Head (Prestige) mid history

Discussion in 'Classic Racquet Talk' started by Tennis Man, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. Tennis Man

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    I compiled a little file from the bits and pieces that our Head gurus shared with us. Basically I put the evolution of Head midsize graphite players' racquets (aka "Prestiges") in a chronological order.

    I edited and simplified the original posts. I specifically omited any discussions of Mid Plus frames.
    Some of it could be incorrect. Feel free to share the facts and you memories.

    HEAD (PRESTIGE) HISTORY
    (courtesy of vsbabolat, retrowagon, other TW members, including myself (TM))

    HEAD Ski was founded by Howard HEAD in 1948 (the man that invented Aluminum Skis and the Prince oversize racquet) and in 1970 he sold HEAD to AMF. From 1970 to 1985 AMF owned HEAD. With AMF it was like there was two companies, a U.S. company and a Austrian Company.

    Generally HEAD racquets for the U.S. market (Made in USA) were made in Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A. and racquets for Europe were made in Kennelbach, Austria (Made in Austria). HEAD made a lot of racquets in Austria that were only available in Europe (TM: Flash Edge)

    1970's saw Head Professional "Red Head" aluminum, Head Metal and frames that had "first" graphite :

    Edgewood/Vilas/Director
    Arthur Ashe Competition (original black), 1, 2 (brown) and 3 .... all made of fiberglass sandwiched by aluminum
    LC, GLC, VLC, XRC


    1982 line-up was really diverse; by this time, they had worked into three separate head sizes:

    - the Graphite Vector, which was roughly 10% larger than a classic standard sized hitting surface (i.e. 65 sq inch, wooden racquets)
    - the Graphite Edge, which was 20% larger
    - and the Graphite Director, Head's narrow "oversize" frame, 35% or so larger in hitting area than the classic standard.

    All three of these were really good performing rackets, exceptionally smooth and well balanced, still not much top echelon touring pro usage, though.

    1984 saw the introduction of higher performance Edge and Director variants, the TX Edge (TXE) and TXD, respectively, These were a little narrower in beam, U.S. made, and wonderfully stiff but responsive frames with outstanding feel. Also their first rackets with an obvious bumper guard.

    In 1985 AMF was bought by Minstar.

    In 1986, the first of Professional (Pro) series offered in North America was the TX Professional (TXP). The TXP was introduced as Head's flagship racket. They considered it a midplus at the time. It was the very first example of the "thinbeam" rackets, the first with the full-length "CAPS" bumper guard/grommet, and was indeed the predecessor of the 1988 Prestige Pro which began the long line of Prestige mids.

    It's one of the first to have Twaron in its layup. The TXP is not from the Graphite Pro Mold. The TXP is how Head marketed the Prestige Pro in the U.S.A in 1986 and 1987. While in 1986 and 1987 Europe got the racquet marketed as the Prestige Pro, in 1988 the U.S.A. got the Prestige Pro cosmetic but was not as beautifully detailed as the Austrian version.

    In 1986 AMF sold HEAD to Austrian Tobacco. Austrian Tobacco made HEAD Austrian. Somewhere around this time the oroginal Prestige Pro was introduced.

    In late 1987 Head introduced US-made Prestige Pro which was produced just for a year and presumably was one of the last Head rackets made in USA

    In 1988 HEAD closed down the Boulder, Colorado factory having all racquets made in Kennelbach, Austria. The only important HEAD racquet that I can think of right now that Austrian Tobacco did not sell in the U.S.A. was the amazing Made in Austria Prestige Pro 600. A real loss for sure.

    1988 was also a watershed year for Head. In the US market they had a great line-up of Professional series rackets (midplus sized):
    - the box-beamed Graphite Pro, and Composite Pro, and
    - the thinbeam Prestige Pro, Elite Pro (bit more flexy than the Prestige Pro) and Elektra Pro.

