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Old Italian Mystery

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Old Italian Mystery

Old 01-27-13, 07:43 PM
  #1  
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Old Italian Mystery

Okay guys, heres another one of those bought this frame on CL posts. I snagged this 57cm frameset last week because the C word is stamped on the dropouts, but cant figure out who made it. Its all fairly light the bare frame weighs just 5.52 lbs and the fork weighs 1.73. Its got a hideous rattle-can flat black paint job over medium blue paint. Sparse braze-ons might make it late 70s? Some vital clues might be the fork crown castings and the tubular RD cable guide. The BB shell is 70mm wide, and it appears to be threaded in the same direction on both sides. The seat tube measures 25.6mm inside the clamp, with a 28.6mm OD. The Campy dropouts, head lugs and crown all have chrome peaking out under the paint. Serial number 91306 is stamped on the bottom. There are no headbadge mounting holes.
The frame is rough, but has no cracks or dents that I can see. I was hoping the spray paint was lacquer, as you can often take that off with lacquer thinner without hurting the factory enamel paint underneath. Alas it was squirted with enamel, so its not so easy. Id like to soda-blast it and repaint, or if its something special Im considering powder coat or even a full rechrome. Id like to build it up to ride it, as it looks like a quality blast from the past. Whaddya think, guys anybody recognize this? Anyone know where I can get a full headset and/or bottom bracket for it?
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Old 01-27-13, 08:07 PM
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HelloHudson, welcome to the forums. 25.6 sounds real funny for a steel frame. Judging from the long dropouts and over the BB cable routing it is a '70s frame.

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Old 01-27-13, 08:21 PM
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Wet sand it first with something like 320 grit at the regions that most receive graphics to see if something reveals itself as to the maker.

The seat stay tops as it presents were used by a number of builders. the brazed on cable guide for the rear mechanism may be original, I was actually expecting to see a Campagnolo dropout with a small hole above the mount bolt tang. The Bottom bracket shell is quite simple, the stay ends are kind of earlier in style. No holes for a head badge... Very small chance they were closed up.
I would chemically strip the areas where there was chrome at one time, in case the chrome can be saved, this includes the head lugs and fork crown, just in case. Do this before you go a blasting.
From here I think you may be able to save the skewer clamping surfaces and mask them off at least.
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Old 01-27-13, 08:23 PM
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^^^This

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Old 01-27-13, 09:37 PM
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It was you!! I emailed the seller with an offer and never heard back, then the ad was pulled. I figured someone swooped in, and now I know who it was. *shakes fist*

Seriously, it looks like a fun project and I'll be curious to see if you can uncover any clues as to its origins.
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Old 01-27-13, 09:44 PM
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Don't know what it is, but it looks a lot smaller than 57 to me. Unless it's not close to square and has a 52cm seat tube x 57 TT or something similar...

Either way, looks like a fun project. I would verify that seatpost size as well, as Bgirl suggests that is a non-standard size for a road frame. Especially one of apparent quality.
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Old 01-28-13, 06:35 AM
  #7  
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Yeah, that 25.6mm measurement may be due to distortion of the tube at the clamp. The 28.6mm OD might be more accurate for determining what's here. I did verify the 57cm from BB CL to top of the seat tube at the top of the clamp curve. I can measure the top tube if it will help anyone figure this out. My experience with soda blasting is it's pretty gentle on chrome. The fine grit soda sold at Harbor Freight won't touch chrome at all, and even with the course grit you really need to crank the pressure and linger to start making it dull. I'll try a little wet sanding as suggested to see if I can find some graphics, first. My biggest worry is finding a headset.

Last edited by Hudson308; 01-28-13 at 10:38 AM. Reason: Clarified soda blasting comment
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Old 01-28-13, 06:38 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by debit View Post
It was you!! I emailed the seller with an offer and never heard back, then the ad was pulled. I figured someone swooped in, and now I know who it was. *shakes fist*
Sorry debit; this looked like quality steel at a price I could afford. Since you know what I paid, I'd be willing to entertain ridiculous offers for it!

