After perusing countless new school ‘classic’ builds, it’s refreshing to actually come across a real classic restoration. In true grass roots fashion, here’s a tremendous example of what’s possible with a lick of paint, some deft skill with cotton bar tape, a few coats of shellac and a refined taste in bicycle aesthetics.
To fully appreciate this beauty, you need to lay eyes on its previous incarnation. A veritable dumpster find, it requires a man with a penetrating insight to see the potential that lies underneath the rust and cobwebs. Airlite was the name of a Sydney welder who is no longer operating. The frame was stripped and dispatched to Sydney’s premium painter, Star Enamel, who applied a rich charcoal hue. The lugs were lined and the frame set aside.
After deciding on and sourcing necessary replacement parts that add functionality as well as being period correct, the next step is crucial to really making a classic pop: hours of polishing. It proves that nothing worthwhile was gained easily. Also proving that point was the bars and their harlequin wrap — 5 attempts later — which were then coated numerous times with shellac. This gives a wonderful glow to the complete build, and the same effect provided a chain stay protector and shim for the kickstand. A Carradice saddlebag will carry the essentials required for a hundred-kilometer ride and not detract from the classical character.
Our hero with the vision is a Sydney enthusiast who, on the Australian Cycling Forums goes by the avatar ghettro. You can read more about the history of the restoration process on his thread, and on his dubiously named blog The Smut Pedaller.