My 1948(?) Cambio Corsa Bonvicini is painfully original. "Painful" because it is so original that I am hesitant to do anything that cannot be undone, even if it were to make it look or function better. Go down that slippery slope and eventually it could have disc brakes and indexed shifting.
The only thing I have done is to replace brake cables and housings, and replace the brake pads with black Koolstops. Notice that all the "upgrades" involve braking. That run down Lanesboro's 20% grade Church Hill from our cottage to the sudden stop sign at the end can be positively terrifying with the less sophisticated brakes of a vintage bicycle. There is a reason they call it "The Hill". (I usually take the back way down, longer, but not suicidal.) The brake levers on the Boni' make it even more interesting. The reach from the handlebar to the lever is extremely long. Either the design was initially poor or the components have bent a bit over time.
Then a few weeks ago some folks on the Classic Rendezvous group list (vintage lightweight bicycle collectors) were discussing the same issue - some advocating bending components with wrenches, or vises and wooden jigs, or filing away material. This bike is old and rare so I am hesitant to start bending around irreplaceable parts. Also the brake body and straps are one piece on these vintage Universal brakes, which limits my options. So I have lived with the "inconvenience".
Then Bob Freeman, a gentleman with a lifetime of real world experience, suggested simply putting a piece of cable housing between the lever and the body. Duh.
Because I moved the lever back quite a bit, the opening looks a little like an open-mouthed frog, but it functions much better. I am looking forward to a few suicide runs down Church Hill this Spring.