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I use a "city-modified" 10-speed Reynolds 531 Crescent road racer from the 70'ies, with mostly Campa, and some ancient Mavic Module E rims that mimic the original AVAs for tubulars. Mudguards, lock, standard pedals and a standard alu-handlebar which I have turned 180 degrees over the front-rear axis. Works beautifully for me: fast and comfortable.
Using an old racing frame as your basis is a solution that I can recommend. Many true racing bikes from the 70-80'ies even have eyelets for mounting mudguards. You'll just have to be aware that the racing bike geometry is rather tight, so it will be a lively steed, with less room between your toes and the front wheel than on a standard bike. And, if you live in a place where they use salt to clear the roads in the winter, you'll need an alternative "winter beater", as your gears will be reduced to a collection of steel-and-alu corrosion in absolutely no time. For me, here in Copenhagen, snow means my (even older) internal 3-speed. But I've been thinking of creating a sort of hybrid: racing frame with mudguards etc - and internal gears!
There's one potential problem in the old frames, though: they're not all compatible with today's standards for freewheels, threading etc.