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Everything posted by oldcar

  1. Hello, are there any "Vintage" Fiat enthusiasts out there? Many of the AACA people will already know my name but have not seen very much of me in this (Italian) part of the forum. I am about to embark on a new project and right now the most likely candidate is a early "20s Fiat 501. These are an interesting little car with a four cylinder, side valve engine of just under 1.5 Litres, In 1922 the Fiat ran a team of three cars in that years Targa Florio. In this photograph you see Carlo Gasparin in one of the specially prepared Corsa Biposta cars. In various period photographs you see cars numbered 4 to 6. each with slight differences, i.e. At least one was fitted with wire spoke wheels and there were minor variations in the body design. In this photograph the car is fitted with standard factory "Sankey" steel artillery wheels. There are also variations to the amount of protection the driver and riding mechanic were given from the wind. In fact due to their pressed steel construction these are little or no heavier than the wire spoke wheels available at the time. Being "bolt on" type they avoid the expensive (to make) machined splines of "Knock-on" hubs. It would appear that a stock standard cast iron exhaust manifold is linked to the "sporting" outside exhaust pipe. My first task will be to decide which of two basket case cars that are on offer to me to buy. The car in the second photograph may be one or two years later. It is different in a number of features. Most of the period photographs show cars wearing single digit race numbers, (4, 5 & 8) Bernie j.
  2. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Hello Mike Yes thank you, That one is a much bigger car than the 501. Thank goodness my car does not have a magneto like that one. it has a Marelli and just for good measure I have two on the shelf. I will get around to looking at them soon. I have spent today cleaning the outside of the petrol tank and shaking a length of chain around inside it. Lots of loose rust and the outlet tap needs to be resoldered into place. Like nearly everything about the car, the petrol tap it is very nicely made and has a two position arrangement that gives a Main and Reserve position. Still need to find a filler cap for it, this has a male thread and is about 40mmin diameter. Given the Fiat's soon to be new Sporting nature, it may grow an extension to accomodate a "Quick Release" cap, although given its location this may need some thinking about. All will be revealed in the fullness of time! Bernie j.
  3. fiat electrical 052

    I am sorry I am just starting work on a Basket case 1924 501. While there are some very good Fiat Clubs most are mainly concerned with post 1950 cars. You could try sending a email to Richard Uncles in Australia. He has a vast knowledge re all things Fiat. I will send you a pm with his details. Bernie J.
  4. While living in Australia I have been a Member of the Vintage Sports Car Club in the UK for almost 40 years. I have just received in the mail the most recent copy of the VSCC Bulletin. I thought that I should share some of these photographs with you. Most of the cars shown are early 1920s Austin Seven's. Anyone care to guess what the car in the second photograph is? Enjoy. Bernie j.
  5. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    And the Mrs. lets you back in the house!! I have sent you a PM about the "C" but on that "Back into the house", only after I leave my work boots at the door. Re the TBird, there seems to be any number of "New" ones on the road here "Down under", Bj.
  6. Oh' to be in England

    Whoa! I think that this subject has run it's course. My original thought was to share some rather interesting photographs of some rather beautiful parts of England not usually on the Tourist Trail. Thank you for your interest. Bernie Jacobson.
  7. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Thank you Frank, I note that you are a 1958 model, your oldest car is just a cople of years Older than you and I doubt that any of your three cars would have started their life with you as "basket-cases". Having said all that, it is not intend to be criticism. It is more likely jealousy on my part. In the past I used to describe myself as an "impecunious enthusiast" but very few people understood exactly what that meant, so I just gave up and concentrated on the job in hand. I guess that is what I will continue doing. After all I cannot be seen to be "letting the side down". I still have a few goals to score. The worse part is that with so many wrinkles, I have to scrub so much harder when I wash up at the end of the day! Bernie j.
  8. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Not only all that but he also picks up and delivers for "special" clients. Now all those people (under forty five) with spacious air conditioned workshops, AND with all the latest in power tools, "shadow boards" with all their spanners set out is perfect size order, of course clinically clean and with perfect lighting, hot and cold running water etc etc, please take note! Remember too that I am a 1936 model and probably ready for the scrap-heap. Bj.
