Of the two road bikes that Legnano exported to North America, the ‘Gran Premio’ was the most popular and most affordable. The ‘Gran Premio’ lacked the Campagnolo Record Crankset and a bit of the finishing of their top-of-the-line ‘Roma Olimpiade’ but otherwise the two bikes were very much the same. This particular ‘Gran Premio’ was a west coast eBay find several years ago and it is now in the skillful hands of Noah Rosen of Vélocolour for a complete restoration. Most importantly it was a complete bike with only minor modifications over the years that can be easily corrected.
I am dating this ‘Gran Premio” to 1961. The date stamps on the inside arms of the Magistroni cranks are marked ’60’ and the serial number on the frame (EX3632) supports a 60/61 production date along with the original Universal 61 brakes that first showed in that same year. What is most interesting is the decal on the downtube from the Hidden Valley Bicycle Store of Escondido, California that is still in business today. The Hidden Valley shop opened their doors in 1961 and so this ‘Gran Premio’ was most likely one of the first Legnano bikes on the floor. As new businesses go, it was probably one the more expensive bikes on the floor in that first year of business.
Here is a blueprint of the bike as originally acquired:
Model: Gran Premio
Serial No: EX3632 (stamped vertically on right side of the seat lug)
Frame Size: 56cm (ctc)
Frame Weight: 3.285kg or 7.24lbs (no headset, seatpost bolt or bb)
Crankset: Magistroni 50/47 (stamped 60 on inside of the arms)
Bottom Bracket: Magistroni
Front Derailleur: Campagnolo Gran Sport
Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Gran Sport
Shifters: Campagnolo Record
Freewheel: Regina Corsa (14-17-20-23-26)
Hubs: Simplex HF 36H
Rims: Fiamme Yellow Label 36 hole clincher 27in x 1 1/8in Schrader
Brakeset: Universal Mod.61 Centerpull