    The 1988 Elite Pro is the green metallic to black fade with white grommet, bumper, pallet collar and grip. It's the constant beam frame, same mold as the Prestige Classic Mids (albeit with a notch for the half-length CAP bumper; the Prestige Mids had a full-length CAP). This racket was offered for one year only. It was one step flexier than the concurrent Prestige Pro, but was not technically a "Prestige" racket.

    In 1989 Minstar sold HEAD, Tyrolia, and Mares to the Management team to form HTM.

    In 1989 or 1990 HEAD added the familiar 600 to the Prestige Pro to denote head size. Becoming the Prestige Pro 600.

    In the fall of 1991 the Prestige came back to the U.S. market as the Prestige 600. It was silver and grey with bright neon green grommets. It was made in Austria.

    In 1993 HEAD (HTM) was sold to Austria Tabak (Tobacco).

    In 1993 HEAD came out with the Prestige Tour 600 and the larger Prestige Tour 660. These racquets came with the suspension grip of the Discovery series of racquets. In the U.S. the racquet was marketed as the Trisys 300.

    In the fall of 1993 HEAD came out with the Prestige Classic 600 ("Star Trek" font), made in Austria for Europe only.

    In 1994 HEAD changed the marketing in the U.S. The Trisys 300 became the Prestige Tour 300.

    In 1995 Johan Eliasch bought HEAD (HTM) and continues to run it today.

    In 1995 HEAD changed the font in Europe from "Star Trek" to today's font. The Star Trek font on the Prestige Classic 600 lasted from the fall of 1993 to the second half of 1995. Then the font changed and the Made in Austria was moved to above the grip.

    In 1996 HEAD brought the Prestige Classic 600 to the U.S. In the U.S. it did not have 600 on it (“Mid”)

    The first “Designed in Austria” was not completely manufactured in Kennelbach. In order to save costs Head produced the raw racquet in Kennelbach then ship the racquet to it's Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic factory. In the Czech Republic the Prestige Classic 600 was painted, had the pallet, collar, butt-cap, leather grip, and CAP system grommets put on.

    Made in Austria Prestige Classic 600 racquets are a darker red color than the Designed in Austria Prestige Classic 600 racquets.

    Prestige Tour has a 'Suspension Grip' plastic handle. The Tour generally plays a little softer and feels more flexy - primarily because of the handle system. The Suspension Grip parts make the handle presumably a bit heavier. So as a result specs and balance of PT 600 is different from PC 600.

    '600' on a frame usually means that it was intended for the European market (600 cm - 93 sq. in.).

    Around 2000, Head introduced Classic Mid, a Prestige Classic for North America that could not wear the name 'Prestige' because of a legal conflict between Head and Wilson at that time (3 or 4 years ago). By then the racquets came out without a collar on the top of the pallet

    300 is just the 'Trisys' name for the Prestige. The Prestige was also known as the Trisys 300; The Pro Tour was the Trisys 280, the Radical Tour was the Trisys 260, and I think the Lite Tour (green) was the Trisys 240, and so on.

    The Prestige Classic 600 were always manufactured in Kennelbach, Austria. Head has yet to outsource the Prestige Classic 600 to China. The first Prestige to be made in China is the Flexpoint Prestige.

    In 2001 i.Prestige came out. They were produced until 2004 in Austria.
    in 2004 Liquidmetal Prestige came out in time for Australian Open. To my knowledge were made in Austria originally and then partially in Czech Republic.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2010
    #1
  2. plasma

    plasma Banned

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    I (painfully) hid the name of the others, some have survived, some are hidden, we were all there though, here are the names of some, never forget. at night sometimes I light a candle, I swear I can hear them in the wind....
    [​IMG]
    friends who have passed on, but were nevertheless great
    xrc
    spectr
    magnum
    tx 017
    royal carbon
    comp edge
    graphite tour
    challenge plus
    galaxy
    mirage mid
    head royal turbo
    techno pro
    century plus
    conquest
    royal pro
    century pro
    formula
    classic long
    classic mid
    arrow plus
    presige midplus (first appearance of the word prestige, gold racquet).
    comfort
    classic fiber
    classic mid
    I promised the others that I would keep their names alive. They were humble but great racquets, senselessly lost to "progress"...never forget, though they come with stiff overpriced sweatshopped crap we must stand true.


