Saturday, December 28, 2013

Finally bit the bullet

I have been hashing around with the idea of moving the fuel fill up to the rear valance like some of the Abarth rally cars had and finally just went for it. I haven't sorted the new fill yet but I might just use the old one with a nice cap on it. It wouldn't look bad welded in and painted the body color with a nice aluminum cap. 

First ride with the GoPro

So I took a burn round the block for a trial run. Ordered an external mic already.... Yep, the sound is horrible!
Don't really like the position of the camera either so I will try different places.
Here's the YouTube link:

Friday, December 27, 2013

Steering rack mock up

I have put the block, exhaust header, and bell housing back in the car to "mock up" the space I have to fit a steering rack. It is tight and I wonder if I need to make a heat deflector fit as well since the rack will run very close to the exhaust. 

GoPro shot of my crowded garage

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Finished cleaning up the engine

We had a great Christmas and I managed to get some time in the garage. I finished cleaning up and stripping the block. I successfully beat the oil pan back into shape, or at least close enough to work perfectly...
Next step, stick it back in to measure for the steering rack.
Oh, and Santa did bring me what I wished for!!! I'll introduce you to my gopro soon ;)

Monday, December 23, 2013

More cleaning of engine parts

I've been cleaning, or degreasing... 
The engine is in very good shape and could really go right back in the car as it is, but what fun is there in that?

See the nicks in the oil pump?
Hmmm, check this out...

I guess I have to put some thought into beating the oil pan back into shape. Or.....

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Engine rebuild

Back in 1993 I rebuilt my first fiat engine. I armed myself with 3 manuals, 100 plastic bags and 10 sharpies. As I delved into disassembling the engine I bagged and tagged every screw, bolt, washer, plastic clip....
I cleaned everything, honed the cylinders, replaced all the bearings, rings, seals, gaskets, etc.
I actually managed to get the thing back together and made it run again. Yep, I was somewhat amazed!
Well, that engine is still going in my 77 so, to a point, I am even more amazed.
The one thing I didn't do was have the head redone since money was tight and it was way over my head... No pun! 
Head work is still above and beyond my capabilities!
This time around, as much as I am thick headed and like to do everything myself, I am sending the block and the head out to be done. The cylinders will be bored out .4mm to accommodate oversized pistons. This is also way past my skill level. The head will be ported and reground with larger valves. The cams will also be replaced. I am lucky enough to be only a few hours away from a mechanic with 25 + years experience working on Fiats. 
If my methods seem scattered while I go off on tangents all the time, here is my reasoning behind the current change of direction. 
I am stripping the block and cleaning it up. Before I deliver it to Beek (the engine guru) I will drop the block back in the car so that I can measure and mock up the available room to work with on my steering rack conversion. The space between the crossmember and bell housing is pretty tight so I have to be sure that I can fit the steering rack.
Like I did 20 years ago, I am bagging and tagging all the parts to be sure I don't lose anything.  

Monday, December 16, 2013

Off on another tangent

As I'm growing tired of the bodywork, I continue to find other parts of the project to work on. A couple nights ago I managed to sort out a bracket to mount my fog lights. Still lots to do, but I have the design and layout sorted. Then I popped the hood and started thinking about what needs to be done in the engine bay. That, and some posts on my favorite forum, got me motivated to sort out what I want to do with my steering. My plan is to swap out the steering box, center link and idler for a manual rack and pinion. I went ahead and remounted the front suspension in order to start measuring and sourcing a compatible rack. I will have to fabricate brackets, welded to the cross arm which supports the engine, to hold the rack. I am sure I will also have to fabricate a tie rod end sleeve, well... 2, which will connect the new rack to the original style outer tie rod. I am lucky enough to already have the larger disks and calipers from the 85.5 spider and with a rack an pinion set up I am sure it will be great.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

This is just too exciting!

