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Legnano Gran Premio - dating for decals / paint style

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Legnano Gran Premio - dating for decals / paint style

Old 03-03-15, 06:46 AM
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birdie_irl
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Legnano Gran Premio - dating for decals / paint style

Hi, first time posting, but I've been lurking a lot and I'm pretty sure I'm in the right place for this post!

I recently bought a Legnano road bike as a restoration project. The bike is in very poor condition, and is missing all the original decals. I also can't find a single stamp anywhere on the frame.

I suspect it is a Gran Premio, based on the shape of the lugs under the seat, but I could be wrong.

I'm trying to discover an approximate date, to figure out what style decals should go on. The bike is painted black, but I don't know if it was repainted (possibly that's why no decals are visible?).

Here is what I know:
  • Front seatpost binder - Two parts like the one here: https://www.mytenspeeds.com/My_TenSpe...Fnd_Bolt_1.jpg
  • Universal Center Pull brakes
  • The brake cable guide is attached to the seat post. (And still there!)
  • Campagnolo Rear Dropouts
  • Campagnolo Valentino Extra Rear derailleur
  • Campagnolo Front derailleur
  • 3TTT Stem
  • Pump umbrella clip is still there.
  • Fiamme Tubular Rims
  • Legano branded hubs (Logo is small and is aligned to wheel, not large across the width of the hub as I've seen in other posts.)

My questions are...

1. What style decals should I look for?
2. Were the front lugs on Legnano bikes always chromed? Mine are black, but the paint has worn away in places, which makes me suspect it was re-painted.
3. Was the front head badge area always painted that "off white"? Again, mine is black, and there is no head badge. I also can't see anything there that would indicate there used to be an attached head badge, so I'm assuming it was painted over.
4. Other than under the bottom bracket, and the top right / back of the seat post, is there anywhere else I should look on the frame to find a serial number?

Attaching pics of the main areas, and there are lots more pics taken by the guy I bought it from here: Legnano_Agosto2010_B Photos by tullio_s_quickrelease | Photobucket

Hopefully someone can help, and if anyone has detailed pics of a black Legnano frame I'd love to see them!

Thanks in advance!

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Old 03-03-15, 09:31 AM
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hello birdie_irl,

welcome to the forum!

agree your cycle appears to be a legnano gran premio model.

the gear ensemble is an aid to dating. disraeli gears gives a launch date for it of 1971 so the machine is unlikely to be earlier. by the mid 1970's the g.p. began coming through with a different component mix so your example seems to date from the 1971-74 period. one nice thing about this dating is that we know she was done when emilio was still at the helm. he was murdured in 1974.

the 3ttt stem and bar set is a model called turiste. the pump cup is a reg brand. the bicycle's pedals look to be a sheffield model; you may discover a three digit model number stamped into the plates. the bottom bracket and chainset is likely omg brand. when you disassemble the bb you may find the spindle to be marked with an "omg" in a recessed oval in the center section. alternately it could be a "c" with a two digit number such as 57. the cycle's hubs are probably manufactured by gnutti. the headset looks to be agrati; possibly model .4001. frame's droputs are campag model 1010; fork tips are ordinary stamped sheet. frame's tubeset will be a stout falck plain gauge one; no a.l. columbo here.

did she come to you with the gaslo-legnano handlebar end caps?

you are checking all the right spots for a serial number. it is possible one will show up with cleaning.

other readers will be along shortly to give more/better information regarding your bozzi.

best wishes with it.

Last edited by juvela; 03-03-15 at 02:48 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 03-03-15, 10:19 AM
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Now that's what I call patina!
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Old 03-03-15, 12:05 PM
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Man, that is one seriously rusty bike. Have you gotten the seatpost free, yet? I thought (but I'm not sure) Legnano went to the conventional seat post binder location in '71, so if that's true, yours is a 1970 or older.

If you haven't already seen it, check out this one Legnano collector's site for some inspiration and possibly a clue or two.
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Old 03-03-15, 12:24 PM
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I have always liked Legnanos.

