My frame registry site at davemoultonregistry.com has been in existence for a little over a year now. There are now slightly under a hundred members; that is over 100 frames listed as a number of those participating own more than one frame built by me.
I still have my frame number registry books for custom frames built in the UK in the 1970s, and for those built in the US from 1982 to 1986. I built a few custom frames in 1981 while I was working for Masi, but these numbers didn’t get written down anywhere, until now as they appear on the registry.
By 1982 I was no longer working for Masi and had to support myself by building my own custom frames. I built 69 frames in ’82; not bad considering I was still working in the Masi shop and sharing the tools and paint facility with three other builders.
In 1983 I moved into my own shop in San Marcos and production sky rocketed. 96 custom frames built, and over 300 John Howard frames. I put in 18 hour days, six days a week back then, but it got me started, and had it not been for that I would not be writing this today.
By 1986 the Fuso had been in production for two years, and the numbers of custom frames grew less and less. Only three custom frames are recorded in my book in 1986. That was the year I moved the business from San Marcos in San Diego County, 60 miles north to Temecula in Riverside County.
I have a feeling that the record book got misplaced in the move and that is why the recording stopped. It is a miracle really that these two little hardcover notebooks survived, especially in the years that followed my leaving the bike business in 1993.
I moved from California to Oregon in 1994 and from Oregon to South Carolina in 2001. I would by no means consider myself a pack-rat; and during the two big moves I scaled down my belongings considerably. However, I am pleased the books did survive.
The production frames like the Fuso and Recherché were simply numbered in sequence starting at 001. No records were kept of where the frames went after they left my shop, or for example which ones were the custom built Fuso Lux model. That information is only now becoming revealed in the online registry.
The Lux model was introduced in 1986; the earliest number in the registry is 716. But whether this was the first Fuso Lux frame built I have no way of knowing; a lower number may show up in the future.
The registry is revealing that many frames still have the original paint, and many are still owned by the original owners. However, we are only just scratching the surface with a little over 100 frames listed out of several thousand built.
It should be interesting how many frames will be listed by this time next year; will the number double, more than double or will it slow down? People for the most part simply stumble upon the registry, or hear about it through the grapevine. It is a not-for-profit enterprise, so I can’t afford to advertise it.
I am grateful to all who have participated so far; it is rewarding for me that there are a few people out there who consider my past work worth preserving. I am looking forward to our little community of DM owners growing so we can maybe embark on other things more than just listing names and numbers.