  9. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    One more little step forward with the motor. Even better news our friendly sand blaster delivered the chassis wheels etc back this afternoon so I cannot complain about having nothing to do. You can tell that the motor is a high performance one ex the factory by the way that the fixing screws for the mesh were all cross drilled to take the "tie wire" to stop them from unscrewing at high revs. Oops! I will have to go back and start again! Not all the screw-driver slots are perfectly aligned. Oh bother! That means indivdually machining all the washers to the correct thickness so that the screw-driver slots all line up when they are tightened down......... That could take days if not weeks or perhaps even months. These things simply must be ticketedie-boo! Bj.
  10. Oh' to be in England

    That is why you have to climb to the top. That drive is exhilarating enough to make it worth while. Once there it is amazing just how much/far you can see. For many larger Vintage cars need to do three point turns to get around some corners. In smaller sports cars you need to have enough power and driving skill to get the tail out going around some of the corners. That and the ability to change down to first gear while on the move. That is where our Lagonda Rapiers Preselector gearbox comes into play. I just love the challenge of climbing Alpine passes. These photographs shows our friends Ted & Fran Geermans in their Lagonda Rapier on the Col du Galibier. We were already at the top so could take this photograph. At 2,645 metres it the third highest pass we have climbed in our Lagonda Rapier. The highest is the Col de Iseran at 2769 metres. The second photograph shows the passengers view. To take all these photographs my intrepid passenger was using both hands to hold and use her camera. You also need to take into account we were travelling in a Right Hand Drive car on the Right Side of the Road. You can just see a (pedal) cyclist that we are overtaking on the extreme Right of the photograph. You are likely to meet them anywhere in the Alps, on either side of the road without any warning.! Bj.
  11. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Compare this photograph with #45. I still have to replace the "screen" but I think that you can get the idea. The little "ball float" works the level indicator under the glass window with the brass "frame" on the outside of the sump. This is easily viewed by simply opening the bonnet (hood). The copper drain tube on the centre LH side, returns any excess oil splash fed to the valve chamber. The copper tube across the rear of the sump delivers oil from the pump underneath the left hand rear corner to the distribution gallery in the crankcase feeding the main and big end bearings. Oil pump drive is from the rear of the camshaft. The pump drive then goes down through the hole in the top of LH rear corner of the sump to the pump obscured from view in this photograph. Bj.
  12. Oh' to be in England

    I must confess I have never been to New Zealand and now will probably never go there. We are however well into early planning for our next visit to the UK and Europe. We have one very real concern, Australian Customs have gone off the rails regarding the presence of asbestos in Vintage and Classic cars , prohibiting even the re-entry of cars that have left Australia to take part in overseas events. They claim the right to demolish returning or visiting Vintage & Classic Cars in their search for the stuff. Our Lagonda Rapier has asbestos free brake likings, it does not have a clutch but the bands and top gear cone in the Preselect gearbox were all made well before the asbestos ban. These offending parts are all encased within the "gear-box" and run in a bath of oil. Unlike brake linings the gear box does not manufacture and or release its own microscopic cloud of asbestos dust. No matter, a customs official has the right to dismantle the transmission at my expense, remove all the friction linings to have them tested and then destroyed, again at my expense, then hand me back the dismantled car, giving me 48hours to remove it from the Customs property. It would appear that our only two options are either not take the car out of Australia or to leave it in the UK or Europe when we come home. That fourth photograph is a little tricky, to get the full effect you need to look at the very top of the photograph. Bj
  13. Oh' to be in England

    Going back to my original post The car in the second photograph is a twin cylinder Jowet. Bj
  14. Oh' to be in England

    Thank you NZCN Some interesting cars especially the twin engined special. Sadly you missed the point with the UK photographs, my posting those pics was all about the stunning scenery in the background and the words of the Poem/song, "Oh to be in England now that April's (almost) there". These events are mainly run over open Public roads, and some Forest Comission service roads, not in a friendly farmers field. The last photograph shows the appalling conditions that the Brit's are prepared to drive their Vintage (Pre-1930) cars in. The VSCC's Night Navigation trial is run in Mid-Winter starting at Midnight and ending at Breakfast. All the cars competing are "pre-war' and mostly pre-1930. One year it was so cold that many of the entrants had a problem with the water in their radiators freezing solid while it was boiling in the motor.
