It's interesting how different people's experiences can be. I just went to my garage to examine my 1974 Dura Ace wheelset to be sure I'm not totally out-to-lunch, and confirmed zero rust on the hubs or skewers (still the original skewers) and they still spin exquisitely smoothly. I'm far from meticulous about my maintenance -- if anything I'm too casual, so the condition of these hubs is not due to any extraordinary up-keep. Perhaps there was something about the black anodizing that caused the problems you describe?
David White Burlington, VT
>>>The basic verdict for 1st generation Dura-Ace, good brake calipers once toed
>>>in. Brake levers on a par with Weinmann. Nice hubs, (had chromed oil clips
>>>and outer nuts) smooth but durability then suspect.
>>I've been using a set of 1st generation Shimano Dura-Ace large flange
>>hubs continuously since 1974 and they are still among the smoothest and
>>lowest-friction hubs I've ever experienced! I rebuild them every few
>>years -- no more than that -- and there is still no sign of pitting or
>>other deterioration. As far as I'm concerned they are beautiful
>>aesthetically -- much nicer design and finish than the comparable era
>>Campy Record large flange hubs -- and delightful to ride.
>I have some 1978 black Dura-ace hubs that lasted less than two seasons before pitting badly. The only hubs that I have ever had that lasted less time were French Normandy hubs. Other Dura-ace hubs belongong to my customers of the time had similar experiences, so I would definitely side with John with regards to durability. I do however agree that the design and outside finish is exquisite. Another negative is that the Dura-ace Q/R skewer levers quickly became rusty.