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Old 01-28-13, 01:06 PM
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+1, it's quite strange to see that seat tube I.D. and top tube cable stops with Campagnolo dropouts. Given the the bottom bracket width and threading it's almost certainly Italian. The front derailleur cable stop is also interesting, as it's designed for a front derailleur that employs cable houding. If it's boom era, that would suggest a Valentino front derailleur. However, this could also indicate a pre-1967 frame when the Record front derailleurs still used cable stops and were designed for use with housing. My next step would be to verify the roundness of the seat tube lug and to check for the presence of the Columbus logo on the fork's steerer tube and the five spiral ridges inside the bottom of the steering tube.

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Old 01-28-13, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
+1, it's quite strange to see that seat tube I.D. and top tube cable stops with Campagnolo dropouts. Given the the bottom bracket width and threading it's almost certainly Italian. The front derailleur cable stop is also interesting, as it's designed for a front derailleur that employs cable houding. If it's boom era, that would suggest a Valentino front derailleur. However, this could also indicate a pre-1967 frame when the Record front derailleurs still used cable stops and were designed for use with housing. My next step would be to verify the roundness of the seat tube lug and to check for the presence of the Columbus logo on the fork's steerer tube and the five spiral eidges inside the bottom of the steering tube.
It is a weird set of pieces. I am thinking this is a mid 1960s frame also. It will be interesting to see how much brake reach is required. That could be very telling about it's age. Also the seat stay treatment is definitely of an older style. Is that a top race still in the frame? You should pop it out. If it is a record the text on it will be indicative of the age. There isn't a crown race on the fork is there?
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Old 01-28-13, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclotoine View Post
It is a weird set of pieces. I am thinking this is a mid 1960s frame also. It will be interesting to see how much brake reach is required. That could be very telling about it's age. Also the seat stay treatment is definitely of an older style. Is that a top race still in the frame? You should pop it out. If it is a record the text on it will be indicative of the age. There isn't a crown race on the fork is there?

There is a top race in the head tube, but no crown race. I can try to tap it out when I get a spare minute. In the mean time, here's another shot of the crown, plus a pic showing the underside of the seatstay bridge. It looks to have a hex nut brazed onto the bottom.
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Old 01-28-13, 01:46 PM
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smells french.
that metalic blue is a big clue and I still think its french.
how are the headset and BB threads? might be a clue.

yes wetsand with 320 to figure out the decals.

paint thinner will eventually rub thru with some time

are there any holes for a headbadge?
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Old 01-28-13, 03:58 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Hudson308 View Post
Yeah, that 25.6mm measurement may be due to distortion of the tube at the clamp.
The inside of the seat tube may also be sleeved, reducing the inside diameter. Take a peek down the tube to find out.
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Old 01-29-13, 11:04 AM
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this is a weird one: some conflicting clues...try some marked cups in the BB shell and verify what the threading actually is.
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Old 01-29-13, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308 View Post
There is a top race in the head tube, but no crown race. I can try to tap it out when I get a spare minute. In the mean time, here's another shot of the crown, plus a pic showing the underside of the seatstay bridge. It looks to have a hex nut brazed onto the bottom.
nut is likely for a fender, another indicator that is might be a little older. Let us know if you pop that race out.
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Old 01-29-13, 11:24 AM
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OD of seat tube is 28.6... so not likely french, but lets wait for threading confirmation. Try to thread an italian and an english threaded headset onto the fork and see which one goes on easier.
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Old 01-29-13, 07:15 PM
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Well the more I look, the more questions I have. After carefully wet sanding parts of the top tube, seat tube and down tube where I expected to find graphics, all I found instead was a thin layer of gray primer over bare steel. There are some bits of blue paint in all the places that are harder to sand, but the only thing useful I saw under the black paint was a “56” stamped on the left side of the seat clamp (hey, I was close!). There were no characters stamped anywhere on the top race however, and it appears to be a stamped steel piece rather than one that’s been machined. This wasn’t quite as surprising when I found that the race size is nothing exotic.. it's likely been replaced. The entire headset from my (Japanese) ’83 LeTour Luxe would work on this frame and fork, if the boss for the race on the crown had been machined just .020” smaller under the paint. The top and bottom head tube races fit perfectly. Both stem nuts thread easily on the steerer. This is reassuring… I should be able to find the headset I need.
A 1” seatpost looks to be about 1mm too small to fit. Sorry for the mixed measurements, guys… my calipers are SAE and my calculator was back in the house. There are no head badge mounting holes. I verified again that the BB shell is 70mm wide, with RH threads on both sides. An English cup is too small for this BB… it just slips past the threads. There might have been a small mounting boss that’s been carefully sawn off the back of the right rear dropout, directly behind the derailleur mount. There is no evidence of a matching boss on the left one.
While scratching around the nut under the seatstay bridge, I found more blue paint and a hard, silver-colored solder material filling the center if the nut. It’s not welded… nothing on the frame is… it’s similar to a brazed fillet, but with hard silver metal instead of brass. After scratching around some more, I found the same silver metal used to attach the “braze-ons”, as well as in the BB lug-to-tubing joints. All the frames I’ve worked on have yellow brass at these points. That nut might have been added as a bridge stiffener, because it is useless as an attaching point. What’s more, the rear brake mount looks like a common washer attached to the frame with the same silver metal.
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Old 01-29-13, 07:18 PM
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I may never know who built this frame, but I do want to build it up and see how it rides. It would be nice if I could do that with pieces that are close to original, but I’m losing hope that I’ll ever find out what those would have been.
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Old 01-29-13, 08:03 PM
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I have an early '70s Coppi Milano-Sanremo built by Fiorelli That looks very similar. Mine has "Coppi" drop outs but other than that, it looks the same. Cable-stops, bottom bracket guides (tube and stop), fork crown, and the frame size stamp on the left side of the seat lug all match your frame. Mine also has a serial stamped under the right side of the BB. Yours might not be a Coppi but I'd say a Florelli from the early '70s is likely.

