So my old bike collecting bug has gotten a little out of control in just one year's time. However, when I met Paolo (of Biciclette e Decadence fame) and found out about a friend of his who might consider selling what is my Holy Grail bike, I couldn't pass up. The Gloria Garibaldina is considered by many to be the ultimate Italian vintage bike to own. There were quite a few made, as Gloria was a goliath company until about 1960, but few survived in good, original condition (not that this one is totally original, far from it).
Gloria developed a way to pump out these fine frames in a large number for the time. One way of doing so was to stamp the head tube and distinct flower-shaped 'lugs' from a sheet, roll it and then weld the seam. If you pull the fork out and look inside, you'll see that the flower 'lugs' are in fact recessed from the stamping process! That means that the flower lugs this bike is famous for are not even really lugs! Add to it that many of the components were branded with "Gloria", the unique rear dropouts, and the nickel-plated 'lugs' and you end up with a beautiful representation of the highest bicycle technology of the day.
I'm only going to post this one photo for now, as I don't want anyone else to find it and outbid me! I hope to pick it up on the way home from Puglia. It's safe to say that my collecting is officially over because to me, it doesn't get much better than this!
PS - an update on Mrs. Masini's Gloria... the Maasland told me last night that the grips are made of ox horn!