I like your frame and Campag. rear dropouts, but I can't resist my snide comment about the Valentino being the Edsel of the bicycling world. (Edsel was Henry's son, and Valentino was Tullio's son -- what did these guys have against their kids. )
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Old 03-03-15, 12:54 PM
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Based on what I see, the OP's frame set is very similar to my early sixties Gran Premio, however; that absence of chrome stays, fork socks and head tube lugs suggests a lower model, perhaps a Sport, of something (not sure of the correct model name). That said...

The seat stay tops look different from either a Premio or lesser model. The single bolt mount rear brake cable bracket indicates early to middle sixties, the center pull Universal brake calipers are in keeping with early sixties, perhaps even earlier. All in all, I would put the bike in the sixties, rather than the seventies when the seat clamp bole moved to the back of the seat lug (I think).

Now, I am not sure about any of the above, but I did quite a bit of looking around, only to find little consensus on this or that. My guess is that the rear derailleur is a replacement for the original, which would have most likely been a Gand Sport...



With the exception of the down tube decals, the OP's bike's decal set should be very similar to the set on my second Grand Premio...



The down tube decal is not a decal. Rather, it appears to be a silk screen application, and one that I am going to duplicate one day, assuming I finally decide to repaint the bike (that is forever up in the air with me)...



Are there a holes drilled in the head tube for a headbadge. That would indicate an earlier model also, I think.

Anyway, nothing I just said is cast in stone, as far as I am concerned. I have learned what I could, now someone else, perhaps the OP, can add to the growing information about vintage Legnano bicycles. Got a new website to go to today, yahoo!
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Old 03-03-15, 02:22 PM
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Wow! You guys work fast!

Thanks for all the info Juvela, some great stuff to dig into.

Randyjawa - Thanks for putting together so much info on your site, along with www.cordorino.com it's been my evening reading since I won the auction for this bike!

I had been leaning towards late 1960s based on the front positioned seatpost clamp, but I have not been able to see any headbadge holes so far, which made me think maybe it was later, after they switched to decals / screen printing. That's not to say they are not there, they could be buried under all that crud.

I'll need to look into the Sport a bit more - I haven't noticed any braze ons for a chain guard but I'll take a closer look over the weekend. (I don't have a light in my shed!) It could well be that. And the note about the Valentino (the poor guy!) being a later add on would make a lot of sense.

I also suspected a lower end model when I saw the stays at the back of the seat post - They don't seem to be as nicely finished as the images I've seen of the same points on Gran Premios:

Roma Olimpiade or Gran Premio? | condorino

On the other hand, there is a 70s Legnano Gran Premio on eBay today where everything IS painted, lugs and all, which makes me wonder if the bike I have is from a 'transition' point between the old and newer styles.

Vélo Legnano Gran Premio 54cm 1970'S | eBay



If it is a 70s model, despite the seatpost clamp position, at least I'd have a nice image to work from: 1972 Gran Premio | condorino


@Lascauxcaveman - The seller took one on the chin for me, it was out when the bike got here. Result! (I had been dreading that job)


Thanks for all the input so far folks, much appreciated. I see a lot of Google in my future...!
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Old 03-03-15, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
did she come to you with the gaslo-legnano handlebar end caps?
Sorry, meant to add - Unfortunately, no. There is some pretty old looking cork jammed up there!
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Old 03-03-15, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by birdie_irl View Post
Sorry, meant to add - Unfortunately, no. There is some pretty old looking cork jammed up there!
thanks for the response birdie_irl,

it was a toss-up either way as machine looked to me to date from around the time when they stopped using them.

---------------

wrt the rear mech being a replacement -

if it is so then the front mech would have to be a replacement as well since it exhibits the dull finish of the valentino rather than the polished finish of the original gs. if the original rear mech had been gs then the front would have been as well. if oem, the present gear ensemble would be from a narrow window in time only about two years wide between the introduction of the valentino rear mech and the introduction of the velox/ngs shift lever set.

the devil is ever in the details on these things due to the "manufacturer reserves right to change specifications without notice" caveat seen in small print at the bottom/back of most catalogues...

speculation -

if we could see the catalogue or specification sheet for this model, whatever it may be, for the correct model year it is unlikely the bicycle shown would be equipped exactly as the one under discussion. for example, if it were to date from 1971 this would place it squarely in "the bike boom" and fittings were very much where cycle manufacturers could source them to keep their production lines going during supply shortages.

