Fresh Coat on a Classic Paramount

Aside from my Boulder Brevet, my favorite bike – in other words, the one that comes closest to matching the Boulder for fit, comfort, and ride quality – is a 1966 Paramount P12. It came to me misidentified as a P13 model with an ancient Silver Mist repaint. Judging by the patina of the waterslide decal, the repaint had probably taken place very early in the bike’s life.

Normally I like to enjoy the scrapes and bruises sported by a nice bike. I figure they’re all a part of the bike’s history. But the Silver Mist was a repaint, and one for which I never possessed any degree of fondness. To me, this is a special frame and I felt a fresh white coat would lend it some of the dignity it deserved. (Not that the color choice ever needed justification, but it came at the suggestion of Richard Schwinn, whose opinion on Paramounts is definitely worthy of consideration.)

The build up has been long determined, and includes an mix of favorite components. Those parts have been cleaned and polished and are sitting in a box, awaiting tonight’s build. For purists looking for an all Campy drive train…look elsewhere.

For now, here’s the bare frame to enjoy.


As a follow up to the Motobecane mixte that was built up for the boss, despite her clear request for drop bars that cockpit was vetoed. Since I had built up with bar end shifters, I wound up with a fairly significant revision to what had been an essentially “finished build.”

But upright bars were demanded, and the bosses demands were heeded. She gave it a test ride, asked for some saddle adjustments, then gave it a thumb’s up. Because changes nearly always take place, I leave fine tuning fenders to the very end. Having the bosses blessing on all the rest means I can now tidy up the fender line, and get them secured. At the moment the fender line is making my OCD go into overdrive, and the rattle of loose bolts is driving me crazy!

Nevertheless, she now has a decently low geared, classier and much lighter bike than her Cannondale “round about town” ride.

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8 thoughts on “Fresh Coat on a Classic Paramount

  1. Clean, cool and classic. I tend to forget how incredible a white paint job can look. Bravo, Mark.

    Care to share more on the process? Please begin with if you undertook this project yourself or had it outsourced.

  2. Josh, although I’ve stripped and wet painted frames myself, I relied on my friends at Groody Brothers to do the color and clear coat for this project. Goody Brothers specializes in bicycles. I recreated the graphics in Illustrator about two years ago by carefully measuring the actual Paramount decals and waterslides. Printing Unlimited, a company I’ve worked with for years, produced the adhesive vinyl product that I provided to the guys at Groody Brothers. From my end, this was an easy process: unbuilding the bike took maybe forty-five minutes – less time than it took me to get in the car and drive the frame over to GB! I “took my time” building it back up last night, but even with the additional step of stretching and wrapping leather Brooks bar tape that I’ve been saving for this project I maybe have three hours into it. (And that’s including the time I took to wipe the substantial humidity-induced sweat from my brow every thirty seconds and to sip a beer along the way.)

    Goody Brothers is located at http://www.groodybros.com
    Printing Unlimited is located at http://www.pittmanprinting.com

  3. I good writer is always dropping a little bait for the reader in and between the lines, so I can’t quite let the trailing ‘Campy’ comment go by without a word or two.

    1966 was an important year in the cycling industry as it marked the beginning of the end for many long-standing Italian part makers. In ’66 Campagnolo released the Nuovo Record rear derailleur and short of the NR brake set that followed in ’69, Campy now had a full group and in an effort to build the brand they were putting pressure on their sponsored riders to sign on without exceptions.

    So yes, this Paramount could be built up with an almost complete Campy group that mixed both Record and the emerging NR components to the delight of many readers I am sure.

    However it would also be fitting for this Paramount to pay tribute to the great Italian makers that had defined road bikes for decades and were still very present in 1966. Here I am thinking about Magistroni (cranks, headsets and BB), Fratelli Brevio or FB (hubs), Gnutti (cranks, hubs, headsets, BB) Universal (brakes), Ballila (brakes) Regina (freewheel and chain), Way-Assauto or WAS (pedals, headsets and BB), Roto (pedals), Nisi or Limone (rims), Simplex (Italian production), Ambrosio (bars and stem and rims) in addition to the more or less compulsory Campy drive train of the day, in this case an early Campy Record rear derailleur (1963-1966), record front derailleur (1052/1) and record shifters (1014).

    I know you have your kit all planned out and ready to mount on this lovely ’66 Paramount, but I had to sketch out in my mind this potential tribute to the golden era of Italian makers that had defined the best in road bikes for much of the world. And that trailing comment should be worthy of a word or two from a French or English reader.

    Best regards Mark. Looking forward to seeing the build.

    • Thanks for the encyclopedic background and fantastic suggestions! Because so much of this bike came to me “looking” original – but as it turns out, definitely was NOT, I feel no real sense of obligation to “return it to original.” I think some of us go overboard in a quest for originality, when in fact a frame like this would have been built up as the owner wished, with components swapped out as they wore out or as the purposes of riding dictated. That’s almost certainly the case with this bike, which I do have sufficient background to believe was used for racing at some point. The RD that came to me dates to 1972, for instance, and whatever color paint was on the tubing when it left Schwinn, it probably wasn’t the silver that the bike sported for many years. So as the original owner most likely did, I’ll build this up with components that appeal to me aesthetically and will functionally meet my riding needs. I see this as more a tribute to the joy of cycling.

    • Tim, for the most part Bob Hovey’s philosophy regarding restoration and mine dovetail. Only in a few instances have I replaced or renewed the paint. With one notable exception it’s always been a situation where I’m concerned about structural integrity of the underlying tubing. That one exception was one of my earliest attempts at “bringing a bike back to life.” I stripped and repainted the frame, did an excellent job …and I almost immediately regretted having done so. With my Raleigh International, an early repaint was literally peeling off the tubes in long strips when it came to me. The resulting “creative restoration” represents a series of decisions that I continue to be proud of, and left me with a bike I love to ride. It’s key to me that the bikes I entertain myself with get ridden. I find it incredibly sad to discover one hanging on the wall; it’s like a forgotten, unloved thing. I debated for a long time about how to proceed with this Paramount, going back and forth between leaving it alone or doing “something else.” At one point I spoke to Richard Schwinn over the phone about a full Waterford restoration. He suggested a classic white, and once rooted that idea really grabbed me. I knew the top tube had some pitting, probably from lots and lots of perspiration. I also knew the frame had been repainted in the distant past. Anyway, I’m feeling quite good about the direction this project has taken.

  4. Dennis O'Neil says:

    I may have missed it but was it powder coated or liquid? If powder, any issues with keeping the threaded areas of the frame clean? Thanks.
    Dennis

    • I’ve never had a problem with threading. It’s important, of course, to adequately mask off threads and other holes, which is always done.

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