1955 BLUE Radiobike Restoration


This ad disappears when logged in

2jakes

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Sep 1, 2010
6,506
4,409
Elysium Fields
#81
Well, there a ton more rust on the frame than the fork. Lots of gray areas appeared after my efforts to bring back any of the blue. Its more of a glossy patina now. It will be repainted - 60% of the paint is gone - it was mostly rust.
I had a Columbia 3-Star mens Deluxe.
The original “blue" color was a little similar to yours.
It was not a solid blue, but more like a metallic or iridescent hue.
20170811_064206.jpg
 

partsguy

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Aug 13, 2008
10,247
3,777
The Land of Oz
#82
I had a Columbia 3-Star mens Deluxe.
The original “blue" color was a little similar to yours.
It was not a solid blue, but more like a metallic or iridescent hue.
View attachment 658639
Hard to say if the paint is just really faded in those areas, or very light, thus exposing the silver bonderized primer. The sheet metal parts were stored in an attic, away from the elements. They are a bright, darker blue. It's all the same hue and shade throughout, very consistent.

Now, Scott M. owns the other known complete blue Radiobike. Any others I have been told about were rumors, and parts and pieces at that. Here is Scott's bike for comparison versus mine before restoration began. Well, now that I look at them side-by-side, I suppose the sheet metal parts on mine could very well be that bright, almost a sky blue color.

In any case, I would prefer to only respray the frame and fork, and leave the parts alone, since they survived reasonably well. What say you, Dr. Jakes?? @2jakes

Another reason I choose to leave the parts alone, is because their decals are not reproduced. correct decals for green and blue bikes are not reproduced. I would consider doing them, but I believe so few are left needing them it may not be worth investing in.


radiobike016-jpg.jpg

radiobike024-jpg.jpg


coffee.jpg

17630127_908541795954679_5816121981524917982_n.jpg
17757536_908526369289555_4725706715175506058_n.jpg
 
Likes: Scribble

2jakes

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Sep 1, 2010
6,506
4,409
Elysium Fields
#83
^^^^^^^
I like the idea! Keep the parts as original as possible,
If I had the chance I would go for the unrestored

“as-is’” original over a restored one....anytime!

What year is the Radio-bike?

I have a ‘55 Red Phantom.
The red color is a “metalic” hue (not sure what the correct term is)

If I’m not mistaken, I believe the earlier red phantoms came with a solid red.
I’m not an expert, this is only what I have read or seen.

In the mid 50s...irisdescent or metallic colors were popular.

This is mostly speculation.
 
Last edited:

partsguy

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Aug 13, 2008
10,247
3,777
The Land of Oz
#84
^^^^^^^
I like the idea! Keep the parts as original as possible,
If I had the chance I would go for the unrestored

“as-is’” original over a restored one....anytime!

What year is the Radio-bike?

I have a ‘55 Red Phantom.
The red color is a “metalic” hue (not sure what the correct term is)

If I’m not mistaken, I believe the earlier red phantoms were solid.
I’m not an expert, this is only what I have read or seen.

In the mid 50s...irisdescent or metallic colors were popular.

This is mostly speculation.

'Ole blue is a '55. The Radiobikes were painted using candy colors. The metal was polished, "bonderized" and a silver coat of primer applied. Then, a colored, yet somewhat translucent coat of paint would be sprayed. This gave the bike a metallic look. Most of the paint on the chassis of this bike is spotted from moisture and corrosion seeping into that bonderized primer, and making it appear discolored. In many areas, the paint was gone and the rust got to the surface, hence the bare metal.

I now am in a flustered hurry to get these re-sprayed properly and have the rear rim back from the platter in time...my only weak links in this entire build. In order to get this done right, I may have to farm it out - I won't have the time during the week. It must be a person or shop I trust.

Anywho, this painting process was popular in the 50s and 60s, but the effects of age are the same. Here is a 1968-69 Hot Wheel that was painted with this process, with similar side effects. Note the discolored spots on the side:


HW69SplitImageOrgDI160724Gallery.jpg

 
Likes: 2jakes

2jakes

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Sep 1, 2010
6,506
4,409
Elysium Fields
#85
'Ole blue is a '55. The Radiobikes were painted using candy colors. The metal was polished, "bonderized" and a silver coat of primer applied. Then, a colored, yet somewhat translucent coat of paint would be sprayed. This gave the bike a metallic look. Most of the paint on the chassis of this bike is spotted from moisture and corrosion seeping into that bonderized primer, and making it appear discolored. In many areas, the paint was gone and the rust got to the surface, hence the bare metal.

