Good question, right? Answer: a Masi made by Mario Confente for Alberto Masi himself. Here is the recipe. Take one part Confente, mix liberally with some Alberto. Combine with thinned lugs and some nice REYNOLDS (not a typo), place in jig, braze and file for several days, and then:
As the story goes, this Masi was built by Confente to “in 1971 with my [Alberto Masi's] sizes.” So how do we know such a thing? Well, a letter provided by the man himself tells all the details:
The text reads:
“I declare that this frame Masi Gran Criterium was made by Mario Confente in 1971 with my sizes. The frame was showed at Fiera Ciclo e Motociclo Milano in 1971. Milano 18.02.2010. Alberto Masi.”
A very short yet concise phrase that would have the authors of the MLA Style Manual waving their fingers frantically shouting “shown, SHOWN!”.
But does it matter really? The letter says it all. A frame built by Mario Confente, for Alberto Masi with the purpose of showing it at a trade show. So, not only is it built by a master for a master, but it’s a one of a kind, non-production model made specifically to wow the audiences of a trade show. It’s somewhat akin to the Bruce Gordon everyone drools over at NAHBS, but one zillion times cooler and more rare.
Speaking of trade shows, inside the well packed shipping box (which took about 20 minutes to unwrap) was this photo:
The frame itself is a sight to see up close. The lugwork is impeccable, points thinned to almost nothing. Windows, paint fill-ins. Every little detail thought out and executed with amazing perfection. It clearly shows the signs of a builder with a true gift. It’s one thing to wax poetic on some internet forum about the tragic story of Confente and what a genius he was, but quite another thing to hold one of his frames in your hands and see what the man could actually do.
To call this frame a work of art doesn’t even come close. Maybe it’s the bike geek in me, but it’s truly a well crafted piece of design. Now the problem is, what to do with it? My personal ethics tell me to never own a frame that I cannot ride, but this, what if something happens? A stray squirrel dashes in front of me to get a better look at the well crafted bottom bracket, a pot hole reaches up to feel how smooth the lug transition really is, a hobo offers me a trade of Taco Seasoning for the frame (sorry, inside joke). There is no replacing this thing, yet somehow it doesn’t’ belong on a wall. Well, I guess decisions have to be made, so for now, spend some time with the slideshow below and check back for updates later.
[mbspremium slideshow=1 title="'71 Masi Grand Criterium Built by M. Confente" subtitle="Click Full Screen For High Resolution"]