Yet another black Stingray rant. Part One

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Oldbikeguy1960

Wore out three sets of tires already!
(Part 2 on reply below.)

Yeah I know. Here we go again.
I have been here since December 2021, and have heard many discussions on old bikes, in regards to oddities. One of the bikes whose existence is most vehemently opposed is pre Scrambler black Stingrays. The other was a one off all chrome 1936 Autocycle Deluxe.

I am here to debunk the myth that anyone here, including myself is an expert on EVERYTHING Schwinn (or any other manufacturer for that matter) did.

Today I saw an awesome article about a true one off bicycle, not known to exist in ANY Schwinn documentation anywhere.
It is an all white 5 speed Corvette.

If memory serves me correctly (more doubtful every day) the 5 speed Corvette was rare enough anyway being built from mid 1961-1962 for the 1962 model year. Now we have an all white Corvette, which until now has never been mentioned in any Schwinn memo, newsletter or even a scrap of paper.

This is exactly why I say and lead by example, DO NOT DISPROVE ANYTHING WITH NO PROOF THAT IT COULDN'T EXIST! If this bike would've appeared without the blessing of a letter from Schwinn when they were still in Chicago it would be like the aforementioned bikes, argued out of existence by the experts, scientists and armchair Schwinn executives like those bikes were.

The problem is, no more of these White Corvette 5 speed bicycles would've ever turned up to bring the possibility back to life and it would've been relegated to the dustbin of history (where it was found as I read) never to resurface or possibly stripped and rebuilt as whatever color everyone agrees on existing for the 1962 model year.

Thank Schwinn a person with some foresight put the letter where it could be found and someone that loves these bikes found it and not some mom buying an old bike for their son or a kid in the 1970s looking to make a beater or Klunker out of it. The letter would be gone and so would the proof one ever existed since nobody else would ever ask about it again.

Now, back to the original bikes In question. I will start with the 1936 Autocycle.

I know on the Autocycle several experts chimed in on this part or that part not being available to the public until 19XX. I can understand that. Neither was the whole bike as an assembly.

That doesn't mean however that one was not made as a test market mule, with parts from the design team that were not yet available in order to showcase them.

There had to be working prototypes or Schwinn would not have wasted money patenting and producing them for sale. Also, chrome Autocycle fenders and chainguards painted over have been found.

The fact that the serial number is crisp and clear is more evidence for it possibly being factory chromed. Stripping or blasting paint, polishing and chroming (3 layers) would have dulled it noticeably around the edges.

As for the jeweled tank, as some pointed out it was already available so why would a dealer not just order one if they already existed then? Maybe the tank was changed because the old one was damaged and a new one was no longer available. Who knows. Not I.

Pretty much every shot taken at this bike can be a close miss as easily as a fatal wound.

Stay tuned for part 2, which will really be about a black Stingray.
Rob
 
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GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
The Corvette 5 speed was built and sold in mid 1961 and thru the 1962 model year. It was available for purchase in July 1961.

Quote:
If memory serves me correctly (more doubtful every day) the 5 speed Corvette was rare enough anyway being built from mid 1961-1962 for the 1962 model year. Now we have an all white Corvette, which until now has never been mentioned in any Schwinn memo, newsletter or even a scrap of paper.

1646527632848.png
 

Oldbikeguy1960

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Another Stingray Rant. Part Two

Thanks for your patience!
Now, the part about the black Stingrays.

Before anyone shoots at me, I acknowledge there is no letter from Schwinn Chicago concerning black Stingrays. Nobody remembers any frames going down the line dressed in black, or original black Stingray chainguards.

We are fairly certain the color was considered. We know Schwinn made black Fastbacks. We know Schwinn would make special order and test market bikes. It is at least reasonably accepted that Schwinn made a Grape Krate and a Koal Krate. Possibly a blue Krate but I really don't care for the Blueberry Krate name. We all probably know that Al Fritz brought home a new bike for his son regularly. Most of them were configurations that Schwinn never sold, and he gave the old bike to a friend every time he got a new one.

So here I go taking a chance at assassinating my fading credibility. Black Stingrays may have existed. No, I do not have some heretofore unseen letter from a Schwinn marketing executive verifying the existence of any. No, I do not have a testimony from a line worker that remembers any being sent down the line for assembly.

What I am saying is several specimens have cropped up over the years, some that seem to have uniform patina on the frame and chainguard. A few that have been claimed by the owners to have been in the family since new, some as prizes from a store chain in the Texas/Oklahoma area.

Who of us has the right to call these people liars because we cannot find some document from Schwinn that verifies them.

There is no harm in believing they could've existed. The real harm is when we as members berate someone publicly for trying to debate their existence.
And if by some chance one of these bikes, or any other bike we all said couldn't have existed comes down the like with documentation from the manufacturer verifying that it, like the white Schwinn Corvette did come from the factory in a configuration we all argued didn't exist we will not be here eating our words. Some of them are/were rather bitter and poorly prepared.

Thanks for reading this and considering what I have said.
Rob
 

Oldbikeguy1960

Wore out three sets of tires already!
The Corvette 5 speed was built and sold in mid 1961 and thru the 1962 model year. It was available for purchase in July 1961.

Quote:
If memory serves me correctly (more doubtful every day) the 5 speed Corvette was rare enough anyway being built from mid 1961-1962 for the 1962 model year. Now we have an all white Corvette, which until now has never been mentioned in any Schwinn memo, newsletter or even a scrap of paper.

