Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Paramount detail

The Paramount story part 2..see below

I told him I had to go and get a bit more cash and asked him where the nearest ATM was. He looked confused. “Bank machine” I clarified.

“Don’t know if it’s got a machine, but there’s a bank……” and he gave me directions. As I walked away he reminded me that it was Sunday and he didn’t think the bank would be open. I explained that I would use the automatic teller and he was genuinely amazed to learn that such a thing existed!

When I returned, he’d upped the price again. This time I spat the dummy and walked off. He called me back and reluctantly took my money. As I drove away, I wasn’t sure if I’d cut such a good deal after all, but I was hopeful of returning at some stage to try again.

When I got home, I began to rub the dirt off the older frame and was delighted to find the remnants of what would have originally been a spectacular hand-painted finish on a 1950’s PARAMOUNT. I hit the net to find out more but came up with - NOTHING. So I searched more broadly and discovered The Western Australian Historical Cycle Club. There was no web site, but one contact number and I rang Peter Wells.

I described the frame to him and told him about the a small remnant of a decal on the steering column (see pic). It has an Australian coat of arms, the words ‘L. Andrews’ and under that ‘……ark’. Peter and his crew are absolutely set on salvaging what remains of Western Australian bicycle heritage. He told me that the bike was likely to one customized by LES ANDREWS who had a shop in the 50’s and 60’s on Albany Highway in Victoria Park.

I later visited Peter and I’ll post some pix of his incredible collection and write more about the club in the near future.


Meantime readers, I have to make a crucial decision. Do I…..

Preserve the bike as is, find a sweet leather saddle, a set of vintage gears and put it out to pasture?

Strip the frame and have a sign-writer fully restore the original paint job? (Homage to Les Andrews)


Cut the bumps off and make the fixy of my dreams from it?

The Paramount frame - Victoria Park WA

The Paramount decal

The Paramount story - Part 1

I went looking for a cheap frame one Sunday. The local Sunday rag classifieds seem to have the best range of cheap old bikes. 

I called one number in relation to a 'racing bike frame' $90. Seemed kind of expensive, and the guy couldn't give me much info about it. He told me  that he wasn't sure that he was charging enough. I had a hunch about it and took a long drive. 

The owner was well into his eighties, or at least looked it. He showed me what turned out to be Gordonson - mid seventies. Then he tried asking $130. I was disappointed, but gradually became distracted by his back yard. It was an incredible treasure trove of stuff: vintage car parts, general junk and dozens of old bikes. Everything was literally piled in heaps, some covered by sheets of plastic or corrugated iron. I asked him if I could have a poke around and he reluctantly agreed. 

A lot of his bikes were seventies and eighties models and there were a number of mountain bikes, but he had a few interesting vintage frames, and piles of wheels, seats and random parts. The piles were so high, there was no telling what was underneath them. He said that he wanted somebody to just come and clean it all out. I thought I'd found Aladdin's cave, but gradually I came to realize the bloke was just one grape short of a bunch. 

As indicated by his unreasonable request for the frame I'd come to look at, he had a fanciful notion of what his bikes were worth. I explained to him that I could look for the nearest excess rubbish collection (where people put their waste on the street for collection) and find an equivalent bike for naught, but he was convinced that because the bike originally coast $600 (yeah right) it was now worth at least $300....'easy'.  

As I rummaged about, this grandiose perception of the value of his collection became more and more obvious and I began to see the my hopes of scoring a gem dissolve. I dug out one old frame, covered in greasy dirt, an old crank set and a pair of pedals. The he began to run out of patience and suggested that I buy the Gordonson and be gone. When I told him that I didn’t want to but the bike, he spat the dummy, so I began to negotiate a price for the bits I’d picked up and the Gordonson and we settled on $130. 


lawsuit funding