I just acquired the bicycle pictured above and thought I'd share. Mainly bought for the choice parts, but when it arrived the frame turned out to be rather nice. Other than the decals, in a lot better cosmetic condition than expected, and very nicely built; with wrapover stays, barend stops and sloping crown. There's also an original 60s - mid 70s Reynolds 531 sticker - guaranteed all tubes 531.
Yesterday I found out a great deal about Tower Cycles, Birmingham from a CTC forum member. He very kindly got directly in touch with Alan Richards, former Tower Cycles owner, whom he's know for 50 years! Thanks to his help I've managed to date and possibly ID the builder of the frame.
Dating the frame...
The parts are all top end, mainly early 60s Campagnolo, with some particularly choice ones...
- 2nd Gen. Record Derailleur, with non-slotted cable stop
- Pre '67 151 BCD Strada Crankset (1962 - 1966 version)
- Williams Rings
- Magistroni Clip style headset
- Record Strada Pedals
...but then Prugnat lugs would say later, mid '60s to mid '70s?
As both frame and rims have 'Built By Tower Cycles' I assumed built at the same time. Sure enough, locknuts on hubs revealed 1970. And thanks to Alan Richards, I learned he stamped the rims of wheels he built. I'd have never spotted this! Bit of cleaning, and a date stamp he applied indicating 1971 was revealed. So a 1971 frame!
I learned from Alan Richards via the CTC chap that the frame no. was not one of his and that he didn't build frames himself until the later 1970s. So this is one he'd have badged up. With this info and couple of snaps, the guess is it was built by Stanley Lang, Southern Cross. The next step is to wait and see if Alan can find anything in his logs to confirm this. If I'm lucky he may even be able to find out the original owners name!
So far, not been able to find out a great deal on Stan Lang or Southern Cross from the usual sources. A bit of googling
reveals a little... Building in UK as Southern Cross, rumoured to have buillt Tandems for the British Olympic team in the 1930s, emigration to Australia, still building as Southern Cross over there, BMXs too, before return to the UK, in the '90s before his death in '97(?). Classic Rendevous only has a 'Coming Soon' link! And on Classic Lightweights I only came up with one picture... BUT... the frame in the photo at the foot of this page
, from what I can glean seems to share the features of my own!
I'd love to find out more about Stan or Southern Cross if anyone knows the history. It looks a solidly built frame and I'll need to now decide what to do with it.
I'll try to add more photos of the parts and frame as I clean it up, as under a good ammount of grime they look to be in fabulous condition.
Well, hope this has been of some interest to someone!