I have had this 1947 Camille Daudon for a few years now, and have done nothing to it since first acquiring it from the prior owner who had done some of his own restoration work, including re-chroming the Vitus frame. In fact, the bike is so lovely in its current form, that I am reconsidering my plans to bring it back to its original state by adding period correct hammered fenders, front rack, lighting, and a chain guard, which is what it would have originally been equipped with. This Daudon was custom made for Irene Faberge Gunst, granddaughter of the famous creator of Faberge eggs, a special birthday gift from her husband. In 2006, this bike won the award for best French bike at the Cirque du Cyclisme show. As pictured, it weighs a mere 20 lbs.
Prior to re-chroming the frame looked like this:
As you can see, the chrome was seriously compromised. The prior owner decided that it would be worth it to re-chrome the frame and risk the loss of lug detail, rather than sanding it down and re-painting it. While disappointing in some ways, I think the overall impact of the new chrome outweighs the downsides. It’s nice to have these photos which will help me re-create the head badge and logos. There are other examples of Camille Daudon bicycles which can also help. Jan Heine’s The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles features two Daudons, and the latest Bicycle Quarterly features a Daudon that is somewhat similar to mine. As far as restoration goes, I still need to make the bike mechanically sound and rideable. The Cyclo derailleur uses a one piece shifter cable, and although I could have soldered a cable to work with this derailleur, I have finally located one that will work for this bike:
And, I am still in a quandary about whether to make this bike appear as it once did – as a touring bike with fenders, lighting and front rack. While I contemplate that, here are some of the parts I have put together – aluminum fenders, front rack which bolts to the fenders, and Simplex chain guard. I still need to source appropriate lights for the front and rear fenders, and a dynamo.
I welcome your thoughts and ideas about this amazing piece of cycling history.