Fall Drive

It was cool and rainy when we started the drive but as the day progressed, the sky cleared and the roads dried out. A number of Ferrari’s were on the drive as well as 3 generations of Porsche Turbo’s, a 1976, 1994 and 2011 that blasted over the leaf covered roads. A friend took some lovely photos of the cars at speed and here is one of my favorites. The car looks as though its hovering above the road but swimming more than hovering in the air.

Ferrari 275 GTB/4

4 Cam 275GTB.

Zach, Bill and I organize a few of these day long tours and you can learn more about them through the Europa Mothership website.

 

 

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1977 Ferrari 308 GTB Carter Secco (Dry Sump)

Ferrari 308GTB Dry Sump

Dry Sump 308GTB Ferrari

A week ago I pulled the trigger and bought this really nice 1977 Ferrari 308GTB Carter Secco. Carter Secco literally translates to “Dry Frame” but we use the term “Dry Sump” here in the US. Most of the Carter Secco’s are for European Delivery which is where I got this car. Notice the larger front spoiler, small fiberglass bumpers and the lack of rectangular side markers? Its so pretty this way. This car is super nice and sorted, has all the books and tools and was recently serviced. In a few weeks the car will be here with the early Lambo LP400.

The other Dry Sump 308GTB I purchased months ago should be here soon, it arrived in the US on December 31st but has been locked up in Customs for an Agricultural Inspection for weeks which really bothers me. I need the car here to inspect, photograph and resell, so many people are interested in the car and I need the cash! Keep an eye out for photos of that red/black car.

Here are more photos of the red/tan car

308GTB Dry Sump Carter Secco

308GTB Carter Secco

308GTB Dry Sump Engine

Dry Sump engine 308 GTB

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Late Production Ferrari 308GTB

Even though this is a 1979 Ferrari 308GTB, it has the next series GTBi (fuel injected) type of interior. At first I though it may have been changed to the more contemporary pattern but I thought that with the low miles, it was likely original. I bought the car from a guy in Kansas and was pleasantly surprised when it arrived because it had a super complete book and tool pouch. When I opened the warranty book, I found that it was sold new to Francis Tarkenton! Kind of cool even though I am not into football. Why didn’t I keep this car?

Original owner Fran Tarkington

Francis Tarkenton Warranty Card

1980 carburettor 308GTB

308GTB 1980

Later model 308GTB interior in a 1980

308GTB Interior

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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 Steering Gearboxes

Earlier this year, a good customer drove to the shop in his 1967 Ferrari 330GTC for some service work and asked me to critique the way his car handles. We went for a spin and I immediately understood what he was talking about, when entering a curve it took lots of “input” in order navigate a corner and even go straight down the road. I use the word “navigate” because it handles like a boat.

We have had the suspension aligned and he had it aligned at his local shop a few times in an attempt to remedy this problem but it still steers super slowl. We compared it to a few other cars that day which validated our feelings, there was something wrong with his car.

Ferrari used ZF steering boxes in all of the cars from the mid 50′s through to the Daytona in the early 70′s.  A 1:20 ratio was chosen for the 330GTC but the 275GTB of the same year used a faster 1:17 ratio. My solution was to buy a brand new 1:17 worm gear to replace the 1:20 and see how it goes down the road.

The handling was transformed and it finally felt like a sports car. The 1:17 ratio was the perfect match for the car, even the steering effort at parking speed wasn’t compromised. I really don’t understand why the 330 got the slower steering but I have since changed the ratio in three other GTC’s. If you have a 330GTC or even a 330 GT 2+2, you’ve got to install this faster ratio steering box, you will love the transformation

Ferrari 330 Steering Box

330GTC Steering Gear Box

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328GTB in Italy

Having sold the 1988 328 that I bought at Bonhams last January, I have the itch to get another one. My friend in Italy found this excellent red/tan car in his neighborhood and I bought it last week. It will be great to get it here because this is a European specification car with more power which will be fun to compare to the U.S. spec cars that we have enjoyed so much.

Sharing the container with this 328 GTB is a 308GTB “Carter Secco” that I have purchased for re-sale so stay tuned to this blog and my website for updates.

328GTB Euro Spec

Ferrari 328GTB

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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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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 308 GTB 1977

Rosso Rubino 308 GTB

1977 Ferrari 308 GTB Rosso Rubino

Since my daughter is named Ruby, I had to have this “Rosso Rubino” 1977 Ferrari 308 GTB. I was in Tacoma WA. last month for a car tour and to look at some cars that are for sale with my friend Branden. He located this super original, one owner 308 that just had a Major Service and tons of work to make it totally ready to go car. The car has all books, tools and lots of records signifying its single (careful) ownership status.

At first glance, the car doesn’t impress, but as you poke your head into the corners and hidden areas you can see how immaculate and totally rust free this thing is. The engine is so clean and leak free that it looks like it just rolled out of the factory, and the tray under the radiator, the undercarriage, above the muffler… all immaculate.

One of my favorite details is the interior, it is so clean and has that unique smell that is so specific to 308 GTB’s, I don’t think the GTS’ smell the same!  I have a very keen sense of smell so sitting in this car brings me back to my youth when I was first around 308′s way way back in the mid 80′s! We had a few very low miles 308′s in the shop back then and I distinctly remember the smell of the leather, the carpeting and whatever else made that vapor cocktail.

Original Interior Ferrari 308

Ferrari 308 GTB Interior Original

Engine Ferrari 308 GTB

1977 Ferrari 308 Engine

 

 

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Runs Geat, Needs Everything

Head gasket and oil leaks

Head gasket and oil leaks

Since the late 80′s or early 90′s we have been servicing the car that goes with this engine and it has always been one of the best running examples we know of. I remember riding in the truck with my father to get the car on a cold and foggy night, probably around this time of the year, no, it had to have been early November. It was a brutal trip through that pea soup thick fog as we went over some of the mountains in the Berkshires on route 22.

The current owner of the car drives the wheels off of it and we have overhauled a number of components like the brakes, transmission, and fuel pump but now it’s time to address the engine. It runs great, starts instantly and doesn’t smoke but there are so many oil leaks that we have to break it down to clean it off in order to remedy them. We were blown away because as well as it ran, the compression and leak down numbers were bad displaying 30% loss in some cylinders where there should be no more than 5-10%.

So, apart it goes – it’ll run through our “process” that includes getting the rear main bearing cap cut and grind the crankshaft for a conventional lip seal, new forged pistons and a needle bearing roller follower set among thousands of other things. The motor mounts are blown out and the water pipes will likely have holes in them and will need to be replaced so we will be busy this winter getting all these 250′s back together for the spring.

As much as I hate to mention it for superstitious reasons, we’ve had great success with Ferrari engine overhauls over the last half a dozen years. A few times a week other shops call me asking how to get head gaskets to seal and how to make water pumps turn without leaking or how to make mechanical fuel pumps to work as intended. Their shops are struggling to find the exact formula, and we seem to have it locked down lately. Nate has assembled so many of these engines, he seems to have a real formula on setting the clearances, knowing the tricks to seal them up and making sure every detail is nailed down too.

Clutch housing on 250 engine

Clutch housing on 250 engine

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