with stainless.

I don't think my front lamp mounting bracket is correct either - It seems that the heron motif was with us by '38, and based on the catalog illustration, I'd guess it would have been mounted to the stem binder bolt instead of the headset.

- And I'd wager that the TT shifters are as scarce as hens teeth, and potentially could cost more than I'd be willing to ante up. There are a lot of points to ponder here.

(Any suggestions are welcomed.)
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Old 05-20-11, 06:30 AM
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Some people have all the luck....

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Old 05-20-11, 03:20 PM
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You know, one of my GAs had gold lettering and the other had this gold outline with red filling. That was pretty.

Harris Cyclery has one, too. It's on display on a rack way up high in the back. Laudy, the guy who was helping me, said that Sheldon hated it. He couldn't remember why.
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Old 05-20-11, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
(Any suggestions are welcomed.)
Lottery tickets are always good. Of course the way things are running you'll only need the one. Or perhaps you could find an nos Cyclo setup in a box of yard sale junk, marked down from $5. That'd go well.

It was a lot of fun watching this identification process evolve. Best of luck with that amazing find!
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Old 05-20-11, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
Laudy, the guy who was helping me, said that Sheldon hated it. He couldn't remember why.
It takes a special appreciation to understand a road bike made out of a DL-1

-Kurt
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Old 05-20-11, 04:27 PM
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Auchen, that's a really cool find. But I have a couple of questions--how do you know it's a Golden Arrow? I have the 1938 Raleigh USA catalog, and three models show a chrome fork: the GA, the RRA, and the Special Club Sports (all of which look like terrific machines). You're right in that each calls for stainless spokes, so if your wheels are replacements, you have to hope those are the original hubs. What does the S-A trigger look like? That would help date it (if it's original). Certainly, none of those club bikes had chainguards, so does yours look like a mod? I'm not trying to be a sourpuss, just wanting to help unravel the mystery.

Neal
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Old 05-20-11, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by FlatTop View Post
Lottery tickets are always good. Of course the way things are running you'll only need the one. Or perhaps you could find an nos Cyclo setup in a box of yard sale junk, marked down from $5. That'd go well.

It was a lot of fun watching this identification process evolve. Best of luck with that amazing find!
Thanks for the well wishes, and for the tip on that Cyclo stuff, Flat Top!
Do you think I should go back to the garage sale and get it?
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Old 05-20-11, 04:53 PM
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Auchen, the more I look at the pics of your find posted in that other thread, the more I don't think it's a Golden Arrow. A key clue is that the rear mudguard eyelets aren't up on the seat stays but down below the axle as is true for the Raleigh Sports, even the one from 1938:



Here are the scans from my 1938 Raleigh catalog. Note the rear fender placement of the Sport C Tourist:



Now here are the lightweights:







If Kurt's right about the front-end damage, that fork is likely a replacement (one done in about 1940!). Note, too, that the Sports C Tourist took 590mm/EA3 wheels while the Club bikes took 597/EA1. From what you're reading off of those tires, it sounds like they're EA3 wheels (though still not necessarily original).

Neal
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Old 05-20-11, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Auchen, the more I look at the pics of your find posted in that other thread, the more I don't think it's a Golden Arrow. A key clue is that the rear mudguard eyelets aren't up on the seat stays but down below the axle as is true for the Raleigh Sports, even the one from 1938:
.....

If Kurt's right about the front-end damage, that fork is likely a replacement (one done in about 1940!). Note, too, that the Sports C Tourist took 590mm/EA3 wheels while the Club bikes took 597/EA1. From what you're reading off of those tires, it sounds like they're EA3 wheels (though still not necessarily original).

Neal
Neal -
The rear mudguard eyelets ARE up on the rear seat stays (below) - that is what cinched the GA identification for Kurt.
It has to be a replacement fork based on the frame damage - and I was all ready to paint it black - That is until Kurt told me that the all-chromed fork was called out in the 1939 catalog.

- I am also pretty sure it is not a Sports. (I picked up a '53 Sports but haven't posted anything on it yet).

Your catalog scans are wonderful !
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Old 05-20-11, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
..... You're right in that each calls for stainless spokes, so if your wheels are replacements, you have to hope those are the original hubs. ...

