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Buying Campagnolo Rims On Ebay: It Pays To Ask


Conserv
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If you're hoping I will tell you how to buy exotic period rims on eBay for pennies on the dollar, you're about to be disappointed. But if you'll settle for an illustration of why it pays to ask questions before you buy, the following relates my story of acquiring five 5.5x13 Campagnolo Bertone rims (a.k.a., Ragno or Spider).

 

Although I've been thinking about a set for years, the 5.5" rims appear to be much rarer than the 6" rims so I realized I would likely be buying a set out of Europe. Finding a set of four rims, that a European seller would ship to the U.S., was the first challenge. No luck.

But a year and a half ago, I saw a pair of 5.5x13 Ragno's on German eBay with no bidders. They were advertised as having a PCD of 4x108 and were, allegedly, for a Ford Cortina or similar. But the seller was willing to ship worldwide so I asked him for the model number on the rims' reverse side. 40714?  But that's not 4x108; it's 4x100 and precisely what I was seeking. I bought these two rims. EDIT on 27 April 2014: In post #13, below, I further discuss this discrepancy between the model number cast into the rim and the model number displayed on the paper label. Short story? Paper label trumps cast-in number!

 

The following site was my data source for model numbers and specs, and provides not only Campy data but also data for many other period rims:

 

http://www.histowheels.com/Campagnolo/

 

Then, a month ago, I came across a set of four 5.5x13 Ragno's on Italian eBay, again with no bidders. They were advertised as having a PCD of 4x98 and were, allegedly, for certain Alfa's and Fiats. But the seller was willing to ship worldwide and, when he examined all four rims at my request, discovered that only one rim was 4x98 (model number 40571). The other three were model 40714, and hence the correct 4x100 rims. He was willing to sell me the three correct rims.

 

Now I freely admit that I also asked model numbers of other sellers, most of them Italian (because Italy is where many Campy's live!). And most rims were as advertised, or the answer was ambiguous as with a set of four 5.5x13 Ragno's cast with the correct 40714 model number but bearing a 40571 model number paper label.

 

In the end, I wound up with a set of five very good rims, none with significant curb rash or other damage, for a price I could live with. But none of these rims was advertised as what it actually was, model number 40714. So...it pays to ask.

 

Steve

 

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On 6/5/2013 at 10:08 PM, ray_koke said:

That's very cool!

 

What rims do you have to sell (to me) now?

 

;-)

 

Cheers,

 

But, Ray,

 

I'm a rim hoarder (whore?) ! One of these days, however, I'll jettison the 6" rims that have crept into my collection of 5" and 5.5" rims!

 

Regards,

 

Steve

Edited by Conserv
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On 6/5/2013 at 11:02 PM, ray_koke said:

Do you have 15 x 7?

 

;-)

 

Cheers,

 

Ray,

 

15x7? Nope: nothing larger than 13" around here, and I'm talking diameter, not width! For heavens sake, I run 165/80 XAs's and whine about the heavy steering!

 

Regards,

 

Steve

Edited by Conserv
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Ray,

15x7? Nope: nothing larger than 13" around here, and I'm talking diameter, not width! For heavens sake, I run 165/80 XAs's and whine about the heavy steering!

Regards,

Steve

 

 

Here's hoping you have a stock diameter steering wheel on the car! ;-)

 

My 1600 is stock, for a reason!

 

Cheers,

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  • 10 months later...

Campagnolo Center Caps: Multiple Options

 

As my Campagnolo Bertone rims -- a.k.a., Ragno, or Spider -- undergo restoration, I've been addressing some of the other details surrounding these rims. (And, yes, like most Campagnolo rims of the '70s, these are cast in Elektron, a magnesium alloy.). One of these details is the center cap. And I admit that I am still considering using a BMW roundel mounted on a new replacement cap to "BMW-ize" the rims.

 

But first I will try an original look, using Campagnolo-labeled center caps. The center caps are domed metal disks, 56mm in diameter, and they insert from the face of the rim, secured by an internal circlip which is also inserted from the face of the rim. The first photo below shows the options I identified. From left to right, number 1 (left-most) to 4 (right-most) they are:

 

1. New - anodized aluminum with painted-on design

2. Old - anodized aluminum with painted-on design, now badly faded

3. Old - anodized aluminum with incised designs, in-filled with (now) dark-blue paint. "Clunky," almost Keith Haring-esque, incisions.

4. Old - stainless steel(?)/other non-magnetic metal, chrome-plated with incised designs, in-filled with (now) medium-blue paint. Identical to numbers 1 through 3 in dimensions, including thickness, but approximately twice the weight. Incisions much more finely done than number 3.

 

Given the accumulated dirt, oxidation, damage, and wear on numbers 2 through 4, I could not imagine that any of those three examples were less than 20 years old. Are all three "period," i.e., '70s? I can't say for certain. It's certainly possible.

 

The "heft" of number 4 is very attractive to me, even though the chrome finish is probably less suited to a 2002 -- particularly a square taillight -- than anodized aluminum. But I especially like the medium-blue paint used to in-fill the incisions: again, not particularly 2002-like. So I tracked down a set on Italian eBay after hopelessly underbidding on a set of 2 that appeared on U.S. eBay -- and which would have solved my problem as two of my rims came with this style of center cap.

 

Some of the in-fill painting was gone on my four examples, so I used some cerulean blue acrylic paint to touch up the caps. The blue is lighter in person than it appears on the second photo, which shows the 4 center caps I will be using. It is a medium blue at darkest. If I were chasing concours standards, my center caps would need to be replated (and have a few tiny dents removed) and fully re-painted. But they're good 3-footers at present, on a car that's a 50-footer!

