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“Golden Anniversary Ride” bike: 1974 Legnano

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“Golden Anniversary Ride” bike: 1974 Legnano

Old 12-06-23, 09:59 AM
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“Golden Anniversary Ride” bike: 1974 Legnano

I think I mentioned earlier that in 1974, my friends and I all turned 18 and bought “decent” bikes; with next year being the 50th anniversary of that, I am restoring three of those bikes for my friends and plan some kind of celebratory ride for the four of us. Now that the weather is far less riding-friendly and I am indoors, it time to start.

I now have the third bike, a 1974 Legnano down to a bare frame, with one exception; the seat post, while not 100% immovable, is in there really tight and to extract it, I have the connection sprayed (inside and out) with penetrant. I should have the post out shortly, and start breaking down the components into the smallest parts possible. This project is likely to be the most challenging of the three, needing more expense and some decisions.

Frame: I think the 1980’s Imron paint (applied by me in the back yard for my friend) protected the frame, at least the outside, but it has to come off — reading the internet, I should have luck using aircraft-grade paint stripper (yuk!). I have info on the correct paint mix to replicate the original color. There’s surface rust on the dropouts, let’s see how they clean up. Regardless, will take the most time & money to "get there”. Replacement decals will be required.

Wheels: With the front wheel missing a lot of spokes, the easy and cheap way out would be have the front wheel laced to a new 27” alloy rim and be done with it. But I don’t think it’s the best answer — wasn’t the bike originally on tubulars, and switched later? I can break down both wheels, rebuild and polish the hubs and have new rims laced on — If not tubulars, I keep reading of a high-performance 700C rim, the TB14, that will emulate the performance and look, while using clinchers. Regardless, new tires and tubes.

Brakes: A surprise, the bike has Weinmann 605 side pulls, when I would have sworn Legnano should have had Universal 61 sidepulls. The levers are Weinmann too, with Dia-Compe (?) hoods. Were the brakes switched at the time the wheels were changed? I ask because I put a 700C rear wheel on the bike and the rear brake cannot possibly reach a 700C (or tubular rim). Tightest clearance is at chainstays, 42mm, so I think 28mm tires are doable.

Derailleurs/levers: All Nuovo Record and in decent shape but with some surface rust on the bolts. I have hopes that polishing will bring back the finish to nice appearance.

Cranks/pedals: Campy cranks in good shape (but missing dust caps) and, again, checking the stamping on the cups and my 1974 (I still have it!) copy of Sutherland’s Guide, Italian threads. The (much) later clipless pedals look to be in reusable condition, but they are bright blue! I might see if I can paint them.

Bars/stem: The TTT bars, likely original, are deeply scratched on either side of the stem, but might respond well to polishing. The stem is clearly not original, a (Nitto?) Technomic, not much reach but really tall, to allow a rider to ride more upright. Another decision.

Seat and post: The post, being Campy, should fare well (27mm, not 27.2?). The saddle is leather, Ideale; no idea if original, and the surface is deteriorated and I am unsure if it can be made useable. The seat post bolt is a hardware-store item and I need to research what replacement is best.

Sundries: I will look up photos of period Legnanos in slime green, but I think I’ve seen that the bar tape and cable housing might have been red. There is a water bottle cage, but broken and will need replacement (And I have seen Legnano logo bottles on the Internet!) I see no provision for a pump.

EDIT: Probably got the model # of the brakes wrong as 61 was center pull. Looking online, apparently I might have been thinking "Super 68" which came in varying lengths and this bike will need 68mm reach in the rear. Also, looking at Legnano photos online, perhaps this is the Gran Primo model? I see plenty of chrome in photos, and on this bike I see the steerer tube is chrome, so maybe I'll find more chrome one the forks and head lugs under the Iron? Also photos, apparently red bar tape was the norm, but I see all kinds of colors on the cable housing including a matching slime green.


