Claud Butler - Mystery model (1950s)

Grayzza

Retro Newbie
Hi all

First time post so be nice.:)

My dad passed with CV19 in Dec last year and left me his pride and joy of which I have attached some pictures. I have had Northwood Cycles refurbish the running gear and give it a very decent (but sympathetic) clean up. Now I need help to identify it please. There are some hints below in the pictures and I have the frame number which matches the one on the fork tube.

Serial no. either 568 3287 or 3287 568

If its a 1956 model this would be about right from what I know but if not, would be great to know what year and if possible what model (that swhat I am realy after)

The pictures dont really do it justice - thew paint is still in remarable condtion considering how old it is and how regularly it was ridden in the early days (but not at all int he last 40). It's almost all original and was owned by dad from new. The paintwork is untouched. The only changes that are from the original is the work done by Northwood which includes polishing up the original rims and respoking them as well as all the running gear stripped and bearings replaced etc. New tape on the bars, new cables, brake blocks and the original tyres had to go but that's it.

From what I know the specification includes:

5 speed with Campag Gran Sport deraileur
531 Frame
GB Coureur brakes, handlebar stem and levers
Brooks Saddle
Dunlop 27x1/4 special lightweight rims
Steel cranks with the word Williams on them
There is a grease nipple on top of the bottom bracket

The pictures show it better than I can describe it.

Anyway all help appreciated

Cheers

Grayzza
 

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The History Man

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We have our very own tame CB expert. I'm sure he'll be along in a minute................
 

Peachy!

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Definitely late 1956. I’ll get back to you with more details later (I’m away from my laptop)
Gut feeling is it’s a Tour of Britain, but the forks are most definitely Holdsworthy not original Claud, whereas the frame is.
It might be one of the frames “received” by Holdsworth when Claud went bust late ‘56
 

Peachy!

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Ok, had a closer look on a large HD screen.
Definitely August 1958, Frame is also definitely a Tour of Britain model.
TourOfBritain.jpg
This would have been double butted and was the top of the range.
Front forks definitely Holdsworthy circa 1958-1962.
Paint job and decals are a bit of an oddity as the 531 is wrong and pre-dates the frame, so do the down tube "Claud Butler", these are pre 1948. and none of the "Claud" Clauds or "Holdsworthy" Clauds ever had the Claud signature placed in the middle of the seat tube. This suggests a shop re-spray, still early, perhaps late 50's or early 60's using whatever transfers they had in stock.
 

PeterPerfect

Senior Retro Guru
The main issue you're going to have with your search is that so many Companies were involved in CB production.

Some of them were very good.

Looking at the pictures, from what I can tell, it's very reminiscent of early Dolan influence when CB tried to be independent.

It's a very nice frame but I fear you may be chasing your tail and never establish it's true origins.

Suffice to say, you've inherited a very nice bike!
 

Peachy!

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Looking at the pictures, from what I can tell, it's very reminiscent of early Dolan influence when CB tried to be independent.

It's a very nice frame but I fear you may be chasing your tail and never establish it's true origins.
Couple of odd comments their Peter?
The frame stamp is absolutely in line with an August 1956 Claud Butler frame build. And I’d put money on it being a Tour of Britain having owned one.
And there’s no way on earth that Dolan would have made an exact replica Holdsworth fork. Even if he wanted to I doubt very much if Claud would have let him.
It’s true origins I would say are exactly as I’ve already explained. The frame was made by Claud the fork by Holdsworthy.

How or why they came together and why the odd graphics, I agree it’s unlikely will ever be known.
 
Last edited:

Grayzza

Retro Newbie
Really fascinating, and thanks to the experts for their views - it seems a real puzzle but nonetheless whoever did the in-shop paint job was a proper professional as it has lasted 60 years and still looks great.

As to the bike It is likley that it will become a wall ornament but if I did decide to part with it would the rather interesting back story make it hard to sell (or is just part and parcel of owning a Claud Butler)?

Failing that (and it is my Dad's old bike) I still need to insure it - so can anyway answer the Antiques Roadshow question about what the cost of replacement would be (assuming that I could replace it)?
 
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