Firestone Special Cruiser

Discussion in 'Classic Balloon Tire Bicycles 1933-1965' started by EXP Jawa, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. #1 Posted Feb 17, 2012
    EXP Jawa

    EXP Jawa Look Ma, No Hands!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    I picked this up last night, found on craigslist locally, for $120:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I believe it to be Huffman built. There is a serial under the bottom bracket and on the left dropout. Under the BB: 178-9A-79. On the dropout: 5H067690.

    Can someone tell me the year, and maybe something more about this model? Thanks.
     
    #1 EXP Jawa, Feb 17, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  2. #2 Posted Feb 19, 2012
    EXP Jawa

    EXP Jawa Look Ma, No Hands!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Anyone? I can't believe nobody knows about Firestone ballooners...
     
  3. #3 Posted Feb 19, 2012
    OldRider

    OldRider Cruisin' on my Bluebird

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,082
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Sure looks like a Huffman serial number, the number in front of the letter H equals the year it was built...... so you have a 5, so in my opinion that will be either 1945 or 1955. Thats one helluva deal for 120 bucks, good job!
     
  4. #4 Posted Feb 19, 2012
    EXP Jawa

    EXP Jawa Look Ma, No Hands!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Great, thanks. Can somebody tell me if the sprocket is correct for a Huffman bike of that vintage? It looks a bit like a Wald-style to me, but I don't know what a correct one would look like. Also, what make rear hub would Huffman have been likely to use?
     
  5. #5 Posted Feb 19, 2012
    OldRider

    OldRider Cruisin' on my Bluebird

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,082
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    We have a Huffman guru here, hopefully he sees this post and chimes in.37Fleetwood is his handle here.
     
    #5 OldRider, Feb 19, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  6. #6 Posted Feb 20, 2012
    EXP Jawa

    EXP Jawa Look Ma, No Hands!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Alright, well, the question now is: what do I do with it? To be clear, the question is somewhat rhetorical; at the end of the day, I'll do with it what best suits me. I just have to figure out what that is. I bought it because I wanted a straightbar frame of some sort with a tank for a specific project. I'd be, in all likelihood, replacing everything else one way or another and completely repainting what I keep. But I got this thing home, and after looking it over, it appears to be all original and intact (assuming the chainring is correct). It even still has (badly cracked) Firestone tires on it.

    At this point, I'd have a real hard time repainting it or even striping this thing down. But I'm not sure how to make it useable without disturbing its condition, not to mention that it means that I'm back to square one for my other project. I suppose cleaning and regreasing the bearings is obvious enough. What about, say, the wheels, though? I'm not sure if I'd trust them to ride on, or if they could really ever be trued up given the rusty spokes and nipples. Maybe the answer is to use a set of new wheels/tires when riding and hanging onto the OEM set for other reasons. Or perhaps I'm better off respoking the original rims and hubs. What do people often do in this situation? Then there's the finish - should I just get a tetnus booster shot and ride it as it is? Do people clearcoat over the patina to preserve it (I can't imagine it really adhering well)?

    Like I've said elsewhere, a bike that can't be used has little appeal to me. But at the same time, I can't see restoring or refinishing this bike because of how interesting it is now. A bit of a dilema...
     
  7. #7 Posted Feb 20, 2012
    Barkeep

    Barkeep Finally riding a big boys bike

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    99
    Location:
    Texas
    for huffman built bicycles 1955 is denoted with a "5H" and a 6 digit number following. ex: 5Hxxxxxx
     
  8. #8 Posted Feb 20, 2012
    twjensen

    twjensen Finally riding a big boys bike

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Messages:
    381
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Spokane, WA.
    Lube, (clean optional) RIDE....see its that easy.
     
    schwinndoggy likes this.
  9. #9 Posted Feb 20, 2012
    bentpedal

    bentpedal Look Ma, No Hands!

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2009
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Denver
    Nice bike, great patina. I would try restoring the wheels/spokes- more often than not, it can be done. Judging from the look of your bike I would say you could. you would probably have to replace a few spokes. If you know how to re-lace- have a truing stand, and don't mind spending money for the spokes, it's a nice way to go, and sometimes there's no choice. Unless you learn how to do your own wheel work though, it's going to end up costing allot to have someone else do it, besides, having new wheels on an old bike can really ruin it's appeal- (to me) anyway. Take your spoke wrench and check a few nipples- don't force anything, just see if you can get a few to turn a bit. Look for spun/deformed nipples. If there's more than a few:( you will probably have to re-lace the wheel. Scrub a spoke and nipple enough to see if the rust will come off. You can use brass bristled brushes, (toothbrush size) for nipples, and steel wool for the spokes. First scrub the rust off the spoke nipples, especially the tops. I leave the tires on at this stage just to protect the rims. Apply drops of penetrating fluid- (Rust Buster) etc, trying to get it down into the top of the nipples. I even slightly squeeze the spokes and/or tap on them with something as I'm applying the fluid, anything to help the fluid to go down. Remove tires, tubes and rim liners, and drip fluid onto the back of the nipples as well. Let stand for a few days- more applications, the more days the better. Wipe all the fluid off the nipples- so your spoke wrench doesn't spin. Brass nipples are soft. Once you spin/deform a nipple you screwed. Patience- your the ("spoke whisperer") dude. Make sure you have the (right size) wrench. I have had to buy a universal spoke wrench, and file out a smaller nipple slot, so that it fit my 70 year old nipples... Sometimes there will be resistance, but then you will hear a pop when it breaks free and starts to turn. Sometimes it won't turn. You may need to replace that spoke. you don't necessarily need all the spokes working to true a wheel. Rusty spokes are a bummer, and the fact that there are 72 of em doesn't help. The chrome on your bars/stem/crankarms etc. should clean up really good using (KRUD KUTTER) rust remover and a brass brush. Hope this helps. Oh, and I had a girls Special Cruiser and it had the same type of front sprocket and chainguard.
     
  10. #10 Posted Feb 21, 2012
    EXP Jawa

    EXP Jawa Look Ma, No Hands!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Thanks for all the info. I don't have a truing stand yet, it's on my list once I get my new workbench in place. Right now, I have very limited room to work with. But learning to lace wheels is something that I'm planning on doing real soon anyway. I just have too many bikes with special wheel needs to justify paying the LBS to do them all for me. Well, especially since they closed down a couple months ago...
     
  11. #11 Posted Jun 12, 2016
    mmk988

    mmk988 On Training Wheels

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Virginia
    I picked this up at a yard sale. Would appreciate any help with age and value if someone might know. This has white rims with red stripe. There is a stamped number on the seat tube - 1H220822. Under the bike it appears numbers are 178-2-9AM? Measurement is 16inches. Lobdell Emery Seat. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Badge.jpg

    Rear hub.jpg

    Seat Logo.jpg

    Side view.jpg

    Side view 2.jpg
     
  12. #12 Posted Jun 12, 2016
    partsguy

    partsguy Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    6,734
    Likes Received:
    298
    Location:
    The Land of Oz
    1951 Huffman-built Firestone.
     
  13. #13 Posted Jun 12, 2016
    mmk988

    mmk988 On Training Wheels

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Virginia
    Do you think it appears to be all original and is it worth anything? Or can you direct me to a sight that could help with this? I have a headache trying to search this out. Thank you
     
  14. #14 Posted Jun 13, 2016
    partsguy

    partsguy Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    6,734
    Likes Received:
    298
    Location:
    The Land of Oz
    It is original, but not mint. I'd say the value is about $150-$200.
     
Loading...