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1980s Volvo...the Itera Plastic bicycle


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#121 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 12:03 AM

Are they original?

 

They looked genuine to me.


924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#122 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 12:07 AM

It'd be interesting to know how many versions were made.

 

 

I know of four colours, beige is the most common but also blue, pink and white (only ever seen one in white).

 

Screen shot 2016-04-27 at 22.52.28.png

 

0201_itera_13.jpg

 

IMG_7044 copy.JPG

 

0201_itera_04.jpg

 

 

The pink ones alway seem to be the racer version with dropped handlebars and derailleur gears with the levers on the frame. That's the middle one at the bakelite musuem.

 

So I'd say 2 versions, 4 colours.

 

Note the white one in the photo above (NEC classic car show 2013) has metal handlebars, a metal rear rack and a dynamo instead of the built in lights of my early one. I'd hazard a guess that this is a later version.


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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#123 OFFLINE   RobT

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 11:15 AM

Glad to see my information about the museum was useful, or did you know about them anyway?

This is a great thread BTW. Such an oddball bike, perfect autoshite material. I'm tempted to try one myself as an alternative to buying more cars I can't justify, and unusually there's three on ebay at the moment. Might have to content myself with buying something less quirky but cheaper though, like an 80s Elswick folding bike.

Do you use it much?
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#124 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 11:51 AM

Hi Rob, I knew about the Bakelite Museum, as my grandparents used to live in Taunton and the museum was given some of their old stuff when their house was being cleared out. Despite staying in Williton a few times I never got the chance to visit the museum either through lack of time or the museum being closed.

Although you had mentioned here I hadn't thought they would have an Itera, only spotted your comment after posting them yesterday! There was a Trabant and a Reliant outside too.

 

You're really not that far away, please do pop over and have a go of this and my Strida, they're good fun. I do use it occasionally, it's not a daily ride mainly because of the hills around here. I had a look at the current ebay ones, they might be OK but if you seriously want one I'd recommend waiting for a really good one, they are out there. Having said that, the blue one for £175 might be worth making an offer on, it looks more complete than most and in decent condition.


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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#125 OFFLINE   Cavcraft

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 12:19 PM

It's weird because I've only seen two so far (in real life) with metal handlebars and five speed gears, one of which is in my garage, but obvs. they must have knocked a few up.
Anyhow, those dropped bars models look ace.

*Edit: mine has metal bars and dynamo etc but that white one only has three gears, by the look of it. Wasn't there a rumour they couldn't shift the ones they built? Maybe they jazzed some of the later (metal bars type) ones up to get rid?
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#126 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 01:36 PM

I've discovered an Academic paper from 1992:

 

The Itera Plastic Bicycle

Author(s): Jan Hult
Source: Social Studies of Science, Vol. 22, No. 2, Symposium on 'Failed Innovations' (May, 1992), pp. 373-385
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.

 

...which is an interesting discussion on the reasons for failure,  although I unfortunately can't post the full paper here due to terms of access and use. The section headings give a decent run down of the problems:

  • The Bicycle Boom was Already Fading Out in 1982
  • The Itera Was Relatively Expensive
  • The 'Feeling' was Different
  • The Itera Was Heavier than Many Steel Bicycles
  • The Itera Styling was Never Accepted

 

A short quote that made me lol:

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

The paper states that the plastic handlebars were replaced with metal handlebars after the first year. Cav, is yours a pink drop handlebar jobbie or a standard one with metal handlebars? Out of interest what's the date stamp on yours, that would show month/year of manufacture?


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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#127 OFFLINE   alcyonecorporation

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:18 PM

I would like a day out on the train to pick up an Itera. 

There's one in the Lakeland Motor Museum, too. 


What we need is more poo brown cars.


Lukas, shaking his head


#128 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:34 PM

Found something else:

 

https://www.nrc.nl/n...7226045-a835684

 

 

De plastic fiets The Itera Plastic Bicycle, Jan Hult, in: Social Studies of Science, vol. 22, nr. 2, mei 1992/Fiets, nr. 2, 1983. Nationaal Fietsmuseum Velorama, Waalkade 107, Nijmegen, tel 080225851.

