Updated: June 11/2020

1963 Masi Special

This 1963 Masi Special, with Nervex lug set and Fischer fork crown, was built by Guiseppe Pela (Torino, Italy), and distinguished by the pointed seat stay caps, a Pela trademark. In addition to Masi, in the 40s and 50s Pela built for Benotto, Gios, both based in Torino, and for many professional cyclists, including Anquetil and Merckx. It should be mentioned that not all of the "Nervex Masis" had this seat stay treatment, some of them had the standard Masi beveled seat stay caps. In the 60s Pela built many of Wolhauser framesets, some in the Carpano team colors ( raymondwolhauser.weebly.com/collections.html). It is not surprising that Masi chose Pela to build many of the "Nervex Masis", as Pela had used, extensively, the Emilio Bozzi lugs which were similar to those used by Fiorelli (Novi Ligure) - in fact many mistake the Bozzi lugs as Nervex. Bike was purchased from Brian Gates (CA) in December of 2014. In the west coast, Masis were imported from Italy by Peter Rich, owner of Velo-Sport Cycling (Berkeley, CA) and founder of the Velo Club Berkeley. (Peter Rich opened Velo-Sport on April Fools Day, in 1962.) Attached is a link to Bob Hovey's site of an ad placed by Rich in the newsletter of the Northern California Cycling Association, stating that his shop was the sole U.S. importer of Masi bicycles (bhovey.com/Masi/MasiCatalogs/Misc/velo.htm). Offered were Nervex or Italian lugs, and Reynolds 531 or Columbus butted tubing. Also, take a look at Greg Fletcher's Masi lore website for more stories (masi.gregfletcher.net/masi/html/lore.html), and John Gallagher's 1963 Masi,which he bought from Velo-Sport in December of 1963 for $200 (www.flickr.com/photos/17932602@N04/sets/72157645888734961). According to John, Peter Rich knocked $10 off the price because there was a chip or two in the paint. All major components on this Masi, are original to the bike. Exceptions are: tires, spokes, saddle, freewheel, handlebar tape and cables. UPDATE VELO-SPORT I worked at Velo-Sport until July, 1971. In 1969 or so, Albert and Peter started long and private discussions. They would go to lunch and not return for three hours or so, then go to the office and talk more. Eventually, Albert was futzing around in a spare room upstairs above the sales floor. For months, he was making a fixture and finally started producing frames, probably in early 1970. I might be wrong on that exact date. As Bob Freitas comments, I believe that the figure of 25 actual Velo-Sport frames by Albert is correct, maybe a few more. I have one of them; Albert finished it right before I left working there. The first frames (and bikes) from Velo-Sport had no label on them. They did have serial numbers that designated the date of finishing the frame, prepaint. Mine is 060671. Albert wanted to distinguish his work by painting the frames in unusual ways. I recall that one frame was painted battleship gray. Mostly, he tried to use stenciled patterns and unique colors. Albert was also fooling around with all sorts of unusual treatments of lugs, fork crowns, seat clusters, etc. Sadly, my frame was repainted after the ST broke and the unique paint was lost. It was a mixture of every color that Albert had on his shelf since he knew that I am colorblind. I will bring that bike to Eroica California, but it is now painted solid blue, nothing unusual. At Velo-Sport, Brian Decker worked with Albert, and eventually moved to Washington where he continued to build more frames. I think he called some of them them Deckerlin? I think that Albert left Velo-Sport in 1972 to form his own business. In the early '70s, Peter organized a team that competed nationally. Some of the bikes came from Velo-Sport and were painted orange, with the VELO-SPORT decals. Our local bike shop just scored an interesting one. It is clearly a Schwinn Paramount, complete with head badge, but it is painted orange with the same VELO-SPORT same decals. John Gallagher Danville, CA Video of John Gallagher riding his Masi Special: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSERNQDGELY&sns=fb UPDATE PELA Yes, the good Sig. Pelà must have had quite a shop. Lots of production. Peter ordered 20-30 bikes and frames at a time, maybe every 6 months or so. They always were delivered late, though that might be due to Peter's chronic inability to pay bills on time. The last delivery was in 1969, which is a story in and of itself. That's when Peter became the nation's first importer of Colnago. By the way, both my Nervex-lugged bikes have an A stamped in the side of the seat lug. Does yours? What does it mean? Two years ago, I visited the Vigorelli shop. Coincidentally, a good friend had recently ordered a new Masi frame and the order form was on the counter. I asked Alberto about it and was told the frame is at the painter. Probably a lie. The shop certainly didn't smell like, well, a shop! I wonder who built the frame? Not Alberto, that's for sure. John (Gallagher) THE BIKE Frame: Reynolds 531 (most likely). Original paint (no touch-ups), Nervex lugset and Fischer fork crown. Brakeset: Universal Mod. 61 calipers and levers. Pad holders and bolts have been replaced by proper Universal hardware. Handlebars: TTT Grand Prix Stem: TTT Grand Prix Special Headset: Campagnolo Record Shifters: Campagnolo Front Derailleur: Campagnolo Record with "open" cable stop. Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Gran Sport Crankset: Campagnolo Record Bottom Bracket: Campagnolo Record Pedals: Campagnolo Record Wheelset: Campagnolo hubs (no Record, dated 1963) laced to Nisi Moncalieri rims using Robergel spokes. Chain : Brampton (France) Freewheel: 5 speed Everest Brev. Seatpost: Campagnolo alloy Saddle: Brooks Professional dated C65 (i.e., 1965) modified by Barale.