  15. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Hi Paul If you think that I am mad have a look at the photographs that I posted today on "British Cars". The scenery is something else. Bj.
  16. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Chatting over lunch with my son Steve, we decided that I must be totally mad; To pull a component part of an old motor car apart then put it together again within a given time, say a month or two, is more or less a breeze. To pull it apart and leave it that way, takes very little or no brains at all. To knowingly go out and buy a car that was taken apart by someone unknown and left for anything up to forty or fifty years and them attempt to find all the pieces and put it all back together is a sure sign of total madness. If it is not just a single component but the whole car which also happens to be an obscure make and model, then this last option is not just madness but "Notifyable Insanity" and the person attempting this task should be put away in a padded cell.......... Bj.
  17. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Meanwhile work continues, albeit at a snails pace.... Yesterday I took the crankshaft and flywheel over to my friends at Crankshaft Rebuilders for them to put them into their "Swirl tank" to give it a thorough clean and to then crack test it, just to be sure! Meanwhile to do some cleaning of my own, I bought a box of a dozen "spray cans" of degreaser to clean up the Sump and the Crank case. I find that by buying them "wholesale" it works out at $2.29 per can. While I am waiting for the chassis etc to come back, rather than sitting on my hands, I can make some progress on the motor. Bj.
  18. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Steve also found this from Motor Sport magazine; Page 25, July 1951 Modernising a 501 FIAT Vintage enthusiasts generally are against modifying vintage cars. But sometimes an impecunious enthusiast craves improved performance, yet can only afford an elderly chassis. So, keeping an open mind, we present these notes on how that famous car, the 501 FIAT, was made to look and go better than when new.—.ED. I HAD one of those fine old 501 FIAT cars and drove it many thousands of miles with great satisfaction. Mine was a 1923 model with a heavy English body, and a large vertical screen which was common at that time. After I had driven it for two or three years it seemed to me worth spending time and trouble on to improve the performance. I felt sure that with its very large frontal area drastically put down, and a much lighter body the result might be surprising. It certainly was! About this time I saw a similar car advertised for £6 and went to look at it. To my surprise I found that it had done considerably less mileage than my own, and was in good running order, so I bought it. I had in mind the alterations I wanted to make and yet I didn't want to lay up my car for a longish period. First I stripped off the Italian body and made as near a scale drawing as possible. I then superimposed the proposed alterations, and as this seemed all right I proceeded to make a template of the side member of the chassis; I was aiming at underslinging the back of the car. It may be remembered that these cars were considerably upswept at the rear and were very high off the ground and inclined to roil on corners. There was a cross member about half way between the gearbox and back axle. My idea was to cut the frame in half about 8 ins, in front of the cross member, turn the back half upside down, and rejoin the two halves. I did this to the template and offered it up and all appeared well, so I cut the frame, turned the back over, procured two 1/2 in. steel liners which were a driving fit in the frame (they were about a foot long and secured with three bolts on each side of the cut), and this made a very rigid job. To make doubly sure the actual join was also welded. The spring pads were not a fixture, but able to revolve on the axle, so all I had to do was to turn them over; similarly, the springs were turned upside down and refitted, two or three leaves having been taken out in view of the much lighter body I intended to fit. The axle was now between the spring and frame, and if the car had been designed with this alteration in view it couldn't have been arranged better. Nothing else was required. The frame sloped down towards the back, and I should think the back was lowered about a foot. No alteration was needed at the front end, but the car had no front brakes. So I found a front axle off a 1926 car which had, and bought it and fitted it to the Special. The steering was very considerably raked, this being easily effected by means of a wedge-shaped casting and longer bolts. The radiator, which was extremely high, was lowered something like 8 ins, and at the same time sloped back and with a rather smart stone guard which I made and a pair of Lucas headlamps the front of the car was entirely altered. Lowering the radiator made it necessary to cut a hole for the starting handle this was beyond me, but a very skilful friend did it and it never gave any trouble. I have always disliked standing on my head under the scuttle to get at the gearbox, so partly for this reason, and partly for appearance, I brought the scuttle close to the wheel. This resulted in it being much farther back; so giving a long bonnet which, when opened, left the whole works easy of access; modern cars might with great advantage copy the accessibility of these old cars. The new instrument board was covered with engine-turned aluminium, which looked very nice but nearly wore out my thumb doing it with a piece of emery cloth! Both gear and brake levers were cut down, as the seat was now much lower. The dash tank was replaced by one at the rear and an Autovac which I got from a car breaker functioned faultlessly the whole time I had the car. I would vastly rather have one than