1943 Huffman military bike?


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Abby

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Feb 16, 2019
12
20
35
PA
#1
Hello!
I have an old bike that was my grandfather's. He gave it to me and it is very sentimental. I need help determining if I will ruin the potential value of this bike by making it usable and cute vs trying to restore it. Im sure it's a military Huffman....1943? It's not in the best shape and missing original parts. Any opinions by the bike guru's is greatly appreciated!

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Abby

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Feb 16, 2019
12
20
35
PA
#3
It maybe possible to get this down to the original military olive drab. You have a very good start to a correct bike, many are missing more pieces.
Is it possible to have had a basket as part of the original bike? It may have been added through the years... My grandpa says he still has it and it was on it when he purchased it. Apparently, from his memory, it was used for mail delivery. I'm not sure if this was a possible original use? I don't have photo of the basket but will get one..if he can find it in his barn. American Pickers would love his barn ;)
 

Jay81

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Apr 26, 2015
3,441
4,556
38
Roseville MI
#4
Welcome to the Cabe. I understand the bike has sentimental value to you, and that is great. However, being that it does not have any sentimental value to me, I am going to give you advice based strictly on it's value as an old bicycle. You will have to figure your sentimental value into the equation when deciding what to do with it.
Generally speaking, original paint will be worth more than repainted or restored (big difference between repainting and restoring)
Sometimes house paint can be carefully removed, and that would be the best route to take value wise, if enough of the original paint is still there.

I do not think that will be possible with this particular bike. I see barely any green where the yellow has peeled. My opinion on this particular bike is that you would be wasting your time trying to carefully remove the yellow. It is a very labor intensive process and this bike is not worth the time it would take, and likely would have poor results if you went that route. I am an big advocate for saving original paint whenever possible, but sometimes it's just too far gone to save.

Given that it's not a high dollar bike, and given it's current condition, you could refurbish or restore however you want, without hurting it's value.
 

Abby

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Feb 16, 2019
12
20
35
PA
#5
Welcome to the Cabe. I understand the bike has sentimental value to you, and that is great. However, being that it does not have any sentimental value to me, I am going to give you advice based strictly on it's value as an old bicycle. You will have to figure your sentimental value into the equation when deciding what to do with it.
Generally speaking, original paint will be worth more than repainted or restored (big difference between repainting and restoring)
Sometimes house paint can be carefully removed, and that would be the best route to take value wise, if enough of the original paint is still there.

I do not think that will be possible with this particular bike. I see barely any green where the yellow has peeled. My opinion on this particular bike is that you would be wasting your time trying to carefully remove the yellow. It is a very labor intensive process and this bike is not worth the time it would take, and likely would have poor results if you went that route. I am an big advocate for saving original paint whenever possible, but sometimes it's just too far gone to save.

Given that it's not a high dollar bike, and given it's current condition, you could refurbish or restore however you want, without hurting it's value.
Thanks for your thoughts! I do see green under some of the peeling yellow, but agree that it may not be enough. I will say, since I am totally inexperienced with paint removal it would be left to the professionals. My heart was totally set on painting this bike red...when you say "not a high dollar bike" do you mean you think it's value will be the same whether or not I paint it red or the original green?
 
Likes: blackcat

jkent

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
May 3, 2012
3,960
1,349
43
Toney, Alabama
#6
Keep the wheels and the seat with the bike no matter what you do with it.
The wheels and hubs are hard to find.
The seat is original to the bike and is correct and also hard to find.
Try to clean the paint up on the bottom and get a better read on the numbers. There should be 2 sets of numbers.
There should also be 2 numbers on the back side of the fork where the fork.
Those numbers will also help to date it if the fork is original and it does appear to be.
JKent
 

Jay81

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Apr 26, 2015
3,441
4,556
38
Roseville MI
#8
My heart was totally set on painting this bike red...when you say "not a high dollar bike" do you mean you think it's value will be the same whether or not I paint it red or the original green?
If you did a true restoration (put it back to exactly how it left the factory) it would have it's highest potential value. It would also cost more than the bike is worth to get it to that state.

If you gave it a nice red paint job and get it rideable (new tires & tubes, service hubs and bearings) it would still have more value than it does now, but maybe not as much as a true restoration.

Depending on how much money you put into it, you still might get upside down value wise, but this is where the sentimental value comes into play, and only you can determine that.

