Alfa Romeo Zagato 2600

We are very close to finishing up the body work on the Alfa Romeo 2600 Zagato after some hassles on getting information on this rare car. This car was very rusty as though it came out of the Long Island Sound but now the body is all steel again and its going to be sealed and painted to make it last forever. The car was built with layers and layers of steel sandwiched together in certain areas which caused massive puffy rusted sections on the bottom of the doors and rocker panels.

We also had to remedy some accident damage and make a bunch of missing trim and even the front turn signal marker lights. Thankfully I found lenses but couldn’t find the bulb holder assemblies so we had to make these as well as bumpers, a full trunk lid and other parts.

Alfa 2600 SSZ

Zagato Alfa Romeo Restoration

1966 Alfa Romeo 2600 Zagato

Alfa Romeo 2600 Zagato 1966

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Ferrari 166 for the 2013 Mille Miglia

Ferrari 166 In Epoxy Primer

166 Berlinetta in Primer

After years of extremely taxing labor, we finally finished up the 1950 Ferrari 166 Touring Berlinetta in preparation for its maiden voyage, the 2013 Mille Miglia in Italy. It was an incredible task spearheaded by Casey who had more on his mind than just completing the car in time to catch a flight to Italy, he was going to celebrate his honeymoon in Italy after the Mille Miglia!

In 1999, a gentleman from Tennessee asked us to begin a restoration on this car and as we dug into it, he wanted everything modified. He wanted an alternator in place of the generator, he wanted fuel injection in place of the carburetors and insisted on aircraft wiring harness and “bear claw” door latches, the list went on and on. We suggested he buy a brand new BMW Z3 and drape a classic style Ferrari body on it but he didn’t think that this was a great idea. He wanted all of these modifications ANY take it to Ferrari shows such as the Cavallino Classic and win! He wanted to have his cake and eat it I guess. Anyhow, we couldn’t destroy this car so we dragged our feet for 10 years and eventually he asked us to sell the car.

The current owner asked us to put the car back together and paint it the original “Touring Blue” color that it was from new. This was a true body off restoration with not one screw or part that wasn’t thoroughly “massaged” and if we didn’t massage the original parts, we made new stuff, lots and lots of new stuff.

We bought brand new parts and restored them because they weren’t good enough such as the re-plating the new headlight rings because horrible chrome that was dull, and restoring the brand new push button start switch that didn’t work. The entire grille and front end was re-made since the car was crash damaged and had ’55 Ford headlights installed as well as the windshield surround that was too delicate to reuse.

Berlinetta Touring Ferrari 166

Instruments for the 166 Ferrari Touring Berlinetta

This car was a labor of love and it brings me to one of my favorite subjects, Human Energy! There was so much Human emotion to dream up these cars and then tons of human effort to build them because every part is hand made and custom fitted to each car. Every day that we touched this car, we were in disbelief at how long it must have taken for it to be build. So, with all of that energy, we essentially built it all over again which takes even longer than building it the first time around!

Needless to say, the car in incredible and it drives very well. It completed the Mille Migila gracefully only needing a brake adjustment and a replacement distributor cap. It rained every day but the little blue coupe took the weather, the mountains, the stop and go pace through town with ease.

Restored Ferrari 166 Berlinetta

Ferrari 166 Berlinetta nearing completion

Mille Miglia Bound

Ferrari 166 and 212 prepared for the Mille Miglia

And Casey spent the following week in Italy with his lovely wife Jessica.

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It Takes Tons of Patience to Finish Things

Operations at the shop have been very slow for the last few weeks, after blasting things apart last fall we now have to put them back together which gets very tedious. No matter how much we try to account for every little detail, there are always a host of things that slip through the cracks. The Ford Tractor project has been halted until we make a new sewing thimble sized bushing for the distributor and the Lusso engine was nearly complete until Nate told me we were missing the fuel rail. It turns out that it had been at the chrome shop for the last 6 months, slamming on the brakes.

About 2 years ago a guy called me to ask how much I charge to overhaul a Porsche 356 engine. I gave him some rough estimates and didn’t hear from him for 2 years. In October he called me to say he was on his way up with the car to drop it off for the job!

A 356 engine is straightforward enough but nothing is ever simple at our shop. The car is a 1956 356 “A” Coupe the serial number on the engine timing cover revealed that it was from a 1962 356 “B”. I ordered all kinds of parts for the overhaul procedure but when it came to assembly time, the crankshaft main and rod bearings were incorrect. It turns out that the timing cover was from a “B” but the two case halves were the original 356 “A” parts that have many little but significant differences.

With a great deal of patience and tenacity, Casey has gotten the engine together and it will be ready for a test run soon. This engine needed everything, the sheet metal was rusted and the complete exhaust from the “J” pipes back was deteriorated beyond usefulness. While not detailed to a super high standard, the engine looks great

Overhauled Porsche 356 engine

Porsche 356 engine rebuilt

 

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330 GTC Rust repair

The GTC project is getting some attention after sitting idle for a few weeks. The car is very solid but suffers from the same problem as all Ferraris which is water getting trapped between layers of unprotected steel and corroding it away. The GTC has a very elegant circular vent in the “C” pillar to let air pressure out of the cabin when the doors are closed and when the vent system is used. Since this vent is an open hole into the interior, a little catch tray with a drain pipe is attached to the inside of the pillar so water doesn’t ruin the headliner and flood into the interior. A hose that can be seen under the car allows this tray to drain onto the ground but over time it plugs with debris and the water builds up and leaks inside the rear fender arch making the car disappear into a cloud of brown dust.