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Last edited by tiger1964; 12-06-23 at 10:57 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 12-06-23, 10:55 AM
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To have a bike you've had since 18, let alone for 50 years, let alone having great friends for that long, let alone them having those same bikes for 50 years as well - a very rare and special thing you got there. Following along with interest.
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Old 12-06-23, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964
I think I mentioned earlier that in 1974, my friends and I all turned 18 and bought “decent” bikes...
This part intrigues me. What did a "decent" bike cost in 1974? By "decent" I assume you mean pretty high-end?

I'm not sure if today's 18-year-old could afford to purchase a "decent" bike.
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Old 12-06-23, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by AdventureManCO
To have a bike you've had since 18, let alone for 50 years, let alone having great friends for that long, let alone them having those same bikes for 50 years as well - a very rare and special thing you got there. Following along with interest.
And two more friends that won't be riding with us due to medical issues, and for one of those I have his 1974 bike. Plus a 7th of our group that we lost track of, perhaps he's still riding... somewhere?

Originally Posted by smd4
This part intrigues me. What did a "decent" bike cost in 1974? By "decent" I assume you mean pretty high-end? I'm not sure if today's 18-year-old could afford to purchase a "decent" bike.
"Decent" versus the entry-level bikes of our early teen years; and not all of us bought at the same level. The Legnano seemed typical of what you'd find from any European brand, a bike with Reynolds 531 or Columbus tubing, and Full Campy except usually brakes. I seem to recall about $400, somebody fact-check me on that. None of us were from well-off families and buying any of these would have meant not getting fancy stereo sets, motorbikes, or a used car.... for the moment.
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Old 12-06-23, 04:33 PM
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-----

model -

you mention possibility of the Gran Premio model

AFAIK this model was always constructed with plain gauge tubing so pillar would have been something such as 26.2mm or 26.4mm rather than the 27.0mm size mentioned

brakes -

if you measure the actual brake centres for 700 size wheels you should be able to tell what the OEM brakes were

Universal model 51 Extra: 50.5mm front, 64mm rear

Universal model 61: 55.5mm front, 64mm rear

Universal model Super 68: 47.5mm front, 56.5mm rear

(CX had not as yet launched so no need to worry about it)

---

original stem would have been a 3TTT Record second generation (the smooth one without recesses)

handlebar end caps would likely have been Gaslo with Legnano name

---

original saddle would not have been a Tron et Berthet product, perchance something from Unicanitor

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Old 12-07-23, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964
"Decent" versus the entry-level bikes of our early teen years; and not all of us bought at the same level. The Legnano seemed typical of what you'd find from any European brand, a bike with Reynolds 531 or Columbus tubing, and Full Campy except usually brakes. I seem to recall about $400, somebody fact-check me on that. None of us were from well-off families and buying any of these would have meant not getting fancy stereo sets, motorbikes, or a used car.... for the moment.
That would be about $2,600 today. Confirming my suspicion that a decent bike is beyond the reach for most of today’s middle class 18 year olds.
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Old 12-07-23, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by AdventureManCO
To have a bike you've had since 18, let alone for 50 years, let alone having great friends for that long, let alone them having those same bikes for 50 years as well - a very rare and special thing you got there. Following along with interest.
Agreed. Great memories must have been made for these bikes to have been held on to for a half century.

Originally Posted by smd4
That would be about $2,600 today. Confirming my suspicion that a decent bike is beyond the reach for most of today’s middle class 18 year olds.
Middle class 18 year olds just have different interests these days. The iPhones, sneakers, music and clothes they spend money on per annum could potentially eclipse that, but won’t last the 50 plus years the investment in these bikes did.
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Old 12-07-23, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela
brakes -
if you measure the actual brake centres for 700 size wheels you should be able to tell what the OEM brakes were
Universal model 51 Extra: 50.5mm front, 64mm rear
Universal model 61: 55.5mm front, 64mm rear
Universal model Super 68: 47.5mm front, 56.5mm rear
original saddle would not have been a Tron et Berthet product, perchance something from Unicanitor
-----
I see some really long 68's on eBay, likely my first choice, I'll ensure to get reach measurement before buying; this bike needs 65mm rear.

