57? Gimbels Hiawatha Vanguard


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BAdams

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Sep 18, 2018
21
5
43
Brooksville FL
#1
Just picked this up from the original owners son. It is in very good original condition. Tires are not original, seat seems to be but I'm no expert. Everything appears to be here except the light bulb and battery, possibly one reflector in rear fender there's an empty hole where I believe another one was attached. Anyone know more about these? I'm figuring 57' based of info found here on Murray builds the T WG being the 57 code. Plan on using it as a rider.

IMG_20190211_165919.jpg


IMG_20190211_170124.jpg
 
Likes: bikemonkey

Archie Sturmer

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jun 13, 2018
770
679
Los Angeles, CA, USA
#4
Be careful and do not use an early serial number chart for a later "space bike".
I'm figuring 57' based of info found here on Murray builds the T WG being the 57 code
MOT may indicate 1961, for a Murray-built space bike, similar to the Murray "Missile".
https://thecabe.com/forum/threads/murray-serial-number-project.7014/#post-32212
The Murray "speed-weight" style or product line was "completely new" for 1958.
1961 Murray bicycles catalog p10.jpg 1961 Murray bicycles catalog p11.jpg
I believe later bikes may have the serial number on the left rear wheel drop-out.
About which time Murray figured out how to put batteries in the tank, and integrate the headlight therein also.

The problem with serial number alphabetism is, that sooner or later, you run out of other bicycles letters.
 
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Likes: bikemonkey

BAdams

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Sep 18, 2018
21
5
43
Brooksville FL
#5
Very helpful. I would have to assume then 61' at this point. Is there later serial number list here on the cabe?
 

spoker

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Mar 3, 2011
5,129
2,246
Minneapolis, United States
#6
Gambles dry goods store sold bikes with the Hiawatha name as they where headquaterd in minneapolis,various mfgs made bikes for them,i have a 41 i got from the original owner,looks like a shelby with a horn tank that has 3 gills in the front,goes back to the seat down tube[looks like the shorter shelby tank],and as a cost savings the tank never had a horn,Hiawatha head badge withe the Hiawatha Train on it,they called the Arrow ,the name was on the to of the tank by the front
 

Adamtinkerer

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Sep 8, 2008
3,627
621
Western North carolina
#7
Very helpful. I would have to assume then 61' at this point. Is there later serial number list here on the cabe?
The numbers from '60-'64 aren't definitively decoded. There's a thread here, but everything prior to '65 was a guesstimate at the time. A few years ago, this list was discovered in '59 Western Auto parts catalog, these numbers ring true. Also, certain stores have special codes stamped along with the serial. Hiawathas are 'WG', Sears' is 'MOD 502', Western Flyers often had an X in the '60s. Here is the earlier list, note that they went to an 'MOT-' code in late '56. Your frame style is commonly known as a "Flightliner", after the popular Sears model, introduced in '58.
Murray serial chart.jpg
 

BAdams

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Sep 18, 2018
21
5
43
Brooksville FL
#8
That's the list I had seen first making me think 57. Plus the owner whos father had originally bought the bike was sure he remembered it being bought in the late 50's (I took that sureness with some skeptisism just because I know recollections can be flawed). Bottom line I really like the bike regardless of year. The 61' ad above sure looks right but that serial number list is pointing to 57'. So at least I feel pretty confident it's one of the two. Though I would really like to know.
 

Archie Sturmer

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jun 13, 2018
770
679
Los Angeles, CA, USA
#9
The "T" (place code) from the later 1950's may reflect the 1956 move from Cleveland, Ohio to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
The other "T" (date code) may have been used in both 1954 and 1961.
The frame was identified as Boys' Three-Bar Cantilever in the manufacturer's catalog, versus their double-twin tube space 'flite' bikes.
A 1950's Murray-built 'line' bike might look similar to the double-bar (non-cantilever) models in a 1950's ad.
Catalog 195x.jpg
In the 1950's there may be more examples of Hiawatha bikes built by AMF-CWC-Shelby, (e.g. Hiawatha 707), or Huffman, rather than by MO/T.
 
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Likes: Adamtinkerer

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