Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Etoile Phantomesque Model Exclusif by Dietrich

A cycle vying for the title of most pretentious model name against the Hetchins Magnum Bonum Spyder. The Dietrich possibly nudges into the lead by the addition of 'Model Exclusif' to the mix. 

In actual fact 'Model Exclusif' is possibly referring to the fact that the frame is a one off, this is borne out from the fact that all model names and trade marks are actually hand painted rather than decals. The frame has never been used and the story behind it is that it was bought by an Englishman living in Paris in thirties. When he returned home just before the war he brought the frame with him and kept it until he passed away just last year.

There appears to be no record of Max Dietrich as a known frame builder, it is quite possible that the frame was built as a hobbyist's one off. Rue Jacob in Paris, the address given on the frame, is on the West Bank and has always been an area of small businesses and artisans. It is possible that Dietrich's was a small shop on the Rue who occasionally turned their hand to frame building.

The build is in general of high quality and there is good attention to detail. At one time it appears that there were badges on both the head tube and saddle tube as both are drilled for these. Sadly they have gone missing somewhere along the way and all that remains is their shadows on the faded paint. The rear drop outs are Oscar Egg type. As for the frame design, who knows! The thirties were a period of keen experimentation in racing frames and this is just one such example of ingenious thinking.

Sadly the forks are missing - if anyone out there has a suitable set going spare with lugs that are close to matching then do get in touch. I would be happy to change the steerer and then get them colour matched to the frame. Eventually I hope to build the bike up, so, again, if anyone has any unusual French components of the period that would complement the build please let me know.

Any finally, if you have any knowledge at all of Dietrich or this frame I would be delighted to hear from you!


  1. More work of art than bicycle? I LOVE the attention given the tabs that would hold a pump in place under the top bar(s). Perhaps the owner all those years could never find fittings special enough to complement this bike. They must be special, without drawing so much attention to themselves that the features of the frame go unappreciated. Good luck.

    1. Don't seem to be able to stop myself from accumulating projects do I! This one is very nice though and I'm in no rush. For the time being it's a nice decoration on my study wall.