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Old 08-08-10, 07:58 PM   #1
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Drewing via restoration - when a quest for perfection overrides sanity

Case in point, the following Benotto 3000 as on Classic Lightweights:

http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk...to3000-rb.html

I've run into this article a couple of times since last year, and I shake my head in disbelief every time I read it. I ran into it again tonight, and I can't keep it to myself any longer.

Given that no mention is made of any frame repair, one must assume this "restoration" was as a result of damage and/or nicks to the cromovelato lacquer finish atop the chrome.

Quote:
"The frame was originally finished in chrome with a gold laquer finish (see image below) and it was refurbished by Atlantic Boulevard in Bury. As it would have been too expensive to replate and re-laquer they finished the frame as near as possible to the original with paint."
Quote:
"Below is the frame in its original livery of gold laquer over chrome"


...and after:



Somebody tell me how someone sane could reduce a gold cromovelato Benotto 3000 to run-of-the-mill Benotto gold? For crying out loud, even if the cromovelato was nicked up, the chrome could be re-lacquered if someone wished to split hairs over paint finish perfection.

I tell you, some people with the means to do restorations shouldn't be allowed around special frames like this. This is one of the many reasons I am extremely adamant about keeping things original, even if not in top condition.

-Kurt
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Old 08-08-10, 08:23 PM   #2
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At least they didn't turn it into a fixed gear...I am amazed when I see nice old road bikes now...and they still have gears on them!
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Old 08-08-10, 08:23 PM   #3
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It's their bike. And at least it's being ridden. And at least nothing un-fixable was done to it.
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Old 08-08-10, 08:51 PM   #4
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I'm not gonna say i'm surprised someone did this, but I would like to know who does this and steps back to look at the final product and says "Yes! That is AWESOME! So much better than when I started!"

if the point of the resto was to make an otherwise fancy looking bike look ordinary i'd say its a complete success.
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Old 08-08-10, 09:05 PM   #5
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At least they didn't turn it into a fixed gear...
The point is that you don't have to cut a frame up to do it an injustice.


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And at least it's being ridden. And at least nothing un-fixable was done to it.
It isn't being ridden. The owner has used the site's exposure as a for sale plug - for over two years now.


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And at least nothing un-fixable was done to it.
I don't agree. Virtually everything is fixable. Case in point, derailer hangers and top tube guides subjected to fixie conversions can be brazed back on, and paint can be refinished.

Whether something is "fixable" isn't the point - it's whether one ruins something intact (and unique) to create something unbefitting that is a crime. Someone can re-chrome and re-lacquer this frame back to its original finish, only to have spent a good deal of money and time into bringing it back to a state that was fine to start with, if only some idiot hadn't tried to "improve" on it.


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I'm not gonna say i'm surprised someone did this, but I would like to know who does this and steps back to look at the final product and says "Yes! That is AWESOME! So much better than when I started!"
Especially when the gold cromovelato Benottos were often their one-off show bikes:



(If that image doesn't show up, try: http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment...2&d=1242399328 )

-Kurt
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Old 08-08-10, 09:13 PM   #6
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Somebody tell me how someone sane could reduce a gold cromovelato Benotto 3000 to run-of-the-mill Benotto gold? For crying out loud, even if the cromovelato was nicked up, the chrome could be re-lacquered if someone wished to split hairs over paint finish perfection.

I tell you, some people with the means to do restorations shouldn't be allowed around special frames like this. This is one of the many reasons I am extremely adamant about keeping things original, even if not in top condition.

-Kurt
I will have to review this, maybe they guy was recreating a bike from his youth? The transfer reproduction is off if they wished to be original, and I have never seen the forward side of the top tube as a typical place for a Columbus transfer. Kind of reminds me of all the Campagnolo stickers just below the lower head lug to hide the bulge or cracked paint from a crash.

It also reminds me of a California Masi Gran Criterium frame set that sold for a few years ago on ebay, in full chrome. The buyer paid pretty big dollars for it, then promptly sent it out for paint, it is now painted again, the chrome was near perfect... the new paint is very nice, The total investment must have been absurd.

I have no problem painting bikes that had been repainted poorly in the past, powdercoat or worse. I also have a bike or two that were repainted when they were just a used bike, in a time when there was no value to older steel. Sometimes the current motivation is curious.
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Old 08-08-10, 09:18 PM   #7
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It looks to me like the owner wanted his bike to be new again. He didn't want an old looking bike. He wanted a new looking one. His budget did not permit a full restoration; he got the sharpest looking renovation he could afford.

