A word of thanks to the folks at Via Bicycle in Philadelphia (Bikeville.com) for deciding to let me be the newest caretaker of this 1946 Roma Cambio Corsa that has been a fixture in their shop for a number of years after being found in New Jersey. The near original condition of this Roma after 70 years is truly amazing as it appears that only the right or drive side of the Magistroni crankset has been replaced. Incredible! Here’s a few more pictures as I wait for the bike to be boxed and shipped to Toronto.
Gino Bartali (below) en route to winning the 1948 Tour de France, ten years after his first victory in 1938. Due to the war, the TdF was not raced between 1940 and 1946 and one is left to speculate how many more victories would have come to Bartali in those years.
Below is the 1946 Legnano Roma that was built by Bianchi Ugo for Gino Bartali. Bartali won the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de Suisse in 1946 and the TdS again in 1947. After his TDF win in 1948 he left the Legnano team and competed in his last major event in 1954.
Of interest, neither the 1946 Roma in this collection or Bartali’s 1946 Roma below have the familiar red and white Legnano logo on the down tube however it is on the 1948 Roma in the photo of Bartali above. This would suggest that the down tube logo was added to the Roma sometime after 1946.
You will also notice that the 1946 Bartali Roma has the serial number 4621 indicating that it was the 21st frame built in 1946. This serial number format was only used on the Legnano team bikes. The ’46 Roma in this collection has the serial number BO5289 in the expected alphanumeric format as it is a production bike. During these years the team bikes typically used a Legnano decal on the head tube rather than the Legnano brass head badge of Alberto da Giussano.