All I can make out is that it's a post-war New World (I think) that's been stripped down for a racer, probably in the 70's, when 10-speeds were the hot ticket. I ask if they have more pictures, and the guy answers back that's all he's got. I don't need another bicycle, but that never stopped the cat from being curious. So I went to take a look.
So I've only seen this type of thumb shift once or twice in pictures, but some of the parts are similar to the "Schwinn Approved - Made in Austria" shifters Schwinn used in the late '50's, and the seat looks older, so now I'm thinking maybe it's somebody's home built racer from the late '50's, but I closed the deal and loaded it up. It was dark when I got home, so I got out a flashlight and my reading glasses, and looked at the rims. I had never heard of Schwinn S-8 rims, but looking at the 1948 Schwinn Catalog on bikehistory.org, there they are under "The Famous Schwinn-Built Tubular and Racing Rims".
The guy I bought this from looked like he was about 20, and when I asked him if he knew the history of this bike, he just said that it had been in his dad's house a long time, so probably since about 2000. There's an old dealer decal, but it's so faded I can't read it. Does anybody recognize it?
The tires on it when I got it were "Goodyear Rib All Weather", both flat. The front pumped up enough to roll better (about 20 psi, I didn't want to try full pressure), but the rear tube was gone. I took the tire off to change the tube, but the new tube has the rubber sheath over the valve stem, where the old tube has one of the threaded stems with a lock ring, so the stem on the new tube wouldn't fit through the hole. I put the Kenda on the rim just to protect it until I get another tube. The Kenda fits, so these are 597mm rims.