Old Automoto? I need help.


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ingrid240

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Nov 4, 2018
12
8
48
Panajachel, Guatemala / Denver, Colorado
#1
I am brand new to The CABE and I really appreciate finding this resource.

Last week I purchased this bike in Antigua, Guatemala.

It has "Automoto" on the head badge, but I can not find another like this one on the internet. From the photo you will see that it also has an eagle and "BEN" and "ROSS" at the bottom.

No clovers to be found. And, the front fork does not have the usual round holes for the clover inserts, but those may have come on later models.

It is in solid condition mechanically, but rusty and really dirty. My plan is to restore it to street-worthy condition (new paint, chain, tires, and, a lot of cleaning and rubbing, and some mechanical fixes).

I have been searching for such a bike for years while on vacation here in Guatemala and after quite a lot of bad Spanish, a bus ride, two tuk tuk rides, and some luck I found my bike.

My questions:

1. Do you think it is an Automoto? If so, what's the deal with the head badge?
2. Any guesses on the age?
3. Any advice for restoring it and to what level?

Again, right now, I am not very motivated to immediately go back to original condition and parts. I would like to be a beautiful bike I can ride around town and then continue to accumulate original parts.

Anyway, thanks for letting me borrow from the collective wisdom here.

Mike

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anders1

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jun 18, 2018
893
944
44
Southern California, USA
#2
Cool bike. Personally I wouldn’t paint it. I would probably clean it and use some very fine steel wool with WD40 to knock down some of the grime. Then you could put a good wax on it to put some life into it. Not clear coat spray paint. I would grease it up and get it riding smoothly, and enjoy. Look around at some of the original bikes from this ere. Even if it’s missing some paint and has a nice patina, it’s original and cool. Just my thoughts. Welcome to the CABE, enjoy.
 

ingrid240

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Nov 4, 2018
12
8
48
Panajachel, Guatemala / Denver, Colorado
#3
Hey, thanks for the reply. I am driving my wife crazy by debating the paint or not paint dilemma. After I learn all of the bike-related Spanish I need, I will have tires and all bearings greased. I think I'll have it on the road in a week or two. I need some time to refurbish the seat, but I'll find one in the meantime.

Cool bike. Personally I wouldn’t paint it. I would probably clean it and use some very fine steel wool with WD40 to knock down some of the grime. Then you could put a good wax on it to put some life into it. Not clear coat spray paint. I would grease it up and get it riding smoothly, and enjoy. Look around at some of the original bikes from this ere. Even if it’s missing some paint and has a nice patina, it’s original and cool. Just my thoughts. Welcome to the CABE, enjoy.
for
 

frankandpam

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jan 21, 2016
237
332
Tacoma Wa
#4
No repaint. Takes away the history it's earned. Old cliche says: it's only original once. Have fun no matter your choice. p.s. Love the rake and stance of it, very cool.
 
Likes: dnc1

sam

I live for the CABE
May 24, 2006
1,395
368
San Antonio, United States
#5
You have a rod brake roadster---they were made world wide. This one looks to be European made meading it may have been made in England/france/Italy. Many were made in India and also in Mexico. They were generally made up until the early 80s and it's almost impossible to tell by the frame the year they were built, on the other hand it looks very well made and they are getting harder to find. you made a good find and they are great bikes to "rebuilt and fun to ride"
 

Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
101
132
Colorado
#7
Ths type of bike were copied by just about every manufacturer around the workd. Very utilitarian and popular to countries that use bicycles as their main transportation. You may be able to find tires and brake pads in your area easier than in the U.S. Being a single speed bike, a simple overhaul should have you rolling easy enough. Enjoy!
 

ingrid240

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Nov 4, 2018
12
8
48
Panajachel, Guatemala / Denver, Colorado
#8
Everyone - Thanks for the replies. I really love this bike and I plan to get it rolling before I head home to the States next summer. This style was common and is now very hard to find in Guatemala. But, I think Mr. Monkeyarms is right, I can find parts easier here. There is a bike collectors culture here, but getting in as an outsider is a bit hard. I do have a connection to an older guy who collects antique bikes and I might see if he'd be willing to make some trades. Later, in a few months, I'll post an update.
 

ingrid240

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Nov 4, 2018
12
8
48
Panajachel, Guatemala / Denver, Colorado
#9

Mr. Monkeyarms

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 30, 2018
101
132
Colorado
#10
Check out Monkey Bike Shop or Antigua Bike Co-Op. Looks like they have modern stuff, do a lot of tours. If they don't have or can get what you need, maybe they know where to go. Good luck with your project!
 

dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,594
3,918
52
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#11
Are there any markings or names on the saddle? It's not an Automoto badge I'm familiar with, as you say, cloverleaf's are the norm, on badges and sometimes even the headlugs. I'll dig a little deeper.
 
Likes: anders1

ingrid240

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Nov 4, 2018
12
8
48
Panajachel, Guatemala / Denver, Colorado
#13
Update - Thanks especially to Sam and Mr. Monkeyarms. I took the bike out into my garden - here all houses and gardens are surrounded by walls and gates - on a day when the Rufino, the gardener, and Chico, the fix it guy, happened to be around. Chico used to fix bikes here in Panajachel and Rufino, it turns out, owns an antique Raleigh. Both agreed it was probably made between 1960 and 1980 and is what they refer to as a "Raleigh" and was probably made in the US but sold here in Guatemala as everyday transportation. If you are ever here, be aware that "Raleigh" sounds a lot more like "re-al-ech" here. Most of these guys speak Spanish and Mayan, so I think the accent was particularly stong. It sounds like they used to fabricate badges and slap them on to look cool, but that part of the conversation was a bit hard for my level of Spanish. And, they both recommended a "taller de bicicletas" that does good work to get bikes back on the road and for really cheap. They were worried I spent to much - about $110 - but were fine with it once I told them how long I had been looking and that it would sell for more in the United States.

I am definitely an everyday urban cyclist. Why did we lose this style? They are strong and fixable and a really fine ride.

I have some decision to make after I talk to the repair guy tomorrow.

Thanks for contributing to this project. I can't wait to get it on the road.
 

ingrid240

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Nov 4, 2018
12
8
48
Panajachel, Guatemala / Denver, Colorado
#14
Are there any markings or names on the saddle? It's not an Automoto badge I'm familiar with, as you say, cloverleaf's are the norm, on badges and sometimes even the headlugs. I'll dig a little deeper.
dnc1 - Thanks for looking, but I think the mystery is solved. It is a fake badge added to a replica sold here in Guatemala between the 60s and the 80s. I posted more below. I am trying to keep you out of the wormhole of badges.
 
Likes: dnc1

ingrid240

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Nov 4, 2018
12
8
48
Panajachel, Guatemala / Denver, Colorado
#15
And, this is how Guatemala works. The internet is far less useful than finding the right people with information.
 

Duchess

Finally riding a big boys bike
Feb 14, 2014
493
864
Beverly, MA
#16
The English roadster style of bike is still very common around Boston, though they usually have 3-speed hubs and cable brakes. They are extremely robust as testament to there being so many even after decades being largely taken for granted by generations of college kids in New England winters.
 
Likes: dnc1

dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,594
3,918
52
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#17
Thanks for clarifying matters @ingrid240.
I wonder what other 'fakes' are circulating in that part of the world?
I'm sure you’ll enjoy that bicycle, that style of English 'roadster' is certainly a relaxed, resilient ride, if a little heavy up hill! Lol.
 

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