View attachment 1583064
Thanks for the sales document from August 1961.
Maybe I worded this quote wrong. What I am pretty sure I was saying was what this document says, the Corvette was available as a 5 speed from the middle of 1961 thru the 1962 model year. The date of August 1st was a month later than what I had thought but at least it was in the ballpark.

I was also saying that there was no documentation anywhere until this bike appeared with the letter from Schwinn marketing that any White Schwinn Corvette 5 Speed bikes were built. Now we have one with documentation.
I am also saying that nobody knows whether or not a bike like the Autocycle or the black Stingrays could have made and the factory documentation did not survive. None of us can say that all the documentation from Schwinn still exists. A lot of info was lost in a fire as far as I remember although the date range escapes me at the moment.
I just want to be clear on what I said so nobody misunderstand.
Thanks again for the info and I hope this clears up what I was saying.
Rob
 

mrg

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Kinda reminds me of when I found my first 54 model yr balloon tire Jaguar ( 35-40 yrs ago ), it had a 53 dated frame with the double rear fender/brake bridge a "prototype"?, everybody said it did not exist and someone added the hand brake bridge but then I found a second one ( neither had og paint ) then finally met a old Schwinn employee at a event and he said the very first ones were like that, well sense then about 15-20 have shown up. https://thecabe.com/forum/threads/prototype-jaguar.70602/
 
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tacochris

I live for the CABE
I very much value the wisdom, experience, knowledge and assistance that I get from this page and I have been able to finely sharpen my skills to a point and fill in gaps in my own mental database leaps and bounds from being a member of this fine site.
Having said that, I am also keenly aware that no one on this site made the bikes in question nor is a end-all/beat-all expert in gospel and concrete last word says in things, so I am wise enough to take any verbiage I read that includes "never made, never existed, never offered" with respect but an abundance of caution. I have seen countless things debunked or disproven in my lifetime that were once widely accepted as gospel so I take this stuff with the same amount of hesitance.
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
This illustrates the problem with pulling pranks like the white Corvette. Someone will only read the first few posts of that thread and take it as gospel the bike was made. I know there are anomalies out there and have seen them. The chrome Motorbike is not one of them. V/r Shawn
 

Oldbikeguy1960

Wore out three sets of tires already!
This illustrates the problem with pulling pranks like the white Corvette. Someone will only read the first few posts of that thread and take it as gospel the bike was made. I know there are anomalies out there and have seen them. The chrome Motorbike is not one of them. V/r Shawn
Everyone involved or not, excuse the tone this letter may have please. Yesterday morning I lost my best fuzzy buddy forever, Felinicus Caesar. When things like this happen to me I tend to write these kinds of rants based on how I feel at the time. On top of the emptiness I feel over him pretty much dying in my arms, I now feel offended because of a comment made that does not take into account when I or others read the post.

I wanted to do this in a PM but I am not allowed.

First off, I read the post when it was brand new, no comments at all and I did not make one. I was in the middle of composing a thread and it popped up. At that time the OP had not admitted that he built a fake bike and made a forged letter proving its authenticity

This attitude toward myself and others that did not read the post about it being a joke (and in bad taste I will add considering the effect it created) is totally unnecessary. Have a little respect man.

In all due respect to you, I like you as a member for the most part. However, nobody has seen it all here or on any forum in the world. Calling someone a liar (like some did on the Autocycle thread) is in poor taste and will be read by new and prospective members. That is the point of MY thread here is to respectfully agree or disagree on this subject.

To everyone here who wants to yell "fake" and "where's the proof" every time you see anything you do not believe exists, I make a suggestion that would improve the attitudes over these bikes whether they be a fake or an anomaly.

Where is your proof that IT DOESN'T EXIST? If this bike was brought into a court of law and a plaintiff said it was a fake, the burden of proof would be on the accuser, not the accused. It would be presumed innocent (authentic) until proven otherwise by a preponderance of the evidence.
Saying "I have seen it all and this doesn't exist" by itself would not meet the burden of proof. The plaintiff could bring in the previous owner who had direct knowledge of it coming from a dealer or his grandfather got it new and he directly told the previous owner about it would serve to rebuff the "I've seen it all and this doesn't exist") argument.
To prove it is a fake the plaintiff would need to produce documents directly from Schwinn saying it never existed. Not the new Schwinn, they know practically nothing about the real history of the Arnold, Schwinn Company or the original Schwinn Bicycle Company.

I have read written tales of how both Ignaz and Frank W Schwinn used to create new bikes or parts while walking the factory floor. They would take the drawings to a group of workers to build the bike or part as a test mule. A lot of bikes and parts that never saw the light of day were built there as well as a lot that were successful lines. Who knows what was built and discarded, or built and given to a large dealership for a showroom display.

The point here is that none of us, including myself know everything there is to know about even Schwinn bikes, let alone the entire bicycle history. That is why try to research new things at least one a day. The White Corvette was not a research project, it was only one post when I read it and since the member was well known here and had a forged document from Schwinn saying the bike was real and recently found there was nothing to research.

Everyone can be wrong on a subject, including myself. When someone can produce written verifiable proof that something was not made by a manufacturer I will admit I am wrong. But who knows what was lost in the Schwinn fire in August 1948 that burned a lot of information and documentation of what Schwinn built and never produced? Nobody will ever know for certain on one off bikes or parts.


This episode has taught me a valuable lesson here though. That lesson is that it is getting harder to trust anyone when they bring forth a new find even if they do have documentation. It is also harder to trust the opinions on whether or not, how many and what color/finish they came in One letter in a million could never be verified, especially if the writer is dead.

My name is Rob, and I approve this rant.
 
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