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  1. #1
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    Default Firestone Special Cruiser


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    I picked this up last night, found on craigslist locally, for $120:




    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.
    Last edited by EXP Jawa; 02-17-2012 at 08:23 AM.
    Rick the Jawa
    Bicycle hoarder & part collector...

  2. #2
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    Anyone? I can't believe nobody knows about Firestone ballooners...
    Rick the Jawa
    Bicycle hoarder & part collector...

  3. #3
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    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
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    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?
    Rick the Jawa
    Bicycle hoarder & part collector...

  5. #5
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    We have a Huffman guru here, hopefully he sees this post and chimes in.37Fleetwood is his handle here.
    Last edited by OldRider; 02-19-2012 at 07:05 PM.

  6. #6
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    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...
    Rick the Jawa
    Bicycle hoarder & part collector...

  7. #7
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    for huffman built bicycles 1955 is denoted with a "5H" and a 6 digit number following. ex: 5Hxxxxxx

  8. #8
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    Lube, (clean optional) RIDE....see its that easy.
    Please contact me directly
    timwjensen@gmail.com

  9. #9
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    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
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    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...
    Rick the Jawa
    Bicycle hoarder & part collector...

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