At some time in every bicycle collectors life the question will come up...should I restore
or leave it the way it was found.
The answer depends on several factors.
item to consider, what is it worth once it is done.
Second, what will it cost to restore it. If it costs
more to restore it than it will be worth when done it may not be worth the effort. There may be sentimental value to consider
Third and most imprtant, what is the condition of the bike. If most of the paint, plating and decals
are intact it may be worth more like it is than restoring it. Most collectors prefer an original bike to a restored one.
Finally, what are your capabilities. If you have to send out most of the work it will cost far more than if
you can do it yourself. For example, a professional paint job can get expensive.
The bike on this page
is a good example of this procsess. It was pretty much junk when I found it and was worth very little the way it was (I paid
$20.00). I was able to do most of the work myself and had most of the parts I needed to complete the project.
The most important reason to restore it was I had fun doing it. This is the advise I give
anyone contemplating a restoration project. Do it for the fun of it. Enjoy your hobby!
started life as a basic Ladies model 1940 Westfield Mfg. Co. with a Corsair head badge. Since I had most of the parts on hand
to upgrade it to the "Deluxe" model this is what I decided to do.
This style chainguard was used from 1938 to early 1940. 1940 mid year brought a design change with
a new chainguard. This style is commonly called the "Cheese grater".
Westfield Mfg. made bikes under all sorts of names. Each city or town would only have one "Columbia"
dealer. Any other store selling Westfield made bikes got a name of their choosing. This bike carried the "Corsair"
A Westfield exclusive was the "modern" wire skirt guards. This was a noticable change from the
The original fender decal is revealed from under layers of house paint.
The disassembly begins.
New skirt guards had to be fabricated. I used copper welding wire and hand bent each one. They were then "cad"
plated using a home plating kit.
After taking apart the hubs, the shells and break arm were sent out to be chrome plated with the rest of the
chrome parts. I like to keep the "guts" together until they are ready to be reassembled. This prevents loosing any
of the small parts.
The chrome back from the plating. A triple plating system was used. After the old chrome is removed, a
layer of copper is put on then buffed off leaving behind copper that fills in the pits caused by rust. This process may be
repeated several times until all the pits are filled. A layer of nickle is put on then a final chrome layer with buffing in
The frame is painted and ready for reassembly.
Assembling the rear portion of the bike.
The completed bike. I chose to restore it as the "Columbia" deluxe dashboard model from 1940.
I had many of the parts needed for this upgrade including the fork struts, horn tank and luggage rack.