Plastic Parts Made for Ferrari and Lamborghini

There were few replacement parts made for Ferrari and other Italian cars because the production numbers were so minimal and any stock was exhausted long ago. Many of the mechanical components for Ferrari’s are common to most models but the body and trim parts are getting hard to find.

I have taken it upon myself to make some parts. Long ago I made Air Conditioning vents, knobs, and little parts for 330GTC/GTS’s and 365′s. Every 330/365 at our shop is missing the alternator junction block cover and knob so I have re-made these parts. Often, the junction block itself is melted from years of engine bay heat and electrical heat so I make the complete units too.

Awhile ago, I made the thumb screws for Lamborghini air cleaner lids with the FIAMM logo.

Now, I am working on making some shift knobs, interior knobs and trying to make the vent window knob for the 330GTC so let me know if you need any of these parts.

If you need a part made, please let me know. Its easier to make a copy from an original part but I can make a part from a mechanical drawing as well. I am learning the techniques to make the molds, hard point holders and account for the shrinkage of the liquid plastic as it sets up.

Here are some of the parts I am making so far.

Plastic Reproduction Ferrari parts

Ferrari replacement parts, Plastic reproduction

Alternator Junction block Ferrari

Ferrari 330GTC Junction block

 

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Ferrari 275GTB/4

We had some magnificent cars at the shop this fall and broke out our video gear to film the cars going down the road. When filming, the motto is “hurry up and wait” so I had some time to take photos of the cars.

Ferrari 275 and 330's

Ferraris from the 60′s

Ferrari 275 GTB/4

GTB/4 Ferrari

 

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Ferrari Window Regulators

Since I was old enough to hold a wrench, I have been repairing Ferrari cable operated window regulators and have tons of scars on my hands to prove it! Like the Bizarre-O cable operated Maserati Ghibli Water Pump design, this is an equally offbeat way to make a window go up and down. My rant is “these guys has no right building cars”. Whats the deal with Italians and cables?

This cable has to “spool up” and “un-spool” around a drum simultaneously as an electric motor turns it.  If the cable isn’t in perfect condition, it can fall off the pulleys or make a horrible grinding noise when operating. The smallest bend, kink or fray makes the whole system come to a stop. You can get complete new assemblies but often the cable is wound tightly during shipping that it  causes problems so I rebuild them with new cable that I have in massive quantities here at the shop.

Window Regulator Ferrari 308

Ferrari Cable Window Regulator

A frequent problem with these systems is super slow motion of the window glass barely making it to the closed position.  People have all sorts of hair-brained ideas on how to fix this problem but the issue is simple. The green grease in the gearbox gets hard like wax and the motor can’t overcome the resistance. If the cables, pulleys and channel is in good shape simply zip tie the cable to the assembly which maintains the tension and remove the assembly from the door. Remove the 3 screws to the hold the gearbox together and chip out the green wax (that used to be grease).  If you are lucky, you won’t kink or loose the orientation of the cable and can get it all working in 20 minutes!

Cable Operated Window Regulator

Waxy Green Grease to Chip Out

I use a synthetic grease that won’t hurt the plastic housing but make sure it has decent rust preventative, there is a ton of moisture that builds up in these doors that will seize the gearbox as well.

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Some Photos Around the Shop

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Exhaust Pony Motor Part

Here are some random things that we have been working on lately. My Uncles have a large Earth Moving company and just celebrated their 50 anniversary in business. In order to celebrate some of the equipment that has been used since the early 60′s had to be repaired to mark the occasion. I was asked to repair this “S” curved exhaust pipe that pumps hot exhaust from the “Pony Motor” through the intake manifold of the big diesel engine. This preheats the diesel engine before you engage a clutch to make the “Pony Motor” turn it over and start it up. I made this jig to precisely re-make the exhaust pipe in Stainless Steel so it wouldn’t rust out in 50 years like this one!

Heat Shields Ferrari Header

Ferrari 330 Exhaust Heat Shield

We had a 1966 Ferrari 330 in the shop that was missing the exhaust header heat shields. We ended up making new ones.

Ferrari 330 GTC Repairs

Ferrari 330 GTC for some minor Repairs

This spectacular 330 GTC was in the shop for a host of minor repairs that turned out to be a large job. We took out the incorrect brake booster and master and replaced it with the correct stuff. We also replaced the radiator core, installed my newly manufactured A/C vents and knobs and got the engine to run much better. Someday, the owner wants us to re-paint the car in the original color.

Maserati Ghibli V8

Maserati Ghibli 4.9 V-8

I can’t remember if I have posted on this subject, a Maserati Ghibli Spyder Restoration. Rolf has done a magnificent job rebuilding this engine that was missing tons of parts. The whole car was taken apart 10 years ago and many of the critical parts were lost so we really had to take our time making sure everything was just right. There will be more posts on this engine assembly in the next few weeks. What a great engine, I have been a fan of Maserati engines since riding around Lime Rock Race Track in a 450S Maserati at the age 10.