    when they came for the kneissls I didn't protest because I played rossignol,
    when they came for the prostaff I said nothin because I used yonex.
    When they destroyed the prestige I was silent as I had switched to wilson
    By the time they got to me there were no true midsizes left, and no one to left to speak up
    -Plasma
     
    #2
  3. Tennis Man

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    The 2 unusual names I got so are 70 sq inch Flash Edge and a lighter 90sq inch Prestige Turbo Light Plus :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
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  4. Tennis Man

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    C.A.P. GROMMET SYSTEM:
    (courtesy of retrowagon)

    *** Any 18x20 pattern, 600cm2 (93 sq. inch head), "Pro" or later Prestige mid can be CAP-ed.

    There were three basic molds from 1985 to present day:
    1.) "Box Beam" (non-CAP, either fitted with no bumper or a normal bumper):
    Graphite Pro
    Composite Pro
    Club Pro
    Team Pro
    Tour Pro
    Special Edition Pro
    Tubo Lite Plus

    (there were a few versions/cosmetics of each, and some were made in USA and others in Austria, but the mold is identical across the board for these three models)

    NOTE: These can be full-CAP'ed with a little persistence. The depth and width of the grommet slot is not ideal for the CAP, but with some persistence, it will fit and can be strung up.


    2.) Thinbeam (1988 only, originally fitted with a half-CAP, all Made in Austria):
    Elite Pro
    Elektra Pro
    Leconte Evolution

    NOTE: These can be CAP'ed with a full-length CAP, but they are very difficult to string and the result is less than ideal, in my opinion.

    3.) "Prestige" Mids (originally fitted with full-CAP's, of course):
    Prestige Pro
    Prestige 600
    Prestige Classic
    Trisys 300 Mid Trisys 270 Mi)
    Prestige Tour
    Classic Mid
    Prestige Classic 600
    iPrestige Mid
    Liquidmetal Prestige Mid
    Microgel Prestige Mid

    HEAD PALLETS:
    (courtesy of retrowagon)

    Basically any frame in group #1 can swap its pallet halves and/or collar with any other frame in that group. But neither part is swappable with a frame from group #2 or 3 above. Groups 2 and 3 can exchange pallets or collars (except for the Trisys 300 or Prestige Tour frames which use a different vibration absorbing plastic pallet system).

    It should be noted that some of the Prestige Mids came from the factory without collars (Classic Mid, iPrestige, LM Prestige, MG Prestige...).
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
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  5. 80sPOG4me

    80sPOG4me New User

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    Thanks so much Tennis Man.

    Really appreciate this information.
     
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  6. plasma

    plasma Banned

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    these were all players racquets. What makes the series so amazing isn't a singular racquet but rather the technology that went into the entire line. How can you accurately discuss the complete evolution without discussing the xrc??? you failed to mention the first prestige which was the gold one, as well as an elusive series of molds that can be found on the 80's tennis site.


    The legitimate offering of varied types of players racquets within the same mold deserves mention as this company was not famous for one specific racquet or a great player, even though they made some of the greatest sticks ever.
    If I were mentioning wilson or prince and something like the graphite pro or the matrix, your rebuttle would have been valid, but many sticks I mentioned (like the arrow which is the european release of the graphite pro) are as good as the ps sv.
    The later part of your post is scholarly yet the early history denies lots of experimental frames which were very interesting and place the evolution of this companies products into a historical perspective.
    Are you sure the graphite vector is smaller than the graphite edge?
     
