[Classicrendezvous] Re: Early 1950s Campy Gran Sport

Example: Racing:Jean Robic

Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2000 14:35:49 -0800
From: Chuck Schmidt <chuckschmidt@earthlink.net>
To: Takao Noda <tanoda@d1.dion.ne.jp>
CC: Classic Bike List <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
References: <000701c02d55$a7e44940$5b09ffd2@pcgxrgseries>
Subject: [Classicrendezvous] Re: Early 1950s Campy Gran Sport

Takao Noda wrote:
> I have noticed the GS front derailleur on Coppi's bike in TdF
> 1951 had different guide plates from ones I see. The outer plate
> was shorter than inner plate and had the wheel and wing logo ,
> not the earth logo. ( D. Rebour's book " World of D. Rebour" p.
> 117) And I know the sfift lever band then was 2 stripes type.
> On the Campagnolo catalog No.12 ( Reprint of Velo Retro, p. 13)
> I see complete GS front derailleur had the earth logo but the
> guide plates (cage) drawn just below it had the wheel and wing
> logo and the outer plate was longer. And the shift lever band was
> the ordinary one.
> I would like to know whether the GS derailleurs on the 1951 bike
> came into the market or not. Were they supplied only to racers ?
> Many thanks in advance.
> Takao Noda
> Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan

I believe the original, first generation Campagnolo Gran Sport front derailleur (short nose on cage), rear derailleur (holes in pulleys and long nose on pulley cage), and downtube shift lever (twin band) were only used for the first year (mid 1951 to mid 1952) and were only supplied to professional racers.

In Les Woodland's excellent book _The Unknown Tour de France_ he writes about the first Gran Sport derailleur in the 1951 TdF, "Coppi had it and so did his two Bianchi team-mates in the national team; Bartali and two other Italians on Bartali bikes had it; and Switzerland's Hugo Koblet had one. The total -- seven." Nearly all the rest of the peloton rode Simplex derailleurs.

A photo I have shows Fausto Coppi (Bianchi) and Hugo Koblet (La Perle) in the 1951 TdF, Stage 13 Tarbes-Luchon, climbing side by side, both using bar end shift levers (no rubber covers). Hugo Koblet went on to win the Tour that year.

Interestingly, Campagnolo Gran Sport was introduced with bar-end shift levers and the down tube levers only came later in the year.

The 1952 La Perle Série Course Spéciale bike (SCCR 10 Course type Koblet TdF 1951) I recently acquired has the second generation Gran Sport deraileurs with bar-end shifters stamped "Gran Sport" as shown in The 1983 Data Book, page 160. I've never come across these early style bar-end shifters before (no lock nut and stamped "Gran Sport"), and don't know how long they were made this way.

Does anyone else have any additional information on early Gran Sport?

Chuck Schmidt South Pasadena, California http://www.velo-retro.com (Campy Timeline and list of reprints)