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Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 Wheels

Now that I am finished with my part of the project, these wheels are off to Syl’s shop to be painted. They came off a 1968 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2, affectionately called the “Queen Mother” in our small and incestuous community. These are really attractive wheels and are beautifully cast in Magnesium Alloy.  Along the rim edge is a very deep cut reverse curve that ends in a very thin edge. Every edge on this set of wheels was beat up by sloppy workmanship when changing tires or sloppy driving while grinding on a curb in an attempt to park.

Mag Wheel Repair to Ferrari

Wheel Repair to Ferrari 365 Mag Wheel

Ferrari Wheel Repair, Welding

Repairing Ferrari 365 Wheel

Ferrari Mag Wheel Welded and repaired

Ferrari Welded Wheel

 

I tried to weld only the busted areas but ended up welding along the entire edge and set it up in the lathe to re-cut that delicate area. It is amazing how easy this Magnesium welds once the whole part is warmed up properly. It builds up in such big bubble gum beads that it only took two passes to get enough material on to eventually cut it down to the desired profile. This photo shows only a small area welded but I ended up doing the whole edge for a uniform radius.

After the welding, I sent them to be crack tested as these wheels have a tendency to fatigue at the rim edge and cause the tire to blow out. I have also seen photos of the wheel breaking right at the hub area which is super thick so they must have had some casting flaws in some wheels.

The next step was to dip each wheel in an acid etch followed by “Anodine 1210″ solution to convert the wheel to a neutral condition and protect the casting until I could primer it to seal it against the atmosphere. Magnesium corrodes instantly so the Anodine protects the metal while it dries out. My last step it so shoot the wheels with Zinc Chromate Primer just like they used when the wheels were first painted. I can get this primer in Yellow or pale green so I stuck with the original shade.

365 Ferrari WHeels Magnesium

Magnesium Alloy Wheels for Ferrari 365

Syl will really make the wheels pop with some properly applied polyester filler and another coat of urethane primer which will be sanded to bowling ball smoothness. He shoots the wheels with a PPG basecoat in bright aluminum followed by a Clear Coat that has some flattening agent to dull them down about 20%. Wheels were never totally shiny because they would detract from the bodywork on the car. These wheels will be a little nicer than the original finish but we have different standards these days.

 

 

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Ferrari 330 and 365 Wheel Restoration

Lets see if I can describe this story so its understandable…. In the mid 1960′s, Ferrari was drifting away from Borrani wire wheels on their street cars and started using Campagnolo cast alloy wheels. The first style was the heavily ribbed and complex “starburst” wheel used on the early 275 GTB and GTS, followed by the smooth and sculpted “10 hole” wheel shown in the photo below. A 14″ size was used on the 330 GTC and later 275′s and a 15″ version was used on the 330 and 365 GT 2+2. The offset was different on the 330 and 365′s but they are identical otherwise. In this photo, the 365 wheel is to the left and 330 to the right. The 330 Rim edge is much deeper than on the 365 wheel but otherwise they are very similar.

365/330 Wheels Campagnolo

330/365 Ferrari 15″ wheels

A man in Texas asked for my help to find a set of 5 cast wheels and straight ear center lock nuts for his 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. I called my usual contacts and realized very quickly that these are extremely rare parts and the center lock nuts were simply no longer available.

I did find a complete set of 365 wheels with the more “shallow” rim section but nothing for the 330 type wheel, however, the 365 GT 2+2 at our shop was rolling on the wheels that belong on a 330! I sent my customer a proposal that if he wants wheels for his 330, he’ll have to buy the five 365 type wheels that I found which would be fitted to our 365. He would have to pay me to crack test and refinish all 10 wheels which is a huge job because all of the wheels need welding and cleaning up and go through the process of preparing Magnesium Alloy for painting. After a huge sigh of relief, I just finished packing and shipping the 5 perfectly re-painted wheels to Texas with brand new looking cad plated hubs and original style valve stems and tires.

Since the stars were aligned just right, I found a set of 4 totally ratty straight ear lock nuts a little later in the project.  I welded and straightened the bent and smashed knock off ears in preparation for re-chrome plating and when Mickey sent them back all shiny, they looked just like jewelery. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of them all glossy and perfect.

Ferrari 330 Knock off

Ferrari 330, 365 GT Knock Off Nut

330/365 Straight Ear Wheel Nut

Knock off Nut for Ferrari 330

Repainted Ferrari 330 Wheel

Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Repainted Wheel

Re-Painted Wheels

330 GT 2+2 15″ Wheels Painted

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Ferrari 330 and 365 A/C Vents

Ferrari 330/365 A/C Vent

Ferrari Air Conditioning

Awhile back I published a post on reproducing the often broken or missing vents and knobs for the Ferrari 330 and 365′s that showed the  prototype to review before the final production. The final order of vents have arrived in a box and I challenged myself to make the delicate and finely detailed knobs that go in the middle of them.