 

Article via google translate:

The plastic bike The Itera Plastic Bicycle, Jan Hult, in: Social Studies of Science, Vol. 22, No. 2, May 1992 / Bike, No. 2, 1983. Velorama National Bicycle Museum, Waalkade 107, Nijmegen, tel. 080225851.

Lex Veldhoen Thanks to Jan van den Ende
May 26, 1994
 
"Did you take out life insurance?" Joins director G.J. Courage of Velorama, a bicycle museum in Nijmegen. I step on the dirt and gray colored Itera, a plastic bike. According to some, he has a very slippery, swaby frame, but it falls and I drive smoothly on the playfully designed bike. The Itera came on the market in 1982, presented as 'The Ultimate Machine' and 'Evighedsmaskinen.' He was developed in response to the oil crisis in 1973.
 
Shortly before, the biggest Swedish bicycle manufacturer was still considering closing because few bikes were sold. After the crisis, however, annual sales rose to 450,000 (one in twenty Sweden bought a new bike). Prof. Jan Hult, a member of the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, specialized in applied mechanics, was involved in the development of the Itera: "The oil crisis suddenly created a promising market."
 
A project group was formed within the Volvo Group to develop a economical mini-vehicle, investigating the use of plastic parts and the development of other products, including a plastic bicycle. In 1978, the project was discontinued, but some members of the group decided to continue working on the plastic bike in their free time. They received subsidy from the Swedish National Board for Technical Development and in 1980 a driving prototype was demonstrated. PK Banken provided a loan and two former Volvo employees, Lars Samuelsson (Product Manager) and Jan Olsson (Sales Manager) went on a full-time job.
 
It was not only chosen for plastic parts, but also for an automatic injection molding process. Advantage of cast plastic parts is that they do not need surface treatment (such as dyeing) and do not rust. Disadvantage is the limited stiffness; A tube frame could not be manufactured in one piece and there were limits to the thickness due to temperature differences in cooling, which meant that the frame in the center piece had to be made heavier and more closed. The advantages of injection molding come mainly with the wheels: traditional wheels with spokes produce a lot of work, because the 36 spokes need to be mounted and the wheel has to be balanced. Injection molding is faster and cheaper (production time: 55 seconds per wheel).
 
The frame was made of Rynite 545, a thermoplastic polyester resin with glass fiber reinforcement and Zytelnylon wheels with 40% glass fiber. The bike had several new gadgets, such as injection molded bearings and tires coated on the inside with a super-elastic plastic, resulting in 75% less chance of a tire. He was delivered in three models (also as a race bike), in various colors and with or without gears.
 
Only the inevitable metal was made, such as chain, chain tensioner, bearings, cables, screws, nuts and locks; Even the sprocket was plastic. Consumer research at the end of 1981 showed that more than 100,000 Sweden showed interest. The Wilhelmina Plast plant in northern Sweden started production on February 24, 1982 (bicycles are purchased in Sweden mainly in spring). The Itera was delivered to a bicycle shop in a carton box.
 
In the Dutch campaign, the Iron Age was set aside: "You just bought a friend for life (...) Instead of fighting heavy metal, ride your bike on a bike that is as light as a feather. Instead of rattling, you hear silence ... '
 
Conservator J. van Dijk of the Velorama Bicycle Museum, at the time: "We are definitely at the beginning of a new development in the field of two-wheelers, with the use of plastic also changing the design ... About the driving behavior: Get up and ride away makes the bicycle a lateral swept ... '
 
Jan Hult: "It soon became apparent that the public was not taken in with the new bike, in sharp contrast to consumer consumer forecasts. Sales began slowly and the media soon showed no interest. Moreover, not every box was found to contain all the components; A very frustrating situation for the customer. Due to these initial problems, the Itera was a loss item in the first year.
The year after was even worse. The boxes of bicycles picked up at the factory. (...) The end soon came into view. Several rescue attempts were undertaken, but in 1985 production was stopped; A dramatic event because the product was marketed with a very large, aggressive advertising camera. Guus van den Beek, editor of the magazine Fiets: 'I tested him and was not so negative about it, he did not ride worse than other bikes. He was not taken seriously by others and wrote the ground. "
 
However, according to the bike test, he was too slow to take back someone and, contrary to what was claimed in the advertising campaign, he made a lot of noise.
 