 

Have you seen yet more styles of Campagnolo center caps? Have you seen documents or period photos that might permit us to establish dates or applications for the various styles? Input, as always, is appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Steve

 

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Edited by Conserv
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I have a set of these wheels and they seem to have an issue with the inner tire mounting area. Any chance you could take a pic of one of yours from the side showing the profile of the lips? If mine are the same, I will restore them and run them. Otherwise, I guess they are wall hanging pieces of art, lol.

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Campagnolo Ragno PCD: Embarassing Revelation and an "Opportunity"

 

For no good reason, I decided to measure the PCD of my 5 Ragno rims before going through the restoration process. This was probably a bad idea as two of my rims appeared to have a 4x98 PCD rather than the expected 4x100 PCD. Yet all five rims clearly had "40714" cast into their reverse sides (the 4x98 PCD 5.5x13 rim is model 40571; the 4x100 PCD 5.5x13 rim is model 40714). None of my five rims retained its original paper label, found on the tire race and looking like the example in the first photograph.

 

So...it appears that Campagnolo used the same "40714" blank for both models, simply drilling some for 4x98 and some for 4x100. If you come across rims without the label, beware. Measure the PCD; $21 buys you a cheap measuring tool on eBay. Second, there may be a visual clue if you know where to look. With a rim drilled for a 4x98 PCD (second photograph), the drilling intrudes further on the raised center hub than a rim drilled for 4x100 PCD (third photograph).

 

So...what do you do if you've bought a 4x98 PCD rim? Sell it on the Fiat forum? Maybe, but what about re-drilling the rim? Well, most of the usual shops that specialize in re-drilling alloy rims, upon hearing you want to re-drill vintage magnesium-alloy rims will quickly remove themselves from contention: "Old magnesium rims are brittle and flammable. We won't touch them!" But Rotiform of Huntington Beach, CA (I worked with Ivan, who was thrilled to work on vintage Campy's and was a pleasure to work with) looked at the actual facts. All of these Elektron-cast Campagnolos had steel inserts for the stud holes. To change the PCD, the original steel inserts need to be pressed out, new steel inserts need to be pressed in, and the new inserts need to be drilled for a 4x100 PCD. No magnesium alloy needs to be drilled! Rotiform did it beautifully for $50 per rim. I was so impressed I quickly purchased a matching 4x98 PCD rim -- as a spare rim -- and had it drop shipped to Rotiform for conversion!

 

So...now all my Ragno's are bona fide 4x100 rims, just as I thought they were when I bought them!

 

Regards,

 

Steve

 

EDIT: Yes, the "opportunity" to which I refer is that you can purchase 4x98 PCD Campy's -- far more plentiful than 4x100 examples -- and have Rotiform "adjust" the PCD for $50 per rim. It won't make you rich, but it opens a window!

 

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Edited by Conserv
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On 4/27/2014 at 5:26 PM, oh2fly said:

I have a set of these wheels and they seem to have an issue with the inner tire mounting area. Any chance you could take a pic of one of yours from the side showing the profile of the lips? If mine are the same, I will restore them and run them. Otherwise, I guess they are wall hanging pieces of art, lol.

 

Do you mean from this angle? This is my spare spare, the only one I didn't send out for painting as it was only marginally true and exhibited evidence of past repairs, e.g., the rim is slightly squared off.

 

Steve

 

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Edited by Conserv
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Campagnolo Ragno PCD: Embarassing Revelation and an Opportunity

For no good reason, I decided to measure the PCD of my 5 Ragno rims before going through the restoration process. This was probably a bad idea as two of my rims appeared to have a 4x98 PCD rather than the expected 4x100 PCD. Yet all five rims clearly had "40714" cast into their reverses (the 4x98 PCD 5.5x13 rim is model 40571; the 4x100 PCD 5.5x13 rim is model 40714). None of my five rims retained its original paper label, found on the tire race and looking like the example in the first photograph.

So...it appears that Campagnolo used the same "40714" blank for both models, simply drilling some for 4x98 and some for 4x100. If you come across rims without the label, beware. Measure the PCD; $21 buys you a cheap measuring tool on eBay. Second, there may be a visual clue if you know where to look. With a rim drilled for a 4x98 PCD (second photograph), the drilling intrudes further on the raised center hub than a rim drilled for 4x100 PCD (third photograph).

So...what do you do if you've bought a 4x98 PCD rim? Sell it on the Fiat forum? Maybe, but what about re-drilling the rim? Well, most of the usual shops that specialize in re-drilling alloy rims, upon hearing you want to re-drill vintage magnesium-alloy rims will quickly remove themselves from contention: "Old magnesium rims are brittle and flammable. We won't touch them!" But Rotiform of Huntingdon Beach, CA (I spoke with Ivan, who was thrilled to work on vintage Campys) looked at the actual facts. All of these Elektron-cast Campagnolos had steel inserts for the stud holes. To change the PCD, the original steel inserts need to be pressed out, new steel inserts need to be pressed in, and the new inserts need to be drilled for a 4x100 PCD. No magnesium alloy needs to be drilled! Rotiform did it beautifully for $50 per rim. I was so impressed I quickly purchased a matching 4x98 PCD rim and had it drop shipped to Rotiform for conversion!

So...now all my Ragno's are bona fide 4x100 rims, just as I thought they were when I bought them!

Regards,

Steve

 

Wow! Great!

 

Cheers! I'm just back from Mid-Am. Car preformed well. 11 hour return trip.

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