Carlton were bought by Raleigh in 1960. The intention was to give Raleigh a high end range of cycles. However, the selling power of Raleigh world-wide meant that production was stepped up more and more leading to increased production line techniques at Worksop. The Carltons and Raleigh Carltons were produced side by side, often the only differences being the Raleigh head badge and decals. As Raleigh were owned by TI (Tube Investments) there was also a tendency to push the Truwel double butted frame tubes (made by TI) instead of Reynolds 531.
It is not my intention to detail the Carlton built Raleigh range, the Carltons are complicated enough. However, Don W Gillies in San Diego has been kind enough to supply the following information:
Cheapest name-brand parts that can get you to ten speeds. Some parts (headsets, bottom brackets, fork tubular crown) borrowed from 3 speeds to save money. Hence, 26 tpi headset and bottom bracket. Sidepull brakes, steel rims. Raleigh/Gazelle embellishments (R-nut wheels, R-nut seat binder.) 27″ wheels for economy and a plush ride. Made by Gazelle of Holland (today’s Gazelles have little gazelles on the red nuts.)
Raleigh Grand Prix.
Upgraded wheels (high flange hubs), brakes (hooded, with Carlton hoods), and gears (simplex or another changer with good price/performance.) 27″ wheels for economy and a plush ride. Made by Gazelle of Holland (today’s Gazelles have little gazelles on the red nuts.)
Raleigh Super Course.
Entry level racing bike. Reynolds 531 main tubes plain gauge only. Quick Release Hubs. Same sport geometry as nearly all Raleigh bikes. 700c wheels and/or tubular tires (Super Course TT). Upgraded gearing. Low-end Brooks Leather Saddle (B5N or B15)
Raleigh Gran Sport.
Mid-level randonneuring bikes. Highest full-blown touring model in the Raleigh line. Reynolds 531 DB main tubes and forks. Mid-high end parts that accept wide-range gears ( Stronglight 93 or Zeus Cranks ). Normandy sport or competition hubs. Brooks B-15/17 saddle. Randonneur handlebars.
Cheapest 531 throughout bike that is a competitive threat in a serious race. This usually means highest quality French parts. Lightened Weinmann Racing levers. Tubular wheels, quality equal to a Peugeot PX-10. Sloping crown and a black dipped frameset to save $$$. B17 seat.
Reynolds 531 DB with chromed Nervex lugs. Racing parts on a touring frame. Painted in strange metallic colors without panels. All bikes up through this one were fitted for centerpull brakes. Full Campy (except brakes, to save $$$). However, a little bit of an awkward bike since its got racing gears and parts on a frame with geometry somewhere between sport and touring.
Real racing geometry, Italian lugs, sloping crown (chromed top), Fastback Victor Seatstays, bottom bracket cutout like a custom maker. Very responsive frame, climbs beautifully. Full Campagnolo, two tone paint, in two similar metallic colours.
The higher-end the bike is, the more stripes that often show up on the seat tube.
They love panels on these bikes. About the only bike WITHOUT panels is the Raleigh International.