Hetchin's Own Hetchins

Special order show bike
Tottenham, 1948

Did you ever wonder what Hyman Hetchin himself rode? Did you ever wonder where the Latin Series came from? These two questions may have one and the same answer.

This frame was made in 1948 (verified by serial number, and not 1935 as reported in Hugh O'Neill's article). The records list the frame as a 20-1/2" E C Show Model. There was a trade fair at Earls Court that year; this is presumably the meaning of "E C Show Model." Jack Denny's daughter confirmed that this is indeed that frame.

Alf had it renovated and it was seen in its present state in about 1980; it was photographed for this web site in July 2010. Alf claimed that it had been made for his father, Hyman. The size 20-1/2" would have been about right for Hyman (who was not tall). The rear dropouts are not original as the right one is Campag with mech-eye (unknown in 1948). However, the head and seat lugs are certainly original, as no one would have built a frame with belled head lugs in 1980. Also the fork embellishment looks to be original 1948, as is the Chater Lea bb shell.

Supposing that the Earls Court Show frame was well-received, it is significant that, less than a year later, Denny and Hetch were presenting a whole new series of elaborately designed lugs at the 1949 lightweight trade show. It is a plausible assumption that the E C Show frame was made to test the waters. The result was positive and they went on to conceive the Latin Series as a response. This would therefore appear to have been the seminal Latin Series design. Hetchins was not the first or the only frame builder to offer elaborate lugwork, but it was Hetchins which put elaborate lugs on the map. This frame may be considered the grandfather of the Magnum Opus Mk III we know today.

The frame remained in the possession of the Hetchin family until 2016 when it was acquired by a collector in Asia.