Saturday, June 6, 2009

Some Stingrays

I only had a Grants High Riser when I was a kid, so the Schwinn Stingray has always been an object of envy. I alway kinda hated Krates because I crashed on one, chipping my fairly new two front teeth, and killing them, so that they required root canals. It's why I don't smile much. Somehow in my adult life I've managed to own 4 of them, never paying more than $14 dollars for one.

Poor Man's Krate

This was the most recent. I got the frame in a trade for a low-end Italian frame & fork, a Garlatti. It had been sandblasted and left outside to rust. As an east coaster, VW nut, and Vespa restorer a little rust does not scare me. I tore off some strips of emery cloth and started sanding, and it took way less time than I thought it would. It got a nice coat of Rust O Leum flat black. I had a donor Slik Chik or Fair Lady that I had built years ago, so I already had a sissy bar, banana seat, ape hangers, stem, and hard-to-find headset & bottom bracket (28 tpi). As a condition of the trade I made him find me some Varsity forks, to go with the 16" wheel I was using. So basically zero dollars into it, because most of it was shit I had laying around. I sold it for $200 to a dude who is going to put a "replica" Whizzer kit on it.

1969 Stingray
69 Schwinn Stingray
I got this one at the Goodwill Outlet store for $14. It had been "converted" to BMX and repainted with an almost-matching blue spray bomb, killing it's collector value and interest. I guess they are all about original patina these days. I had a repro Stingray banana seat and sissybar from another Stingray, and some apes and a chrome Ashtabula stem, so all I needed was some tires, some 20 x 1-3/4 tires (not the same as 20 x 1.75/2.125) . I picked up some used Westwind tires at a swap meet for like 5 bucks. Does anyone get bargains like this on ePay? I ended up selling it for $140.

My Lowrider, "Lobo Negra"

This one started with a free frame left behind by some tweekers in a garage I was cleaning out. There was also a Harley Hummer, which I sold for more than I thought it was worth but less than it was actually worth. This Stingray is a 1971 and originally yellow so maybe a Lemon Peeler. I cut the head tube off and flipped it and bent up some tubes to rake it about 15 degrees and stretched it about 6 inches. This left the bottom bracket almost on the ground so I made some dropout plates to raise it up some and make it about 4" longer. Later on it got the "tank".

This was done the "Old Skool" Mexican way (as told to me by several Mexicans) where you cut a piece of wood out and maybe cut a shape in it, and then bondo it to the frame. Then you set about molding it in with more Bondo. I used about a quart. It's painted Rust O Leum Semi-gloss Black and has a genuine swap meet Zarape seat cover. There's little money into it, with the chrome and the Bendix Red band, but not that bad. The vintage Wald Springer, stem, and apes were a yard sale find for 5 bucks, all 3 items not each.

There was another one, a 1964, that I got for $8 dollars at Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store (DAMVets). At the time, I was a little Schwinn ignorant so I discarded the seat and sissybar, which were the correct Solo Polo style. At first I built it as a lowrider. Instead of a bent springer I heated up some Varsity forks till they were red and bent them in an arc, dropping the frame so far that I had to use 2-1/2" cranks. the back wheel was shot so I laced in an NOS chrome rim with stainless spokes, and shod it with an NOS Schwinn Stingray Slik that I picked up somewhere I don't remember (maybe in Poway). After I painted it metalflake purple (spray paint!) I sold it for $125, back in 1990. This was the first old bike that I fixed up and has a place near and dear in my heart. I wish I had a picture.

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