As the 1980’s progressed there was a real sense of change in the air, Shimano and Suntour were visibly coming up fast on Campagnolo’s heels, with every year bringing new and more accomplished models and, despite its lack of sales, Shimano’s aerodynamic push, with Dura-Ace AX, had changed the landscape - and every manufacturer was streamlining the look of their products. Then, in 1983, Tullio Campagnolo had died. Everyone was looking to Campagnolo to see how they would respond.
And the answer was with this wild looking derailleur.
The madness started with its name - was it called Record? Record Corsa? Record C? C-Record? God only knows, but the supplement to Campagnolo catalogue no 18 calls it C-Record - and so shall I.
The madness continued with its design, at 211g it was the heaviest top-of-the-range Campagnolo derailleur for some years. There was no titanium to be seen - the big allen bolts were steel. In a world mad for allen bolts the cable clamp bolt had a hex head (the pulley bolts were allen headed though).
Campagnolo made a big play about the aerodynamic smoothness of the C-Record, and, viewed from the side, it does look streamlined in a 1930’s kind of way - but viewed from the front (surely the key aspect) it was a brick.
By 1985 few people were not aware that a ‘dropped parallelogram’ as used by Shimano or Suntour, gave a better gear change than the conventional Campagnolo style - but Campagnolo retained their trademark design. The only real concession to modernity was that the C-Record had two sprung pivots - Campagnolo had finally caught up with the design of the Simplex Juy Export 61.
And yet, in a strange kind of way, the C-Record was a stroke of genius. Campagnolo was well aware that quasi-religious faith, rather than rationality, governed the equipment choices of many road racers. The C-Record, through its very irrationality, preserved that faith, it refused to respect the rational engineering design of the Japanese gears, it refused to respect the aesthetic tradition set by the Nuovo Record, it was a new object of irrational devotion. Despite its technical short comings, it was used to win the Tour de France again and again - and, while the European derailleur industry collapsed around it, Campagnolo survived.
This example is the earlier version, with the faired in tension pulley.