Another “Frankenbike” or Schwinn El Camino

Jun 22, 2012
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Hemet, SoCal
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Last summer this one started life as a 1958 Corvette, and had seen its better days. I paid $10.00 for the frame as you see it. I had intended to build a ratrod, but things went sideways.

All the parts I added to this Frankenbike, were purchased on eBay one at a time. I started with a frame, and had to add everything else after cleaning and refurbishing.
After stripping the frame to bare metal by hand, I gave it a coat of etching primer, then filler primer. Wet sanded and applied a white basecoat.

In the beginning I thought I would build it back up original (except for the color) so I picked up the correct style chain guard, painted it to match, and of course I modified it slightly. I also wanted it to be a single or two speed coaster instead of a three speed. (no cables)


I decided I did not like the stock ‘58 chain guard, so I bought a blue ‘59 American chain guard and painted it. I found a guy that made a cheap Corvette decal in black, and this is how it looked for two weeks - until it peeled off! I had no idea I would have such a hard time finding black decals.

After the base coat on the frame cured, I added several coats of clear, and these better quality feather decals to the top bar. They went on easy and looked great. The seat tube decal is low quality and starting to peel now. I’ll have to replace that soon. I wanted to clear over them, but I was having a terrible time trying to paint in my backyard in windy and extremely hot weather, so I quit while I was still ahead.
I looked for a couple months for some decent fenders, and because this is a middleweight frame, and I did NOT want skinny fenders, I bought these chrome balloon repops and mocked them up. (had to modify the rear indents sightly to fit in the frame) The chrome was uh, okay, I guess, but had some scratches. After staring at it for a couple of days, I decided to fill the fender light holes, and paint them to match.
And yes balloon fenders DO fit a middleweight frame, but not without some finessing.I utilized a method of rust removal that worked great! 100% lemon juice soaked overnight. I found that tip here and will use it from now on.

Then I swapped the chain guard back and forth, and decided on the fishtail - I like the look better and I can make my own darn decal. I bought a re chromed crank, sprocket, bottom bracket and head set, although not show quality - it works for me.
Just after I had bought the frame, I came across a non-locking springer and got it cheap, but boy it was in rough shape. I immediately disassembled it, wire wheeled, sanded, and polished the heck out of all the pitted parts.


Those truss rods are not chromed yet - I spent about eight hours sanding and polishing them to a mirror finish. Had to replace the spring - it was just too pitted to hold chrome.
BTW - I burned up my bench grinder doing this, but it was old - real old.

I had painted the fork legs before anything else, so I assembled the whole springer with just polished parts to check the fitment. It looked great!
I sent all Corvette the parts out to be chromed with parts from my ‘54 Goodyear viewtopic.php?f=21&t=59091 while the paint was curing. When dropped them off, my chrome guy could not believe that they were polished bare metal. I guess I made his job easier? It still cost me a small fortune.

I found a Persons seat that I liked, so I refurbished and recovered it. That is when I decided to rename this Schwinn. As I started assembly, I realized that this bike looks just like my 1978 Chevy El Camino. It is all white, with gray interior and chrome wheels.
I wanted this rider to have a beefy hotrod look, and I bought a 2.35 Tire for the rear, but with a 2.125 heavy duty rim, and a middleweight frame, I had clearance problems. The tire sidewall rubbed the fender where I had modified it. So I had to downsize to 2.125 tires front & rear. I guess it doesn’t look too bad.

I added stock wide bars, a repop Corvette rack and pedals, and my own design chain guard decal. I polished a brass head badge and hand painted it to match. I still have to stripe the fenders, they are temporarily done in tape.

With the large Electra tires and the springer, it rides really smooth. I fabricated a trailer hitch so I can tow my trailers.


It took a while to get it all together, but - I like it.
 
Jun 22, 2012
94
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Hemet, SoCal
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mastronaut said:
That looks beautiful, kudos for the detailing it looks great all put together.... 8)
Thanks for noticing the detail... I've got to learn to mock these bikes up before I paint and detail - I had no idea if it would look good fully assembled!