Spanning several years, my work on this restoration project is now complete. This 1930’s (or possibly 1940’s) Peugeot came to me like this:
The frame was pretty dirty, but seemed otherwise intact, with all the brazing in good shape and no serious dings or dents. It is made with Vitus “Rubis” tubing, a type used on higher end bicycles in the 30’s and 40’s. As many enthusiasts know, Peugeot serial numbers appeared to follow no rhyme or reason and cannot be used to successfully date older models. So, the main clues to its provenance are the “H” in front of the serial number, the tubing type, the decals, and the components. The drive side chain stay has a braze-on for a derailleur spring, but when I purchased the bike, it came with a Simplex Tour de France derailleur, a model which doesn’t use such a spring. I think this was a later upgrade to the bike, as these derailleurs were first introduced in the late 40’s.
In two previous posts I documented the process used to create a rideable machine out of the original bike plus as many period-specific parts as I could source. I added 650b wheels, hammered fenders, a Henri Gauthier leather saddle, a polished aluminum stem, custom levers, and aluminum handlebar with wood grips. My final quest was to set up the lighting. I needed a full lighting system, and after going through a number of possible dynamos I finally found a Ducel fork mounted system that was NOS from the 50’s, that looked just about perfect.
Riding this bike is really fun – it is very comfortable with its super long wheel base and the 650b tires. It is quite the attention getter and conversation starter and was really rewarding to work on. Here is the bike now, and it will be up for sale in my new on-line store – coming soon.
Great looking bike..Enjoy your blog..Like what you do to your bikes!!!
Thank you, Cecil. It is very rewarding work.
Nola, your work is awesome. I’m inspired.
I love the way this bike turned out. I’m curious about how you manage to find these wonderful rare machines. In my imagination I can picture you going to Europe on bike-buying expeditions and finding hidden treasures hidden away in barns, sheds and rummage sales. Do you use ebay and Craigslist? Perhaps a network of collectors knows about you. Congratulations on another great build.
Thanks, Tom. I wish I enjoyed the adventures you describe, but actually I get most of my bikes from collectors I know and from eBay. This was an eBay purchase, but the seller and I met in person and that helped with determining this bike’s age.
There are some really elegant and subdued touches on this bicycle that simply steal the show. The first is that cottered crankset. It is so minimal looking but has beautiful, classic lines and is really quite graceful.
Keeping the cable lines straight is an element most of us are not used to unless a modern hand-built bicycle is your usual steed. So, seeing cable routing go directly through the tubing is not only superior in functionality but cleans up the look. Nice touch.
My favorite, however, is the keyed fork lock. This immediately caught my eye. Actually, it was the small keyhole flap that I adore the most. I am unable to see details but I am certain it is more ornate than a simple, detail-less metal covering. The fork lock must have been a wonderful function to have as a city bicycle owner. Although, I would certainly not use this as my primary means of security. Maybe that would fly in the 1930’s but not now. But, my guess is this bicycle isn’t left in public places for substantial periods of time. Still, the feature is clever and that it continues to function and you have the original keys is an added bonus that must be extremely satisfying.
Hi Josh, there was a lot of thought put into this bike’s design. I weighed the pedals and they were actually lighter than any of my modern day pedals here in the shop. I am really happy that this machine will be out on the road again!
After reading your good bicycle subject, I’ve been watching your topic about the derailleur “Simplex Tour de France”.
According to my knowledge you are the rare person who can provide both real picture and documentary about this old component.
I’ve only found a small tip at “Disrealigears” : http://www.disraeligears.co.uk/Site/Simplex_derailleurs.html
It seems this bicycle is a rarity, doesn’t it?
With this Serial number : 75 623 H, you’re bike is clearly a 1947 model
more difficult to recognize exactly the model : http://forum.tontonvelo.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=22310&p=247486#p247486
I would say a PHL55. (if your derailleur can work with 4 speed (written on it)
Thanks for sharing the link to the 1947 Peugeot catalog. That’s a real find. However, I am not sure how the SN convinces you that the bike is a 1947 model. Do you have an SN chart? This bike’s tubing is Vitus Rubis-not mentioned in the catalog. Yes, I think it is an H model, but I am still not sure which year. The Simplex derailleur is actually not a TDF as I had thought, but the Champion du Monde, probably the 1947 version, which adds weight to the idea that the bike dates to 1947, as you suggest.
Yes I built a SN chart based on theses infos : http://forum.tontonvelo.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11377
and the comparaison of hundreds of Peugeot bikes.
The PHL50 and PHL55 have the mention “tubes Spéciaux extra légers” (special extra light tubing) wich can fit with Your Rubis EL tubing.
Alain – thank you for that link. Can I share your Serial Number table on my site? Another vintage Peugeot that I restored and sold has an SN 947 633 – a PolyMultipliee model – and from your chart that makes it a 1946 model. You can see the blog post here: http://restoringvintagebicycles.com/2013/03/31/1940s-peugeot-polymultipliee-gents-bike/