I don't agree with the owner, but I'm pretty sure that's what he was thinking.
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Old 08-08-10, 09:26 PM   #8
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I will have to review this, maybe they guy was recreating a bike from his youth? The transfer reproduction is off if they wished to be original, and I have never seen the forward side of the top tube as a typical place for a Columbus transfer. Kind of reminds me of all the Campagnolo stickers just below the lower head lug to hide the bulge or cracked paint from a crash.
Interesting you should mention the decal placement. There is no right-side photo of that frame prior to paint, but it so happens a local friend has an unidentified, smoked-chrome SLX Benotto (cromovelato finish) which is NOS - and has the same tubing decal placement:





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It also reminds me of a California Masi Gran Criterium frame set that sold for a few years ago on ebay, in full chrome. The buyer paid pretty big dollars for it, then promptly sent it out for paint, it is now painted again, the chrome was near perfect... the new paint is very nice, The total investment must have been absurd.
Unless that chrome job was post-factory, that's pretty much on the same level. Even if it was a later modification, the cost of returning something such as that Masi or this Benotto to original specs becomes utterly unfeasible, if not rather revolting. Unless it's something particularly unique or relevant, a better example will almost always be available.

-Kurt
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Old 08-08-10, 09:32 PM   #9
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It looks to me like the owner wanted his bike to be new again. He didn't want an old looking bike. He wanted a new looking one. His budget did not permit a full restoration; he got the sharpest looking renovation he could afford.
...and then boots the bike out on the market.

I shouldn't be surprised at this, really; a few trips to classic car auctions yields many similar cases - fellow buys a frame-off, Grabber Blue '70 Mustang resto for a hundred grand, then sends it straight back into the paint shop to be resprayed Grabber Yellow, despite Grabber Blue being the original color.

-Kurt
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Old 08-08-10, 09:33 PM   #10
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-Kurt
So, that is where it went, pretty darn unusual. The smoke chrome look is quite nice.
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Old 08-08-10, 09:48 PM   #11
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So, that is where it went, pretty darn unusual. The smoke chrome look is quite nice.
Depends. I've only seen this done on mid-1980's and later Benottos, such as the 5000. I assume this is a 3500 by virtue of being SLX, but that's an uneducated guess - another thread insinuates the 3500 is crack-prone at the headlug, which would indicate Mexican construction. There's no question as to where this one came from:



It also has flattened fork blades - not as unusual, far as I know, but distinct:



All things considering, there isn't much solid, concrete info on Benottos out there.

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Old 08-08-10, 09:57 PM   #12
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In general, I agree with Kurt, and this seems like a really bad idea. Seems like there are quite a few Benottos out there, although a lot of them are relatively undesirable bikes since they were produced in Mexico. My thought is they could have found a better bike to repaint.
I have a really hard time getting over the move to Mexican production, so much so that I think it's hilarious that Bikes Direct now sells Chinese bikes labelled Benotto. I feel like that really limited the allure of the brand as a collectible. So I'm wondering how much this really devalued the bike.
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Old 08-08-10, 10:18 PM   #13
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In general, I agree with Kurt, and this seems like a really bad idea. Seems like there are quite a few Benottos out there, although a lot of them are relatively undesirable bikes since they were produced in Mexico. My thought is they could have found a better bike to repaint.
A Benotto 3000 that could have benefited more from a restoration, preferably.

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So I'm wondering how much this really devalued the bike.
In uniqueness and beauty, by 100%. Value is irrelevant.

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Old 08-08-10, 10:39 PM   #14
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I think it looks better now, not as gaudy, but I agree that it should have been left original.
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Old 08-08-10, 11:16 PM   #15
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I know my view of Italian bikes is not true of all of them, but for me the best Italian bikes could be considered gaudy.
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Old 08-09-10, 03:01 AM   #16
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Keeping this mostly on-topic, what is the process used in order to achieve the cromovelato lacquer finish atop the chrome?

My guess is that a fully chromed frame (one which could stand alone as just chrome) is "clear-coated" with a slightly tinted lacquer. Therefore any color could be chosen. What would they use to tint for gold? Are any shops still using this technique? And if so, does it adhere better with modern clears as opposed to the lacquer used 30-40 years ago?

