Overhauled Porsche 911 Engine

A very good customer showed up last fall with one of my favorite cars, an early Porsche 911 Coupe. While the car did run and propel itself down the road, it needed lots of mechanical attention to remedy oil leaks, weak compression on a few cylinders and a huge list of other things. We decided that in order to enjoy the car in the future, we needed to go through the engine, transmission, brakes, clutch and other less dramatic things such as the heat and vent controls and … windshield wiper blades!

Here is a video of the engine running on the test stand to check for leaks and the adjustment of the ignition system and carburetors. This engine has German made Solex/Zenith carburetors, an Italian produced Magnetti Marelli distributor in combination with a French S.E.V Marchal Alternator.

Early Porsche 911 Engine Test After Overhaul

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Rust in the Rocker Panels

Our customer wanted us to re-paint this 330 GTC because the paint was faded and cracking but the car appeared to be very straight and showed no signs of rust or accident damage. As we exposed the bare steel under layers of blue and red paint we found some minor accident damage at the left front headlight that was expertly fixed years ago. The other damage was from the infamous “rust worm” slithering about the rocker panels and rear wheel arches. There wasn’t any bubbling in the paint because someone (expertly) applied stainless steel tape over some perforations in the bodywork which did a great job sealing water from behind and lift the finish.

I cut away the rocker panels and cut the inner structure from behind the rear fender arches so I can properly fix and seal the panels so they’ll last at least another 45 years. Water can get into the rocker panel area but there are many areas for it to leak out but there were these big sand bricks trapped inside which allowed the water to linger in there for a long time which caused the most damage. As bad as it looks, there won’t be any major re-construction other than a few new inner sill struts and new rocker panels.

Refinishing a Ferrari 330 GTC

Refinishing a Ferrari 330 GTC

Rocker panel Ferrari

Rocker panel Ferrari

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308 GT/4 Dino

My plan was to remove the engine and perform a “major service” on the ’79 Ferrari 308 GT/4 but after a leak down test revealed that a few cylinders were weak, I decided to break it down. The combustion chamber leak was from a few valves that weren’t closing so I knew it needed a full valve job. When removing the main bearing caps to inspect the bearings, we found evidence of an improper line hone or some major grit which scratched the journal. It’s irritating because main and rod bearings are super expensive and I was hoping that we could just re-coat them for a fraction of the cost. The machine shop will check the cylinders and hopefully we wont need new pistons!

Nate inspected the transmission and found that 3 of the 5 synchros are worn to the limit so we need to spend another $2000 on the transmission! Yuck, why do I think I can purchase and make money on re-selling these cars?

Engine Ferrari 3.0

Engine Ferrari 3.0

BLock for Ferrari GT/4

308 GT/4 crankshaft

308 GT/4 crankshaft

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365 GTC/4 KONI Shocks

KONI gas charged self leveling shocks were installed in later production 4 seat Ferrari’s starting out at the 365 GT 2+2 up to the 400′s. Later 400′s and 412′s had hydraulic controlled self leveling shocks that adjusted by a little valve attached to the rear sway bar. KONI doesn’t make any parts to overhaul these self leveling shocks and rumor is that don’t even admit to having made them! We convert the rear shocks to adjustable ride height coil over units which takes away all the mystery because rebuild parts are available for these generic series 82 KONI’s.

365 GTC/4 KONI Shocks

365 GTC/4 KONI Shocks

Self Leveling rear shocks gas charged

Self Leveling rear shocks gas charged

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Hundreds of Hours of Labor

Carrozzeria Touring Berlinetta

Carrozzeria Touring Berlinetta

Ferrari Headlight detail

Ferrari Headlight detail

Touring Carrozzeria Body Dashboard

Touring Carrozzeria Body Dashboard

High Build Primer Ferrari

High Build Primer Ferrari

Here are a series of photos of the block sanding process on the Ferrari 166 Touring Berlinetta. The sheet metal is all sorted and gaps are perfect but the body needs hundreds of hours of serious elbow grease (sanding) to make sure it is all straight as an arrow. Syl isn’t scared of the “mud”, he completely fills in all of the door and hood gaps allowing him to block sand right across them so when the light hits the highly polished top coat you won’t see any waves or change in reflection.

Even though the grill we made fit the opening in bare aluminum, Syl spends hours making it perfect with skim coats of body filler and attacks the headlight rim contact areas with the same level of perfection. There isn’t any room for error when working with super fine trim that is used all over this car like the delicate headlight rings and the low profile windshield and rear glass surrounds. Imagine these surrounds,  start with a long  section of 1/4″ aluminum rod and whittle it down so only a quarter of it is used.  We re-made this trim because the delicate original material was destroyed when the car was disassembled.

Right now, the car is sealed up in high build primer with a blue tinted epoxy primer that seals the polyester filler from moisture and greasy finger prints. Now we have some more fitting here and there before it goes back to Syl’s shop to work out some more details such as the incredibly complex belt-line crown that goes from the headlight to the tail light..

We’ll probably have more hours in sanding and painting the dashboard that it would take to paint an entire late model car like a Mercedes or Honda. The dash on this car is a thing of beauty but it requires a perfectionist sicko to finish it because like the rest of the car, the trim that surrounds the gauges and switches are like string bikinis

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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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Ferrari 250 Engine Finished and Tested

Casey just finished assembling this engine after all kinds of people blessed it to make sure everything is in the required specification. The reason it came apart is because the valve guides were loose in the heads and allowing oil to flow right into the exhaust and eventually fouling out the spark plug. When we disassembled the engine we found that the cylinders were polished to a very high level of shine and couldn’t imagine that the piston rings would ever seat. In conversations with Hastings Piston Ring Company it was learned that the cylinders needed to be honed to a coarse 280 grit rather than the ultra smooth mirror polish. Since the engine was apart, we decided to have a specialist cut the rear “slinger” off the back of the crankshaft so we could install a conventional lip seal to prevent oil leaks.

The engine is running great and just today we took the car out for a drive in the Arctic Cold air where it performed perfectly.

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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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Ferrari 308 Door Repair

It’s hard to tell how deep the crease is in the photos but the door skin actually split at the rear edge and crushed the framework at the closure area. The crease went on the panel behind the door as well so Nate took the door apart and pulled the fuel tank to access the inside of the rear panel. I had to make a few custom tools to get inside the door to shrink the sharp crease and other dents without having to remove the entire skin. It would have been a bear to remove and replace the skin because the door fits so well from the factory and to duplicate that is tons of work. A complete replacement door would have been equally intensive so my gut reaction is to fix what you’ve got

The paint match is excellent, the car is the newer tint of blue sera metallic, a slightly lighter shade than I have seen on older cars like Dino’s and 330′s. I like the older shade more because the paint contains more gray where the shade on this car has more         violet in the tint. Either way, I am happy with the results, the car is fully polished and looks killer

GTSI Door repair

GTSI Door repair

Quattrovalvole 308 GTS

Quattrovalvole 308 GTS

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XK-140 Jaguar

We did tons of work on this 1956 Jaguar XK-140 this summer, between waiting for parts and correcting some stubborn little details and then cleaning it all up, we spent some hours on this beauty. Now that Mike has his car back, he has been driving all over the place including to and from work, a 50 mile drive one way!

Jaguar XK-140 DHC

Jaguar XK-140 DHC

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