Fiets concludes: "Overall, there are quite a few critical points ... But all this does not detract from the fact that the Itera has succeeded as a concept. It is a well-suited bicycle, which needs to be on the chain after hard maintenance, which does not rust, does not have lacquer damage, which is likely to be very rough, and it is quite reasonably priced: Æ’ 795 for non-gear operation.
 
Mrs S.J. Timmers of AngeloDutch, the Dutch importer: "In the beginning was the storm. People who bought one were on news. Suddenly it was over and we stayed with a bicycle container. There are still people who drive on, because we are soon approached or we still have parts. That's very annoying, because we can not help them. " According to wholesaler Van den Hondel in Gouda, most were sold as a storeroom. Van den Hondel's daughter rode on an Itera, but preferred a regular bike: "Everybody is watching me."
 

 

According to Jan Hult, the causes of failure are both technical, economic and aesthetic: The purchase of bikes after the oil crisis was already at its peak when the Itera came to market eight years later, the price was quite high (it was expected that He would be especially fashionable under yuppies, "so that a relatively high price would make him more attractive") and the heavy design was outdated. According to Jan Hult, plastic still has the image to be fake and less reliable.

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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#129 OFFLINE   RobT

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:38 PM

Some lazy googling produced this from the wiki page.  Makes it sound more British Leyland than Volvo...

 

In February 1982,[1] production started in Vilhelmina. However, sales were slow and the news media lost interest. The fact that not every box contained every part to assemble a bicycle frustrated many customers.
 
The following year was worse. Boxes of bicycles piled up in shops. Among them were returns, mostly with broken parts. Where metal bends, plastic breaks. Getting replacements was not simple as the parts were incompatible with other bikes. Attempts to save the project were unsuccessful.
 
Plus this:
 
Production ended in 1985. Approximately 30,000 Itera bicycles were produced. The stock was sold to the Caribbean region where they became popular as rust is a problem with metal bicycles.
 
I wonder how many of those Caribbean ones survived.

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#130 OFFLINE   Cavcraft

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:08 PM

I've discovered an Academic paper from 1992:

The Itera Plastic Bicycle


The paper states that the plastic handlebars were replaced with metal handlebars after the first year. Cav, is yours a pink drop handlebar jobbie or a standard one with metal handlebars? Out of interest what's the date stamp on yours, that would show month/year of manufacture?

.

It's the brown/beige one with flat bars, chief. How do you date them, please? I know on the 3 speed S/A ones it's on the rear hub, but assuming this will be in a different place as it's the 5 speed one.
"As for actually admitting to liking Corsas on a public forum: you're a bollock-brained, biscuit-eating, faux-northern, bastardy, bollocky, wank-brain"

#131 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:27 PM

Another one, google translated below:

 

http://www.vk.se/787...ilhelmina?mobil

 

Itera - plastcykeln som skulle frälsa Vilhelmina

 

 

When the production started in Vilhelmina in February 1982, the hopes were great for a new Swedish design classic. 30 years later, it has gained cult status as one of Sweden's largest design flags.

 

The Plastic Cycle Itera was discussed already at the start of 1982. Either hated it or it seemed that it was exciting and different. It is said that Mick Jagger toured Sweden at that time and saw one of the rewritten bikes. He has learned to exclaim. "" That was the fuckin'l ugliest bike I've ever seen. Gotta have one! "
Whether it's a correct description, or a hiking situation, is hard to say, but it shows in particular that the plastic cycle from Vilhelmina touched.
 
Huge interest
The media interest was huge and the plastic cycle was predicted a bright future because of its unique concept. Tyra Hansson in Vilhelmina bought one of the first.
The plastic bicycle was marketed in brochures like a bike without sex-retardant frame, but when the pictures were taken, one had to go out to the village to find a female cyclist.
- I liked it immediately. I was also one of the first to get a test bike on Vilhelmina when TV wanted a woman in a picture. It was probably most guys involved in that project, she says.
The most distinctive feature of the bike was, nevertheless, the swaying feeling while traveling.
 
