I really should have deleted my ebay saved search after buying a Carlton Cobra earlier this month, coz I've gone and bought this in a moment of lunacy:
After buying it, I naturally assumed I'd just been stupid.. It's been resprayed, so it could be anything! Is it really 531 tubing (the seller said the seat tube diameter was 29mm)? Why doesn't it have wrap around seat stays? Why do the lugs look different to the usual Carltons? Why does the serial number seem to be missing the second digit? Time to hunt!
After much sifting through photos of Carltons and Raleighs, I've concluded that the lugs are either Oscar Egg or Prugnat 62A. If they're Oscar Egg, it could be a 1958 Carlton, but the serial number is all wrong for that decade, so they're probably Prugnat 62As from the 70s.
The serial number is W ? 4000429. I don't know if the second digit has been obscured, of if it simply was never there. If it's obscured, that makes it a 74 bike (same age as me!). If it was never there.. then I have no idea!
Squinting at Spokesmann's catalogue scans (http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=110238
), the Carlton Ten looks like it doesn't have wrap-around seat stays. Hunting for photos on the interweb returns photos of '74 Tens with both wrap-arounds and normal seat stays. Weird!
The only 74 Raleigh I can find with Prugnat 62A lugs is the Super Course MkII (the Competition MkII supposedly has them, but they look different).
Sooo.. it could be a 1974 Carlton Ten, but if the Ten could come with two types of seat stay, then maybe others did, too? At least it looks like it is indeed a Carlton-built, 531-tubed frame.
Has anyone else got any thoughts?