I now am in a flustered hurry to get these re-sprayed properly and have the rear rim back from the platter in time...my only weak links in this entire build. In order to get this done right, I may have to farm it out - I won't have the time during the week. It must be a person or shop I trust.
I was going to mention that creating the “candy colors” requires a
specific method.
But I see that you know what is involved.

Good Luck & keep us posted.
oglvvd.gif
 

partsguy

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Aug 13, 2008
10,247
3,777
The Land of Oz
#86
The best classic restoration shop in the state is quoting me on the repaint. This shop has done cars, bikes, motorcycles, and trucks. The mashed kickstand mounting tubes will also be fixed or replaced while its in the shop. They do amazing work. We'll see....good thing I do not plan to ever sell this LOL

Nope...not satisfied with a half nude frame...you guys were right about the paint being gone, but I had to try!


edited.jpg
20170812_114852.jpg
20170812_114908.jpg
20170812_114920.jpg
20170812_114957.jpg
20170812_114942.jpg


 
Last edited:

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,044
14,758
Evans, GA
#88
'Ole blue is a '55. The Radiobikes were painted using candy colors. The metal was polished, "bonderized" and a silver coat of primer applied. Then, a colored, yet somewhat translucent coat of paint would be sprayed. This gave the bike a metallic look. Most of the paint on the chassis of this bike is spotted from moisture and corrosion seeping into that bonderized primer, and making it appear discolored. In many areas, the paint was gone and the rust got to the surface, hence the bare metal.

I now am in a flustered hurry to get these re-sprayed properly and have the rear rim back from the platter in time...my only weak links in this entire build. In order to get this done right, I may have to farm it out - I won't have the time during the week. It must be a person or shop I trust.

Anywho, this painting process was popular in the 50s and 60s, but the effects of age are the same. Here is a 1968-69 Hot Wheel that was painted with this process, with similar side effects. Note the discolored spots on the side:


View attachment 658649
Actually I believe Hot Wheels were zinc plated--not silver primed and the color shot right over the zinc. People restore Hot Wheels too and I believe this is the process they use. V/r Shawn
 
Likes: partsguy

partsguy

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Aug 13, 2008
10,247
3,777
The Land of Oz
#89
Actually I believe Hot Wheels were zinc plated--not silver primed and the color shot right over the zinc. People restore Hot Wheels too and I believe this is the process they use. V/r Shawn
I am a bit rusty, as I have not been very active in collecting Hot Wheels for a long time. However, I believe you are correct. If memory serves, the body was polished, and a very thin coating of zinc was applied in a tumbler. The zinc was cleaned and polished again, and a layer of translucent candy color paint was applied. This paint was discontinued after the 1972 model year, due to increasing cost, the economy, and the rising concern of lead paint in consumer products.

The idea is the same though, with a similar end result.
 

partsguy

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Aug 13, 2008
10,247
3,777
The Land of Oz
#90
Update:

I got the radio back from the shop again. It appears the speaker probably went out, as a new one was retrofitted in the tank, using the old transformer. I will test it again this weekend. I am sure other components were replaced.

As for the repaint, the restoration shop is unable to commit to the due date, and I am unable to find or think of anyone else local to do it. I can repaint it, but the tubes where the kickstand mounts need to be repaired or replaced while the bike is stripped. I do not know how nor own the tools to do brazing. So, in short, I may have to do my best and present it with the half-nude frame. I am not going to half-ass a paint job on a high end bike. I will still have this particular shop do the work, but it will have to be during the winter, after the show. I will not compromise quality over convenience.
 
Likes: 56 Vette

Saving Tempest

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Feb 6, 2012
2,931
1,303
52
Earth
#92
Update:

I got the radio back from the shop again. It appears the speaker probably went out, as a new one was retrofitted in the tank, using the old transformer. I will test it again this weekend. I am sure other components were replaced.

As for the repaint, the restoration shop is unable to commit to the due date, and I am unable to find or think of anyone else local to do it. I can repaint it, but the tubes where the kickstand mounts need to be repaired or replaced while the bike is stripped. I do not know how nor own the tools to do brazing. So, in short, I may have to do my best and present it with the half-nude frame. I am not going to half-ass a paint job on a high end bike. I will still have this particular shop do the work, but it will have to be during the winter, after the show. I will not compromise quality over convenience.
What is your tube lineup, and have you checked for leaky or dried up electrolytic capacitors etc? Is there a schematic for the radio?
 

partsguy

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Aug 13, 2008
10,247
3,777
The Land of Oz
#93
What is your tube lineup, and have you checked for leaky or dried up electrolytic capacitors etc? Is there a schematic for the radio?
There is a hand-drawn schematic by the founders of Yellow Springs Instrument Co. floating around from 1990. There was a schematic in the tank of every bike produced, but many have degraded from age and are not reproduced. I am currently having new ones made by a local shop, using an original I carefully removed from the red bike. My prototype knob is still being made. I have found a supplier for most of the antenna parts - a couple pieces are eluding me. May need to make them by hand, but I am just so short on time with trying to get my own bikes done.

