New find. 1940 Schwinn Canti Autocycle

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ronbug

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 13, 2012
203
Gurnee, United States
Finally out in the sun after 70+ years hanging in the garage.
A 1940 Schwinn Canti Autocycle 100% all original. Nameplate says

Kaufmann's
5th Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pa
Cavalier

Original owners bike he received brand new on his 13th birthday in Pittsburgh from his parents. Story goes he was riding down a hill that was cinder covered, crashed, hurt his leg and never road it again.
He passed away two years ago at age of 90.
He always wanted to restore it but never got around to it.
It has a layer of sawdust on it as it was hanging in his wood shop corner.
Schwinn speedo has 501 miles on it. Need cable and axle connector. I am guessing the light on the bottom of the speedo gets connected to the fender light?
EA pushbutton works nicely.
Never seen this color combo on this year Autocycle. Maybe it was a special order for Kaufmann's. The tank is purposely darker than the frame almost maroon so like a tri color bike. Red, black and maroon.
It's in good hands now never to be parted out.
Few missing parts to make it complete. Don't get to exited, the left side tank half is missing. Crap. Contact me if you have one or if you can make a plaster mold of yours I would gladly pay you for materials and shipping. I could then use to fab steel one from.
Key is missing in locking fork.
Fender light cover is missing. Probably should be black.
Slide switch on top of the right tank half is missing but cutouts to mount it are there. Looks as if it was never installed as I don't see any marks on the paint for the two screws.
Paint is unbelievably good if not great original condition and will shine when waxed up.
Will have to get the fenders undented.
The old tires are melted and hard as a rock. Never seen that before.
The tiny patent decals are on the frame above the crank and lower part of the fork still.
There are two high rear fender holes, almost below the rear rack cats eye reflector, wondering what kind of reflector goes in there? See last picture.
Also, what kind of whitewall tires should I put on it? And also what kind of grips?
Photos taken at the original owners house.
If anyone has a Kaufmann's catalog showing this bike please post it.
He has two copper plates wrapped on the frame below the chain guard with tapped holes and wiring, wonder what he had there.

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cyclingday

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Feb 24, 2008
6,874
Costa Mesa, California. United States
These typically had the 1-3/4” Schwinn scripted Stimsonite reflector in the hole by the lower fender brace.
Those upper holes look like they had a Whizzer type tail light.
That’s probably what the wires on the chainstay were for.
Most likely had a battery tube mounted down there.
The rack reflector on the 39/40 models was the type with the triple step aluminum bezel.
 

cyclingday

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Feb 24, 2008
6,874
Costa Mesa, California. United States
Is the other half of the tank missing?
Give that wood shop a good search for the light cover and that tank half.
They are probably on that property somewhere.
 
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ronbug

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 13, 2012
203
Gurnee, United States
These typically had the 1-3/4” Schwinn scripted Stimsonite reflector in the hole by the lower fender brace.
Those upper holes look like they had a Whizzer type tail light.
That’s probably what the wires on the chainstay were for.
Most likely had a battery tube mounted down there.
The rack reflector on the 39/40 models was the type with the triple step aluminum bezel.
There are lots of brittle wires running everywhere which I am slowly removing along with the black cloth tape and black glue residue. I thought about the whizzer light in the upper holes but thought it was too high of a location. Will have to look closer if it would fit. Maybe it had a custom taillight.
 
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Autocycleplane

I live for the CABE
Jan 6, 2010
1,970
NorCal, United States
What an amazing find, congrats first and foremost.

Couple of observations:

- The tanks don't typically get primer, pretty common for the paint to be slightly off hue even though it is the same color in the can.
- Has some deluxe model parts (chrome rack top, speedo, tank) but the fenderlight fender instead of bomb - weird and cool
- The tank - not a push button horn unit style that would accompany that fender in 1940. (just clarifying)
- Are the spring fork AS bolts the longer ones to fit the brackets for the dual lights?

I wonder if it was a custom order or period custom build. Either way it is absolutely amazing and I would love to be the one looking for a tank half for it. Please update us with the progress if you keep it and get it on the road again.
 
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ronbug

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 13, 2012
203
Gurnee, United States
What an amazing find, congrats first and foremost.

Couple of observations:

- The tanks don't typically get primer, pretty common for the paint to be slightly off hue even though it is the same color in the can.
- Has some deluxe model parts (chrome rack top, speedo, tank) but the fenderlight fender instead of bomb - weird and cool
- The tank - not a push button horn unit style that would accompany that fender in 1940. (just clarifying)
- The chainring - is it the 40/41 style or the earlier "sawblade" style?
- Are the spring fork AS bolts the longer ones to fit the brackets for the dual lights?

I wonder if it was a custom order or period custom build. Either way it is absolutely amazing and I would love to be the one looking for a tank half for it. Please update us with the progress if you keep it and get it on the road again.
There is a small pushbutton by the E in Autocycle but the center pusher is missing so now you can see thru. A little rust forming around it too on the tank. I agree the features it has seem to be custom and maybe they were requested by Kaufmann's just to be different from Schwinn.
 
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stoney

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jul 19, 2013
3,389
65
Fuquay Varina, NC, United States
Hard to believe the other half of the tank is gone. I say that because the bike is pretty much there. Did you personally pick it up and was able to search for the tank yourself? Just curious. Congrats, great find, love the color combo.
 

markivpedalpusher

Moderator
Staff member
Nov 10, 2007
4,242
Orange, CA, United States
Congrats on a once in a lifetime score! Like someone said above I think. There are repop tanks floating around metal/aluminum and non metal. I’m sure you will be able to sleuth one out in due time. Can’t wait to see your cleanup pics!
 

49autocycledeluxe

I live for the CABE
May 29, 2017
1,285
59
fremont california
what a great bike! 95% of the population would toss that in the dumpster when cleaning out wherever it was.
 

ronbug

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 13, 2012
203
Gurnee, United States
What an amazing find, congrats first and foremost.

Couple of observations:

- The tanks don't typically get primer, pretty common for the paint to be slightly off hue even though it is the same color in the can.
- Has some deluxe model parts (chrome rack top, speedo, tank) but the fenderlight fender instead of bomb - weird and cool
- The tank - not a push button horn unit style that would accompany that fender in 1940. (just clarifying)
- The chainring - is it the 40/41 style or the earlier "sawblade" style?
- Are the spring fork AS bolts the longer ones to fit the brackets for the dual lights?

I wonder if it was a custom order or period custom build. Either way it is absolutely amazing and I would love to be the one looking for a tank half for it. Please update us with the progress if you keep it and get it on the road again.
The spring fork AS bolts don't look like the long ones for the dual lights.
 

ronbug

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 13, 2012
203
Gurnee, United States
Hard to believe the other half of the tank is gone. I say that because the bike is pretty much there. Did you personally pick it up and was able to search for the tank yourself? Just curious. Congrats, great find, love the color combo.
Yes I was pretty bummed out when I saw the left tank half missing but I had to take it for what it was because the price was right.
 
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