We can count on Hilary to come up with his usual esoteric selection of frames on a regular basis... and the latest one, today, lives up to his usual high standard.
The radical frame with the slotted head tube, from Townsend of Redditch, strikes me as though it might be a little later than 1976. I had some dealings with that company who supplied me with some standard lightweight sportsframes - nothing better than 531PG - that they claimed that they built themselves These went out of the shop with the RIVACCI brand on. Non were as radical as Hilary's frame and if it wasn't built in house, I agree that it might have come from Ken Russell who had a penchant for cutting shapes, including his SWAN motif in the headtube.
The Jacques Anquetil is the very type of frame that has triggered off yards of column inches and speculation. I remember these frames being discussed in the Veteran Cycle Club magazine at least six years ago at which time a number of us chimed in with our suggestions. All the frame components are straight out of Ron Kitching's catalogue of the time - he was the UK distributor for Zeus, the fork crown was one of his MILREMO brand, and the lugs were BOCAMA, for which he was the distributor too.
I have a couple of frames like this one, complete with the plated fast-back stays..but mine are metallic lilac . Someone on the list must have a copy of Rons catalogue of that era...I appear to have misplaced mine - and could tell us the model name . From memory one was Tour de France and another the GP des Nations.. I think these models predate MKM's existence - I think the firm started in 1975/76..at a time when some of Ron's frames were made by a craftsman builder in Keighley, West Yorks. The frame's head transfer is that of Ste CIZERON, the St Etienne-based manufacturer who had the rights to brands such as Jacques Anquetil and Raphael Geiminiani, in France.
The NOName frame intrigues me immensely as I can think of three builders who might have produced this frame. Just prior to the ubiquitous Nervex Pro MkII lugset making its appearance, Oscar Egg Super Champion lugs were very popular. These had some very pleasant lug shapes that lent themselves to tweaking and reprofiling to make them more decorative.
The Nervex Pro set created quite a storm in the trade and was an instant success. However...soon there were so many generic frames being produced with Nervex lugs and those very attractive and distinctive twin-fluted wrap-over top-eyes. Some frame-builders tried to break away from this mould by customising the Nervex lugs, not that there was much meat on them to play about with.
The head-lugs on the NOName frame have been reprofiled and the trade-mark twin scroll removed, Hawkes of London produced some frames with this type of look, a builder called Willingdale also made frames with variations on the Nervex Pro, as did James Fothergill of Liverpool, some of which were transferred up as Geddes (of Warrington I think).
In my youth I also meddled about with variations on the Nervex theme and wonder whether the NOName might be one of mine. certainly the lug design, probably copied from one of the others - I used to visit London builders regularly - and the plated full wrap-over seat stay eyes ( I still have a box full of these !!) are typical of some of my early frames. The brake cable bridge is not something I remember brazing on..not back in those days..but it is the frame number that strikes a chord in my memory. I have never had a simple numerical sequence, as production was not prolific, but have stamped each frame with the date on which it was finished ie before it was painted. The 5516 on this frame , if it is one of my early efforts,it would have been finished on the 6th of January 1955. The winter months were always a busy time for craftsman-builders as they constructed customers' frames for the start of the next season If the frame is one of mine, and there is a strong likelihood, it would have been built just before my 20th birthday...but would have carried my own name transfers, supplies of which are long gone. When, after a break of some years I started building again I launched the BESPOKE Brand..and reversed the numbering sequence...putting the day first, followed by the month and then the last two digits of the year.
Somwhere in my stores I have a very nice WILLINGDALE and an early Jack Fothergill and will check out the numbering systems. Does anyone out there have a Hawkes of London who could check out the system used by that firm? I would like to eliminate these three brands from my research.
Norris Lockley...on a nostalgic trail ...Settle UK