I have been back and forth these past few weeks with a fellow enthusiast discussing the correct decals for a 1949 Tipo Roma. As we are making some headway on that topic I thought it worth sharing what has been learned. The query began with this rather unique seat tube decal that by all accounts seems to have first surfaced with the 1948 Tipo Roma. The 1948 Roma with it’s original finish shown below is featured on the Paramanubrio website.
My best ‘educated guess’ is this unique seat tube decal was produced to commemorate Gino Bartali’s 1948 TdF victory. Noting that the decal was not on Bartali’s 1948 TdF bike that is now enshrined along with his 1938 TdF winning bike at the Santuario Madonna Del Ghissano in Magreglio, Italy (Province of Como).
The unique, vertically banded seat tube decal was paired up with a special down tube decal that connected the Legnano logos on each side with a band of world championship stripes that you can see in the first photo above and more clearly in the photo below.
If this unique seat tube decal did commemorate Bartali’s 1948 TdF win, it would not have been until the second half of 1948 that is came into use. It can also be found on 1949 Roma production year frames however it was gone by the 1950 production year. The 1950 model year marked the start of the familiar 5 white bands on the seat tube that continued on through to the late 1960s, early 1970s. A 1950 Roma (serial number CQ3886) is shown below as reference.
However the Legnano down tube logo with the connecting world championship stripes is shown in the massive Emilio Bozzi SpA parts catalog of 1950 (most likely printed in late 1949) and it can be found on production Roma models through to 1951.
Starting in 1952 (Roma DI2335 first photo above) the Legnano down tube logo was painted on the frame (second photo above) using a mask rather than a waterslide decal (without the connecting world championship stripes) and continued to be applied in this fashion until approx. 1970 when the Legnano down tube logo took on a parallelogram shape in the form of an adhesive decal. Why Legnano decided to paint the logo on the down tube using a relatively crude template or mask (in lieu of a decal) has always seemed a little odd to me and I have not come across an explanation so far. That said, for the handful of bikes that I have needed to fully refinish . . . I have had a mask cut to the exact original and done the same.
Worth noting here that it was late in 1948 that Gino Bartali left the Legnano team to compete under his own Bartali brand and team name. I will speculate here that perhaps Bartali’s departure from Legnano also may have had something to do with the world championship stripes coming to an end either by mutual or perhaps legal agreement. Again, just a speculation on my part however the timing in all of this is interesting.
more to come . . .