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1948 Schwinn Excelsior...maybe?

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jvarnbuhler

On Training Wheels
I am new to this forum, and what a great resource! I have an old beautifully restored Schwinn that the research I've done points to it being a 1948 Arnold Schwinn Excelsior model D-97X. Take a look! I am not ready to part with it just yet but am looking into it. If you have any feedback (model confirmation, possible selling price and best way to go about selling, etc) I would love to hear it. This google doc has pictures and notes on my research: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ggGSFxQWFMiVac-j6BEa8oysx6S_1ap3Qk-hovMDarg/edit?usp=sharing
Here is one of the pictures if you don't feel like going into more detail.
1948 Schwinn.jpeg
 

bloo

Finally riding a big boys bike
It's older than 1948, or at least the frame is. You have the prewar rear forks with chain tension bolts instead of the dropouts a 1948 would have. 1939 DX models had a straight downtube, so I am going to guess 1940 or 1941.

Welcome!
 

jvarnbuhler

On Training Wheels
It's older than 1948, or at least the frame is. You have the prewar rear forks with chain tension bolts instead of the dropouts a 1948 would have. 1939 DX models had a straight downtube, so I am going to guess 1940 or 1941.

Welcome!
That's great to know, thanks so much. I couldn't find anything that looked like a match in the '40 or '41 Schwinn catalogs. The 1941 D97X-1 looked the closest, but didn't have the curve on the fender in the picture in the catalog. Do you know of a good source to help confirm?
 

jvarnbuhler

On Training Wheels
Definitely pre-war, '40-41 DX! Nice looking bike, too bad they put down tube sticker facing the wrong side but still a very cool bike!
Wow, good attention to detail. Thanks for noticing. You'd think with the quality job they did to refurbish they would get that right.
 

bloo

Finally riding a big boys bike
That's great to know, thanks so much. I couldn't find anything that looked like a match in the '40 or '41 Schwinn catalogs. The 1941 D97X-1 looked the closest, but didn't have the curve on the fender in the picture in the catalog. Do you know of a good source to help confirm?

There is no confirmation for an exact model or year. There can be variations in things like fenders. Also, not all Schwinns matched the catalog originally, some being built up from parts or modified right at the dealer. A lot of the serial number information posted on the web is just plain wrong. Prewar is especially problematic as I understand it because no records exist. The best list I am aware of is this one, pieced together from known original bikes:


I am not an expert, and you may get better information from others here. That said, here's what I see.

Your frame is definitely a DX because the middle bar has a curve in it. A postwar DX frame would have dropouts, tabs welded on for a chainguard, and a welded on tubular kickstand mount. Yours has none of that, so the "D" serial makes it 1939 or 1940. It can't be 1939 because 1939 DX frames were a one year only thing with a straight lower tube and tabs for a dropstand at the rear forks. Yours has neither so it is a 1940 DX.

You have a dog-leg crank. If you pull it out, it should have a 2-digit year forged into the center part. The digits might be reversed. I do not believe these cranks were used after the war.

The grips with an oval around "Schwinn" were available before the war. I am not sure about after. Others will know. Later on, one end of that oval becomes pointy.

The Excelsior badge, the sweetheart chainwheel, and the larger brake arm that says "New Departure Brake" with the 2 little lines below were all used both before and after the war.

Since it is restored, it is hard to tell if parts have been changed. Nice looking bike!
 

bloo

Finally riding a big boys bike
That's great to know, thanks so much. I couldn't find anything that looked like a match in the '40 or '41 Schwinn catalogs. The 1941 D97X-1 looked the closest, but didn't have the curve on the fender in the picture in the catalog. Do you know of a good source to help confirm?

There is no confirmation for an exact model or year. There can be variations in things like fenders. Also, not all Schwinns matched the catalog originally, some being built up from parts or modified right at the dealer. A lot of the serial number information posted on the web is just plain wrong. Prewar is especially problematic as I understand it because no records exist. The best list I am aware of is this one, pieced together from known original bikes:


I am not an expert, and you may get better information from others here. That said, here's what I see.

Your frame is definitely a DX because the middle bar has a curve in it. A postwar DX frame would have dropouts, tabs welded on for a chainguard, and a welded on tubular kickstand mount. Yours has none of that, so the "D" serial makes it 1939 or 1940. It can't be 1939 because 1939 DX frames were a one year only thing with a straight lower tube and tabs for a dropstand at the rear forks. Yours has neither so it is a 1940 DX.

You have a dog-leg crank. If you pull it out, it should have a 2-digit year forged into the center part. The digits might be reversed. I do not believe these cranks were used after the war.

The grips with an oval around "Schwinn" were available before the war. I am not sure about after. Others will know. Later on, one end of that oval becomes pointy.

The Excelsior badge, the sweetheart chainwheel, and the larger brake arm that says "New Departure Brake" with the 2 little lines below were all used both before and after the war.

Since it is restored, it is hard to tell if parts have been changed. Nice looking bike!
 

jvarnbuhler

On Training Wheels
There is no confirmation for an exact model or year. There can be variations in things like fenders. Also, not all Schwinns matched the catalog originally, some being built up from parts or modified right at the dealer. A lot of the serial number information posted on the web is just plain wrong. Prewar is especially problematic as I understand it because no records exist. The best list I am aware of is this one, pieced together from known original bikes:


I am not an expert, and you may get better information from others here. That said, here's what I see.

Your frame is definitely a DX because the middle bar has a curve in it. A postwar DX frame would have dropouts, tabs welded on for a chainguard, and a welded on tubular kickstand mount. Yours has none of that, so the "D" serial makes it 1939 or 1940. It can't be 1939 because 1939 DX frames were a one year only thing with a straight lower tube and tabs for a dropstand at the rear forks. Yours has neither so it is a 1940 DX.

You have a dog-leg crank. If you pull it out, it should have a 2-digit year forged into the center part. The digits might be reversed. I do not believe these cranks were used after the war.

The grips with an oval around "Schwinn" were available before the war. I am not sure about after. Others will know. Later on, one end of that oval becomes pointy.

The Excelsior badge, the sweetheart chainwheel, and the larger brake arm that says "New Departure Brake" with the 2 little lines below were all used both before and after the war.

Since it is restored, it is hard to tell if parts have been changed. Nice looking bike!
For not being an expert, I am impressed with your knowledge. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

bobcycles

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
pretty nice looking restoration....as shown this would be a 1940 "DX" model, curved down tube
smaller profile fenders.
Most had a sort of hockey stick looking chainguard with lines in it...check my Complete bikes
for sale posting for a 1940 ladies model and you'll see the guard ...
I'd say value wise...due to all the $ in labor and paint and chrome... 700 Plus!
But they're a bit of a tough sell as unequipped models (no tank, light, rack etc)
Nice bike! Ride & Enjoy it
 

jvarnbuhler

On Training Wheels
Yes, seems the 1940 DX seems like the consensus, thanks for looking. I'm not sure if it had the chain guard originally (I saw yours and have seen others) but it is definitely the bare bones model. I spend most of my riding time on mtb but this one sure is fun to cruise around on!
 
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