Classic Lightweights UK
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Parkes 'Autograph' - 1945

Owned by: Mike Evans

Parkes 1

Frame F C Parkes Sun 'Autograph' 1945, frame no. MW410; fillet brazed
Wheels Dunlop Special Lightweight steel rims on Gnutti front/Sturmey rear hubs
Chainset Williams C34
Pedals Phillips?
Gears Sturmey Archer AW 1949 3-speed with trigger changer
Brakes Sun branded Doherty
Stem/Bars Strata stem with Maes bars
Headset Phillips
Saddle Lycett L15
Extra details Parkes Lightweight Cycles mudguards

Parkes 2Mike Baker, who restored the bike, gave me the following information before I purchased it.
Fred Parkes owned the Sun Cycle and Fittings Company. Parkes Autograph machines were built in the same factory and used many Sun fittings including brakes, bars and stems. Sun machines enjoyed a very good reputation with the cycle touring fraternity, at which Fred Parkes aimed his bikes. The Sun Wasp and Manxman were firm favourites during the period c1930-1960s. They were well made bikes built with Reynolds 531 tubing and other high quality fittings.

This machine was built in 1945 (frame no. MW410) and probably assembled as a bike in 1949, the date on the Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub. The frame is built with Reynolds 531 tubing which was the best lightweight tubing of the day and is of fillet-brazed construction. The forks are really nice with a twin plate crown, which was considered the best at the time.

I have had the frame carefully grit blasted back to bare metal before having the forks re-chromed and the whole bike re-enamelled in exactly the original shade of green as when new. The pattern of the box lining is also faithfully reproduced as per the original. Transfers are modern reproductions of originals. The chainset and pedals have been re-chromed along with many smaller components such as headset etc.

Parkes 3The celluloid mudguards are the originals and are embossed 'Parkes Lightweight Cycles'. These have one or two repairs but are serviceable and would be almost impossible to replace. Wheels are original, good chrome to upper surfaces, worn on braking surfaces but too good to replace and should be O.K. for many more miles.
Right: detail showing chainset and box lining

This bike has had one previous owner who bought it new as a young man in 1949. He was one time organist at Bledlow, Bucks to the Rev. Michael Staines who was the rector and cyclist. This gentleman died about three years ago and Michael bought the bike from the widow who was about to put it in a skip! I acquired the bike from Michael. I have ridden the machine about two hundred miles, like it greatly and would not sell were it not for the fact that it’s just too small for me. Two or three other V-CC members have also ridden this bike and we all agree that it’s a good ride.

Footnote by Mike Evans:
I agree with Mike Baker that it is a nice bike to ride, with the exception of the brakes, but that is only to be expected, bearing in mind its age.

The frame number, stamped on the left rear drop-out is MW 410. ‘M’ is the financial year number, in this case April 1945 – March 1946. W is the workshop. The number 410 would indicate that the frame was built late 1945, according to Peter Cowan the V-CC Parkes ME (Marque Enthusiast).

Peter also pointed out that the replacement transfer includes ‘Worksop’ because when the Parkes business was sold, it was intended to continue manufacture at Worksop, but this never happened.