https://s437.beta.photobucket.com/use.../library/Coppi

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Edit - Looks like our seat-stay caps differ too. But I still think we're close.

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Old 01-29-13, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308 View Post
I may never know who built this frame, but I do want to build it up and see how it rides. It would be nice if I could do that with pieces that are close to original, but I’m losing hope that I’ll ever find out what those would have been.
Mine came with very few original parts. The 3ttt post, Universal 68 calipers and Campagnolo Valentino-Extra shift levers probably are though. As already mentioned above, the cable stop on the down tube for the front derailleur leads me to believe a Valentino or Gran-Sport FD would have been original.
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Old 01-30-13, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Andycapp View Post
Mine came with very few original parts. The 3ttt post, Universal 68 calipers and Campagnolo Valentino-Extra shift levers probably are though. As already mentioned above, the cable stop on the down tube for the front derailleur leads me to believe a Valentino or Gran-Sport FD would have been original.
Thanks, Andy! Yours is the first frame I've seen that's even close. Alot of details are identical.
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Old 01-30-13, 11:57 AM
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0.020 " is 0.508mm. I assume you test fitted a Japanese headset with a 27.0 crown race. The fork will take a 26.4mm crown race, standard campy (and many others), so no problems there. The nut is certainly a weird feature if you cannot thread into it. No idea what is would be for and seems an odd choice for strength.
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Old 01-30-13, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclotoine View Post
...The nut is certainly a weird feature if you cannot thread into it. No idea what is would be for and seems an odd choice for strength.
I took the OP's statement regarding the nut differently. Not that it wasn't threaded but that he couldn't figure out a use for it. I was thinking it might be a direct mount for a fender but that doesn't make sense when the dropouts don't have eyelets. Then, that got me thinking it may not be pre-1967 as I previously suggested, as Campagnolo did not offer eyelet free dropouts back then and manufacturers rarely removed them, since fenders were desirable for early season training. The more I ponder this frame, the more perplexing it is.
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Old 01-30-13, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I took the OP's statement regarding the nut differently. Not that it wasn't threaded but that he couldn't figure out a use for it. I was thinking it might be a direct mount for a fender but that doesn't make sense when the dropouts don't have eyelets. Then, that got me thinking it may not be pre-1967 as I previously suggested, as Campagnolo did not offer eyelet free dropouts back then and manufacturers rarely removed them, since fenders were desirable for early season training. The more I ponder this frame, the more perplexing it is.
The entire brake mount is on the crude side. Any chance this was a track frame that someone cobbled a brake mount onto?
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Old 01-30-13, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308 View Post
The entire brake mount is on the crude side. Any chance this was a track frame that someone cobbled a brake mount onto?
No.
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