This one-owner 1958-1959 Gran Premio (ser.no. EH2957) is on it’s way to Toronto from New Jersey in the coming days. As I have mentioned before, true one-owner bikes are becoming increasingly harder to find as time goes on and particularly bikes that have not been modified or upgraded over the years as this one. The original owner purchased by bike in 1959 and rode it for a half dozen years according to our correspondence and then it was hung up in the basement where it has resided since.
Beyond the completely original state of this bike, what interested me was the bike still had it’s original fenders albeit the front fender is missing its lower portion but otherwise in good condition. It is rare to find either an early Roma or Gran Premio with the fenders as most people, particularly in North America, either had them removed at the time of purchase or took them off and put them on a rack in the garage and eventually lost or tossed.
The other attraction to this bike was the dating for a Gran Premio model. I have yet to learn when Legnano officially launched the Gran Premio model however this is the earliest one I have come across and may well be the start of the designation. Prior this second tier model just below the Roma was simply referred to as the ‘Corsa’ model and the third tier model below that as the ‘Mezza Corsa’ according to catalog listings.
This Gran Premio is also fitted with the Campagnolo low flange Sport hubs as shown in the Campagnolo Catalog 14 of 1958. Most Gran Premio models from 1960-61 had wheels built with the Campagnolo high flange Record hubs as were the Roma models at that time. However the one-piece allow Record hubs were not introduced until 1958 which would explain the use of the Sport hubs on this and earlier Gran Premio models (if there were earlier models). The Roma models prior to 1958-1959 would have used the earlier three-piece Campagnolo Gran Sport hubs (first version produced by Fratelli Brivio for Campagnolo) in either low flange or high flange format.
The other component of interest on this Gran Premio is what appears to be a steel stem, most likely from Cinelli and engraved for Legnano. However I will have to wait for the bike to arrive to verify that detail. The Universal Mod.51 brake hoods are the only replacement part on the bike and an easy correction. As a bike that has spent many years in storage, the original brake cable housing is still in good shape and the cottered crank pins are also factory spec, something that is not so easy to correct if they have been replaced.
While the bike is en route, here are some photos from the eBay listing.