Last edited by juvela; 03-03-15 at 04:06 PM. Reason: mend spellin'
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Old 03-03-15, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
Man, that is one seriously rusty bike. Have you gotten the seatpost free, yet? I thought (but I'm not sure) Legnano went to the conventional seat post binder location in '71, so if that's true, yours is a 1970 or older.


Legnano had the unique seat post binder bolt well into the mid 1970's as shown by my 74 Gran Premio. By then they also had painted lugs, not chromed. In 1974 they also went to a Magistroni knock-off crank set which was lower quality but functional. Yours crank looks like that to me. My 74 also has the single bolt rear cable hanger braze-on but uses side pull brakes so it is not necessary. My 1974 GP was a one owner bike and much of what I know about its date comes from the original owner along with some confirmation from the few dateable parts. There is also no visible serial number in the likely or unlikely places. My paint is original on both GP's and if a number were there it would be evident.

https://utahrandonneur.wordpress.com...io-completato/

In 1969 or 70 they went from the head badge to a decal. The head badge used a 5 point rivet attachment as shown below on my 1962 Gran Premio. If there is no evidence of that then it is a 70's bike. If it has been repainted check inside the head tube for filled holes. The 1962 has it's serial number on the side of the seat tube near the top.



The 1962 will be riding L'Eroica California on the long course this year. The 1974 is a veteran of L'Eroica Italia in 2012.
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Old 03-03-15, 04:11 PM
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^ I knew someone who knows what they're talking about would eventually show up.

Very cool bikes, @Oldairhead
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Old 03-03-15, 04:23 PM
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thanks very much for this fine post Oldairhead!

enjoyed visiting your bloggery.

searched without success for mention of your rizzato; doth she lurk somewhere in the underbrush?

if not, perhaps you might consider a blog entry on her...

[for readers unfamiliar with Oldairhead's rizzato she abideth here: https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...etro-mod.html]
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Old 03-03-15, 05:00 PM
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Juvela,

Thanks for the reminder about the Lygie, I do need to get a post up on that bike! Yes, she is done and is a joy to ride. I have mostly just done some shorter casual rides with her but am looking for a "real" event to stretch her legs on. I'm thinking about this one, Redlands Strada Rossa Ride

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...retro-mod.html

The 74 Gran Premio and I will be attending the Dalles Mtn 60 in a couple of weeks. Hoping for good weather for that one! I do like to ride these bikes out in the real world. Period correct or retro-mod, it's fun to show up at an event with a 50 year old bike!
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Old 03-03-15, 05:07 PM
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Great bikes, and great blog - bookmarked for a proper read at lunch tomorrow! Thanks for posting.

Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post

Legnano had the unique seat post binder bolt well into the mid 1970's as shown by my 74 Gran Premio. By then they also had painted lugs, not chromed. ... My 74 also has the single bolt rear cable hanger braze-on but uses side pull brakes so it is not necessary.... There is also no visible serial number in the likely or unlikely places....
I've been looking around on the web this evening and have found a few examples of 70s models with painted lugs. Combined with the lack of serial number on your '74, which seems to be pretty universal on the earlier 60s bikes, I am inclined to think you are correct, and this is a 70s model.

Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
...If it has been repainted check inside the head tube for filled holes.
I plan on doing a full tear down this weekend, and I'll have a good look on the inside then. If I can't see any evidence of filled holes from a headbadge, I think that probably settles it. Maybe! ;-)
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Old 03-04-15, 01:48 PM
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I still don't see a seventies bicycle. The seat lug threaded hole for the brake clamp suggest sixties, to me. As for when head badges ceased, that is a tough one.

I have owned one Legnano, late sixties, that was a cross between Gran Premio and Roma. The only thing suggesting the frame set to be Gran Premio was the seat stays. Everything else screamed Roma. With that in mind, I think that Legnano was in the process of tooling down, to get profits up. In so doing, they would have eliminated duplicate features on the frame sets, if possible, and reduced costs of production by going from badges to decals, among other things. All that said...

It is possible that a frame in the seventies could have either the badge or the decal and both be the same model and same vintage.

Like many things with vintage bicycles and attempts to identify specifics can become confusing and controversial. All that said, good luck with the bike and enjoy the experience.

Keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 03-04-15, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
The seat lug threaded hole for the brake clamp suggest sixties, to me.
My 1962 and my 1974 Gran Premio's both have the seat tube area braze-on for the brake hanger. I think that is not going to be a good indicator of decade.

Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
As for when head badges ceased, that is a tough one.... It is possible that a frame in the seventies could have either the badge or the decal and both be the same model and same vintage.
I have seen GP's as late as 1969 with the head badge and GP's as early as 1971 with the decal. It is possible that there is some overlap but I believe 1970 would be a pretty good date for the decal/head badge switch.

To me the best indicator of it being a 1970's bike is the Magistroni knock off crank set. It is virtually identical to the one that came on my 74 bike. In the 1960's Magistroni's were pretty much the standard. I switched mine out to a TA for more suitable gearing, but I still do have the old one.
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Old 03-04-15, 02:40 PM
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Thanks @randyjawa and @Oldairhead.

I've spent some time today collecting images of the 70s Legnano g.p.. Based on these I'm fairly sure that early 70s is about right. The front lugs on anything earlier were always chromed, but there is plain steel under the paint on the frame I have.

To to add to this I need to take another look at the fork too, it's the same plain steel, but all the images I have found so far have featured at least chromed top lugs on the fork. Might not be original, but I'll check this when I get a chance.

Ill update again, hopefully this weekend, when I've had a chance to strip the components. Hopefully something dateable will show up!
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Old 03-05-15, 01:53 PM
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This is a pretty good thread, in my opinion. I am learning a bit about this and that and, perhaps, ready to reevaluate my opinion, regarding the vintage of my first Grand Premio. This is what it looked like the day my friend delivered it to my house...



I always thought the bike to be of sixties vintage, but things like the crank set do match what other bikes, present here and from the seventies, sport. It is, I now think, likely that my first Grand Premio was a seventies bike, complete with front seat bolt clamp, head badge, chrome lugs, stays and fork socks...
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Old 03-22-15, 12:55 PM
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EARLY 70's IS THE BEST YOU CAN DO

Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
My 1962 and my 1974 Gran Premio's both have the seat tube area braze-on for the brake hanger. I think that is not going to be a good indicator of decade.

I have seen GP's as late as 1969 with the head badge and GP's as early as 1971 with the decal. It is possible that there is some overlap but I believe 1970 would be a pretty good date for the decal/head badge switch.

To me the best indicator of it being a 1970's bike is the Magistroni knock off crank set. It is virtually identical to the one that came on my 74 bike. In the 1960's Magistroni's were pretty much the standard. I switched mine out to a TA for more suitable gearing, but I still do have the old one.
Hi Guys,

I recall the posting on eBay for this Legnano, and I must say that this restoration will be a good bit of work. My first thought was that of another member, "Have you got the seat post loose?". Looks like you will want to get a very liberal amount of penetrating oil down there over several days before working it loose.

As for the date, most of you are right to some degree or other, early 70's is the best you can do. I have a good size collection of Legnano bikes and I have spent a fair bit of time researching the brand both here and in Italy, acquiring Legnano catalogs along the way to help my efforts.

Come the early 70's a lot was changing at Legnano. True, the unique seat binder bolt trickled on into the early 70's on 'some' models for 'some' markets, overlapping the introduction of the conventional rear format in 1970 on less expensive Legnano models. The chrome head lugs also went into the very early seventies on 'some' models. However, I would agree with another member that I have not seen the traditional brass Legnano headbadge on any bike after 1969.

The other element that transitioned on or about 1970 was the downtube logo, changing from the rounded or 'hotdog' shape that Legnano had used for decades to the rectangular or 'parallelogram' shape on the red 1974 Legnano GP posted above by Oldairhead. I would also agree with this member's reference to the Magistroni 'knock off' crank set (possibly from Gnutti).

Hope this helps. Looking forward to seeing how the resto comes along and if that seat pin comes loose : ]

Mark Campbell
condorino | Legnano Bicycles and My Life on Two Wheels
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Old 03-22-15, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Condorino View Post
It looks like an amazing amount of information on you blog! I will read as much as I can tonight. Do you mind If I repost any of your research to my blog? Credited of course.

https://utahrandonneur.wordpress.com/
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Old 03-22-15, 01:22 PM
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Condorino
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Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
It looks like an amazing amount of information on you blog! I will read as much as I can tonight. Do you mind If I repost any of your research to my blog? Credited of course.

https://utahrandonneur.wordpress.com/

You are more than welcome. Whatever helps keep the old iron true to it's roots and on the road is what it's all about.

