Sorry, I though Gary's surname was Curtis too...
Gary Woodhouse. Top bloke. Went to visit him couple months ago much to kanerdog's annoyance! a customer at the bike shop i work in designed the curtis 'wings' logo in the early 80's and helped to organise the building of frome bmx track which was essentially curtis' testing ground. spent reminiscing with the customer for ages then saw gary at a bike show and mentioned the guy's name and his face lit up! we arranged to go down for a c+c (cuppa + catchup) because i had a 1984 curtis freestyler in need of some love at the time - foolishly, i sold the frame back to the guy i bought it off. twat! anyway, nothing ever really happened about the visit for a few years until i decided to get a new curtis mtb frame custom built. so i got on the blower to gary, said i wanted a frame and refreshed his memory of the customer. two weeks later, we're on our way there! his directions we're great! we pulled in off an A road in wiltshire, into a muddy slodgy layby with 2 tracks leading up from it. went through a gate, up a steep rocky, muddy track to some parked cars. got out, climbed through the hedges and found some old stables. looked in and there was gary, on his knees, brazing a sidecar!
The workshop was exactly what i hoped it would be...
built of breeze blocks, corrugated tin roof with a wood burning stove as the heating. proper job. as i looked around, it got better... above your head as you walk in, there is the history of curtis bikes in frame form. very early 'Brian Curtis' frames on the right, working their way left towards the modern frames. in the corner, there is an extensive collection of trophies that gary has won over the years, in the next corner is the 'kitchen' old fridge, old kettle, old microwave and old mugs. how it should be. work your way left, there is a large wall of dropouts, bb shells and various other frame parts, to the left of that is a large rack with all the various T45 tubes, then you have the large oxygen/acetylene bottles and the other brazing bits. to the left of that is bench with a pillar drill on it and some frame jigs underneath. next to the bench, is another bench, with all sorts of bits and bobs on it. between these two benches is a rack with assorted hammers and files. all the tools you'll ever need to get by in life. to the left of the door, is the desk. which can be best described as an explosion in a catalogue and leaflet factory. then the phone rings. "it's under here somewhere!" says gary. as he talks to the customer, the man Brian Curtis himself walks in and starts having a chinwag. as i'm flitting in and out of the conversation, i'm noticing all the little bits and bobs. oh, there's an old redline frame under that bench. and a ukai on a suzue large flange there. and there are so many odd stickers and posters dotted all over the place, giving you little glances into various eras of the curtis legacy. needless to say, i went home with a huge grin on my face, with the satisfaction that my new toy is in quite possibly the best hands it could be and being built by what i would say is one of the best custom frame builders of the last 30 years, working out of a shed in wiltshire. absolutely fantastic!
sorry if that went on a bit, but i'm sure there are people out there who would appreciate that.
back to that pr frame, it looks very much like a dp racing frame. they were very curtisesque. i have a feeling they may have been made of T45 tubes. there were a few small manufacturers using T45 at the time. particulaly in the west country and wales. the reason for this is as far as i have been told by a few people is that rally car roll cages of the time (and today) were made from T45 and in similar size diameters. the popularity of the lombard and rac rally around the general surrounding area of the river severn meant that T45 was fairly readily available from most local steel stockholders and was comparitively cheaper than the specific bicycle tubing, so they could be hand built, or custom built for not a great deal more money than a mass produced frame, although generally being of a much higher quality.