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1979 California Cruiser or Spitfire?

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1979 California Cruiser or Spitfire?

Old 12-19-21, 09:49 AM
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BouleyRE
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1979 California Cruiser or Spitfire?

Greetings
I am restoring a Lightweight Cruiser style Schwinn SN HQ519685. I believe it is a California Cruiser due to the chain guard having a a upswept tail on the End of it.
is there a way to tell model by the serial Number? HQ designates 1979. The crank has 2 numbers SA 1873 and 127 128. I am also looking for a Head Badge the holes on the frame Neck are 3 1/2 inches apart. is this a 1088 Head badge?
Thanks for any help
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Old 12-19-21, 02:00 PM
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can't help with the bike but here is my '79 Spitfire...


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Old 12-20-21, 06:23 AM
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I prefer the GT6, personally.

(My Dad had one, I believe it was a 1973 MkIII. I got to drive it a couple of times as a teenager, what a blast - even better than the TR7, IMHO. Unfortunately, Dad didn't really like working on cars, which is less than ideal if you're an owner of a Triumph.)
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Old 12-20-21, 11:07 PM
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See if this helps
https://bikehistory.org/
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Old 12-20-21, 11:50 PM
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@BouleyRE I went though the 1979 catalog and only found the Spitfire, Typhoon or Heavy Duti for cantilever style frames that year. All three of these models have straight chainguards in the catalog.

1979 Schwinn Catalog

It seems that the California Cruiser was a 1976 or 1977 model that had a trademark issue so they changed the name to Spitfire.

The silkscreen on these chainguards fades over time and usage. Can you make out a shadow from the original graphic? Based on the story so far it could be one of the following:
- This could be an earlier chainguard that was bolted on to your '79 bike
- Schwinn still had some old chainguards in 1979
- It is an earlier year bike and the chainguard is original

It looks like in 1978 Schwinn went to the straight chainguard, at least on the Typhoon.

I am assuming that you put your full serial number into the Schwinn History lookup and it told you that the bike was manufactured in 1979.

Bike History Serial Number Lookup
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Old 12-21-21, 08:25 AM
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I prefer just about any 70s British sports car.
Tim
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Old 12-21-21, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
'79 Spitfire...
Flipped one of those in a corn field going to hot into a corner. Got out, couple guys flipped it back over and drove off.

Awesomely fun ride
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Old 12-21-21, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
I prefer the GT6, personally.

(My Dad had one, I believe it was a 1973 MkIII. I got to drive it a couple of times as a teenager, what a blast - even better than the TR7, IMHO. Unfortunately, Dad didn't really like working on cars, which is less than ideal if you're an owner of a Triumph.)
'72 TR6 - fortunately I like working on cars, because this puppy really needed some TLC

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Old 12-21-21, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
can't help with the bike but here is my '79 Spitfire...


My mom had a white one like that. Straight 6 and twin SU carbs if I remember right.

My mini had an SU.
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Old 12-21-21, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
My mom had a white one like that. Straight 6 and twin SU carbs if I remember right.

My mini had an SU.
Spitfires only ever had a four-cylinder, although a few had twin carbs. The only Triumph coupes/roadsters that came with 6s were the GT6 (2 liter) the TR5/250/6 (2.5 liter)
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Old 12-21-21, 05:36 PM
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Thank you for your input

I think I may have a schwinn with replacement parts. My Bike has the star Sprocket shape and not the clover pattern. (in the catalog 79 spitfire has clover pattern)

searched the SN and it came up August 79. Chainguard with tailfin could be the inconsistency in parts assembly? same with sprocket. No way to tell which Model by serial number?

No help with decal on chainguard, Long gone. do the crank numbers tell anything? Also is the 2 1/2 " head badge unique?

Looking to put the correct decals back on but could be impossible to know which bike i have?.

Thanks Again.
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Old 12-21-21, 07:09 PM
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Sounds like a Typhoon. Which kind of handle bars does it have?
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Old 12-21-21, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
Spitfires only ever had a four-cylinder, although a few had twin carbs. The only Triumph coupes/roadsters that came with 6s were the GT6 (2 liter) the TR5/250/6 (2.5 liter)
Maybe I remember wrong or maybe it wasnít the original engine.

It was rounded like yours, the hood opened the wrong way, and the front suspension looked similar to what I imagine a 60ís F1 car suspension would look like.
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Old 12-21-21, 08:08 PM
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Sorry for hijacking this thread. I love my Spitfire, it is such a fun car to drive. And yes, there always seems to be something to be done on it.
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Old 12-21-21, 11:05 PM
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Interesting piece of information @BouleyRE . The Spitfire had the four leaf clover chainring and the Typhoon had the "Mag' chainring. Here is a link to a Schwinn Mag chainring:

Bicycle Heaven Mag Chainring

As @curbtender mentioned you may have a Typhoon. By the way, thanks for the video. This shows a restored Typhoon including the correct headbadge. The original seat would have been a blue vinyl seat with the "S" painted on it. The replacement seat that grandma put on was more comfortable and not an uncommon change. The crank on that bike had been changed though. That is not a Schwinn Ashtabula crank.

Your crank has a date code on it that looks like it is from the 18th month of 1973. So, 1979 for the frame and 1973 for the crank. It was and still common to swap parts on these bike since they are easily interchangeable.

One good thing about the headbadge is that you can find one on eBay. You would prefer one that does NOT have numbers stamped into it.

From the 1979 Schwinn catalog the Spitfire came in Cardinal Red, Sky Blue and Black. The Typhoon only came in Sky Blue. And the Heavy-Duti only (New York Taxi Cab) Yellow. Did you say what color your bike is? Do you think it is the original paint?

Try posting a picture or many pictures of your bike to your Bike Forum gallery. Perhaps someone can get the picture and post it here. Or just respond 5 times a day and in two days you'll be up to the level needed to post your own pictures.
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Old 12-22-21, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
Maybe I remember wrong or maybe it wasnít the original engine.

It was rounded like yours, the hood opened the wrong way, and the front suspension looked similar to what I imagine a 60ís F1 car suspension would look like.
itís possible - Iíve seen Spitfires retrofitted with GT6 engines. All of these carsí hoods hinged at the front, and opening the Spitfire/GT6 hood exposed the front end workings
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Old 12-22-21, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
itís possible - Iíve seen Spitfires retrofitted with GT6 engines. All of these carsí hoods hinged at the front, and opening the Spitfire/GT6 hood exposed the front end workings
really makes getting in there a breeze.
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