Mark Campbell
condorino | Legnano Bicycles and My Life on Two Wheels
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Old 03-22-15, 02:13 PM
  #22  
Lascauxcaveman 
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Bikes: A green one, "Ragleigh," or something.

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Hey, @Condorino, thanks for showing up. I have to admit, pictures I saw on your website are what inspired me to do a pseudo-Legnano paint scheme on my entry into this year's Velo-Cheapo contest.

Thanks for sharing all that info on your collection; love your blog!
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● 1971 Grandis SL ● 1972 Lambert Grand Prix frankenbike ● 1972 Raleigh Super Course fixie ● 1973 Nishiki Semi-Pro ● 1980 Apollo "Legnano" ● 1984 Peugeot Vagabond ● 1985 Shogun Prairie Breaker ● 1986 Merckx Super Corsa ● 1987 Schwinn Tempo ● 1988 Schwinn Voyageur ● 1989 Trek 400 ● 1989 Bottechia Team ADR replica ● 1990 Cannondale ST600 ● 1993 Technium RT600 ● 1996 Kona Lava Dome ●
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Old 03-22-15, 03:34 PM
  #23  
birdie_irl
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Hi @Condorino, thanks a lot for weighing in here. You have an amazing collection and your blog has been great for reading up on this project.

Originally Posted by Condorino View Post
I recall the posting on eBay for this Legnano, and I must say that this restoration will be a good bit of work. My first thought was that of another member, "Have you got the seat post loose?". Looks like you will want to get a very liberal amount of penetrating oil down there over several days before working it loose.
Happily it's not quite as bad in real life as it appears in the images. Yes, the frame needs to be completely resprayed, but aside from that the other components are generally in ok condition, they just need a good clean.

The seller had already managed to remove the seatpost, and the post itself isn't too bad - I've seen (and been responsible for) a lot worse! :-)

A lot of rust on some areas, but hopefully a soak in Oxalic Acid and a good polish will bring a lot back to life. I am concerned about the rear cable guide, it may be too far gone, but even with that I have a good few small parts on this and other bikes that could use re-chroming so it may be worth the expense.

Anyway, I am in no rush with this, I plan on chipping away (rust) slowly over the summer, hopefully the result will be worth it! With a bit of luck an original Gran Premio fork will make an appearance from somewhere too, but if not I won't be too upset.

Originally Posted by Condorino View Post

As for the date, most of you are right to some degree or other, early 70's is the best you can do.
]
This is great, thanks. Since I don't know if the bicycle was originally black, but there were black models sold by Legnano, I thought the safest bet would be to model the restoration on your '72, but maintain the red highlights (tape, pedal straps etc.). It seems the parallelogram logo is the correct version, but I'm not sure about the details - Is there a common pattern to the drop shadow on the lettering? A 'Metallic Gold' drop shadow appears as the default on Velocals and on eBay versions I've seen, is this true to the original black paint scheme?

If so, was this also used as an accent colour elsewhere on the bicycle?

Thanks again!
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Old 03-23-15, 10:28 AM
  #24  
Condorino
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Yes, there is a gold drop shadow on the Legnano downtube logo however all of the box lining and striping on the '72 Gran Premio is white and I have never seen it in red on a black bike. The chrome head tube lugs (only) are also outlined in gold. There is also some gold banding as part of the seat tube painting that frames the five white bands. But that's it for gold accents. I will try to take some more pictures of the '72 Gran Premio and post them to my blog for your reference.
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Old 03-24-15, 05:39 PM
  #25  
birdie_irl
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Excellent, thank you @Condorino!
@Oldairhead - I'm curious, on your red '74 are there any outlines around the painted lugs?

I am a designer so I tend to be a little obsessive about these details! I'm also blessed with a traditional sign painter uncle who I can call on to help with this part of the project, so I'm trying to gather as much detail as I can - Quite difficult without access to a bicycle with the paint intact.
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