Originally Posted by smd4
That would be about $2,600 today. Confirming my suspicion that a decent bike is beyond the reach for most of today’s middle class 18 year olds.
Two latest iPhones or one hundred delivered pizzas. I know for a fact I certainly didn't have much leftover after bike expenses!

Originally Posted by Chuck M
Great memories must have been made for these bikes to have been held on to for a half century.
One of the guys (Legnano Man) took a lot of photos back then - gawd, we looked goofy! I presume he'll plan to video the Golden Anniversary ride for YouTube, or whatever.

Originally Posted by Chuck M
but won’t last the 50 plus years the investment in these bikes did.
Makes one wonder, what will it be like to restore a 2023 bike in 2073? Hopefully 3D printing solves some problems.
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Old 12-07-23, 11:01 AM
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-----

"I see some really long 68's on eBay, likely my first choice, I'll ensure to get reach measurement before buying; this bike needs 65mm rear."

reach limit of the long caliper Super 68 according to Sutherland is 63mm

[values given in previous post are centre of slot]


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Old 12-07-23, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
This part intrigues me. What did a "decent" bike cost in 1974? By "decent" I assume you mean pretty high-end?

I'm not sure if today's 18-year-old could afford to purchase a "decent" bike.
Put most of my HS graduation gift money into my first "real" bike, a Motobecane. IIRC it was about $175 in the early '70s and had plenty of competition at that pricepoint from the likes of Peugeot, Mercier, Atala, Nishiki and whoever else made it into Seattle bike shops. A common Schwinn Continental was a hundred or so (dollars and pounds); a racer with top components and tubulars, etc....maybe $3-400? Out of my league to be sure, plus tubulars.

Per the handy dandy Federal Reserve inflation calculator, my Motobecane money is $1,268 today. A clever 18YO can parlay that into a MUCH better bike, albeit one with zero signs of human craftsmanship, like the paint detailing and such.
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Old 12-07-23, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
That would be about $2,600 today. Confirming my suspicion that a decent bike is beyond the reach for most of today’s middle class 18 year olds.
it is a matter of determination.
I have bikes today that I purchased originally in 1974, 1975.
choose well, and do the bulk of your growing before you are 15.
I was not the first kid in the neighborhood to have a nice road bike, a guy a year older on the next block bought a Raleigh International.
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Old 12-07-23, 05:54 PM
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In 1974, one could buy even an overpriced DeRosa with full pantographing for under $900.

if one believed, the same level of bike that Eddy rode to victory at the World Championships.
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Old 12-08-23, 09:11 AM
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Currently ultrasonic cleaning the various small parts.

Originally Posted by juvela
----- reach limit of the long caliper Super 68 according to Sutherland is 63mm
[values given in previous post are centre of slot]
-
Thanks, I'll be careful. Might have to file a slot a bit. Regardless, there was something in terms of a rear brake on the bike when new. And, my reach measurement might be 2mm off?

Originally Posted by repechage
it is a matter of determination. I have bikes today that I purchased originally in 1974, 1975. choose well, and do the bulk of your growing before you are 15.
You ain't kidding. My first not-quite-good bike in 1971, was a Gitane Grand Sport. Ordered from a dealer in northern VA before my 15th birthday, waited 4 months for delivery. Ordered a 21", by the time I picked it up could have used a 23", the bike showed up a 19" and the dealer said "take it or leave it, and no, you cannot have your deposit back". So, for three years rode using insanely long seat posts...

By 1974, things were far less crazy -- and my height stabilized. As did my friends'.
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Old 12-08-23, 09:18 AM
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-----

"You ain't kidding. My first not-quite-good bike in 1971, was a Gitane Grand Sport. Ordered from a dealer in northern VA before my 15th birthday, waited 4 months for delivery. Ordered a 21", by the time I picked it up could have used a 23", the bike showed up a 19" and the dealer said "take it or leave it, and no, you cannot have your deposit back". So, for three years rode using insanely long seat posts..."

your Roma lass would have issued from "Uncle Mel"

(she was not from Richepin )


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Old 12-08-23, 10:03 AM
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I do remember the Motobecane Le Champion, exactly like the one in the FS thread, sold in the LBS in College Place Wa, for $315. I bought a used one in 1972 for $200 with clinchers.
Still have it but it was destroyed in an accident in 2009.
Right before the accident.
1972 Motobecane Le Champion 24" on Flickr
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Old 12-08-23, 11:27 AM
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Have you thought about having the frame media stripped?