an electric petrol pump. The engine was stripped and found to be in good condition. The bearings were taken up a little, and it was decided to fit aluminium pistons in place of the rather heavy cast-iron ones. At the same time the cylinders were re-bored, and a Ricardo aluminium head fitted (Ricardo made a standard head for this car, among others). There was a Solex carburetter, but I do not remember whether it was on the car already. This completed the alterations to the chassis. Any enthusiastic amateur with a decent workshop could have done the same, except for bonnet and wings, which I had specially made. I think many otherwise good jobs are spoilt by trying to do work which is a specialist's job, such as making a bonnet, and if this looks amateurish it spoils the whole thing. The wheels were steel artillery and were retained. At the time when I made this conversion I had a boat builder's shop and some skill in woodwork; so that the body presented no particular difficulty. A light frame was made and covered with three-ply, with felt between the panels and frame at all points Of contact. The panels were covered with black leather cloth put on with croid glue, the joins being covered with aluminium moulding. Before the car went on the road the leather was well coated with polishing wax and it never looked shabby as long as I had it. There were two bucket seats, useful room for suit cases, and a tonneau cover. The body had two doors, but owing to the right-hand gear and brake levers a really movable seat was essential, otherwise one could not get either in or out without great difficulty. I had never seen a sliding seat which was anything like satisfactory and I decided to make my own idea. I got some fairly heavy angle brass which I screwed to the floor, then I got some of those chair castors which instead of wheels have balls in the bottom. These were fastened to the seat so that they just fitted easily between the angle irons and ran on them like rails. This was a perfect success. I had only to pull a spring-loaded pin, and the whole seat rolled backwards or forwards without effort. Dunlopillo cushions made the seats very comfortable. The inside of the body was also panelled with leather-covered ply, but this was green, with green carpet to match, and green wheels. The finished job looked very smart and attracted interest wherever I went. There was a hood which folded almost flat, and the spare wheel was carried on the hack. So far as performance went the car exceeded all my expectations. I can best describe it as feeling as though the brakes had been on and someone had suddenly taken them off. The car was much faster, and more lively, in fact it was difficult to believe that it was the same car. The pistons and new head undoubtedly contributed, but I think the great reduction in weight and wind resistance were chiefly responsible. The car was never very fast by present-day standards, but she could and did on many oecasions cover fifty miles in an hour on good roads, without making any special effort, and she kept on month after month with absolute reliability. Altogether this was a most pleasant and economical car to drive and I felt the work done on her more than worth.while. The car was given to a nephew who was killed in the Battle of Britain, but I heard that it was seen going strong long afterwards ; if it is still going, I should very much like to hear from the present owner.
  19. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Thank you Mike for that valuable insight into the 501. When you look into the Fiats engine design and construction you know instinctively that the person responsible for it's design knew a great deal about internal combustion engines. In the early1920's it must have been years ahead of its contemporaries. I am in the middle of dismantling the engine for what, for the mostpart, will be a clean and re-assemble exercise. Working with such a high quality engine makes the job so much more pleasurable. Bernie j.
  20. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    FAMOUS LAST WORDS........ How often have you heard this? Often about cars that have just been pulled out of a barn after a nice long sleep. Yup! It turns over nicely and has quite good compression, the oil on the dip stick looks nice and clean, we will just top up the oil pan and see how it runs? Look again, the oil pump "pick up" is buried somewhere under all that gunk somewhere in the left hand rear corner. The oil pump drive is directly above it in the left hand rear corner. This is driven by a pair of gears at the rear end of the camshaft. Oil is delivered to the relief valve via the larger of the two holes in the right hand back corner, the excess oil goes back into the oil pan via the slightly smaller of the two holes. Oil is fed at full pressure to the three main bearings then via drillings in the crankshaft to the big-end bearings. Other oil is delivered to the timing gears, camshaft bearings, etc. The oil level is shown in the little round window via the round black ball (float) in the centre. There is a fine mesh screen halfway up above the oil level attached by the 18 round head screws that go into the lugs cast into the side of the oil-pan. All oil going back into the pan goes through this screen. Excess oil from the main bearings etc drains back via the pipe in the centre of the left hand side. All very neat and well thought out for what was a low to medium priced car in 1920/23. Absolutely no "spit and hope" or "splash with a dash" as with so many of the comparable cars of the period. Looking at the diagram (below), the small gear directly behind the main timing gears drives a cross shaft that in turn drives the water pump at one end and the magneto at the other...... Oil is also delivered at full pressure to the three camshaft bearings. Someone in the design department at Fiat in 1920 had their "thinking hat" on. Bernie j.
