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  1. #1
    Senior Member umpire54's Avatar
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    hmmmm...why not?

    I need some quick advice!

    NOTICE: I AM RESEARCHING DATE OF MANUFACTURE AND WILL CHANGE IT WHEN I DO FIND OUT TO WHAT IT REALLY IS....RIGHT NOW I DATE IT 52ISH BECAUSE OF PARTS ON IT.

    I just got a 1952 Bianchi Specialissima from a really nice guy here in Houston for $150.00. He had it for 15 years hanging in his garage. The guy he got it from had it hanging in his garage...but was owned by his dad who has been deceased for decades. Hasn't been rode since atleast the early 70's. Tires are flat and paint is peeling...but shessshh....its all there and Campy to boot.

    Link to pictures of it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/umpire5...7622146368588/


    It is black with the chrome lugs and even has the exact same crank as on COPPI'S 1952 TDF bike. It has all Campy parts including hubs and early 52/53 Campy Gran Sport front and rear derailers. Again...lots of chrome. Christophe toe clips...Bianchi "B" pedals.

    I know...I squirelled...but what to do now? I am polishing the chrome lugs and they are looking great. Should I paint it back to black...or would it be a sin to paint it another more modern color like 1992 Corvette metalic red...kind of pearlized?? I had a 69 Firebird I painted that color and it was beautiful.

    I understand celeste was COPPI'S bike color but so many people have painted theirs to match that color too. I have read many forum whre others also say theirs was black as well and have seen some painted back nicely to black.

    At the same time I respect opinions from guys who have been in the bike world way longer than I. I have only been into road bikes for about a month in which time I have acquired a Interclub Gitane and a Grand Sport Gitane. (both GRAPE) ($75 total for both) The Interclub is a hell of a bike btw. Pick one up if you see it...they are cheap and run like heck. What are your ideas on the paint fellas? Am I commiting a felony in the bike world if I paint it something other than what it was originally?

    Thanks,

    Umpire54
    Last edited by umpire54; 10-13-09 at 10:58 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by umpire54 View Post
    What are your ideas on the paint fellas? Am I commiting a felony in the bike world if I paint it something other than what it was originally?
    You should make a thread with pictures.

    Is the paint original? What is the condition? If it's original don't paint it unless you absolutely have to. If you do I would say keep it the original color.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by prof2k View Post
    You should make a thread with pictures.

    Is the paint original? What is the condition? If it's original don't paint it unless you absolutely have to. If you do I would say keep it the original color.
    +1

    Start a new thread if you really want help.

  4. #4
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    If it's really a 50's Specialissima you should proceed with caution. That would be a very rare bike to find in the States and a re-paint or other mis-guided "restoration" attempts could do some real damage.

    Let's see it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member umpire54's Avatar
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    Pictures coming. Thanks for your input and interest. I really would like to share with you guys. I have read the forum for over a month now and gotten some really good stories and ideas in general from it. Hope to start a new thread and have pics by tomorrow...maybe tonight.

    Thanks guys,

    umpire54

  6. #6
    Senior Member umpire54's Avatar
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    Actually...same thread...someone started this one for me and I do appreciate it! Have a great day guys!

  7. #7
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    Wow, sounds cool, i'm excited to see it. My vote is to not paint it unless it's actively rusting. I'd have trouble riding it for fear of something unexpected happening. Good thing you have two other nice bikes to putt around on.

    I guess just be super-careful, whatever you do.

  8. #8
    Senior Member umpire54's Avatar
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    1952 Bianchi Specialissima pictures

    Hey guys...here are pictures of my 1952 Bianchi Specialissima.

    She's rough but I'm glad to have her.

    My Gitane Interclub and dog too! Enjoy!!

    Have a great week!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/umpire5...7622146368588/
    Last edited by umpire54; 12-31-09 at 11:38 PM.

  9. #9
    I Need Intervention NYC_zx10's Avatar
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    Wow.

    That thing is gorgeous.

    Might I suggest you take a look at this thread to help you :

    Oxalic acid question

  10. #10
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    That one may be a bit past the "patina" stage but if the chrome is still good a re-finish would not be that big an issue. If it does need to be re-chromed do your homework and DON'T be cheap. Poor re-plating can really destroy a vintage racing bike like that.

    I would stick with stock colors (black, Celeste, ?) and the correct repro decals.

    How are you dating it to '52? Your pics do not really show too much detail but I think it may be a bit later than that? Mid to late 50's I would think, but again can't really see too much, and I do not know that era Campy stuff well enough to tell from the parts.