It sounds like you would like to fix it up to ride, and sounds like you're planning on keeping it. Go ahead and paint it red, fix it up and ride the crap out of it and enjoy it.
 
Likes: Abby

Abby

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Feb 16, 2019
12
20
35
PA
#9
Keep the wheels and the seat with the bike no matter what you do with it.
The wheels and hubs are hard to find.
The seat is original to the bike and is correct and also hard to find.
Try to clean the paint up on the bottom and get a better read on the numbers. There should be 2 sets of numbers.
There should also be 2 numbers on the back side of the fork where the fork.
Those numbers will also help to date it if the fork is original and it does appear to be.
JKent
I do not see numversion on the fork...Maybe too much paint?

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Abby

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Feb 16, 2019
12
20
35
PA
#10
If you did a true restoration (put it back to exactly how it left the factory) it would have it's highest potential value. It would also cost more than the bike is worth to get it to that state.

If you gave it a nice red paint job and get it rideable (new tires & tubes, service hubs and bearings) it would still have more value than it does now, but maybe not as much as a true restoration.

Depending on how much money you put into it, you still might get upside down value wise, but this is where the sentimental value comes into play, and only you can determine that.

It sounds like you would like to fix it up to ride, and sounds like you're planning on keeping it. Go ahead and paint it red, fix it up and ride the crap out of it and enjoy it.
Jay81, I love your comment "fix it up and ride the crap out of it." There is such a fine line between wanting things how they were and ENJOYING what you have.....I personally hate military green. A red professional paint job will make a statement!
 

New Mexico Brant

I live for the CABE
Jul 6, 2016
1,868
5,561
49
Santa Fe, New Mexico
www.BrantMackley.com
#13
Rustjunkie, what would you do with it? I want to enjoy looking at it :)
Abby, I agree with RustJunkie, often with an overpainted bike much of the original paint is remaining under the overpaint. In areas where the paint was scraped away it will rust (as you see on your bike). Many paints come off very easily; others are more tricky to remove but it is still worth the effort to try this first.
There are several posts on The Cabe that discuss paint removal. The bike will have the most value if the olive drab can be saved. It will be worth a couple thousand if this can be achieved. You can buy basically the same model Huffman in a 1946-47 (non-military) in overpaint for a few hundred that you can paint red and ride to death.
Regarding the basket, it would not have come from the factory with this but may have been added at a military base.
 
Last edited:

Abby

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Feb 16, 2019
12
20
35
PA
#15
Abby, I agree with RustJunkie, often with an overpainted bike much of the original paint is remaining under the overpaint. In areas where the paint was scraped away it will rust (as you see on your bike). Many paints come off very easily; others are more tricky to remove but it is still worth the effort to try this first.
There are several posts on The Cabe that discuss paint removal. The bike will have the most value if the olive drab can be saved. It will be worth a couple thousand if this can be achieved. You can buy basically the same model Huffman in a 1946-47 (non-military) in overpaint for a few hundred that you can paint red and ride to death.
Regarding the basket, it would not have come from the factory with this but may have been added at a military base.
You are right....I could buy a cheaper old bike and paint it red. I'm really thankful for all of the advice on what to do with this heirloom. Seriously, thank you!
 

jkent

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
May 3, 2012
3,960
1,349
43
Toney, Alabama
#16
It would be a shame to have a real military bike painted as a civilian bicycle.
The potential in that bike is bringing it back to its originality.
Love it or hate it, it is a military bicycle.
But you own it and not me. So it's yours to do as you please.
Most people like myself that are into military history and vintage bicycles search forever to try to find an original bike to restore to its original military state. Anyone can find an old bike and paint it like a military bike but it's still just a tribute bike and not the real thing.
Just my 2 cents.
Good luck with it and whatever you decide to do.
JKent
 

izee2

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 14, 2011
473
244
Pittston, PA
#17
Awesome piece of history. Don’t touch it. The original military bikes are so much more valuable if left alone. Take the time to clean it not to change a thing. And!! Leave the yellow paint on it. Although I can’t be 100% it looks to be the same paint they was used on the vietnam era flight line vehicles. Here is a military Columbia bike that I have. Came out of Tinker AFB. Made during WWII used thru 1971 with the Military airlift squadron. Still has the inventory tag on it.
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