Schwinn Spitfire year ID and help please

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SchwinnNovice

'Lil Knee Scuffer
I just picked up this 20" Spitfire for my great-grandson. It seems this serial number - L86412 - was used in 1954 and again in 1956. I'm curious if there are any other telltale signs / parts that reveal which of the the 2 years it was made? Photos are just as I brought it home. I believe it's all original and complete including the Schwinn Westwind tires. The fork stripes have been covered by reflective tape. I'd like to see if I can get that off, I'm open to suggestions and tips if anyone has experience with that. I'm planning to just clean up the frame, fenders, and wheels. What do I use to clean and buff to try and bring back some original luster? Thanks.

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coasterbrakejunkie1969

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
I just picked up this 20" Spitfire for my great-grandson. It seems this serial number - L86412 - was used in 1954 and again in 1956. I'm curious if there are any other telltale signs / parts that reveal which of the the 2 years it was made? Photos are just as I brought it home. I believe it's all original and complete including the Schwinn Westwind tires. The fork stripes have been covered by reflective tape. I'd like to see if I can get that off, I'm open to suggestions and tips if anyone has experience with that. I'm planning to just clean up the frame, fenders, and wheels. What do I use to clean and buff to try and bring back some original luster? Thanks.

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I'm not sure they offered that frame in '56 I'm guessing '54
 

GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
The tell-tale indication on these 20" bikes is the rims. You say the tires are Westwind and those are middleweight tires. There were no 20" middleweight bikes produced in 1954, just a few models in the 26". The 1954 models in 20" were balloon tired bikes and no Balloon models in the 20" were made in 1956.
So your Spitfire is a 1956 if you're serial date ID is correct.
 

GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Have you started cleaning up the Spitfire? Seems all you other questions were pushed aside when dating this little 56. At the top of the page in lower tool bar there is a Search Forums button. Click on that and do a search to get some ideas on removing reflective tape etc.. That Spitfire's paint looks like it's in pretty decent condition and I would start out with a good soap and water cleaning and then some Turtle Wax Rubbing Compound in the green bottle. It's actually a liquid and no silica abrasive. Wax of your choice after all the oxidized paint is removed.
 

SchwinnNovice

'Lil Knee Scuffer
I got the reflective tape off the fork. I started with a hair dryer to soften it, but that didnt seem to get it quite warm enough. So I got a heat gun and carefully used that along with a plastic putty knife - very gently. It did the trick, the stripes are still there and look pretty darn good. I haven't done any cleanup or anything else yet but I will definitely take your suggestions to try and bring some luster back to the paint. I appreciate the follow up and tips!

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