From the 1940s to early 70s the UK levied Purchase Tax on all new bikes, but not all components. To reduce the tax (over 24% in 1949), people could buy a frameset, pick their own components and do the assembly themselves. They hadn't bought a bike, they had bought (lots of) components. So a Holdsworth Pro. (or other high end frame) could have any mix of components. However, a Holdsworth frame stockist would probably offer the Holdsworthy component range too, so a certain kit similarity could occur.
The first Holdsworth Professional was the shop model of 1967, the factory model appeared in 1970. Both models adopted a Reynolds 531 butted tubeset, Prugnat S type lugs, Prugnat fully sloping crown and Campy 1010A dropouts (no mudguard eyelets).
The W.F. Holdsworth Professional: 1967 - 1971/2
WF Holdsworth (the shops) signed Bob Addy for the 1967 season. He was given a top-of the-range frame...the shop 'Italia' range, which comprised models: Strada (racing), Cronometro (TT), Pista (track) and Italia (touring)(range based on the Colnago, Roy Thame). The new 1967 shop model was the "Holdsworth Professional", it was effectively a Strada built to 'team' specification and in team colours. The Strada was a 'Special build', i.e. made to customer spec-sheet, so could be 72 or 73 deg parallel, have extras like bottle bosses and done in any colour. The Professional was to 'team' specification, 73 deg parallel and in team colours only. In 1967 the block Helvetica decals were lined in gold with lugs lined white. All Pro and Strada frames were made by Reg Collard in the Putney Shop (or at home in Hemel Hempstead), until he retired c1970. "Reg made some 1970 frames, but most 1970 shop 'specials' (and all subsequent years) were made by Tommy Quick, his successor" (Brod).
Dale Brown's bike could be a pre 1970 Reg Collard Professional. The bottle cage eyes (team used clips, for TA chrome cage), embellishment to white lining, 531 decal (on shop frames only if explicitly requested) and yellow and blue oval Campag stickers (not available in UK) are all non-original spec, they may have been added at re-enamelling (not by Holdsworthy). The un-chromed forks and removed cable outer stops at the levers, suggests this could be a 1969 team bike. However it appears to have a headtube decal, not a headbadge. This could be a very early 70's Pro, built to a customers specification, or an early 70's Strada which has been re-enamelled in team colours. It's 6 and half a dozen, the Shop Pro was essentially a Strada in team colours.Identification of the "Italia range" Strada and Professional:
Braze-ons generally were considered bad form, as re-heating the tubes weakened them (Brod), but they did come later.
1970 The Holdsworthy Professional:
"We continued to produce the shop Professional frame for a period after Holdsworthy launched theirs, as customers were asking us to build to specification. We then switched to the Strada, this could be finished in any colour" (RT)
Some HC riders kept using their shop Pro, rather than the early factory Professional, but were aware of the delicacy of the situation. The shop sent their Professionals to the factory to be enamelled, even some Reg Collard ones were redone, so the colours matched the Holdsworthy Professionals, so some team riders could keep using shop frames. The Aug 1972 cover of "International Cycle Sport" shows Gary Crewe on his "Strada" Professional (note 'Italia' range fork decal). Colin Lewis liked this sticky-back decal so much he applied little shields to all his bikes, so we can't say from the fork decal in this 1972 pic whether he is on a Shop Pro or not.
The Factory Professional Takes Over
Initially the Road Pro was made 73o parallel with a Reynolds 531 butted tubeset and a 40" wheelbase (later reduced to 99cm, 39"). It had Prugnat 'S' lugs, thin seatstay wrap-over and Prugnat fully sloping crown, only braze-ons were the chainstay gear cable guide and stop. Campagnolo Record Strada headset and Campag. dropouts (no mudguard eyes). It was built to sprint clearances (no space for mudguards). Later they increased the angles to 74o parallel and then 75o parallel, then reverted to 74o. By 1985 the Pro. had 74o seat and 73o head angles. The 1971 Track Pro was 74/73o, with 39.5" wheelbase and 11-11.25" BB height.
1972 The only change to the 1971 spec
was that the road Pro could have additional braze-ons if requested.
The 1972 BRRC was won by Holdsworth Campagnolo rider Garry Crewe (Link to Classic Rendezvous, scroll down) with team-mate Les West second, both riding Holdsworth Professionals. Les was also second in 1973. Link to Classic Rendezvous: Team model used in Aug 1972.
1973 Cycles & Frames for USA Export: They say "There is an International shortage of top quality components such as Campagnolo, Stronglight, TA, Cinelli and Clement...we reserve the right to substitute if considered necessary". This shortage, continual European price increases and pound/dollar conversion rate fluctuations has made it impossible to produce our "Bike Riders Aids" (USA only?). Due to great demand, delivery on the Strada, Pista, Cronometro and Professional models is approx 20 weeks. Catalogue prices for complete cycles include UK tax. Exported cycles are exempt from this tax, prices for USA are as follows: (Carriage and custom charges payable on receipt).
1974-75: The W.F. Holdsworth catalogue gives the following:
Strada (Road) Built to your own requirements or to the recommended specification. A short compact frame built purely for racing. 73o parallel 10.5" b. bracket height, 1.5" fork rake 16.5" chainstays. Bare clearance for sprints using shallow brakes, no guard eyes. Campagnolo front and rear ends, set for 5 or 6 speed as required, fully integral sloping fork crown, full wrapover top eyes on 5/8" seat stays, thick chain stays. No brazed on fittings except for gear stop and guide on rear of chainstay. Q/R hanger if centre-pull brakes are specified. Allen key seat bolt fitting. Other brazed on fittings are obtainable as required. Finished in any colour enamel, lustre or flamboyant with contrasting panels and lugs lined. Holdsworth large block transfers, world championship bands etc. and displaying the distinctive Campagnolo Italia transfers. Campagnolo Strada headset.
Professional (Road and Sprint) These frames are built by the Holdsworthy Company in their modern workshop. Specially designed for the Holdsworth Campagnolo team. Short compact frames with close clearances, using Reynolds 531 tubing and Prugnat lugs. Finished in the well known team colours of orange with blue panels featuring all chrome front forks and 12" chrome on rear triangle. The Road frame is supplied with Campag. Headset, Campag. seat pin and either Campag Q/R or Allen key seat pin fixing. The Sprint (Track) is fitted with TDC headset and BB, it has no Campag seatpin. Sizes 21" to 24" in 1/2" increments.
The 1974 BRRC
was won by Holdsworth Campagnolo team rider Keith Lambert.
Between March and September 1975, on the insistence of Holdsworthy, the shop stopped badging their frames as Holdsworths. The Strada, Italia, Pista, Cronometro's and Competizione models were no longer Holdsworths, shop models were Roy Thame decaled.
Reynolds 753 was launched 1977, Ray Robinson says Jock Kerr rode a 753 Pro in the Milk Race, but he snapped the chainstay so 753 was not adopted.
Phil Corley (Holdsworth-Campagnolo) won the 1978 BRRC on a Holdsworth Professional SL.
Nov 1985 Holdsworthy were taken over
by Marlboro, production soon moved from Anerly to The Holdsworthy Co.
Ltd, Alma Works, Darlaston (now Wednesbury), West Midlands. The 1986
range had moved downmarket a bit, but the Pro frameset appears unaffected.