1938/39 Schwinn Paramount, Sports Tourist.

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cyclingday

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Feb 24, 2008
7,918
Costa Mesa, California. United States
I just picked up this 1940 letter from the factory, that somewhat helps explain why these early 38/39 Schwinn lightweight tourist models are so seldom seen.
E1E9FD49-7B90-443A-B5D0-917464B89A90.jpeg

It seems that very few orders were placed for them, due to the fixed price and unregulated foreign competition.
 

cyclingday

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Feb 24, 2008
7,918
Costa Mesa, California. United States
No, the 1st generation 38/39 Sports Tourist Paramounts and Superiors, had the fender truncated to facilitate the wheels removal.
79BE6DD1-E16D-4E03-9F69-25B74B8FE642.jpeg
 
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Vicious Cycle

Look Ma, No Hands!
May 11, 2014
52
left coast
I haven't seen that illustration before, my Tourist's are '41 and newer with the longer rear fenders. I learn something every day.
 

SirMike1983

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 27, 2008
3,227
Inactive
Interesting letter. They were kind of brazen about the vertical price fix. It's funny to see the "inferior" notion to the "foreign" bikes - in those days probably English Hercules, Phillips, Raleigh, etc. Certainly good bikes, many the equals of the Schwinn bikes, just different in terms of construction and equipment. Interesting that they were allegedly "inferior", yet Schwinn copied English designs and used English parts on many of their own bikes. I wonder what they would have said to the truly inferior cheapo bikes we see in the big box stores from China today.

This was again a complaint in the 1950s when the bike industry in the US was pushing for tariffs on foreign bikes.

And then there's the factor that the great depression was still on-going. We certainly see more survivor Schwinns from the 1940 and later period than 1938-39.

The letter is a nice find.
 

cyclingday

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Feb 24, 2008
7,918
Costa Mesa, California. United States
Ha!
I thought the same thing, when I read that letter.
The Schwinn lightweights at that time, we’re pretty much a complete knock off of the best British and French bicycles of that time.
The frames were made by Belgian expatriate, Emil Wastyn and most of the componentry was of British design.
To be fair, the introduction article does say, that the new Schwinn lightweights, incorporate all of the best features of the most expensive British and Continental designs.
So, they were trying to emulate the best of the European sport bikes.
In that, I’d say they accomplished what they set out to do.
They just weren’t affordable compared to what was being imported.
 
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SirMike1983

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 27, 2008
3,227
Inactive
And you have the cultural issue side too - a British or French couple might go for a bicycle ride or be part of a bicycle touring club for fun, whereas an American couple might go out for a Sunday drive in the family car at that time. They're both fun. The car held a special place in American culture that the bicycle did not in those days. Even the kids wanted their bicycles to be more like cars, motorcycles, or airplanes. Schwinn was a couple decades ahead of the 1970s bike boom... too far ahead of its time.
 
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fatbike

I live for the CABE
Jun 26, 2009
1,796
Portland Oregon
I would love to have one, a Paramount Tourist 1950s or earlier, a women's and boys version.
 

cyclingday

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Feb 24, 2008
7,918
Costa Mesa, California. United States
Just another snap shot from the road.
1216681

The monochrome gives this one a timeless quality.
It also makes the bike look like it’s in better condition than it actually is. Lol!
 

rennfaron

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 19, 2018
448
Austin, Texas
Just another snap shot from the road.
The monochrome gives this one a timeless quality.
It also makes the bike look like it’s in better condition than it actually is. Lol!
The color photos of the bike give it a timeless quality!
What!? That bike is in great condition for the age. Stop riding it around so much :D;):cool: especially on that super hard to find saddle...
 

HARPO

I live for the CABE
Dec 28, 2010
1,944
Floral Park, NY, United States
I was fortunate enough to get those same pedals on a late 40's Continental last year. First time I've ever had the chance to even see them.
 
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Miq

I live for the CABE
Jan 12, 2019
1,079
50
Arizona
The brake mechanisms are killer and the chrome mudguards are sweet! The attachment of the mudguard stays, far from the axles, is not like the New World lightweights of this era.

Looks like a decently large sprocket in those rear forks too. I bet it is great to ride.

Prewar lightweight Schwinns are cooler than most people realize. This Paramount is a very fine example. It's great to see it being ridden proudly. :cool:
 
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