Hetchins color schemes
1960 - 1999

I am often asked what color scheme would be appropriate for restoring a Hetchins. Period-correct transfers are well-known for each decade, but paint schemes less so. To remedy this, I shall be delving into the Hetchins photo archive, which contains literally tens of thousands of pictures, going back to 1935, and includes a number of original paint jobs.

This page covers the period 1960 to 1999. A huge number (huge for Hetchins, you understand) survive from this span, and many from the 1960-70s are in need of a repaint by now.

Alf's motto was, "the customer got what he wanted," so, in a sense, there was no 'typical' Hetchins paint job. However, some common patterns are associated with Hetchins, especially the fine lug lining, head tube in a contrasting color, and a seat tube panel with one, two, or three bands above and below the central panel.

The quality of chroming during this period was variable, and Jack Denny often advised customers against it. His reason for not liking it was that the chroming process is highly acidic and, if not treated (neutralized) properly, could damage the tubes. Hence, full-chrome frames were unusual in this period. Moreover, there are areas on a frame which cannot be polished well, such as the bb shell and behind the seat lug around the binder bolt; so a customer who wanted chrome was advised to keep it simple: head lugs, half-stays, half-fork blades, fork crown.

Available colors during these decades included plain enamels and flamboyants. From 1986 to 1993, Hetchin's frame spraying was carried out at Bob Jackson Cycles in Leeds. For frames sprayed at Bob Jackson Cycles, polychromatics (metallic without glitter) were also offered. Jackson Cycles had some chroming quality control issues during their brief tenure as Hetchin's frame builders, but later got them sorted.

David Miller separated Hetchins from Bob Jackson Cycles, sometime in 1993, and subcontracted painting to C&G Finishers of Liverpool. All color schemes previously available continued to be offered. Each frame was finished to customer specification.

Some examples follow.

Above: very common for this period: solid color enamel for the dt, st, tt, fork and stays; contrasting color on the ht; central panel on the st with three bands above and below, matching the ht color; lugs lined gold or a contrasting color; no chrome.

Below: a sample in original livery (enamel) with two bands bracketing the central panel on the st. Chromed headlugs and fork crown, half-chrome on the stays, 2/3 chrome on fork blades; panier painted to match ht and st panel.

Below: a similar scheme from 1975, modern respray to original spec, with two contrasting bands above/below the central st panel matching the ht. Slightly-more-than-half chrome on the stays, half-chrome on fork blades; fork tang windows filled to match st bands (red). Black enamel is always a good color for Hetchins main tubes.

Below: a similar scheme from 1981, original finish, with two gold bands above/below the central st panel, matching the ht. Orange and gold lug lining. Half-chrome stays and fork blades; chrome tangs and top eyes.

Below: a renovated frame, at first with one band above and below the st panel, which looks wrong. Later corrected to three bands, much more pleasing.

Below: a 1967 frame with a Southend st transfer, so a 1970s respray, with one thicker band above and below the st panel, which looks better than a single thin band. Note also the full chrome fork and 2/3 chromed stays.

Below: Simplifying further, st with single panel, matching ht, lugs lined, no chrome.

Below: st with transfer only, contrasting ht, lugs lined, no chrome.

Below: single color, enamel, no chrome; note the very fine lug lining.

Below: two-color, pastel enamel, typical st panel and bands; note unusual chrome: short stay ends and fork blade ends.

Below: two-color, contrasting enamels, no chrome.

Below: single color, white enamel, lugs lined red; note 2/3 chrome stays, 2/3 fork blades, chrome fork crown and brake bridge.

Below: unusual multi-color fade, no chrome, from 1969.

Below: a 1970 frame with original livery featuring a central panel matching the ht, whereby the color fades into the base color of the st. This was called a "blush".

Below: a 1970s frame in original livery featuring an unusual st paint scheme, possibly a special order. Note Dick Swann's hand lettering on the dt.

Below: a 1961 frame in original full chrome with red lug lining. The trouble spot is to polish smoothly around the bb shell.

Below: a 1970 frame in original livery which solved the 'trouble spot' on full chrome frames.

Below: typical Jackson color scheme, this one from 1987: two-color Italian (bronzanti) metallics, no chrome.

Below: typical Jackson color scheme, two-tone enamels and excellent lug lining (both in-house), but poor chrome (out-sourced). (Later, they changed to a different chroming firm and got better results.)

Below: original early 1990s Jackson color scheme: metallic violet; contrasting ht, panel and bands on st (Bianchi-celeste blue), no chrome, lugs picked out gold.

Note that up to 1993, it was characteristic for windows in lugwork and ornaments to show the underlying tube color, and for fine lining to cover only the edge of the inside of the windows. This was so for the Tottenham period, Southend period, and Leeds (Jackson cycles) period. See below for samples.

When David Miller separated Hetchins from Bob Jackson Cycles, sometime in 1993, he stopped using Jackson's in-house paint shop, and switched to C&G of Liverpool. Since that time, the windows have been filled in with solid color. See below for samples: the green/magenta metallic one is in original 1993+ C&G livery; the one farther below is a 1972 frame, resprayed by C&G in 1996.

Below: 1999 lady's Mixte: lavender metallic, with cream ht and st panel/bands, gold lug lining, modest chrome. C&G, Liverpool.


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