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  7. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    Great post!!!! I just wanted to make clear the ownership of HEAD through the years.

    In 1985 AMF was bought by Minstar.

    In 1989 Minstar sold HEAD, Tyrolia, and Mares to the Management team to form HTM.

    In 1993 HEAD (HTM) was sold to Austria Tabak (Tobacco)

    In 1995 Johan Eliasch bought HEAD (HTM) and continues to run it today.
     
    #7
  8. plasma

    plasma Banned

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    I'd like to know the early history regarding howard Head and the rights to different headsizes and patents pls. Thanks to both of you gentleman, this could easily be a college class!
     
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  9. Tennis Man

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    Thank you, I will add this info. Also, I've been itching to ask you about Twaron use. How does one know if a racquet has Twaron in it. Aside from an obvious decals on earlier Prestiges and Elite Pro I have there is no way to tell. Do PC 600 or PT 600 have Twaron?
     
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  10. MichaelChang

    MichaelChang Hall of Fame

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    Wanted to point out that the Graphite Edge is 81 head size.

    Also in the near modern era there is a Trisys 270 Mid (600 head size), released in US, and in Europe it is called Graphite Tour 600. I believe it was around 1994??
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
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  11. khw72004

    khw72004 Semi-Pro

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    There was also a Special Edition Tour Pro that is a box beam. Its red and Blue I have only seen one of them before (in my collection, haha).
     
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  12. MichaelChang

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    #12
  13. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    The Prestige Classic and Prestige Tour both have Twaron fiber. For a while there all HEAD racquets had Twaron Fiber.
     
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  14. gocard

    gocard Semi-Pro

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    Hi guys, I had posted this in a different thread under the main Racquet section, but is the Classic Mid any good? I might be able to get my hands on an 8/10 version but am not sure what a reasonable offer would be. I wish I could try out all these different versions but I came to the game too late, around the liquidmetal/flexpoint era... :) thanks!
     
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  15. plasma

    plasma Banned

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    thanks to "Chang" for mentioning the trysis. Was it the discovery of the genesis that had the first suspension? I think suspensions feel great. The liability with head has always been feel. Many of their frames lack a lively feel including the 270 and tour 600 which feel like pre chewed gum.
    The prestige pro and graphite edge were very stiff but lively, from there the stiffness stayed but the feel went downhill.
    [​IMG]
    these solid numbers are called "trek font", similar numbers which are hollow are not "trek font". Trek font 600's are said to have the best feel, indeed my early green prestige feels like a prostaff, not the racquet pictured but my pc 600.
     
    #15
  16. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    Discovery was the first racquet to have the Suspension Grip.
     
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  17. Tennis Man

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    We've seen enough pictures but I will add the links to other threads and sites. The idea is to complete Head Prestige pedigree. :)
     
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  18. Tennis Man

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    Does i.Prestige or LMP have Twaron in it?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
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  19. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Great compilation!

    However, trying to control what is posted on an Internet forum is senseless (and useless).

    The most important post is your OP. It's the first thing in this thread that others read and you're free to edit and add to it based on the responses you receive.
     
    #19
  20. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Wanted to make a copy of this in case something should happen and all your posts are either deleted or hidden (i.e. nobadmojo) :mrgreen:

    The FXP Prestige mid also had stock CAP grommets.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
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  21. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Probably best to post (or re-post) that question in this forum.

    Classic mid in 8/10 will fetch approximately $130-$150, currently. A good way to find this is to conduct a search in the for sale section of the TT classifieds.
     
    #21
  22. Tennis Man

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    I know your nice collection. There are many different models and their variations. The problem is most of them are graphite/fiberglass (composite) frames that I personally can't stand.

    My personal focus is on the stiff players' frames and their following. For insance, I have a mint Team Pro (composite, made in Austria) and it can take a C.A.P. gromet but it plays like crap. On another hand I picked up Flash Edge (100% graphite, 70 sq inch, made in Austria) and it's a beast, very close in feel to PS 85 St Vincent. My assumption is that the combination of design and materials make all the difference.
     