Time for reflection
 
If you go online and look for comments from current owners, you will find this gem for review.
"It's the best bike I've had. Soft and nice, you turn the bike a while later, which gives time for thought - I really would like that?" The front fork's construction gives a good sense of safety when I see how it swells the roughness of the road A very visual way. "Another test comment from the time it began was," It looks like a crocodile and behaves like an anakonda. "
 
Three versions
The plastic cycle Itera, which came in three versions, was made of a composite material and made of glass fiber reinforced plastic. However, it was as heavy as a regular bike, 15-20 kg, and reinforced with metal in the frame, so that the front fork would cope with a crash. Professor Jan Hult, who had calculated and tested the strength of the plastic bicycle, told of the arrival of the plastic bicycle on the technology-historical days in Lund in 1995. The cantilever was a necessary compromise to give the bike a charter. We managed to achieve a quality that in this respect corresponded to a women's bicycle - ladies bicycles usually because of their design are "warriors" than men's bicycles.
 
Put Vilhelmina on the map
The plastic bicycle was launched with noise and bark in 1980 by Itera AB.
They stood for design and product development while Vilhelmina Plast and Heva AB took care of the production that started a few years later. It came to Vilhelmina during a period when the municipality screamed for suitable industrial projects and the Vilhelmina plastic miracle would put the world map on the map. US President Jimmy Carter was photographed during a test tour in Stockholm, and a massive sales campaign aimed at China. That venture was already spreading because the plastic cycle was too big and heavy for short-grown Chinese.
 
Thought of sensation
"I think people generally believed the product would be a sensation. It was cheap. It would be inexhaustible and most could be manufactured in Sweden, but it became a flop. Had it succeeded, it would have put Vilhelmina on the world map, says former MP, KG Abramsson, who has just begun his career in the Social-Democratic Party in Vilhelmina.
 
More expensive than imagined
The starting price was set at 1500 kronor. A standard bike of the Monark brand cost about SEK 200 in 1980. Dear 15,000 bikes he is being manufactured in Vilhelmina before the closure. "Most people who think about the plastic bike today make a smile on their lips," says K G Abramsson.
 
Jan Johansson
090-17 60 95

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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#132 OFFLINE   Cavcraft

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 05:52 PM

.58bda1984bf42_1.jpg


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#133 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 06:09 PM

Aah, I was going to say that I think the date stamp on mine is underneath the plastic rack, but I can see that's not much help.

So yours is a 5 speed rear derailleur yes? The pink racer has 2 cogs at the front so I'm guessing they are 10 speed, which would be about right for early 80s.

A couple of the articles I found suggested there were 3 versions, so maybe 3 speed, 5 speed and 10 speed.

Would love to find a period price list or owners manual to confirm.
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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#134 OFFLINE   Cavcraft

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 06:53 PM

Thanks, I'll try and have a look next time I dig it out of the garage. That pink one is class!

 

Rob's post matches what I was told (or read somewhere) a bit back that they were made for export, in fact I seem to recall being told they were all sent abroad right from the off.


"As for actually admitting to liking Corsas on a public forum: you're a bollock-brained, biscuit-eating, faux-northern, bastardy, bollocky, wank-brain"

#135 OFFLINE   RobT

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 09:26 PM

I've just messaged the seller of this early plastic handlebars one. He says there's no damage or missing parts, but it'd be nice to know if it actually worked. Would prefer a beige one though.

s-l1600-2.jpeg

http://www.ebay.co.u...~0AAOSw3utY7L1B
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#136 ONLINE   Stanky

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 09:39 PM

These are ace, I have a lot in common with them as I also posess a 'sex-retardant frame'


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#137 OFFLINE   Simon M

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 10:02 AM

A pair of Iteras was a star prize on an episode of Blankety Blank in the early 80s.


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#138 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 12:01 PM

Wow, top 80's fact, any pix/video evidence? And there was I, thinking all they gave away was ________.


924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#139 OFFLINE   Simon M

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 02:33 PM

I think I have it on VHS, gawd knows where though - I'll have a look for you!


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#140 OFFLINE   Braddon81

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 02:48 PM

DSC_1326.JPG
After all this Itera talk,pulled mine out this afternoon for a bit of a burn. It's surprising how many people think it's a new electric bike!
In truthfulness though it's clear to see why they changed over to metal handlebars on later examples as the flexing can be quite unnerving on first acquaintance. Great fun though! :-)
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#141 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 04:43 PM

It's surprising how many people think it's a new electric bike!

 

 

This, constantly.