Late production 330 GT 2+2′s had optional Air Conditioning with 3 louvered vents in the middle of the dash with little thimble sized knobs that you twist to both direct the air flow and operate the fan speed and temperature of the A/C system. The middle vent had a blank knob and the outer vents said “aria” I II III (for the three speed fan motor) and the other outer vent had a knob that had the script “freddo” that controls the temperature of the air outlet. I found some very good original knobs and cleaned them up, chipped the white paint out of the script and sanded the delicate fluted lines on them to make a good mold. Then I made tooling to make consistent parts time after time to fit the “D” shaped switch shafts. The results are amazing, I am so impressed at how great everything came out.

I didn’t make the louvered vents, these parts were extremely complicated because the outer cylinder of the vent is on a different angle than the louvered slats, how do you make a mold that not only pulls apart straight but allows the louvers to be on a 45 degree angle! Since I paid the big bucks, I own the multiple piece mold and may tell you the secret someday.

The only part I have not made are the chrome trim rings that go on the outer edge of the vent. Later this month the tooling will be finished up to stamp them out of brass and have them chrome plated to match the rest of these lovely little parts.

In this photo you can see the simple little tool to make the fluted knobs. I can only make one at a time but the same tool makes the “Aria”, the “Freddo” and the blank knob. Since I am using the slow cure plastic, I can only make two knobs per day but will experiment with faster cure resins to churn them out a little more rapidly. (if anyone actually orders them)

A/C vents for Ferrari's

330 or 365 Air Conditioning vents

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Antifreeze Doesn’t Last Forever

What makes antifreeze go from alkaline to acidic? Does combustion gas leak from the head gasket and contaminate it or is it the heating and cooling process? Regardless, we have had two corrosion situations from acidic coolant recently, a pair of 330 cylinder heads and the core plugs in a 365 GTB/4 Daytona. To be fair, the core plugs are very soft alloy in comparison to the engine block so they are kind of sacrificial, unfortunately they are difficult to change. These plugs were so delicate that just by scraping the crusty coolant off to find the source of the leak, the screwdriver poked right through them like they were made from waxed paper.

Daytona engine block

Ferrari 365 Daytona Engine repair

Core Plugs for Daytona Ferrari 365

Ferrari 365 Core Plugs

The 330 heads are a combination of a bad casting and corrosive coolant. I saw a youtube video showing the process of building a modern Ferrari 612 engine where an MRI test was used to determine the thickness and integrity of a cylinder head casting. They didn’t have this technology in 1966 and this is the evidence of it! The deep pores in the exhaust port aren’t from corrosive coolant, it’s from a horrible casting. The pitted areas around the water passages are due to corrosive coolant rotting the material away.

330 Head Gasket leak

Head Gasket leaking on Ferrari 330

Cylinder head Leaking on 330 Ferrari

Welding holes in Ferrari 330 V-12

Like a dentist, I drilled and scraped the corrosive material out so I could weld the holes that were leaking coolant into the exhaust and intake ports. I don’t often remove valve seats and realize what a difficult job it is but I found a great way to get them out easily. I take a valve with the same size stem as the original (8mm for Ferrari) but has a slightly smaller head. I weld the head to the seat and drive the valve and seat out with a hammer from the back side!

Ferrari 330 GTC Head Repair

Repairing 330 GTC Heads

Anyhow, after welding, grinding, pressure testing a number times, I finally have the heads sealed up and looking great. After grinding and cutting the core plugs out of the Daytona block, we installed the new ones and sent the car home.

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Silver and Grey

Sepia tone Ferrari

Altered photo of Ferraris

I’m not feeling too inspired to write on the blog but thought I’d try to make a photo look like it was taken years ago. Not that successful. These are two cars that I really like, the convertible is an outstanding original example of a Pininfarina Cabriolet and the other car is Ian’s 330 2+2 that we just finished re-upholstering.

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Dash Vents for Ferrari 330 and 365′s

Vents for Ferrari 330, 365

Ferrari A/C Vents for sale

In 1966 Ferrari began installing Air Conditioning as a factory option in the 330 GTC and 330 2+2 using many U.S. sourced parts such as York Compressors and Aeroquip hose and fittings. Since the cosmetic appearance matters as much as physical appearance, I have gone through great lengths to find the original specification parts to repair A/C systems in factory equipped cars and to assemble kits to sell to people wishing to install A/C in their car.

I have jigs to make the evaporator housing  under the dash and have patterns to make the compressor brackets. There are thousands of different drier bottles available but the style used on Ferrari’s is the hardest to find and I have a little stash of them to make the system look just right. The Pressure switch was a total pain to locate because it isn’t a automotive A/C part, it is a commercial refrigeration part so after a bunch of research, I have these parts too.

The last part that I am struggling with are the cold air vents that have a opening in the center for the fan speed and temperature switches. I have decided to re-make these vents to sell with the kits and to have them available for sale separately because the originals are brittle and break easily. To make the louvered vent set complete, I am making the chrome plated trim and “Aria” and “Freddo” knobs to fit on the switches.

These photos are the prototypes that need to be reviewed before final production and other than one minor change, they look fantastic. In the next month I will finish the trim parts and knobs and I will have car sets available for sale.

A/C vent for Ferrari 330

330 GT, GTC A/C vent

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