When I first saw this bike, I wondered about the colour scheme, because a light blue with a purple-brown seemed an odd choice of clashing colours. I’ve now discovered the real frame colour after some dismantling and cleaning, and this was quite a surprise.
The purple-brown is actually the faded and degraded remains of a strong magenta.
Here you can see the new vs. old underneath the chain guard bracket and behind the chain guard and mudguards. What a difference! The blue is a more stable colour and has not degraded as much – so now I get it!
The bike must have got some looks when new, as I would imagine the colours as being pretty wild for the 1940s, but then again, many things from the past seem more drab than they were simply because of deterioration, e.g.with some ancient monuments and statues. Though it’s not metallic, this colour made me think of the “candy-apple” hot rod type colours that became popular decades on.
Speedwell seemed to be a company that spent a lot of time developing their bicycle colour schemes and decoration – but it will be impossible to restore this colour fully from where it is now by cutting back, because the paint is so thin, rusted and faded already. Best to let it bask in faded glory then, and I am thinking cleaning and clear coating at this stage.
Also, here are some more small details that I have uncovered:
The right hand 5 pin bolt-up chain wheel crank is marked “Utility” “Made in England” and the chain wheel stamped “44” (i.e. 44T)
The crank axle is stamped “RTM AUST” and the rear sprocket is 18T
Rear Tyre is “Dunlop Atlantic” made in Australia 28″ x1 & 3/8″
Front tyre Is a more recent “Swallow” brand, and neither would be original.
The remaining pedal is stamped “JRC” “Made in Belgium” on its bearing cover.
Anyway, got to go – rust never sleeps…