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Wednesday
Jun192013

1982 Custom

A custom frame I built in May 1982 sold on eBay last weekend for $886.54. The highest price paid for one of my frames for a while now. These custom frames are quite rare I only built and recorded 216 of them from 1982 to 1986.

There were a few others built in 1981 (But not recorded.) and a few more built after 1986, but so few I didn’t even record them. I would guess no more than 10 or 12 between 1986 and 1993 when I retired.

Before 2008 when this recession hit, these frames would have brought more, but the price of all vintage bicycles is down now. I recall one of my custom complete bikes went for $3,000, and soon after the bottom fell out of everything.

Like antiques, the price is determined by supply and demand. The supply will never increase, I will not be building anymore.

Out of the 216 plus a few more I have mentioned, only 35 are listed on my registry.

Some will have been lost through accidents, or thrown in dumpsters by people who didn’t know better.

In time the numbers out there will decrease. The whole purpose of my registry is to preserve as many as we can.

The demand for these frames will depend largely on the economy, and getting back to more prosperous times when people actually have something known as discretionary income.

In other words spare cash to plonk down on something that is nice to have, but let’s face it, not at all essential.  

There are three interesting features about the frame pictured here. The first is the paint job. Metallic blue with off white oval panels. This style of paint was popular in England, but not so much in the US. As a result only a few were painted this way, and as far as I remember, and only in 1981 and 1982 while working in the Masi shop in San Marcos, CA.

The second point is there are two water bottle mounts above and below on the down tube. It was done this way so a frame fit pump could be carried in front of the seat tube.

The other interesting point is the frame number. I accidentally stamped two frames with the same number, 5821.

As I recall I didn’t discover the mistake until after the frames were painted. The frames are not the same, they are different sizes, so there can be no confusion even though they have the same number.

This mistake only happened once, and I find it interesting that out of the number of frames built and the few that have come to light so far, that this particular frame has shown up. I hope the new owner will contact me and add it to the registry, and maybe one day the other 5821 will show up.

Someone is bound to ask, the DB53 stamp is the frame size. “DB” is for Dave and Brenda (My ex-wife.) She did some prep and finish work on the frames. She wanted her name somewhere on the frame. There was no way that was going to happen, so to shut her up appease her I stamped DB before the frame size. This only appeared for part of 1982, later I quietly dropped it.

 

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Reader Comments (13)

Beautiful looking frame Dave. What a joy for you to see your craftsmanship looking so good 30 years later! Out of interest, how much would this have sold for in 1982?

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

You could have stamped them 5821A and 5281B :-)

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterYoav

I had to hunt through a lot of old paperwork, but the retail price in 1982 was $725 for the road frame, $755 for the Criterium, and $925 for the Touring frame. Complete bike was around $1,500 - $1,600

I could not stamp the frames A and B because I didn't did discover the mistake until after the frames were painted. Had I found out before painting I could have changed the number to the next in sequence. There were 7 frames built that month but only stamped up to #6.

I was not about to destroy a new paint job for something that was no big deal really, There can never be confusion as to which frame is which because the two frames have a different size stamped on the BB.

Dave

June 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

I'd say that $886 is a bargain then for such a beautiful piece of work.
I was wondering if you actually remember making speciifc frames? Whether particular ones stick in your memory. Obciously many would just disappear as just the product of your daily work but given the craftmanship that goes into them perhaps seeing one years later brings back memories of the actual process.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Wow, that is one good looking frame. Never had the pleasure of owning one of your frames, but they were always high on my list.

In the end, though, I went with my own custom made-for-me bike from Richard Sachs. Had I not done that, I would surely have gotten one of yours. They speak to me in all the right ways.

Thanks for sharing.
Jan

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Have you tried contacting the seller? He would be able to send a message to the buyer on your behalf, for instance just the permalink to this blog post. Here's the seller's eBay page, look for the "Contact Member" link on the left side.

In fact, there are a number of other Moulton bikes for sale on eBay right now, you could contact all of those sellers too, asking them to register, and asking them to encourage their buyers to register. I think it could be a plus for the seller to be able to put a link and note that the bike is a "Registered Moulton". And it would be a plus for you; because if a buyer registered, they would only be able to say "I bought it off eBay"; hopefully a seller would be able to provide a little more history.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad

I have a couple more questions about frame details.

The frame has brake housing guides along the top; nowadays that's a signal of a cyclocross bike; is that the intention here?

Also, I've never seen integrated cable-routing slots under the bottom bracket. It's an elegant idea, but it looks rough; would these have tended to cable fraying? Or is it filed smoother than I think?

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad

RubeRad,
Top tube cable guides and under BB gear cable routing was standard on pretty much any make of frame all through the 1980s, and no cables didn't fray.
Dave

June 20, 2013 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

I'm a happy owner of one of the 10-12 Custom Fuso's. A 1989 66cm red and white rocket ship, that corners like a stone on a string. I only wish my frame was signed like some of the others I see pic's of. Great piece of rolling art.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob

Dave, that paint job looks like new. Do you think it has been repainted? It looks immaculate, like the day you made it. Just out of interest, what width would you have made the rear end, 120mm, 126mm?

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Holy moly, that paint job/color scheme is fantastic.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdb

Gorgeous!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdjconnel

Good thing that beauty isn't a 58-60mm, otherwise I would feel bad missing out on it!

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Katz

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