Neal
I believe the rear hub is original - I cannot be certain about the front Dynohub - though I understand it is from the same timeframe. ( Note that a front lamp bracket was standard on the GA - so presumably the Dyno hub was available.)

The actual lights themselves are post-war I think. The older ones are less bullet shaped, from what I've seen on eBay.


Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
..... ... What does the S-A trigger look like? That would help date it (if it's original). ..

Neal
It is definitely a late replacement - I'd say 60's but for sure it's newer than the one on my '53 with a window ALSO - There is witness on the TT - presumably from a TT mounted SA shifter. Good luck finding one though!


Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
..... ... ... Certainly, none of those club bikes had chainguards, so does yours look like a mod?..

Neal
Kurt identified the chain guard as coming from another Manufacturer.. Humbar I think. It is not original and does not really fit well.
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Old 05-20-11, 06:06 PM
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My 1937 catalog has the GA fender stays going to the drops. You can't see the seat stay tops. I think I would call Auchen's a "speed sport" of 37- or a special club 38+. Golden Arrows are supposed to be slacked-out. I think that feature alone is the identifier of this product and virtually any other feature could be a variable. Perhaps the headclip also.

I had thought mine was from the 20's because of the undated K hub but chrome wasn't used 'till 32 or so.
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Old 05-20-11, 06:08 PM
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Going by the '39 catalog, I had to decide between the Golden Arrow and the Special Club Sports. According to the '39 specs, the only distinct difference between the two was the saddle; a Brooks mattress on the GA, and a leather Brooks on the Special Club Sports. Given the condition and build of the saddle on Auchen's frame, I presume that it is original - therefore suggesting a Golden Arrow.

-Kurt
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Old 05-20-11, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
Kurt identified the chain guard as coming from another Manufacturer.. Humbar I think. It is not original and does not really fit well.
Pretty sure it's a pre-Raleigh, Hercules chainguard.

-Kurt
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Old 05-20-11, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ftwelder View Post
I think I would call Auchen's a "speed sport" of 37- or a special club 38+. Golden Arrows are supposed to be slacked-out. I think that feature alone is the identifier of this product and virtually any other feature could be a variable.
It DOES have slack geometry - look at the seat tube angle. The bent headtube makes it appear as if it's normal Sportsesque geometry - but it isn't.

-Kurt
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Old 05-20-11, 06:52 PM
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Auchen, how much does it weigh? That should tell us something. And, Kurt, look at that '38 catalog for the G-A: saddle is a Terry "Oppy" mattress, not a Brooks.

Neal
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Old 05-20-11, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Auchen, how much does it weigh? That should tell us something. And, Kurt, look at that '38 catalog for the G-A: saddle is a Terry "Oppy" mattress, not a Brooks.
Good point, though that '38 catalog has a greater clue - the Special Club Sports is said to have 71 degree frame angles. Though Auchen's frame will undoubtedly be a bit off because of the angle of the top tube at the moment, I'd say a measurement of the seat tube would settle the matter quite quickly.

-Kurt
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Old 05-20-11, 07:23 PM
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sweet
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Old 05-20-11, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Auchen, how much does it weigh? That should tell us something. And, Kurt, look at that '38 catalog for the G-A: saddle is a Terry "Oppy" mattress, not a Brooks.

Neal
It weighs ~38 lbs, Neal, bathroom scale method. - But that is with the fenders, substitute steel rims and bars, the extra head and tail lights, Schwinn block pedals, added on Hercules chain guard, the (presumably)optional Dynohub.
The saddle is a branded Brooks mattress - very old fashioned looking but whether it is original I cannot say.
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Old 05-20-11, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Good point, though that '38 catalog has a greater clue - the Special Club Sports is said to have 71 degree frame angles. Though Auchen's frame will undoubtedly be a bit off because of the angle of the top tube at the moment, I'd say a measurement of the seat tube would settle the matter quite quickly.

-Kurt
I just measured the sear tube at 66 degrees with my builder's square. (My Moto Gr Jubile measured 73, so I think I am measuring reasonably accurately.)
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Old 05-20-11, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by YoKev View Post
sweet
Thanks YoKev!
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