1958 Gran Premio joins the collection

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, hung them up in the garage and eventually they got 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 1958 may well be the start of the designation. Prior to the Gran Premio, the 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 in either low flange or high flange format.

The other component of interest on this Gran Premio is the Cinelli steel stem that has been engraved or branded for Legnano. The Universal Mod.51 brake hoods are the only replacement part on the bike that is required 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.

3 thoughts on “1958 Gran Premio joins the collection

  1. Good evening sir, first I must say I am thoroughly enjoying this site, your collection is absolutely gorgeous. I recently purchased a Legnano frame and fork, no other components were with it. There is no serial number on the frame, so I am guessing it is mid 70’s. Most of the decals and paint are still on the frame, missing is the seat bolt. My question would be if there is any way you could provide detail photos so that I may be able to machine one to fit? I have searched ebay, and the owner of Via Bicycles said that will be a tough find. Any information or direction you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi David,
      As a former tool and die maker, I was about to make some at one point in time however they are available. You can obtain a new seat post bolt from Maurizio Cavalleri in Brecia, Italy. Here is his contact information http://bellavistavintage.beepworld.it/contatti.htm and another link to the page that has the items http://bellavistavintage.beepworld.it/ricambi.htm and some photos with item descriptions here https://www.flickr.com/photos/bellavistavintage/sets/72157628562701621/

      The one piece seat bolt with radius undercut is for the Roma models only. The two-piece seat bolt is slightly larger in diameter and it is for the Gran Premio model and almost all of the other Legnano bikes.

      Yes, the online is a little awkward however I have purchased several seat bolts in the past and they have been manufactured to the original specifications and beautifully plated. Maurizio is a respected collector and enthusiast of vintage bikes.

      best regards,
      Mark

      • Thank you Mark,

        As a mechanic by trade I have access to people in the machining trade as well, my first thought was this might be difficult to make, especially without having any measurements of an original bolt to go by – a lot of trial and error.

        I will definitely check out the links that you have provided, hopefully I will be able to obtain the seat post bolt, and may be some other components.

        I wish I had some other info on the bike, who owned it, where did it come from, did it have drop handlebars or the beautifully sculpted flat “city” bars.

        from the information I have gleaned from your site, I do not think it is a Roma Olympiade, or Gran Premio. The head tube lug is not chromed, and there are no markings to indicate Reynolds or Columbus tubing; it does however have the threaded boss on the seat tube for the rear brake cable hanger. If I am unable to find that piece, I will go with a set of side pulls.

        Again, thank you for the information, I look forward to reading about the wonderful bikes in your collection.

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