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Project Italvega(11 posts)

Project ItalvegaStarliner
Nov 4, 2003 1:55 PM
I recently got an old Italvega frame thrown in as part of a deal for another bike. I think its the Nuovo Record model - metallic brown with chrome fork and lugs - like the model pictured in Classic Rendevouz. Paint is chipped and decals are virtually gone. The whole frame looks like it was chromed.

Well, I decided to make this frame my single speed platform, and will be restoring it with some of my own input regarding the paint and decals. Impossible to find decal replacements, so I will be making stencils of the decal art to enable me to paint them on.

To do this, I need sharp, clear pictures of the decals. I'll take it from there.

What I've done up to now --- the downtube main logo is pretty much done, and I'm 75% done with the small left chainstay decal, but the bike I used as a reference had some letters chipped off.

If there is anyone out there who has an old Italvega Nuovo Record with decals that are good to excellent, and would like to help me out, let me know.
re: Project Italvegamapei boy
Nov 4, 2003 2:32 PM
I wish I did. Anyway, allow me a jag of nostalgia. I had an Italvega Super Special that I bought in 1972. The paint was crummy and the decals were worse. So one summer (about '73), I stripped the thing down, roughed up some of the chrome (it wasn't ALL chromed, by the way), and refinished it in the black and blue colors of the Cinelli that was hanging in the Beverly Hills Bike Shop. I browsed several Italian Magazines to find an appropriate moniker to rename the thing, and using transfer lettering I redubbed the Italvega "Fazio Sauro da Siena." My sister, a professional artist, painted a Tyrannosaurus Rex on the head tube. My paint job (using Schwinn paint) was better quality than the original. I rode Fazio happily until 1986, when I bought a Somec. I gave Fazio to a buddy, who still uses it.
re: Project Italvegadesmo
Nov 5, 2003 7:03 PM
I have a '73 (or so) Superlight, so I can't help on the top tube decal. They're great bikes, maybe snubbed by collectors but I've seen a whole lot more Masi's, Colnago's, etc. being ridden around then nice Vega's. So there's a coolness factor in that if you ask me. Plus they ride as well as any fine old Iti steel. Cyclart does have the decals but I think it's a bear to get them without them doing the paint. Might be worth a try as I don't think there's too much market for counterfeit Vegas. Anyway enjoy the bike.
re: Project Italvegail sogno
Nov 5, 2003 9:54 PM
Your bike is far more beautiful than mine ever was. I guess it's because yours was (at least I think) a step above my Super Special. I dig your high flange hubs. Mine still spin like a dream, even after 31 years. (I kept the hubs and my Nuovo Record Rear Derailleur when I switched out the Italvega frame in the mid eighties.) I must ask - is your bottom bracket one piece, or is it a welded two-piece one? Mine had that ugly weld. It always bugged me.
re: Project ItalvegaStarliner
Nov 5, 2003 10:19 PM
Very nice looking bike - I like the drilled out rings and shifters. Your frame didn't have braze-ons on the top tube for the brake cable? Mine does, and I am reluctantly going to whack them off, as this will be a clean and simple single speed with front (centerpull) brake only.

I contacted Cyclart a while back but they gave me a song and dance about legal issues with regard to sharing decal artwork. I can't use them for painting, because I want to do some airbrush design work and paint fades of my own concoction. So, it'll have to be my own project. The hopeful beautiful result will be a mildly customized 'Vega, something that I'd like to imagine Ben Lawee would have loved to see, if he would have put a bit more money into paint and decalling.

Despite the departure with the non-standard paint scheme, the plan is to have the original decal art positioned in the original places on the frame. Instead of using decals, I'm going to try using a stencil technique I use in my work to reproduce the decals, with slight modifications (improvements), which will then be painted on and then clearcoated. To do this I need to get photos or to find some framesets I can use as references, and then recreate the artwork as cleanly as possible. I'm done with the main ITALVEGA downtube logo and will be doing a test in the next week to see if this stencil techinque will work. I'd show pictures if I could figure out how to create jpg images out of the pictures I scan into my computer.

I wish I could find more historical info on Italvega, such as when the marque was first created, the pecking order of all the models, and when it vanished. My frame was built by the Torresini shop, which doesn't seem to have much historical info available. The only thing I did find was an Italian language document which spoke of a connection with the Torresini shop and the Torpado bicycle dating from around 1930 - the Torpado name being a combination of the Torresini shop, and the town of Padova. What happened at the shop for the next forty years is a mystery.

Anyway, thanks for the interest and replies.
Italvega became Univega, I believe.OldEdScott
Nov 6, 2003 7:07 AM
Which continued the tradition of building great bikes with no coolness factor, which made them terrifically cool.
re: Project Italvegadesmo
Nov 6, 2003 7:30 AM
There's not much info out there, I remember when I first got mine trying and not finding anything more than you have. You might join the CR mailing list (if you have not already). I know there are a few members with Vegas that may be able to help you out with photos. Also, the top tube decal font is the same as the Torresini chainstay decal. So you may be able to "draw" the missing letters you need using the style from the other decal. A really good sign painter/pin-striper type person could probably do this. Maybe even a computer graphics program that could possibly handle it?
re: Project ItalvegaStarliner
Nov 6, 2003 9:15 AM
That's pretty much what I'm doing. I get a traced image or a photograph and scan it into a graphic design program on my Mac, then clean it up.

In fact, the Torresini chainstay decal font is very different from the top tube Nuovo Record decal. The Torresini font looks like it was a one-off design - it's voluptuously chunky, while the NR font looks flatter and more linear, kind of like the fonts used on some 1960's era refrigerators and washing machines.

My reference for the chainstay font was that picture on ClassicRendevous. That decal was very good, but is missing the 'O'. So I need to find another reference bike with the 'O' intact.
that is differentdesmo
Nov 6, 2003 7:05 PM
I'm pretty sure I've seen the chainstay decal with the other font but maybe I was dreamin'. My bike does not have one. I do have a spare "superlight" decal which is the exact same font as the "Nouvo Record", no "o" but if it will help I can get you a close up photo.
Nov 6, 2003 10:45 PM
Thanks desmo for offer but I probably can't get much from it that I would use. Make sure you photocopy it or scan it before you use that spare.

Another Vega was recently sold on EBay which has pristine Nuovo Record decals, and what seems to be a useable O on the chainstay...

I sent the new owner an email but haven't heard back from the person yet. If you're out there reading this now, please reply.
A rumor I heard around 1980....bicyclerepairman
Nov 6, 2003 5:27 PM
(and I never looked it up to see if it was true) had it that a design engineer employed by Motobecane was doing contract design work for the Italvega firm during his off hours. Supposedly, the designs for Italvega were better than the ones turned in for his day job. When this arrangement was uncovered, Italvega closed and reopened in Japan as Univega in order to protect assets from lawsuits.