I thought that, as this frame appears to be causing a lot of conjecture, I might as well throw my ten-pennyworth of knowledge into the melting pot that was the French lightweight cycle industry. There are several items on the frame that give the frame an Italian look about it, such as the fork crown, the lugs, the rear brake bridge with its brazed on reinforcement plate, the gear cable chutes on the bracket shell, the Gipiemme rear drop-outs - many of which I have seen on frames such as Adorni, made by Cinzia, but for my Euro's worth of betting, I still think the frame is French. For a start the bracket threading is French and you can just make out the contours of the Gargatte bracket shell. There's no mystery about the lugs, they are Prugnat long pointed ones n.b. there's a picture of these in the CR archives. The top-eyes are simply long plated ones filed to a fine finish - not at all difficult to make, and quite common among French builders. If you look at eBay item 7119296274 - a 60s Motobecane Le Champion frame, the top-eyes are almost identical, as are the lugs.Only the rear drop-outs - Campag - and the fork crown - Vagner - are different. Not that I think that this frame is a Motobecane , but it might be a Lejeune.
The fork crown is possibly either a Bocama or a Vitus.. the internal fork tangs look like some Vitus ones, But I'm not sure whether the fork is the original one As for the rear drop-outs, I think these are simply replacements for the original ones which were probably Huret like the front ones. If you look closely at the ends of the seat and chain stays where they are brazed onto the drop-outs, the profile of the stays look pretty poorly shaped and unoriginal. I think the frame has been altered in other ways too. The cable eyes on the top tube and the one on the rear drop-out together possibly with the boss on the brake bridge have been added on at some time.. Only the Simplex-type gear lever bosses and , just possibly, the cable chutes are original.
All that habing been said, and assuming the Gipiemmes are a recent replacement for some Hurets, them the frame could have been one of many marques. I have Stellas, and Geminianis from the 60s that look quite similar.. apart from the top-eyes.
Curiously though, I begin to think that the fork could be original. Ealier this year I chanced to buy on Ebay from one of the crop of recently-arrived France-based sellers a very pleasant racing frame that is virtually identical to this one we are discussing - even to the fork crown and liners. The frame is in every respect French ie threading, Huret drop-outs front and rear, but the tubing is Columbus - very early Columbus with a decal that I had never seen before, The frame is numbered "22", The Ebay seller, based in Strasbourg, claimed that the frame came from the Strasbourg shop of a former Pro- I recall Blondin was the name.. The frame is either the work of a good jobbing small builder or that of the Service-de-Course workshop of a mass producer. But I can,t be sure unfortunately.
Norris Lockley... just trying to get back into the swing of things...Settle UK
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