The story of the restoration of a 1950s classic bicycle for a Land's End – John O'Groats charity ride in aid of Alzheimer's Society
The Ellis-Briggs is nearing completion and she’s lovely. The only problem is… I’ve so enjoyed building her that I’m now a cycle restoration addict. So much so that I’ve now acquired another old frame. I rationalised it by telling myself that I have a lot of spare bike bits that I ended up not using on the Ellis-Briggs, so this would be a natural way of using them up. Hmmm… not very convincing.
This time it’s a Claud Butler, 1942 vintage, a model called the Sport Anglais, which appears in the Claud Butler 1942 catalogue. I remember as a kid walking home from school every day past the local bike shop that always had a beautiful Claud Butler in the window. I was desperate to have a Claud Butler, but I never did get one. So this will be a very old ambition finally achieved.
But it’ll need a lot of work to find the right components and build it up into an authentic 1942 machine. The frame is a beautifully made fillet-brazed with smooth joins of the frame tubes, rather than the usual ornate lugs. But it isn’t in great shape – someone had part-stripped it and then repainted it by hand and there are some faults to be fixed. But, oh joy! What a wonderful prospect.