  21. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Trove tells us this about Melbourne Motor Body Co. MELBOURNE MOTOR-BODY CO. The name of the Melbourne Motor Body and Assembling Co. Pty. Ltd. has been changed from February 24 to Ruskin Motor Bodies Pty. Ltd. The original company was formed in 1905 in South Melbourne by Tarrant Motors to undertake body building solely for that firm. Expansion of business led to a move to Exhibition street, and later to Lonsdale street, where bodies were made for the Allied Motors group. In 1925 it was de- cided to reorganise the business as an entirely separate company to build for the trade in general, and £300,000 was spent on a plant in Dudley street, West Mel- bourne. Mr. P. L. Strong is the managing director, and Mr. R. G. Fernie is the general manager of the company, which has ob- tained contracts for bodies for many British, European, and American cars. Ex- cept for the change of name there has been no alteration in the constitution of the company. For the complete story on Coach-building and the Australian Motor Body Industry see http://mams.rmit.edu.au/7y85yw8f2ts8.pdf There is a fund of information from the 1890s to present day. Bernie j.
  22. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Thank you for including the interestion Fiat photographs, The colour shown on the tourer is very near my choice of Old Indian Red. I haven't looked for any information re The Melbourne Motor Body Co but I am sure than somewhere on the internet there is a fund of Information. Attached photograph is of the Fiat parts ready to go to be sand-blasted and primed. It is essential to get some primer on as soon as possible after sand blasting as the bare metal is very prone to rust; almostwhile you are looking at it. I am sending 8 wheels and then I can pick out the six best to be used on the Fiat. N.B. I am NOT sending the radiators to be sand-blasted. Bj Bj
  23. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    What a busy day, my friends from Blast-off have collected a load of "stuff" to be sandblasted and given a coat of etch primer. Then this afternoon has ben spent finishing removing the sump from the crankcase and removing the four con-rods and pistons. I am pleasantly surprised to discover that the three main bearing crank is machined all over and drilled for pressure oil to be fed to both the main bearings and the big-ends. Like wise the con-rods are very nicely made and machined all over. The white metal big-end bearings are also in excellent condition and appear to have done very little running. I will organise some more photographs in the morning after I have given everything a wash. It would appear that once I get the cylinder block back from "Crankies" that it will be a straight forward clean and re-assembly .
  24. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    Hi Paul When you get to my age* there is a very strong argument against waiting to see what variety of grass is growing. I just hope that there are not too many "old Indians' who will take exception to my using their red. I have used it before on the Dodge "Flying Four" and I think that it is an appropriate colour. Bj *9/11/36.
  25. 1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio

    I hope that you are all holding on tight. things are slowly starting to move. The cylinder head and the block have gone over to my friends at Crankshaft Rebuilders to go in their "hot tank'" and then to have the matching faces machined. Then the cylinder bores cleaned up. Right now I am sorting out the load of stuff to be sand blasted, they are to be picked up first thing tomorrow morning. This included the chassis frame, eight wheels four running board (step) brackets, the three pedals, brake, clutch etc. Once these have been done they will come back primed and ready for paint. Before they are painted I will have to decide on a colour. I have talked about "Deep Indian Red" a colour that I have used once before. I am not a big fan of "red" for old cars. I always think that they look "Cheap" This is a "Killrust" Epoxy Gloss Enamel. It brushes on to give a smooth knock resistant finish. The Deep Indian Red is dark enough to avoid looking "cheap & cheerful" and it leaves me with a range of complimentary colours to use with it. I will paint the Radiator surround and the Windscreen-frame with the same colour. Bernie j. Look what I found at the bottom of one of the containers of bits. Bj.