    #22
  23. Bud

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    The Prestige Pro contains graphite, fiberglass and Twaron :oops:
     
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  24. gocard

    gocard Semi-Pro

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    hey, thanks!
     
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  25. MichaelChang

    MichaelChang Hall of Fame

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    I thought the Team Pro is a fine racket. Maybe you put on a full CAP and got too heavy on the head balance? :confused:
     
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  26. Tennis Man

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    it feels very soft and hollow ...
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
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  27. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    That's what I was going to say:)

    Also, what a fantastic bit of research by OP (and guessing Retrowagon, VSbabolat, Bud, Racquetfreak, Plaz etc helped originally), anyway beats my MAX200G research hands down:(
     
    #27
  28. ipitythefool

    ipitythefool Semi-Pro

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    Thanks very much for gathering all this info into one post, Tennis man.

    I only few days ago got two Prestige Tour 600 w/ made in austria above the handle. Both are in pristine conditions. (also a prestige tour 300 trisys MP)

    I just want to say, this is the BEST, BUT BEST racquet to serve with.
    I hardly (perhaps never lol) could serve aces. With this racquet, I can't count my aces...seriously. Every game I pop one, sometimes two per game (of course, not always) Like this racquet is made to serve or something.
    I am not a usual mid size frame player, but I can not let go of these anymore, because I want to pop those aces!!

    With one wilson pro o-grip, one racquet came in at 356 gr and the other at 358 grams.

    Also have a PT10 (fxp pj) and that also came in right at 358 grams, but this has layers of lead strips under the bumper (it is quite upper head heavy compared to stock prestige tours) and sili in handle. PT10 plays more raw.

    Though I have one problem with these Tours/Classics...they messed up my arm only in one day! These gave me so much arm problems. PT10 is strung w/ Hextreme 17 at 55 x Sweet Forten 17 at 58. Racquet flared up my arm problems only in a matter of 20 min hit time (I was going for aces)

    One of stock PT600s had it strung with full bed S. Forten 17g at 55lbs. This is pretty cool soft string. This doesnt really give any arm probs. I had some awesome fast fh's and got some applauses (I dang surprised myself) I had all my aces with this stick, but I need poly mains to be able to control my swings. Also it is not as stable as the PT10, even though it will go higher up in weight scale, will tinker at 3&9 or at 12. I will try to keep it at a managable weight but racquet bags for some help with stability.
    Nonetheless, awesome, awesome racquet! I never had applauses from onlookers or aces this many times.

    Other PT600 left it w. its original unknown strings/tension.

    And my other prob with these is the grip shape...sucks (to me) I can not hold as firmly as wilsons. And I dont want to mess up and try and change the grips, PT10 is collectible. But can I change the PT600s to wilson pallets, anyone?

    And what string/tension do PC/PT600 players play with?
    Also any lead customizations done to stabilize stock racquets?
    Thanks all in advance.
     
    #28
  29. Tennis Man

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    my original collection had 3 lines: Wilson, Head and Yonex:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=118239

    Now, I selectively pick only Wilson, Head and PK graphites.

    A while ago I started a thread (can't find it anymore) and prepared another summary for Pro Kennex Aces (coming up) and putting a Wilson research together.
     
    #29
  30. jimbo333

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    Great stuff mate:)
     
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  31. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Carry on! :-D
     
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  32. Bud

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    Which DW machine is that... a SP Swing?
     
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  33. ipitythefool

    ipitythefool Semi-Pro

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    ^^ can i bring a sack and crash in this room? :)
     
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  34. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    "ipitythefool" that lets you:)
     
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  35. plasma

    plasma Banned

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    i though that the team pro was superb and super stiff.
     
