Hetchins Magnum Bogus Hellenic Curly Stay Frame & Fork: 1950 Phase 1 Opus Lugs & Bi-plane Crown - 56cm - Built by Harry Butler
This bizarre and beautiful frameset is an unrestored (forged) Hetchins Magnum Opus (bogus) Hellenic, with vibrant stays and phase 1 lugs. The lugs, BB shell, head badge, and fork crown are confirmed as genuine Magnum Opus phase I parts, that were made in 1950. The Phase II lugs were released in 1951, and only 66 frames with Phase I lugs were made (more info). The fork legs and dropouts are not correct for the Opus. Bottom bracket shell is properly stamped "British Made". There is no frame number. Decals appear possibly original. They're likely at least period correct (waterslide?) decals. Good candidate for a restoration, or clean enough to build and ride as it sits!
Hellenic frames have seatstays that cross over the seat tube and attach to the top tube. Most proper hellenic frames had traditional straight stays, which resulted in the stays being parallel to the downtube. Hetchins didn't make curly stay hellenic models because they would have prevented parallel stays and downtube. Only about 75 proper Hellenic models were ever made, and one or two retrofitted frames that combined the curly stays and Hellenic triangle (more Hellenic info)
I confirmed with David Miller of Hetchins, this is a forged frame, most likely built by Harry Butler of Yorkshire (or a retrofit he is not aware of). Miller confirmed these are correct Opus Phase I lugs and fork crown. Harry is reported to have bought a bunch of Hetchins lugs when one of their factories moved in the 1980's, and he made counterfeit frames out of them and passed them off as the genuine thing. David Miller of Hetchins is quite aware of this situation, and says while they're certainly not a real Hetchins, and has this to say about them
(via Jim Cunningham C/O Hetchins website, click for more)
... I called David Miller to advise him that I had a forgery in hand and to provide him with any assistance he might require. I was prepared to send him the frame or destroy it if requested to do so. Although David confirmed the frame as a forgery by Harry Butler and was upset about it, he surprised me with his suggestion as to what to do with it. He asked that, if we were to refinish the frame with new chrome, paint and decals, it would be up to Hetchins standards in every way. As we had already checked the frame's alignment and corrected the fork problems, I could agree with David Miller's request. I added that I would apply the "Magnum Bogus" decal to call attention to the frame's ancestry. And so the "Magnum Bogus" was created and sold to a gentleman from New York City, where, to my knowledge, it still resides today.
Very good unrestored condition. The frame is structurally in great shape, and is free of dents, bends, and rust. The drive side rear dropout has been replaced, and was painted with a not quite matching blue. Non-drive dropout is stamped "Allez". Paint is a brilliant metallic blue, and is quite glossy and in pretty nice shape. It has some small chips and light scratches here and there, but nothing bad. The worst spots of chips are the dropouts, and insides of the chainstays where there are some bigger chips. The main tubes and lugs are pretty clean. Decals have some small chips and wear, but are intact and vibrant. Certainly clean enough to build up and ride, though if you want a show bike a restoration is in order.
- Material: Likely Reynolds 531 steel
- Top tube: 56cm
- Seat tube: 56cm (c-t), 54cm (c-c)
- Head tube: 130mm
- Seatstays: 444mm
- Campagnolo seat pin included
- BB threads: English
- Made in England