Reviving this discussion as I found an old JC Higgins 8-speed over the weekend. This one has fenders, along with the original Austrian made “Assmann” leather saddle. The initial B&W photo appears to have a similar saddle. From checking VeloBase, this was an actual Austrian saddle manufacturer. The saddle clamp is stamped “Made in Austria”. Surprisingly, I was able to remove both the saddle post and the AVA stem with very little problem.
As you can see from the pictures, this bike also has the early Huret Allvit RD, and the Simplex FD. This might confirm @GTs58
suspicion that some of these Higgins bikes received the Allvit RD’s. Very similar situation to the early 60’s Schwinn Conti’s that started with Simplex RD’s, but where switched mid-year to Allvit RD’s.
It has Weinmann red dot brake levers, with what’s remaining from what I’m guessing was the white Weinmann rubber hoods. Alloy handlebars. The brake calipers have very faint to no markings. The rear wheel has the original 26 x 1-3/8 Austrian made tire, but I have no idea who made the steel rims. Both the front and back have the classic alloy Normandy phone dial hubs.
I think the only non-original parts are the front tire and the bar wrap. No idea what I’m going to do with it as I have several other Schwinn lightweight 60’s projects going. Mainly bought the bike ($10) for the Allvit RD and the Normandy hubs.