My observation is that nearly all of these 30 something year old frames finished in cromovelato have peeling or chipping challenges to one degree or another.

Your cromovelato knowledge and education is appreciated!
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Old 08-09-10, 06:53 AM   #17
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I had a '79 Raleigh Superbe in gold chrome finish. It was stunning when it was new. Always drew a crowd at races. After several years the gold lacquer looked dull. I polished it up but the finish just wasnt durable. After ten years the finish was pretty much shot. The finish on the top tube was worn off, chips and peeled paint everywhere. Took some lacquer thinner and removed the gold. Looked much better in chrome.

I think that paint is the better finish. I have to agree that the gold chrome look is gaudy. I much prefer the painted gold finish. Just my opinion.

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Old 08-09-10, 06:56 AM   #18
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It's a hard-hearted person who could point the bead blaster at that frame and pull the trigger.
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Old 08-09-10, 06:58 AM   #19
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Ah, now reading the thread .... maybe they just used some chemical to melt the lacquer off, preserving the chrome underneath... but even so, why not just have chrome?
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Old 08-09-10, 07:23 AM   #20
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...I tell you, some people with the means to do restorations shouldn't be allowed around special frames like this....
What kind of fool think they own a bike like this just because they paid for it with their own money? Maybe it's time for a National Historic Bicycle designation.
Before any work is done, first they should have to have a special C&V board approve all changes and only allow a certified C&V resto service perform the work!
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Old 08-09-10, 07:54 AM   #21
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, ........and I have never seen the forward side of the top tube as a typical place for a Columbus transfer.......
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...... I've only seen this done on mid-1980's and later Benottos, such as the 5000.......
-Kurt
Just as an FYI, Gianni Motta also used the side of the top tube for tubing decal placement at times. I'm not at home to find a pic to post, though.
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Old 08-09-10, 09:05 AM   #22
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Keeping this mostly on-topic, what is the process used in order to achieve the cromovelato lacquer finish atop the chrome?
That's a pretty darn good question, Bob - I don't think I've ever heard the answer to it. Sprayed on like spray-on chrome? Dipped?

It can't be that difficult. It's just lacquer.

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Ah, now reading the thread .... maybe they just used some chemical to melt the lacquer off, preserving the chrome underneath... but even so, why not just have chrome?
Lacquer is lacquer - paint stripper probably did the job quite easily.

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I had a '79 Raleigh Superbe in gold chrome finish. It was stunning when it was new. Always drew a crowd at races. After several years the gold lacquer looked dull. I polished it up but the finish just wasnt durable. After ten years the finish was pretty much shot. The finish on the top tube was worn off, chips and peeled paint everywhere. Took some lacquer thinner and removed the gold. Looked much better in chrome.

I think that paint is the better finish. I have to agree that the gold chrome look is gaudy. I much prefer the painted gold finish. Just my opinion.
I know a fellow who has one up around Fort Lauderdale. Most of those did get stripped due to nicked finishes.

I've never had the opportunity to see if the modern paint polishes I use work on cromovelato lacquer; the only machine I could possibly have the opportunity of doing so with is an '82/3 Raleigh USA with a orange cromovelato finish. Though the owner has nicked it quite a bit since he owned it, it hasn't dulled - rendering it useless to me.

Funny thing though - I haven't seen a dulled cromovelato finish posted on this forum. The few cromovelato frames that have been posted look pretty untarnished.

-Kurt
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Old 08-09-10, 06:22 PM   #23
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Fwiw I don't think you can buy certain kinds of lacquers and paints anymore because of recent regulations. Maybe they just couldn't find gold lacquer to put over the chrome.
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Old 08-09-10, 07:41 PM   #24
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Fwiw I don't think you can buy certain kinds of lacquers and paints anymore because of recent regulations. Maybe they just couldn't find gold lacquer to put over the chrome.
Is classic lacquer the same as modern clear coat?
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Old 08-09-10, 07:53 PM   #25
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Is classic lacquer the same as modern clear coat?
Very unlikely. The automotive clear now is different and not as good as it was even 10 years ago. Most stuff now is water based. Better for the environment but not as easy to work with in my experience. Lacquer is out of my realm of experience but i'm fairly sure it isn't the same as it was. Maybe someone else knows more.
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