Wednesday, February 16, 2011

1938 Schwinn Autocycle Blues

My favorite show on TV lately has been American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Frits travel the country in search of antique treasures hidden away in barns, out-buildings or just sitting out rusting in plain sight. Mike is a bike guy that has the same taste in antique bikes as I do so when a few weeks back I ran across an episode where he said that he had found his Holy Grail of bicycles and had been looking for it for 30 years my ears perked up. The camera pans over to a 1938 Schwinn Autocycle in original paint. This just happened to be my Holy Grail as well; I have been looking for one for as long as he. Occasionally I see them on Ebay for like 4 Grand. I can’t pay that so I have been hoping to find one that the seller doesn’t appreciate and pick it up cheap. Mike paid $1000 for his which was a screaming deal. I would pay that in a second.


I have an obsession for checking KSL.com multiple times a day to see the new listings for “Schwinn”. Today just prior to leaving work I pulled up the search again and this is what I found.

I found this 1938 Schwinn Autocycle in my Great Grandfathers Garage while cleaning it out. I Did some research and found it to be a lost treasure. First introduced in 1936 the Autocycle seriously revolutionized the balloon tire field in styling and sophistication. So much going on here that Schwinn incorporated the word AUTO into the title of these bikes. No other bike of the period had as many deluxe features and accessories as the Autocycle. This jewel tanked bicycle is 100% original parts, no aftermarket stuff at all. From the full floating "pogo" saddle right down to the deluxe speedometer crossbar. It has dual Seiss headlights, locking truss fork with original Yale Junior Arnold Schwinn & Co. key, WW Goodyear G-3 Tires and a Schwinn Speedo head. It also features the early Fore Brake and super rare early brake handle with the original cable. NOS Liberty headbadge and a Liberty decal on the downtube. First year for the feather chrome chainguard.


I don't know what to ask for it in it's current condition before being restored but I want it to be a fair price for both of us so if you are interested and have an idea of how much it's worth please call me and lets talk.


Thank You,






I picked up the phone and called immediately because I knew there would be a fight for this bike. The seller said that he had another guy coming to look at it and offered $750. I told him I would do at least $800 and with that I raced off to try to be the first there with cash. Sadly about 2 miles from the sellers house my phone rang, “Sorry I sold it, but thanks for offering 8 I got another 50 bucks out of the guy who bought it.” He then asked me if I knew who Mike Wolfe was, and that he had just gotten a call from him wanting the bike just after he sold it. He was disappointed because he thought that he might have had a chance to be on TV if he had held out.

I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. I turned around and went home. And to add insult to injury I told my wife about it. Now I am in the dog house with her for not discussing the attempted purchase with her first. Seriously this one is going to haunt me for a long time. I doubt I will ever see another in this good of condition for that kind of money.

I am still in the market if anyone happens to know someone with an extra Autocycle lying around, be sure to send them my way.

Damn that thing would have made one hell of a commuter.

3 comments:

  1. I know this bike. I also offered the seller $750 to which he agreed and promised to hold the bike until the next morning. I live in Spanish Fork and it was late and I didn't want to travel that far that late. Turns out that wouldn't have been a good idea as one hour later I get a call back from this guy telling me he sold the bike for $800. I reminded him that he gave his word which I guess is only worth $50. Shame that happened to both of us. Money changes everyone and every circumstance it seems. Nevertheless, I have since accumulated several bikes since and many of greater value than the Autocycle. I am currently selling several and would like to talk to you about them; Included in my collection is a 1930s "Brooks" Autocycle made by Schwinn for Gutherie Bicycles in Salt Lake City. Its a step-through and a bit rough but these are quite rare. I also have about a half-dozen 19th century track bikes including an 1897 Pierce, 1899 Racycle, two 1900 Iver Johnson, and 1930s Schwinn New World track. Email me for my contact number at david@iPhotoCars.com.

    Thanks.

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  2. I got one just like that call me ill send pics 2174816599

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  3. Ive got one as well, if anyone is interested let me know, 5305248846

    ReplyDelete