Seeking originality information on black fender (1947 - 1949) Roadmaster Luxury Liners

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cbustapeck

Finally riding a big boys bike
Very short version: I'm picking up an early Roadmaster Luxury Liner at Memory Lane and I want to come up with a shopping list of exactly correct parts ahead of time. Questions and shopping list follow at end of this post.

Long version:
2020-09-23 10.15.14.jpg

At Memory Lane, I will be picking up this 1947 / 1948 Roadmaster Luxury Liner, from @sm2501 . At first, I thought that the black paint on the front fender was something that someone else had added later, but I have come to learn that it was actually a feature.

Given that so many of the Luxury Liners I have seen have reproduction parts, I want to do the research and keep this as close to original as possible. I know that some of the parts, like the rear fender and the wheels, were used on other models, but I do not know what the correct example might look like - part of the problem is that I simply haven't been able to find that many original examples - I will discuss what I have been able to learn shortly.

First, I have gathered the following advertising material, in chronological order, to the best of my ability.

The Ads

1947_12_06 Saturday Evening Post.jpg

Saturday Evening Post, December 6, 1947

1948 March 15 ad from ebay seller 3girlsanddog.jpg

March 15, 1948 ad, posted by eBay seller 3girlsanddog.
This is the same base image as the 1947 ad. This can be seen most readily in the reflections on the fenders, which are identical. It was edited to show a completely different saddle and whitewall tires instead of blackwalls.

1948 August ad from tumblr user vintageadsmakemehappy.jpg

An ad from Li'l Abner Comics, August, 1948, posted by Tumblr user Vintageadsmakemehappy, shows the exact same details, with some additional description.

1948 ad from ebay seller eauctionmanagement.jpg

This 1948 ad (month unknown, but presumably later) posted by eBay seller eauctionmanagement shows the change to "Coke bottle" style handgrips.

Bob Feller from Bob Lemke's Blog.jpg

This image, presumably 1948, of Cleveland Indians baseball player Bob Feller, is reproduced from Bob Lemke's Blog. The image shows heavy retouching, perhaps because the photo was taken at night. It's not clear to me whether the end of the older style grip is poking out past Feller's hand or not.

1949 ad from flickr user 43° North.jpg

This advertisement, posted by Flickr user 43° North, shows the changes that occurred in 1948. The fenders are now entirely chrome, and the rear fender has the same set of ridges at the bottom as the front fender. It appears that the seat is also a lighter color leather.

The "Reissue"
The 1998 "reissue" of the 1948 model shows some items that are not present in any 1948 ad that I have seen: bent truss rods; "Luxury Liner" decal on the chain guard; chrome fenders; and a seat with a crash rail. (I don't aim to show exactly when these changes were made - I am sure that they have been dealt with by others elsewhere, and far better than I can approach here - and I welcome that information - my purpose here is just to show the change from the black fender Luxury Liners.) I bring it up because it is labeled as 1948 and because so many of the parts from it have ended up on the early bikes.

Actual Bicycles:
I've been able to locate two unrestored examples: one that was first owned by SimpleMan and then later owned by Hawkster19, another in the collection of Flickr user Tim Keith 59, and mine, above. There is also one that appears to have been restored, in the collection of Nickinator.

I see a couple significant differences between the two unrestored bicycles for which I have detailed photographs. While both have Bendix hubs, the Tim Keith 59 example has semi-drop center rims. The SimpleMan/Hawkster19 example has Persons Supreme pedals, while the other has some sort of waffle pedals. The Tim Keith 59 example does not have crash tabs on the seat. The two have different stems and seat post clamps - and my example shares one with one and one with the other, I think.

Originality Questions:
  • What pedals are be correct?
  • Which wheels are correct, and approximately what years of Cleveland Welding Company bicycles would I expect to see them on?
  • What range of CWC bicycles share the rear fender? Was it offered on any of them in black?
  • Was a certain brand of grips used?
  • What parts are needed to make the brake light work?
  • What stem would be correct?
  • What seat post clamp would be correct?
I appreciate any and all insights here. I really hate to make any originality decisions based on a sample size of two, and would love to see photos of any other original examples.
 

mickeyc

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
The fenders on these bikes are pretty easy to spot by the "grill" detail on the rear of the fenders. I do not recall ever seeing them painted. Always chrome. Hope this is helpful, and correct.
So all those ads with the black fenders are incorrect?
 

GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
The fenders on these bikes are pretty easy to spot by the "grill" detail on the rear of the fenders. I do not recall ever seeing them painted. Always chrome. Hope this is helpful, and correct.

In the lit is says chrome plated details on the tank, chain guard and fender. So "fender" is single and the chrome detail is not the whole fender. If the fender detail was stamped in the fender and it's chrome then the whole fender would have been chromed and then painted. That dumb process of painting over chrome is still being done today on GMC's and a few others. In the OP's soon to be acquired piece it appears as that's exactly what they did, painted over chrome.

1602178729913.png


The fender detail was only on the front in certain years?
 

cbustapeck

Finally riding a big boys bike
In the lit is says chrome plated details on the tank, chain guard and fender. So "fender" is single and the chrome detail is not the whole fender. If the fender detail was stamped in the fender and it's chrome then the whole fender would have been chromed and then painted. That dumb process of painting over chrome is still being done today on GMC's and a few others. In the OP's soon to be acquired piece it appears as that's exactly what they did, painted over chrome.

View attachment 1280345

The fender detail was only on the front in certain years?

Ooooh! Do you have any other photos of that bike, or a higher resolution one?

The best illustration of what I think the early fenders should look like is this one.
 

GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Ooooh! Do you have any other photos of that bike, or a higher resolution one?

The best illustration of what I think the early fenders should look like is this one.


 

Jeff54

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Yeah, as GT says, yours looks like what happens when factory paints over chrome, bad idea. And I wouldn't doubt yours were issued with or without the paint over chrome hence the red in the 48 ad is yours with chrome verses black. As far as dating goes, the dropout and angle of set screw is the same as the ads which, for the Luxury Liner Mainly, unless somebody knows different, this new version appears in 1947. CWC's Dropout changes by mid 49 and the dropout angle is just off kilter from being horizontal verses diagonal like yours. Hence, your date is going to be 47 to early 49 period. After the serial numbers you'll have a lone Cw stamped (an C with small w inside the C) Where as, mid/late 49 too mid 51 is marked as ACw (The letter A followed with the Cw stamp.). .
 
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1motime

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Like I said, I've only seen chrome. I'm no expert with these. Now I've seen painted in the wild. Learn something new every day! Thanks everyone! ;)

Any more out there?
Very interesting. I am with you. Never saw or knew about painted fenders on Luxury Liners. I had 3 and all were plated fenders. In the photos it looks sort of stealth.
Why would they go through the process of plating and do another process just to tone it down? All that for some chrome detail close to the ground?
Someone was thinking and had influence over the bean counters!
 

GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Very interesting. I am with you. Never saw or knew about painted fenders on Luxury Liners. I had 3 and all were plated fenders. In the photos it looks sort of stealth.
Why would they go through the process of plating and do another process just to tone it down? All that for some chrome detail close to the ground?
Someone was thinking and had influence over the bean counters!

Schwinn chromed a complete bike just for a bit of chrome on sections of the seat mast, stays and fork. Totally chromed.

Thanks to stingrayjoe for the image. 1963 Superior.

1602298762331.png
 

Starnger

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Here are another couple of threads mentioning the early black fender version:
 
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cbustapeck

Finally riding a big boys bike
Here are another couple of threads mentioning the early black fender version:
I really appreciate you sharing these. This additional evidence is most useful.

The seller on the $250 bike states that it is a 1998 reproduction, and while some of the parts may be reproduction, the rear fender and front forks are definitely period. (The reproduction has a rear fender with bumps at the bottom and a front fork with bowed rods.)
 

Jeff54

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
I really appreciate you sharing these. This additional evidence is most useful.

The seller on the $250 bike states that it is a 1998 reproduction, and while some of the parts may be reproduction, the rear fender and front forks are definitely period. (The reproduction has a rear fender with bumps at the bottom and a front fork with bowed rods.)
Surprised GT didn't show a real deal relating to what can happen to paint over chrome. In This Schwinn and others with the same same year and colors, maroon and gray, Pretty much the only bikes in this model, year and colors, the fenders were chromed before painted. Far as I know it's the only time Schwinn did this. In this case only the maroon crocked off over the chrome. And it's like; WTF? why waist the chrome? Yet every example like this, the fenders are chromed 1st, go figure.

And I can not be sure yours was chromed and painted black, just that it looks that way. Link to topic: https://thecabe.com/forum/threads/u...and-white-49-straightbar.176209/#post-1194117

158b5150-cd65-4bce-ab69-2cc0c2c26bd8-jpeg.jpg

4657780a-dafa-4b51-85ed-c72635e55a01-jpeg.jpg
 
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Starnger

'Lil Knee Scuffer
I really appreciate you sharing these. This additional evidence is most useful.

The seller on the $250 bike states that it is a 1998 reproduction, and while some of the parts may be reproduction, the rear fender and front forks are definitely period. (The reproduction has a rear fender with bumps at the bottom and a front fork with bowed rods.)
That may be a repaint, but not reproduction (unless some kind of one off prototype), since the dropouts on the frame are definately pre 49 style. My guess is that is an original early Roadmaster Luxury Liner, but the condition is so great that the owner believed it is a reproduction. Skip-tooth chain, new departure hubs, brass badge, none of these were on a reproduction bike.
 

riderick

On Training Wheels
Here is my black fendered early Lux Liner. Headlight is a distressed repo, but the rest is pretty much original. I remember when I was putting it together after it had sat around for a few years (after arriving from the ebay seller). I had stored the seat seperately and couldn't remember which one was on the bike when I bought it, so I picked one from my stash that matched one of the ads I had acquired. I don't make a religion out of originality, but shoot for as close as I can get with the stuff I have on hand.
1290005


1290006


1290022
 

cbustapeck

Finally riding a big boys bike
Here is my black fendered early Lux Liner. Headlight is a distressed repo, but the rest is pretty much original. I remember when I was putting it together after it had sat around for a few years (after arriving from the ebay seller). I had stored the seat seperately and couldn't remember which one was on the bike when I bought it, so I picked one from my stash that matched one of the ads I had acquired. I don't make a religion out of originality, but shoot for as close as I can get with the stuff I have on hand. View attachment 1290005

View attachment 1290006

View attachment 1290022
I hear you about originality. When it's a question of reasonably close vs. exact match at 5 or 10 times the price, I always go for reasonably close.

That said, so many of these Luxury Liners have so many reproduction parts on them that I feel the need, as a librarian, to at least document what was original, and to not replace a beat up original part with a better non-original one. This means, for me, that there are going to be a good few parts missing that I just cannot get in my budget, and I am okay with that. Also, there are a bunch of little replacement parts that I am missing, mostly hardware, that shouldn't be very expensive, and if I am going to buy them, I'd at least like to know what the original should be.

Might I pick your brain on some detail questions and photos, please?
 
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