    Anyway, a rare bike and worth re-building or restoring correctly. Take your time and enjoy the project, as a Bianchi fan I'm a bit jealous.

  11. #11
    Senior Member umpire54's Avatar
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    OTIS,

    Thanks for your comments. The pics came out worse than it really looks in real life. Darker..nastier..lol.

    To answer your question: I am using what I have available at this time...the internet and any pics I can find.

    Man I have looked at a lot of pics...and I didn't notice some things till the second time around.
    So far FAUSTO COPPI'S bike is most like mine and his is a 1952. Look at it...it is beat up and I am trying to track down how long he had it. Lots of times I read..."HIS BIKE". It is almost like I need to find out if he had any other bikes. I'm sure he did...but the pics always revert back to that one for the 52' TDF win and the GIRO. Where are his other bikes btw?? Mine looks like his more than others on the net...thats what I've found so far. I don't get where you are dating it later though? Why do you say that?

    1) I am dating it by starting with the crank...look at the crank on my bike ...it is just like Coppi's
    1952 bike. Look at the pic on the web of his bike and you will see what I mean. All other
    Bianchi Specialissimas I have seen have been 1953-56 models. They have different cranks.

    I have read on a website that the crank was made only one or two years. I'll have to find that
    website name to put on here...it was a cool site with a lot of fancy cranks. They were friggin
    awesome. Parts and production lines...you know how they are. Use new parts when the old
    ones run out. Im guessing 1952-53 for that crank. I also need to find out how long COPPI rode
    his bike...when he got it, etc. I am just wondering if he had it in 51...looking at it...and the
    different derailluers they say he used...hmmm...when did he really get that bike? I'll try to find
    the exact date if I can.

    2) COPPI'S derailluers are the generation before mine, atleast the ones in the pics I have seen on
    the internet. Articles state that he used other type of derailluers (note the saw marks on his
    rear drop-outs using another brand of derailler that required the saw cuts on his frame rear drop
    out area.

    The 3rd Generation of Gran Sport derailluers on my bike came out in 1952/53. I have seen
    articles stating both years. More research needed...but I feel confident the crank and derailluers
    are from the 1952 period. Maybe at the end of the year 1951 for 52 sales???? Like
    automobiles??? I don't know. I'll find out if I can.

    This week I will try to link what websites I researched from. You know how it is...who knows if they are even really right.

    I don't really care if someone proves my bike is a 1976...but right now it looks like COPPI got some of his parts from where my bike did in 1952...and the serial number starting with B2xxxx. I am guessing the 2 is for 52'.

    I'm sure somewhere there is a record of S/N's sold back in the day....with my bikes numbers on it. I hope I can find it.

    Have a good night.
    Last edited by umpire54; 09-28-09 at 11:50 PM.

  12. #12
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    I suggest trying to contact Ed Litton in Richmond CA. This link to his page in Classic Rendezvous gives his contact info. http://www.classicrendezvous.com/USA/Ed_Litton.htm

    Ed is a builder, a frame repairer (he has done warranty work for a number of frame makers) and a frame painter (he did my 1967 Paramount). He also knows more about vintage high-end Bianchis than anyone else I know of. He was able to ID an old frame with a rattlecan paint job I've had for 35 years (I was young and stupid at the time) as an early 1960's Competizione after about one minute's inspection,and was able to tell me why he reached that conclusion without BS or posturing. This guy knows his stuff.

    He is not always easy to get a hold of, but he is a very nice guy and loves vintage stuff. Once you get him talking, he is very geerous with information. He has a number of old Bianchis in varying stages of dress and undress, paint-wise - he showed me high-end Bianchi racing frame, 1940's vintage, stripped to bare metal, that was a thing of beauty. If anyone an give you good advice, he can.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member mazdaspeed's Avatar
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    Sell it to a collector

  14. #14
    Senior Member Gary Fountain's Avatar
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    Hi Umpire54,

    Interesting thread. I have had a look at your photos and, to me, your Bianchi looks to be most original. I think that might just help out giving you a smaller window to date the bike from. It appears that the seat post is a plain steel post with a clamp-on saddle clip at the top. I think that dates the bike pre-1956. It has Campy components and it is a top of the line Bianchi Specialissima. If it was post 1956 it would probably have the newly developed Campy steel seat post similar to the old Campy Nuovo Record post.