 

More so with a blue one I'd imagine, it looks much more contemporary.


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924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

"It did indeed require a certain, not too small, amount of social courage to be seen riding this unconventional bicycle. One could be sure that everybody would be looking, some with great amusement."

 

"The problem with the automobile today consists precisely in the fact that the automobile is not a problem... Love only rarely listens to reason." Wolfgang Sachs, 1984

 


#142 OFFLINE   Vantman

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 04:56 PM

Would this have been a standard colour or possibly a repaint?

 

Volvo4 (2).jpg

 

 

 


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#143 OFFLINE   barrett

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 07:58 PM

I want one so bad! HMU if anyone spots a reasonable example for sale, yeah?
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#144 OFFLINE   Cavcraft

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 08:55 PM

I want one so bad! HMU if anyone spots a reasonable example for sale, yeah?

 

Do you want for one for nowt? If you can arrange a courier or 'Shitely' it down, you're welcome to it.


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#145 OFFLINE   Nyphur

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 09:05 PM

That pink "racing" one looks amazing, I quite fancy one of those.


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#146 OFFLINE   barrett

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 09:17 PM

Do you want for one for nowt? If you can arrange a courier or 'Shitely' it down, you're welcome to it.


Obviously yes! How soon do you need it shifted?

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1938-ish / 1967-ish Heron Austin special (half)
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1955 Panhard Dyna Z1 (half)
1985 Citroen BX 16TRS
1986 Citroen BX 16RS Break
1992 Citroen BX TZD
1992 Citroen BX TXD (Autoshite bike)
1997 Citroen Xantia TEMPTATION


#147 OFFLINE   Cavcraft

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 09:20 PM

Obviously yes! How soon do you need it shifted?

 

No huge rush, been in my garage for quite a while now so a bit longer won't hurt. It's fairly heavy so a courier might not be cheap, but you're welcome to arrange one if you give me a few days notice or something.


"As for actually admitting to liking Corsas on a public forum: you're a bollock-brained, biscuit-eating, faux-northern, bastardy, bollocky, wank-brain"

#148 OFFLINE   barrett

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 09:24 PM

Might just come up and get it at some point when I've got some petrol money/a day off. I'll pm you soon and work summat out!
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1929 Ford Model A (half)
1938-ish / 1967-ish Heron Austin special (half)
1965 Peugeot 404 Cabriolet (half)
1955 Panhard Dyna Z1 (half)
1985 Citroen BX 16TRS
1986 Citroen BX 16RS Break
1992 Citroen BX TZD
1992 Citroen BX TXD (Autoshite bike)
1997 Citroen Xantia TEMPTATION


#149 OFFLINE   RobT

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 09:28 PM

I've just messaged the seller of this early plastic handlebars one. He says there's no damage or missing parts, but it'd be nice to know if it actually worked. Would prefer a beige one though.
attachicon.gifs-l1600-2.jpeg
http://www.ebay.co.u...~0AAOSw3utY7L1B

I won the auction today (not hard, I was the only bidder) but no contact from the seller yet. Which is a bit annoying as I was hoping to collect it tomorrow and bask in some plastic bike loveliness!
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1982 miniMetro 1.0 L
1992 Vauxhall Cavalier 2.0 CDi
 


#150 OFFLINE   RobT

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 10:43 AM

I collected my Itera yesterday.  Everything is there apart from the stand, and they’re quite heavy for something made of plastic.  It was a genuine barn find as the seller inherited them (he’s got another if anyone is interested…) when he bought the house ten years ago, which has a massive barn in the grounds.
 
It’ll need new tyres and a bit of tinkering (grease up the chain and get the front brakes working) but I’m happy to just look at it for the moment.  Space is a bit of an issue though as both of my garages are full or cars and various tat, and I’m not sure Mrs T will appreciate it in the flat as an ornament!  So it’s a fixer upper and then I’ll move it on.
 
Itera 1.jpg
 
Rusty bits
 
Itera 2.jpg
 
Flexible handle bars FTW.
 
Itera handle bars.jpg
 
Serial number, so an early-ish one perhaps?  I need to check out the date stamp underneath the storage rack to confirm.
 
Itera serial number.jpg
 
 
 

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1982 miniMetro 1.0 L
1992 Vauxhall Cavalier 2.0 CDi
 





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