In an earlier part of the thread, you talked about chemically removing the paint. It might be just as cost effective (and give you a better starting point for primer and paint) to have it media stripped. (The more modern term for sand blasting because they use different medias than sand depending on the underlying material.)
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Old 12-08-23, 05:11 PM
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-----

Leggy verdurous cable casing -



https://www.sim.works/collections/al...14771808632884


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Old 12-08-23, 08:00 PM
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I bought my first halfway decent road bike (American Eagle Semi-Pro / Nishiki Competition) in 1971, but the frame broke 20 years and 40,000 miles later. I have four frames from the early 1960s, but I am not the original owner of any of them. I did buy the 1970 Peugeot UO-8 frame, originally for my wife, ca. 1974. About 10 years later, she got too intimidated by traffic and discovered path and trail riding (on my mountain bike ), so I repurposed the Peugeot as my general transportation / grocery hauler. So I guess I can match you on the bike anniversary thing, except that mine, though decent, is not high-end by any means.
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Old 12-11-23, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela
----- your Roma lass would have issued from "Uncle Mel" -
Exactly, although I do not recall who the salesperson was. Where I live (NE of Washington DC), in 1971 there were far fewer bike shops if you wanted an enthusiast's bike, so that's where we ended up.

Originally Posted by SJX426
I do remember the Motobecane Le Champion, exactly like the one in the FS thread, sold in the LBS in College Place Wa, for $315. I bought a used one in 1972 for $200 with clinchers.
If in that exact spec, that looks like a. lot of bike for $200, even used.

Originally Posted by Sactown_Albert
In an earlier part of the thread, you talked about chemically removing the paint. It might be just as cost effective (and give you a better starting point for primer and paint) to have it media stripped. (The more modern term for sand blasting because they use different medias than sand depending on the underlying material.)
Great idea! And there are a few places within a reasonable drive, although most are boat repair facilities at/near the Chesapeake Bay. I'll check that out, thanks.

Originally Posted by juvela
----- Leggy verdurous cable casing -
Wow -- yes, I must get that! Owner found a photo form 1974, confirming colors but too far away to check cable housing. The bar tape was indeed red.

Well, almost all of the small parts for all three bikes have been ultrasonic'ed (here are the Legnano's), time now to start on three sets of wheels and get the axles, cones, bearings and such cleaned up and ready for reassembly.

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Old 12-11-23, 09:52 AM
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-----

​​​​​​

WOW!

can almost hear the nurse now...

"The Surgeon will be with you in a moment."



-----
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Old 12-12-23, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela
​WOW! can almost hear the nurse now... "The Surgeon will be with you in a moment."
Yeah, I get that, and this is only a third of what I am facing due to the multiple projects, so...

I just got back from Harbor Freight with a vibratory "tumbler" and two type of media; one to remove rust, one to polish. Due to the sheer volume of what I am doing, I don't want to be hand-treating myriad parts a year from now! Then again, no idea on hoe many "batches" or what length it will take.

I had forgotten how much I dislike cutting spokes out of a wheel. There’s possibly a dedicated tool, but I am using a pair of diagonal cutters possibly older than the bike. One wheel, and rest my hands, which are getting quite sore. I thought about the rather nice cable cutter in my toolkit, but I suspect it might not fare well under such use. Both are done, but that ended my efforts for the day.

Breaking down the front hub — a new experience. One locknut came off alright… but in two pieces. It broke right in half, and this is a Campagnolo part. Well, the RD pulleys have the usual split, I’ll need to replace those too, but I was expecting that.

