« Last post by jsmaloney on April 23, 2017, 10:13:43 AM »
I recently found a 24" Deluxe Spitfire at an antique mall. I have done some digging and found old catalog pictures (thanks Memory Lane Classics links). Even before I found the pictures, I suspected the bike should not have chrome fenders. The fenders appear to be after-market because they have screws holding on the fender stays instead of the factory rivets. The other thing is that I'm pretty sure the rear fender is actually a 26" fender because it looks like it has too much space between the fender and the wheel. I also suspect the bike should have painted rims rather than chrome? The other thing I'm not sure about is that it looks like it might not be the original handlebar stem, but maybe they put a cheaper stem on the less expensive models like the Spitfire. I have not been able to find a close-up picture so I could confirm whether it should have the fancier forged stem that I remember from Schwinns I have seen from the 60's. The tires are dry rotted, so I already ordered a pair of NOS tires that I want to put on the bike so I can ride it.
Aside from these issues, I can't seem to find any reference to a Deluxe Spitfire in any literature. I can tell from the chain guard that this appears to be a later 50's vintage because it does not have the same appearance that the chain guards on the Spitfires had in the early 50's. I saw reference to a Deluxe version of other models like the American, Hornet, Panther, etc. but not the Spitfire unless it was from the early 50's.
Does anyone have information on what equipment a late 50's Deluxe Spitfire would have so I can try to track it down to get this bike back to 100% original equipment? If it turns out this happens to be a rare model that people with large collections would like to add to fill in a gap, I would be interested in doing a trade. I am actually interested in a decent all original 26" middle weight bike that would be a better fit for me to ride because I am 6'3". When I bought this bike, I actually bought it while it was hanging from a ceiling and did not notice until after I paid for it, and it was on the ground, that it is a 24" bike. I didn't feel right backing out on the transaction, so I'm going to make the best of it and over time, I'll get to a 26" model.
I will thank everyone in advance for any help that you can provide!