On a positive note, I have now offered my 1964-70 ornament fins on eBay. So far, people really like them. Lots of polishing involved with those suckers, but I love doing it. Shipped another pair of 'em on Saturday.

But to answer your question, I outsourced the majority of the radio chassis repair to Tom's Antique Radio in Dayton. I love tinkering with small electronics, but this time I went with a professional due to time and more accurate repairs. He does great work for me and my friends. I will be sending two of my radios to him next month. My '58 Philco needs repaired as it never worked and I am unfamiliar with the early transistor units. My '41 Crosley needs a tune up and possibly a re-cap beyond my capabilities as well.
 

partsguy

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Aug 13, 2008
10,247
3,777
The Land of Oz
#94
These radios are cool, but niche items, even in 1955-58. These are three-tube units, with a range of 100 miles if everything is good, including the weather. Three tube radios were never intended to be high end audio in any capacity. Radios with five tubes or more produced better sound quality, more precise tuning, and a much longer range of reception. Still, during the golden years of rock-and-roll, the Radiobike became a memorable piece of Americana because of it's unique design.

During this period, early transistor "pocket" radios were arriving on the market. You could fit them in your pocket or belt buckle, or some had a small case you could put over your shoulder. Cars could have 45rpm record players installed from the dealer. In 1958, General Motors had an optional radio in vehicles that was removable. Portable radios were still selling. For the first time, not only could you own a piece of music, but you could take it with you where ever you went and listen to it. Radio manufacturers had their own unique designs, they wanted their product to stand out at every outing you went on. The Radiobike allowed kids and young adults the chance to take their music with them on their bike. Decades before even the Sony Walkman debuted in the 1970s.
 
Last edited:

Saving Tempest

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Feb 6, 2012
2,931
1,303
52
Earth
#98
I figured it out...RS still sells parts in the mail. Actually they are trying to pare down considerably and also suing the former owners (Sprint etc.) for basically screwing it up...long story.

Allied survived trying to merge with Radio Shack in the 1970s and still exists as well.
 
Likes: partsguy

partsguy

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Aug 13, 2008
10,247
3,777
The Land of Oz
#99
I figured it out...RS still sells parts in the mail. Actually they are trying to pare down considerably and also suing the former owners (Sprint etc.) for basically screwing it up...long story.

Allied survived trying to merge with Radio Shack in the 1970s and still exists as well.
Oh please...please...dood...don't get me started. I do miss being able to go to RadioShack and get whatever components I need - now I gotta wait on the mail. Growing up, they always had the coolest cars and other RC toys. My brother had a hovercraft, and he played with it until the seals rotted and it sunk. The sucker lasted for years, and he ran it in the pool, YMCA, and even a lake. I had a '58 Impala, a beautiful toy that I still own. In fact, several years later, I bought two NOS bodies and two NOS wheel sets for the front for it. You can't buy toys anymore and expect to buy replacement parts at any point in time these days.Granted, that was years ago and I have heard that the customer service area was cut and less-experienced people were hired and paid less. The same decision helped kill Circuit City 10 years ago.

Whatever you bought that was electronic, you could bet that RadioShack would carry parts to fix it - especially if they sold it. Their mistake was trying to abandon the niche that made them great and got into cell phones. THEY SHOULD HAVE GOT INTO PC GAMING! Have you seen the guys and gals that are into that hobby? They build their computers from the ground up, or buy one and upgrade it, spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on them, the games, the accessories, etc. RadioShack's leadership missed that gravy train, and the marketing team who ignored that ought to be ashamed and embarrassed to call themselves salesmen and marketers.

Tar and feather 'em...I says...

611986.jpg
 
Last edited:

This ad disappears when logged in
Most Recent BUY IT NOW Items Listed on eBay
$299.99
eBay Auction Picture
$95.00
eBay Auction Picture
$65.00
eBay Auction Picture
$6.50
eBay Auction Picture
$35.00
eBay Auction Picture
$38.00
eBay Auction Picture
$15.00
eBay Auction Picture
$42.00
eBay Auction Picture
$35.00
eBay Auction Picture
$22.00
eBay Auction Picture
$45.00
eBay Auction Picture
$15.00
eBay Auction Picture
$45.00
eBay Auction Picture
$85.00
eBay Auction Picture
$28.00
eBay Auction Picture
$35.00
eBay Auction Picture
$75.00
eBay Auction Picture
$12.00
eBay Auction Picture