Not sure I’ve ever encountered a freewheel “stuck” as much as this one, I feared for the structural integrity of the freewheel tool. It took a couple of applications of PB Blaster, but it came off. I do not see any obvious hub damage, but it’s pretty crusty and I’ll look closer once cleaned up. Speaking of the freewheel, it is 13T-24T and a Shimano 600 (“sealed mechanism”) so almost certainly not original to the bike and maybe not in bad shape at first glance. However, oddly, on the 22T cog, one tooth is a little bit shorter than the others, by perhaps 1/16”-1/8”, I have not yet measured. It does not look “broken”… was this a feature of the cog? A shifting aid?

By the way, here I am dealing with three old Basement Queens, all sitting dormant for quite some time — and no stuck seat posts! The Legnano’s fought a little bit, it would rotate but not pull out. I installed two large-ish round-shaft screwdrivers on the post where the seat rails would go, with one flush with the end of the post’s cradles and one sticking way out. That gave me something to clamp in a vise and, after penetrant, wiggled the frame until it worked its way out.

Anyway, more photos when there's something worth showing!
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Old 12-12-23, 12:55 PM
  #22  
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-----

wrt spoke cutter -

VAR, ELDI & likely others produced them

have been using an ELDI which may be older than meself for a number of decades without problem

it cuts in a quick, easy & satisfying manner unlike diagonals

makes for a rapid and pleasant procedure

tip -

retain some of the cut spokes to bend into loops which can be employed to keep the parts of a headset, for example, together

cut spoke end curved around so it can be snapped behind spoke head

---

with the tumbler from Harbor Freight you are going to have all the tiny bits shining so bright we shall need our shades to look at the monitor...

BTW -

am so can recall when Harbor Freight was termed "Harbor Freight Salvage" and their launch home was Carpinteria, California


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Last edited by juvela; 12-12-23 at 01:01 PM. Reason: spellin'
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Old 01-05-24, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela
----- wrt spoke cutter - VAR, ELDI & likely others produced them
have been using an ELDI which may be older than meself for a number of decades without problem
it cuts in a quick, easy & satisfying manner unlike diagonals
makes for a rapid and pleasant procedure
I eventually cheated and used my cable cutter, it worked fine; should have tried that before hurting my hands so much!

A few weeks on, I took time off for the holidays, and now I have lots of cups full of small parts everywhere for the three projects, plus I've been hand-scrubbing the parts too big for the ultrasonic cleaner. The Legnano's parts looked the roughest, and I presume because this bike had been used the most, it stayed in operation at least until the early 90's. The 3TTT handlebars are badly gouged in the center where they flank.the stem, might replace both the bars and the Nitto stem, I wonder if I should stick to 3TTT or also consider Cinelli or Fiamme.

I just back from the place that soda-blasted the frame and fork -- that was as great idea! I think the frame looks pretty good, I am not seeing much in the way of imperfections that a high-fill primer might not take care of. Hopefully, a session on the bench polisher makes the chrome look great as I am avoiding a trip to the chrome $hop. And I have a line on a place that is willing to paint it, and they referred me to a place that might be able to mix the color.

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Old 01-05-24, 04:25 PM
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-----

looks great

good to read it flows forward

for a 1974 model year you could use a 3TTT Record model stem, either first generation or second generation would be plausible

1974 was the nominal launch year for second generation but since you have determined cycle to be a model year 1974 its fabrication may have occurred in 1973

FIAMME is very lovely but difficult to locate and likely dear whenst ye do...

do not think Cino would be "wrong" but rather unlikely to have been OEM

depending on year/era of a Bozzi product its stem & bar stock would be either Ambrosio or 3TTT

although a condorino type model might receive a stem/bar set from a maker such as Varese


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Old 01-10-24, 09:01 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by juvela
for a 1974 model year you could use a 3TTT Record model stem, either first generation or second generation would be plausible
Well, then I'll start looking for 3TTT and the others can be fallback choices; time for a WTB topic!

I found the website https://condorino.com and contacted them, and received a response from a Mr. Mark Campbell. Apparently this is a 1972/73 Legnano Gran Premio and sent me a photo of such a model except color. The stem does look like a 3TTT.

I've been polishing the frame's chrome; it is tired, very tired. I don't think I can get a best-of-show shine out of it!
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