    It is difficult to see the rear derailleur and tell its generation. This is done by measuring the spring cover ar the bottom of the parallelogram. The spring cover got wider as the generations developed. It looks like you removed the spring cover (and pulley wheels) for the photos. I think (from memory) the 2nd generation spring cover was 5mm wide while the third generation spring cover was about 8mm wide. As it is pretty original, I think a fairly accurate date may be possible when you look at components that may have changed during the 50's.

    So, what do you do with this bike? You have found a real 'dream' bike. The price you paid was far below its real worth. The condition of the paint is really bad but you only get one chance at originality.

    My advice: I'd keep it black;take photos; strip it down; clean it up piece by piece; search the internet, etc; leave it for a while; find out all you can about the bike's history from its previous owner; consider all your options; gain knowledge; then decide what should be done. There would be nothing worse than rushing into a recondition with a bike as valuable as yours.

    I have tried to contact Bianchi factory in the past with questions about serial numbers. Even had a letter translated into Italian. The response was that no serial number records exist.

    I have added a photo of my Bianchi of similar vintage. It looked like crap when I got it but I decided to just clean it up. It didn't have many decals but I painted them back onto the frame (I'm not a bad painter). Now you can get repro decals from cyclemondo (ebay) that are appropriate for your bike. With mine, I painted around the scratches and missing paint to make it look original. I don't know if I did the right thing though. Here it is. Other forum members will be sick and tired of seeing my Bianchi but I think you might appreciate it and it might help you decide what to do.


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    Quote Originally Posted by umpire54 View Post

    2) COPPI'S derailluers are the generation before mine, atleast the ones in the pics I have seen on
    the internet. Articles state that he used other type of derailluers (note the saw marks on his
    rear drop-outs using another brand of derailler that required the saw cuts on his frame rear drop
    out area.

    The 3rd Generation of Gran Sport derailluers on my bike came out in 1952/53. I have seen
    articles stating both years. More research needed...but I feel confident the crank and derailluers
    are from the 1952 period. Maybe at the end of the year 1951 for 52 sales???? Like
    automobiles??? I don't know. I'll find out if I can.
    The saw-tooth rear dropouts on Coppi's bike were for a Campagnolo Paris Roubaix derailleur that preceded (and then was available alongside) the Gran Sport. The Gran Sport on your Bianchi does not predate 1953, according to all of the reliable sources I've encountered.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fountain View Post

    It is difficult to see the rear derailleur and tell its generation. This is done by measuring the spring cover ar the bottom of the parallelogram. The spring cover got wider as the generations developed. It looks like you removed the spring cover (and pulley wheels) for the photos. I think (from memory) the 2nd generation spring cover was 5mm wide while the third generation spring cover was about 8mm wide. As it is pretty original, I think a fairly accurate date may be possible when you look at components that may have changed during the 50's.
    The change in spring covers occurred within the third generation of Gran Sport derailleurs, i.e. 1953 or later. The OP's Gran Sport is distinguishable as third generation or later by its recessed pivot bolts. The reverse of the OP's Gran Sport does have the earlier "open C" in Campagnolo, which I believe makes it a relatively early third generation GS.

  17. #17
    Senior Member umpire54's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys...You guys are great.

    This is why I got on this web site...I knew the contacts I made would be the kind of guys that care and want to help. I appreciate your time, interest, and effort to pass on information. Very very nice bike Gary, and thank you for your thoughts.

    At first...I saw the bike as obviously needing restored back to what a bike should be, not letting it sit there as a relic. As I researched I realized it was an earlier model bike than I thought...so painting it 92 Corvette metallic red kinda went out the window. (hey...what can I say...I just wanted it to be different!! and it is a nice color) I now see the error of my ways of thinking.

    I am doing as you said. Taking my time. I put the bike back together and set it in another room for now. I have gotten the name of a good chrome plater if needed...I know the forks will need to be plated. The lugs are going to be ok I think...and I'm looking for a good painter.

    I have no qualms of moving the date of my bike to 1953...never have, and I will post it to whatever date it is nailed down to when I nail it down.

    I am going down the road of tracking down information on the original owner. His son is alive and sold/gave?? the bike to the guy I got it from. I'm still surpised he sold it to me...he knew it was a 50's vintage because he told me so...I told him I thought it was 60's (after one night looking on the net). He even told me he was talking to someone who had researched it and said it was a 52/53.

    I will try to get a hold of Ed Litton. BIKINGSHEARER...thanks for that info.
    I'll keep ya posted. I did post the link to my flickr page...pics turned out dark but enjoy. This is a fun hobby...and a lot cheaper than muscle cars.

