A Penny Saved: Coppertone '67 Fastback

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Sep 13, 2006
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southern PA
So let me tell you how I became a believer. A disciple of the church of Ignaz Schwinn and Al Fritz.

A dozen or so years ago, when I first started putzing around with old bikes again as an adult, the hype surrounding Sting Rays all but put me off. I mean, they're all just kids' bikes, right? Why should some of these things fetch hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, when I can pick up a similar Ross or Murray for the cost of an oil change? And who wants the bike they built to be picked apart by "serious hobbyists" for having the wrong year sissy bar, or the wrong style pedals, or modern, affordable tires instead of rare and pricey 40-year-old rubber that's been meticulously preserved in a moisture-controlled basement?

But I digress.

Though the high-end Sting Ray scene is still a little incomprehensible to me, some things do change. Now, minty Ross and Murray (and other) muscle bikes can go for big money too, depending on model. And on the flip side, patina is in, so it's okay to collect vintage stuff that's NOT minty and therefore more affordable to acquire and more practical to take out and enjoy. But most significantly, my outlook on the hobby has changed. In the last few years, I've played with enough old bicycles to have learned that Schwinns have a certain feel to them that you don't usually find in the other brands, and I'm not as averse to dropping a Benjamin or two on some decent bones to start a project. I've also been riding with a group that has a lot of Stingrays and Krates and Fastbacks, and man, have I been jonesing for a Fastback of my own.

Which brings me to the Trexlertown swap meet last September, where a friend who also happens to be an expert on Schwinns convinced me that I'd be an idiot not to bring home the pile of Coppertone Fastback bits that someone was willing to let go for $125.

And so I bought my own little piece of the Sting Ray mystique, and began to resurrect (but not restore) a kid's toy that's two years older than me. Some of the parts are "wrong," but overall it looks pretty right to me.



Click here for the build thread.
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For anyone who's interested, here's where I started:

Used the frame, fork, guard, fenders, wheels, tires, bars, grips, stem, brake calipers. Chain and derailleur were pretty much unusable.

New tubes from Amazon and cables from Porkchop BMX.
Seat is off a $5 yard sale junker and is quite literally held together with Gorilla Tape.
Seat post, clamp, and sissy from the parts stash in the basement, as were the derailleur and some bits of the brakes.
Brake levers, pedals, some other random hardware robbed off a Collegiate.
Crank from a 24-inch '66 Speedster.
Sprocket is from Fleabay, and at $50 is the most expensive part aside from the original project purchase. Really irks me because I found a better one cheaper a couple weeks later.
Freewheel cluster graciously donated by forum member furyus.
Shifter came with a previously purchased Fastback project and has been modified for 5-speed duty with a cable stop/adjuster off an old set of brakes.
Chain is from Walmart. (Hey, it was late Saturday evening and I couldn't wait for the LBS to open Monday.)

Staring at it now I can't think of anything else, but I'm sure I will remember sources for more parts.

Other possibly notable details of the process:
My attempt to create an alternate Mag sprocket was questionable at best.

On the other hand, I'm pretty pleased with the results of my attempt to recreate the weathered graphics on the guard.

I learned that 3-speed and 5-speed Stik Shifters are NOT the same. I was able to make do with what I had on hand, but there's a "right" way to do it, and I bought myself the correct cable stop after the fact because I happened to find it at a bike swap.


edit: couldn't resist throwing in a ride video :grin:

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a REAL muscle bike... BRAVO!

Nice work on keeping the vintage vibe and patina and updating the parts where necessary! A cool muscle bike build. I think our two muscle bike builds would enjoy a cruise together! :)

Your ride vid is also cool. I always look for a ride video at the end of builds; it brings the bike to life!

I personally like this photo the best for your first photo in this post ( the one the admins will select for the Voting Thread). It shows off the bike and colors best without too much distraction. (my cropping is a little tighter, but it would work either way)
I personally like this photo the best for your first photo in this post ( the one the admins will select for the Voting Thread). It shows off the bike and colors best without too much distraction. (my cropping is a little tighter, but it would work either way)
View attachment 112608

I think I will take your advice on the photo. I wondered even as I first posted it if the thing with the stairs was too busy.
Great resurrection and photos!
Great job on that Fastback! I love the work you’ve done on the chain guard. It looks legit!

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