Purple Huffy Thunderbird (Year?)

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hawkster19

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jul 26, 2015
423
Fort Recovery, United States
I have been collecting Huffy car bikes for decades. I have seen all purple girls Camaros, white/purple girls Camaros, and even one purple boys Camaro. This past week I found another purple girls Huffy car bike I didn't know existed - an all purple girls Thunderbird badged for sale as a Monark. I have several boys Thunderbird bikes but all Huffy badged and from 10 years older than this one.

So here's my question - I am extremely familiar with Huffy's serial number system. This bike's serial starts with a "7" and looks to be a 1967 from everything I've ever known about Huffy bikes and their parts. There's no way it's a 1957 and I don't think they were still making car bikes until 1977. From as far as I can tell this thing is all original (except for maybe the grips but who knows what they may have done differently with these Monark bikes to maybe set them apart) from the rim strips to the tubes. But the rear wheel has a Bendix 76 brake arm. I'm confused. I would bet these wheels are the originals since the tires, strips and tubes are surely Huffy originals.

Anyone have a guess before I haul this down to our local Huffy expert? Ever seen a purple girls Thunderbird? How long was Monark even including bicycles in their line of goods? Can someone give me some Monark history? I'm thinking maybe Huffy threw together parts they had lying around in the 1970's and came up with these to sell to Monark? Does anyone but me even care? Is anyone out there? Just nod if you can hear me, is there anyone home......
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bikemonkey

I live for the CABE
Jun 25, 2016
1,361
67
North Carolina , Albemarle, NC, United States
Gorgeous bike! You are doing some righteous work and thanks for posting.

Would love to see the rest of your fleet - especially the gents.

Regarding your dating question - perhaps the brake arm (or wheels were replaced? But that seems to be an unlikely scenario.

Info below copied from ratrodbikes,

"...That is until Bendix moved production to Mexico in '76. That is when the introduced the Bendix 76. The beginning of the end. "

I have no verification about the accuracy that "76" = 1976. Tom Findley /ratrodbikes might be your guy for a definitive answer as he has posted a lot of Bendix data.
 
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partsguy

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Aug 13, 2008
10,879
The Land of Oz
Sorry I'm late!

To answer all your questions;

Monark Bicycle Co. was purchased by Huffman Mfg in late 1957. Huffman continued to produce Huffy bicycles, and near identical models under the "Monark" name until the late 60s / early 70s. It was an attempt to gain more ground in the dept stores, without directly sacrificing the "Huffy" brand. It did not work out long term, especially since many Monark bikes had the wrong trim or color put on. The models were too similar, and confused production workers. It is not uncommon to see a Huffy-badged bike with Monark emblems or model names on it.

Your bike is a 1967 Monark Thunderbird, and it is actually very correct! The only thing I question is the rear hub, which should have a Bendix, but not a Bendix 76. It is possible the brake arm got changed at one point. The Monark Thunderbird is the cousin to the Huffy Eldorado.

As far as literature goes, not much is out there for Huffy-Monarks. No bicycle shop was a dealer for Monark, so there are no "dealer catalogs" for Monark like there are for Schwinn, Columbia, Huffy, etc. All we have to go off of are department store catalogs, and newspaper clippings.
 
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