    Have a great day,
    umpire54

  18. #18
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Umpire54.

    Listen to Otis, he knows what his is talking about, and is probably one of the more learned
    members when it comes to old bianchis.
    One thing to remember is that parts may have been in a shop somewhere and not put on the bike
    until years after they were put on the shelf. i.e. the derailleurs may say 52/53 but the frame itself
    might not have been brazed/built until say 56.

    As my mentor used to say to me " Go slow, be careful"
    Marty
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    I am going to say, please don't paint that thing. Please! I ride a 1958 Olmo track bike, and I wouldn't think of repainting it. It is beat to hell, the chrome under the paint shows itself more every year, but I love it. I think if you repaint it you will miss the patina!

  20. #20
    Senior Member umpire54's Avatar
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    Speed kills

    Go slow...gotcha!!

    Otis...I appreciate his thoughts...More so I am asking why he said what he said??? He dated the bike to a later part of the decade for a reason so I was curious to what reason it was. I'm sure there was something there that made him pick that time frame.

    I am new to the site...and everyone is very helpful. I don't care to piss off anyone or be thought of as the bad guy...but at the same time..I want to learn documented date/information and/or opinions with facts.

    He kinda left me hanging with that conjecture so I asked what I thought was a fair question and was hoping for an explination. I will dig deeper and harder...this is the fun part. Bianchi used a hell of a lot of Campy parts early on. I'd think an expert on a brand would know stuff like that...down to a nut within a reasonable time frame window.

    While I am new to bikes...
    Example: I am a Pontiac nut. Researched my brains out for years on vintage Pontiacs - 1962-1981...GTO's, Judges, Firebirds, Trans AMs, etc. Heck...at one time I knew production model numbers for each year for about 19 years worth of cars, option numbers...what came with what, and what you couldn't get with what...etc. Motors, suspension, all aspects of the car for each year.

    I gotta say...I knew more than most. I know that production lines got parts before they were supposed to, or kept feeding the lines till the old ones were used up - for up to almost a year due to slow sales sometimes. Production is an interesting thing when it comes to vehicles of any type I am finding. I'm sure bikes were the same.

    So there is always a window of lasp we will never see because we weren't there in the factory. Also there were factory exceptions...buildups for demos, factory bosses, test cars,...etc.

    I am sure it was the same for bikes and I am not saying mine is one...I am just saying I am trying to pin point this bike, the parts on it, and date of manufacture as close as possible. Thats all.

    Just like I personally thoght it looked like a 60's bike till I saw the older parts on it. Therefore I am trying to figure this out. I have only been into vintage bikes for maybe 5 -6 weeks now...I know nothing...but I'm a fast study.

    Sure...you can order parts put on at the bike shop...upgraded. Or you can buy it that way not knowing it was upgraded at the shop/dealer. Or you can buy it coming from the factory already loaded that way. That is exactly the kind of information I am looking for. Maybe with some research to the owners son if I can find him will help.

    Have a great day guys!

    umpire54

  21. #21
    4.6692016090 retrofit's Avatar
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    Very nice find. +1 on listening to Otis.

    I am also a Bianchi fan; as such I had previously downloaded the PDFs of all the vintage Bianchi's posted on the L'Eroica web site.

    To help the ID of your find, I've uploaded a zipped archive of the Bianchi's from 1950-1958 to my MobileMe site for download (direct link, 21.6MB).

    Have fun.

    stan

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek View Post
    Umpire54.

    Listen to Otis, he knows what his is talking about, and is probably one of the more learned
    members when it comes to old bianchis.
    Actually I have very little first hand experiance with any of the pre 70's bikes so please question any of my comments. Most of time I would hope they provoke more discussion and not be taken for fact. One thing about Reparto Bianchi's is a lot of times there's really no definitive answers to dating, etc.

  23. #23
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Sure could have fooled me given some of the detailed responses I've seen you give here.
    So, who do we send young umpire54 ( year younger than me?) to for more definitive answers
    on this one?

    Marty
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  24. #24
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    I would send detailed pics and questions to the CR list, they may provide more info + more leads...
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
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  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek View Post
    Sure could have fooled me given some of the detailed responses I've seen you give here.
    So, who do we send young umpire54 ( year younger than me?) to for more definitive answers
    on this one?

    Marty
    Citoyen du Monde. Unless the OP is fluent in japanese.

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