1937 Elgin Oriole

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Gravelgrinder59

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Funny story about this bike, showed up on offer up awhile back I thought I’d wait till price went down and make offer. When it sold like next day, I was surprised, but thought “ I bet I know we’re this bike went” I text my friend Herb, I asked him “ You just p/u an Elgin Oriole, he says” as a matter of fact I did”. Now I knew if I was ever gonna get it I was gonna be spending more! Well today I made an 11/2 hr drive to Herbs with trading stock in hand( no bike stuff , all antique toys which I’m not into much now) and we worked out a deal and I left with a new bike. Should have bought to begin with…But spent less cash then would have to begin with.
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The seat is in shreds, that’s reason for bag, to prevent covering from flying off on drive home.looks to be all original except maybe bars.Really cool Art Deco style frame. Aluminum fenders ( rear will need straightening) Cool deco stem. Usually pictured with moto bars but have heard not always.wheels crusty but surprisingly true, has nice Morrow rear hub that seems to work fine. It’s missing trusses, otherwise complete. I can see the graphics under rust so it’ll be interesting to see how much red there still is on frame.I got more stuff I’ll post later.Car is my friends.
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Gravelgrinder59

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I worked on the Oriole today. Got graphics and some red showing on one side of frame. Wet dry sanded with WD-40 and started with 320 grit to cut through thick stuff, then 600 grit, I’ll continue with 1500 in the end to try to get alittle more red, but like the reddish brown it is. Also start cleaning the guard and wire brushed the scaling chrome on the chainring, seat post and truss support. Also started cleaning the bars and took tattered remains of seat off the pan and cleaned that alittle. The last pic of left side is what right side looked like to start with
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Gravelgrinder59

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The pedals on this bike are in really good shape for age and condition of rest of bike. Look more like the condition girls pedals usually found in.The stem is probably the coolest Art Deco stem I’ve had on a bike.
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Bike is unusual to that it has grease fittings in steer tube and bottom bracket. Rear morrow hub has one also
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Gravelgrinder59

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My goal is to use all the original pieces, except seat. Re grease everything, Put boiled linseed oil over everything. Straighten the aluminum fenders best I can and put fat franks probably creme but possibly clay on it for tires. I’d also like to replace the reflectors with nice cut glass ones.
 

kingfish254

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I love those Oriole frames. I still have one to build out one day.
Love the looks of those stems, but be extra careful if you use it as a rider. It doesn't take much for those aluminum stem to snap and mess you up bad.
Keep up the good work on this one and the killer scores.
 
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I’ve never had the opportunity to ride a bike with a curved seat mast. Do they suit tall riders? I missed out recently on a 1941-42 Murray built Western Flyer with a curved mast but it may have been a blessing as I’ve seen a few with issues at the bottom bracket. This doesn’t seem to afflict the Elgins. Were the Elgins built by Westfield?
 
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What issues are you referring to?
I have seen a few bikes where the seat mast has separated or cracked at the bottom bracket on what I believe are the Murray built bikes with the “streamlined” frame. Those frames are different to gravelgrinders as they have the electroforged bottom bracket with long extensions. I believe the upper seat stay section is also e’forged. The Elgin below has this problem and is being parted out currently on the cabe.
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I’ve seen a couple of other bikes with the problem and will try to find pictures of those too.
 
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RustyGold

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I have seen a few bikes where the seat mast has separated or cracked at the bottom bracket on what I believe are the Murray built bikes with the “streamlined” frame.
Gotcha. I have 2-3 frames of that era of the smoothed transitions...they are all solid. I think I have passed on a frame that was welded at that BB junction, but I've passed on several various frames regardless of type that were welded at that junction :grin:.

They are beautiful frames, one of my favorites...pre-war Murray had a ton of killer designs, I wouldn't pass on one because they might be a little more fragile in some areas. They are still steel, not like duralumin Silver Kings... broken is the default on those and I'd buy any in my price range in the hope of fixing it as they are spectacular looking frames.
 
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They are one of my favorite frames too. The streamlined electroforged sections are beautiful and also impressive is Murray’s use of e’forging preceded Schwinn by a number of years. The guy who had the WF one I missed out on told me to steer clear of any frames that had issues as the bronzed welded sections are very difficult to repair. This is the one I missed out on…..it still hurts to look at the photos.
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