    #35
  36. ipitythefool

    ipitythefool Semi-Pro

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    HAHAHAHA Jimbo, isn't my nickname so... versatile! :)

    Btw- seriously i would feel like i'm in a candy shop in this room

    [​IMG]
     
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  37. Tennis Man

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    hmmmm, thanks for turning this thread into a candy shop. :evil:
     
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  38. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    TM, you say that you have specifically omitted Mid-plus frames, I was wondering why?

    For example the gold prestige mid-plus that Plasma showed a photo of, well I would like to know where this racquet fits into this story? Year etc
     
    #38
  39. Tennis Man

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    There is a reason why MID and MID PLUS frames exist. I network with many other collectors and aficionados who would not consider anything bigger than 85-90 sq inches or thicker than 19mm a real "tennis racquet".

    We love to play "old school" tennis with thin-beamed, small headed, flexy frames like PS 85, PK Black Ace, Dunlop MAX 200G, etc.

    I personally love the feel of Pro Tours 280/630 and Pro Staff Classic 6.1 and these are the only Mid Plus frames in my entire collection.

    Some older Prestige "Mid Plus" frames are actually Mid-sized by modern standards (89.5 sq inch) and some Mids I have can actually be considered standard (my 100% graphite Austrian Head Flash Edge is 70 sq inch).
     
    #39
  40. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    That gold Prestige Graphite Mid-Plus is 89.5 sq.inches. Back in 1985/86 when HEAD came out with the 89.5 inch head size AKA the "Pro Series" HEAD called them a mid-plus. Now it is considered a mid.
     
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  41. Tennis Man

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    thanks for confirming that. I actually don't have any of them. My guess is they would be in the 1982 line-up.
     
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  42. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    The Pro series 89.5 sq.inch head size did not come out until 1985/86 line-up.

    In 1982 you had the Graphite Vector (10% larger than Standard head size), Graphite Edge (the midsize), and the Graphite Director (What HEAD called a Oversize back then).
     
    #42
  43. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    This gold Prestige still confuses me???

    Thanks "all knowing one":)

    Thanks for letting me know it is an 85/86 racquet. This racquet still confuses me though, it is called a "Prestige", but from Plasmas photo it looks exactly same mold as the Graphite Pro and different from the Prestige Pro?
     
    #43
  44. ipitythefool

    ipitythefool Semi-Pro

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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
    #44
  45. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    "i pity the fool" that thinks he isn't a tennis racquet collector:)

    (And you so are)
     
    #45
  46. ipitythefool

    ipitythefool Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Messages:
    630
    ^^ :) Actually would be better to put it as: I suffer from racquaholism :)

    p.s: and will you quit finding smartass one liners to use my own nick against me lol..had i seen this coming, i would've picked something else! :) should not have watched that old A-Team episode the day i got this nick lol
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
    #46
  47. Tennis Man

    Tennis Man Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,635
    Location:
    Sunshine State
    1. I think you are missing the point

    2. it's not nice to judge people like that .... many of these "collectors" would kick your *** on the courts with their "lack of skill"
     
    #47
  48. Tennis Man

    Tennis Man Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,635
    Location:
    Sunshine State
    anyone know the head sizes and specs for these 2:

    Head Special Edition Pro
    Head Turbo Lite Plus (Pro series

    I'm mainly interested in C.A.P.ing them. BTW, which C.A.P. grommet set would be the best for stringing?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #48
  49. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    4,003
    Location:
    Windsor, England
    Gold Prestige still confusing me!!!

    Can anyone explain this please?
     
    #49
  50. tandayu

    tandayu Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Messages:
    1,351

    This gold color frame has name "prestige" (same mold as graphite pro) for euro market, not part of the prestige line.
    The main model for this mold was the black euro graphite pro (used by Sergio casal, Emilio Sanchez, Javie Frana, Alberto Mancini, etc.).

    Afterward, the pros switched to the brown prestige pro
     
    #50

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