Understanding that this car is 45 years old, the bodywork is in amazing condition but you can see the concentrated rust damage connection to the leaking “drip tray”. The front of the rocker panels is rotten away which makes sense because of all the water spray getting inside while driving in the rain. Pininfarina did a great job sealing these car up when new and we will follow their technique so when we’re done, we’ll use the same super thick and rugged seam sealer (that smells like Star Wars Action Figures) allowing the car to last another 50 years when we finish with it.

Rear fender arches GTC

Remaking fender arches Ferrari GTC

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Alfa Romeo Sprint For Sale

Anyone want a very straight and solid California “Black Plate” Alfa Guilietta Sprint? I think it has a 1600 engine. We’ve had it at the shop for awhile and I’d like to sell the car so let me know if you are interested.

Alfa Giulietta Sprint

Alfa Giulietta Sprint

Alfa Sprint Bertone

Alfa Sprint Bertone

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An Amazing Way to Build a Trunk Lid

This is so cool, it must be some sort of World War II Aircraft Manufacturing technique for welding aluminum by smashing it together that was used for cars. This trunk lid was made by Carrozzeria Touring in the late 1940′s and as much as I curse the way they build cars, this is some of the most amazing craftsmanship I have seen. Since it isn’t adding any new material its keeps the panel very light and super strong and without the heat of welding, the panel doesn’t warp and distort. I’m guessing that the force of smashing the two aluminum pieces together in a focused area causes enough heat to melt and stick them tight.

Welding aluminum with a punch

Welding aluminum with a punch

Aluminum welding technique

Aluminum welding technique

I’d like to see other examples of this attachment procedure and find out what it’s called.

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A GTC

GTC for Sale 330

GTC for Sale 330

Here is a Super nice 330 GTC that a customer of ours is interested in selling. We’ve gone through all of the mechanical components within the last two years such as the engine, transmission and numerous other details. This car is outstanding and is ready to light ‘em up for 2012!

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MGA for Restoration

MGA 1600 Barn Find

MGA 1600 Barn Find

What do you think this car is worth? Even though the inside of all the sheet metal has a light coating of surface rust, the car is amazingly solid without any evidence rust bubbles in the rocker panels or bottom of the doors.  The car is complete with all the brightwork and trim and as you can see, the side curtain’s are still in tact. The seats are nice leather things that probably came from a Volvo, absolutely not original.

The engine turns over freely with the starter and it sounds like it has even compression in all cylinders. It has all the original mechanical components like the Lucas Starter, Generator and distributor. Based on how well all of the panels fit and the condition of the sheet metal, it doesn’t appear to have ever been in an accident. The odometer shows 15K miles, is that possible?

I’m thinking of putting it on ebay but need to get a feel for the value before I go through that exercise. I’d really appreciate anyone’s feedback on where to go with this MGA.

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Another Jig for Stainless Steel Water Pipes

If I were making a production run of something, this isn’t how I would do it. Ferrari made thousands of “250″ series cars all with these goofy water pipes for the cooling system which vary drastically throughout the 10 year production run.  They are so complex and hard to duplicate that re-making them nearly impossible. This “J” shaped pipe has a compound curve with barbs that have to be welded on in exactly the right location even though they appear to be stitched on at random locations. If they are off one millimeter, they will hit the oil filter or run into the fan.

These pipes are for the Lusso/GTE series of 250, but I can make a number of other styles from 166 up through the 275 cars utilizing my incredible and growing stockpile of bends and flared ends. Right now I am making a short run of the water pipe that connects the thermostat housing to the engine on a 275 GTB/GTS Two-Cam engine.

Water pipe for Ferrari

Water pipe for Ferrari

Water pipe copied for Ferrari

Water pipe copied for Ferrari

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Porsche Wiring Harness

A 1971 Porsche 911 came in with a melted main wiring harness. A number of shops advertised new-old stock  harnesses on their websites but when I inquired they admitted that these parts haven’t been available for years. I called some used parts shops such as CarQuip and a place in CA, cannot remember the name…. and they had nothing. It seems that these harnesses get damaged and need replacing frequently!Tom at CarQuip did send me a used harness for a ’71 but the wire colors and gauge of wire didn’t match which I thought was very odd.

Y-nZ’s has supplied us with spectacular harnesses for 356 Porsche’s and most recently an amazing harness for a 1952 Chrysler Imperial but they quoted a larger price than I thought it worth so here is Casey making one from scratch! We bought all the terminal ends and had the PVC housing so for a major cost savings, here you go, a harness with factory color wire and correct appearance harness!

Main harness Porsche 911

Main harness Porsche 911

Porsche 911 early wiring harness

Porsche 911 early wiring harness

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