1964 Schwinn Varsity Restoration (Bennetts Bikes)

So I got the bike home and started taking the “before” pictures and began wondering if I could get a replica sticker of the Bennetts Bike Shop sticker on the seat tube. Most bike shops have their own shop stickers that they put on their bikes and since it wasn’t part of the original production bike, it isn’t now a huge deal to me if I cannot find one. But I googled the bike shop name with the words “vintage sticker” and it turns out that Bennetts Bikes is still in business, and at the same location as it was in 1964. Incredible. In fact, the bike shop has been in that location since 1956, and has only moved locations two or three times.

Bennetts Bike Shop opened in 1896 and is celebrating 125 years this year, and is still run by the Bennett family – by the fifth generation. After browsing their website a bit I didn’t see the sticker on their site or on any of the bikes pictured. Realizing the chances that they’d have a sticker that looks anything at all like the original sticker, I sent a note to the shop using the email address on their web page and asked about the sticker, telling them that I had a 1964 Schwinn with their label on the seat tube and that I wanted to restore it to what it looked like (color excepted) when it rolled out of their shop in 1964. And late on a Sunday night, about seven minutes after I first emailed, I received a reply from Vincent, who wrote, “this is the coolest email I’ve opened in a long time!” We did some back and forth and I gave him the back story about Bob being the only owner, etc.

Turns out, either just because, or because they want to label their bikes with the retro stickers of old, Bennetts has just ordered the old stickers. They’ll be in black and white or black and silver, not red and gold, and probably will have the current phone number on it instead of the old one. I’ve thought about finding a sticker maker and having them make me a replica of the old sticker. May still do. Will have to see how the new one turns out.

So Vincent was so stoked about the story and the bike that he wanted to send me a Bennetts Bikes tee-shirt as well, and I was happy to take it! And of course he is going to send me the new, old, sticker as well. What a cool part of the story for this bike project.

See pics below, of the seat tube stickers, and the old Bennetts Bikes signs and newspaper adverts.


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