1959 Gran Premio -EM9022

The background on this wonderful Gran Premio was the subject of a post on the main page that you can find here.  This Legnano came to me as a one-owner bike in exceptional condition for the near 60 years that have passed since it rolled out of the Bozzi SpA factory. With only a few well-earned scuffs and scratches, all that is planned for this Gran Premio is a conservative restoration that I will detail on this page as I move the project along.

The first task is to carefully disassemble the bike, bagging the small parts and making a few notes to keep things like the right hand cotter pin with the right hand crank, counting up the ball bearings, keeping the nuts with their respective bolts and things of that nature. And take lots of photos just in case a bit of time passes and your memory fades a little for when it comes to put it all back together.

For those readers undertaking this process for the first time, the best advice that I can pass along is to take your time, work slowly and be patient.  If you are not sure about how something comes apart or whether it is a right hand or a left hand thread (ie. pedals and bottom brackets), then go online or consult someone that does know . . . for certain. And most importantly, use good tools and the right tools for the task at hand to avoid damaging the small parts that can be very difficult to replace.

And if you do not have all of the correct tools or much experience in fully disassembling the bottom bracket or removing the headset, take the frame to a good quality shop and have a pro do this work.  For the small charge involved, an experienced mechanic will ensure that lock rings and nuts are not damaged and when reassembled, proper clearances and ‘play’ between the parts are maintained.

A quality shop that has been around for a while should also have the proper tools for extracting the cotters from the crankset, as well as resetting them when the time comes to put the bike back together. I have seen too many frames and cranksets irreparably damaged by well-intentioned but hasty people swinging a hammer and hoping for the best. And to be certain, ask the mechanic if they have a cotter extractor in the shop and if they are comfortable doing the work or would prefer to refer you to a shop that has the experience and proper tools.

At this stage the bike has been disassembled, the bottom bracket and headset have been removed, cleaned, greased and assembled. And a good 8-10 hours have been spent carefully cleaning the frame before a applying a few coats of a non-abrasive, pure carnauba auto wax.  In cleaning the frame I work with a very soft bristled tooth brush, a soft rag and warm water with a mild liquid detergent.

The factory Legnano ‘lizard yellow’ lacquer is very fragile (as is the white banding on the head tube and seat tube) and you don’t want to go near it with anything that is abrasive or may contain even a little solvent. On the more stubborn areas I sometimes use a bit of Windex but even here the ammonia can remove the paint, so work very carefully with a soft white cloth to monitor things. The waterslide decals can also be very fragile as they dry out over the years.

The bottom bracket area cleaned up nicely, leaving some of the patina and oil staining that has set in to the lacquer over the years.

I often find that the original chrome plating is in much better condition than it first looks, and some careful work with polishing compound will usually remove any light surface corrosion or spotting. I have also used a hand dremel fitted with a small wire brush on the more stubborn or difficult to get at areas but again work slowly, checking as you go, and with no more pressure or dremel speed than is necessary

Be extra careful with the white finish on the head tube as this original paint is very soft and easily damaged. Warm water and a mild detergent only, a soft cloth and maybe a very soft bristled toothbrush for the more stubborn areas in and around the head badge.  If you are thinking of using a brass polish on the head badge, work extremely carefully with a Q tip and don’t get any on the white paint. If in doubt, just stick with the warm water and mild detergent.

Over the years, some components like the down tube shifters or cable guides may have set a patina into the paint that you can see in the photo above. Do not try to remove these stains as they are well set into the lacquer and are permanent. In any event they provide a nice locator when you come to put everything back together.

more to come on the restoration . . .



Here is a blueprint of the bike:


Model:  Gran Premio
Year:  1959
Serial No:  EM9022 (stamped vertically on right side of the seat lug)
Frame Size:  56cm (ctc)
Frame Weight:  3..290kg or 7.25lbs (no headset, seatpost bolt or bb)
Total Weight:  tba
Tubing:  Falck
Rear Dropouts:  Campagnolo 1010
Front Dropouts: Forged, not branded
Crankset:  Way-Assauto ‘Y’ format 50/47 (stamped 59 on inside of the arms)
Bottom Bracket:  Way-Assauto (70mm)
Pedals:  Way-Assauto Sprint branded for Legnano – short spindle thread
Toe Clips:  Christophe Special
Toe Straps:  Christophe
Front Derailleur:  Campagnolo Gran Sport 1005/2  ‘Matchbox’
Rear Derailleur:  Campagnolo Gran Sport 1012/4
Shifters:  Campagnolo Gran Sport  1014
Freewheel:  tba
Chain: Regina
Hubs:  Campagnolo Sport Low Flange 1006/A 36h (stamped Legnano)
Rims:  Fiamme Cerchio Elmo Green Label 700c x 36h tubular (no eyelets)
Tyres:  tbd
Handlebars:  Cinelli steel for Legnano (38cm ctc)
Handlebar Stem:  Cinelli steel for Legnano (100mm)
Handlebar End Plugs:  Gaslo for Legnano in aluminium
Handlebar Tape:  na
Headset:  Way-Assauto
Brakeset:  Universal Mod.51 sidepull callipers
Seatpost:  tba (26.4mm OD)
Seat:  na