I managed to get a wheel well cleaned up!!!
If you are reading this and don't know me, blame my mother for my ferocious sarcasm!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Finally got the garage organized

And managed to get back to the car only to go backwards...
I have not been happy with the "ground effects" I created behind the front wheel. It seemed to deep and steep a curve. So today I chopped the drivers side off and welded in a new curve. So far, I like it better...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Off on another tangent

So I took a break from my endless body work and messed around with a dry run on my trunk popper. As I continue to work my way around the car I am trying to sort the bits and make sure I have everything I need before I finalize and paint. The other night I fit a solenoid pull trigger to my trunk latch. Tonight, I attached an RFID remote fob sensor so I can just swipe the fob to open the trunk. I hooked it up temporarily since I still have much work to do inside the trunk. 
Here are a couple videos of my progress.

Yep, I'm a geek, it's official...

Monday, November 18, 2013

So it's been forever since I posted any progress

I have been working on the car a little bit here and there, as time permits, but this work stuff has really gotten in the way. Also, the garage was such a disaster that I pulled off working on the car and spent the last week or so cleaning the mess up, organizing tools, supplies and parts. I have a lot more room now and will try to get back to it. In the meantime, I have been fine tuning the body work on the drivers side and it is shaping up. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Working on the back end

Couldn't live with the deck lid gap and after messing around for a while, I cut a long slit and put the gap where I wanted it, then welded it back up.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Finally stripped the last parts

Over the last couple days I reached a point worth celebration having stripped the last parts of the multiple layers of paint. 
This afternoon I rehinged the deck lid and started working on alignment and finishing touches on the body work around the back of the car.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Getting close on the drivers side

A little more blending today, trying my best to find Tjaarda's lines again. The body lines on these cars are just plain beautiful and even if I am creating some of my own, I can't disregard the art.

I like to think that what I am creating is what Tom Tjaarda would have, if he was not constrained by the nessecity of mass production. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

More slow progress

What's the old saying?
When I have time, I have no money and when I have money I have no time...
Yea, busiest time of the year and still working like crazy. I have managed a hour here and there but progress is slow.
I have been working my way back up the drivers side, replacing the door handle section, welding in the old mirror holes,
Cutting out and replacing some rust areas in the door bottom.
Today I finished the welding and laid on some body filler. Put it on, sand it off...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

This work stuff is really becoming a problem.

I did get out to the garage for a bit yesterday and stripped some more old paint. I got another seam welded up and tapped out a few more dents. Not too much more to strip which is great since it is a very messy job.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Trying to sort out seats.

I have a great friend who does upholstery and when discussing the seats for the car he told me to make sure I get them in his hands during the summer.... Still summer isn't it?
Well, to end my break, I dug out the old race seats and torn the cover off one to see how bad they are. Bad, yes, very bad. They need to be sand blasted and painted before they go anywhere. So, now I am up in the air as to whether it is cost effective to redo these or if I should just go with a set of Corbeau Classic seats which I am pretty sure I will love. We'll see...

That's it, break's over

Or at least I'll try to get back to it!
It has been hectic but fun with two weeks on the road and then two weeks with my Austrian relatives with us in Florida.
Here's a shot of the kids having breakfast in Hell's Kitchen.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Slow progress...

I have been working like a dog to get stuff done and make a little extra to head out on a road trip.
So, the garage is all closed up and we head out tomorrow to the lake in Maine. After a few days there, we are taking the kids to NYC. On to Philadelphia where I will show the kids the house I lived in when I was born. Then Annapolis and DC, where we will hit up the air and space museum. That's the only thing my son really cars about seeing...
After DC, we'll head back east and down the eastern shore to Virginia. A day in Savannah, and then home.
Relatives from Austria are joining us in NYC, DC, and also once we are home.
Maybe I'll post something from the road, but it won't be about my little beast in the garage.
Everybody have a great couple weeks!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Off track a bit

So I went in a different direction today. A friend is having transmission troubles with his car and in an effort to help, I torn down one of my spare transmissions. It's another first for me and was a great learning experience. I learned that I need some better snap ring pliers, for one. I have been wanting to get a look inside one of these transmissions for a long time but have not had a good enough reason since the trans in the 77 has been fairly good all these 20 years.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Finally got a break in the weather

Managed to get a little done yesterday and this evening.
Finished the passengers side body work and worked on the roll bar again. I had to shorten it 3" and then widen it about the same.