I'm doing a study abroad program in Rome and Istanbul this summer. I'm already thinking about souvenirs. For an avid cyclist an classic, made in Italy, Italian frameset seems perfect, but I don't know much about them.
I plan to just buy a frameset (at least frame and fork, hopefully a headset and bb too) and mail it home. Ideally I want lugged steel that's older than me ('81 or older) with Campy semi-horizontial dropouts and a real headbadge, no sticker. I'm flexible about all of those criteria, but the dropouts. I want a little room. It doesn't have to be the best racing frame out there, just something solid with a decent set of tubes. I'd like something maybe a little more obscure than a Bianchi, but make doesn't matter as much as the budget. Ideally I'd like to get a bike (at least model, if not make) that was never imported to the US, or imported in small numbers. I'm hoping to spend $100-$200 US on the frameset and shipping to get it home.
Is this feasible? If not, what kind of budget should I be looking at? What are some nice Italian makes I should be looking for? What is your advice on buying old frames in general? Am I likely to be duped into thinking a frame is Italian when it's not, or will most of the Italian makes I find be made in Italy?
I feel I should mention my intentions with this frame. Many of you will cringe, but I want to make it a fixedgear. Fear not, I won't do anything to hurt the potential of the frame. All braze-ons will remain and this bike would not be locked up or banged into racks. Paint will stay original until rust became an issue. I plan on keeping the frame for a long time, with the hope of some day returning it to it's period appropriate geared glory. I just couldn't swing the cost of that now.
Any advice or info you have for me would be great. Thank you.