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1922 Fiat 501 Targa Florio


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Thank you Lyndon.

A long time ago we had a thing going with Mini's.  Between Helen and I and our four children we had a total of thirteen or fourteen Minis.

Helen drove a 1275 Cooper S, I had a Mini Moke, one of our sons had a Mini Van, the others all had a range of Minis, all with some degree of modification. One so potent that it could be made to "torque-steer" in top gear. All very different to the Fiat.

Bj.

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I am sorry about my tendency to wander off the subject, I actually turned all the wheels over to paint the other (in) side. Today's target is to take the other rear spring apart and re-assemble it to match the first one and hopefully give them both a coat of Deep Indian Red. I may even have time to look at the chassis which to date has been a useful "bench" on which to paint the wheels. It is now 9.30 so my target is to have the rear springs "sorted" by lunchtime.

 

OK. It is now just after 4.30 pm so I missed my "Lunch-time" target by a couple of hours after taking an hour or so off for Lunch. The two rear springs are now hung "out to dry" having been assembled, wire brushed to take of the rust and dirt that the sand blaster could not reach, and given a coat of Deep Indian Red. I have found the spring shackles and given them a coat of my favourite red too. 

I had a chat on the telephone with my good friend Richard Stanley at Coach Craft about making the  four mudguards and have promised to send him some dimensions as soon as I can work them out. He is to make four "Blades" as shown on Elizabeth Junek's Fiat. In case you have forgotten what these look like I will repeat the photograph of her car. The four are  interchangeable from front to back and from side to side which makes it all very easy. I may have mentioned before that I am most impressed by Madam Junek's weight saving "door" too. 

 

Bj.

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Another day and another puzzle, Where does it all go? Given another lifetime I may resolve the question. for instance look at the steering box It has the one large mounting at the bottom of the box but so far I have not found the hole that it goes into.  As there are bits from ? cars, lots of things are duplicated but then there are probably lots of other bits missing. No sooner said than done, my Fiat 501 Guru, Richard, has explained that the steering box mounts on the right hand rear mounting "arm" of the crankcase. I had looked at that hole several times, now it is no longer a mystery, I can move along to the next item on the agenda. It does mean that the steering box can move down the list of priorities and assembling and fitting the engine moves up. 

Accordingly I have just delivered the crankcase to Crankshaft rebuilders for them to put it through their "Swirl-tank" to make sure that there are no little bits of gunk hiding in some dark corner.

Bj.

 

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What documentation do you have to assist? I suppose you really don't need any, but was wondering what if any was available. By searching I came across this "handbook" and it even seems a reprint is supposedly available in a library. At 206 pages it could be more than a simple "owner's manual."

 

Front Cover  

The Handbook of the 10-15 HP Fiat (Model 501)., Ajani e Canale, 1919 - Fiat automobile - 206 pages

 

http://search.slv.vic.gov.au/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?fn=search&ct=search&vid=MAIN&vl(freeText0)=801653474

 

http://search.slv.vic.gov.au/MAIN:Everything:SLV_VOYAGER2396867     link to book in library

 

Torino : Ajani e Canale [1919?]
Available  Request from onsite storage  SF 629.28722 C17 (745)  State Library of Victoria

 

Edited by mike6024
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Thank you Mike

I do have an Italian Language Reprint Owners manual and an original 503 Owners handbook in English. The main difference between the 501 and the 503 was the addidtion of front brakes and a Ricardo (improved combustion chambers shape) cylinder head. I hope to obtain a "Ricardo" cylinder head as the original has prooved to have a crack across between two head stud holes. The cylinder head was about the only thing that I only had one of.

 

Bj.

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This is the Italian language hand book I have. It contains some excellent illustrations provided you have some (limited) mechanical knowledge. This one of the clutch is typical. Again if you have even some limited knowledge, a good imagination can go a long way.

I would be the first to admit that I have absolutely no formal mechanical training. As someone once said. I went to the school of "Hard Knocks". Having brought the one useable cylinder block home I was delighted when trying a piston in a cylinder bore to discover the pistons are larger than the bores so now I can have the block rebored to suit the pistons. A much better outcome than having the pistons rattling around in the bores.

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Bernie j.

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Now I am looking for the second one............. There should be one somewhere among all that stuff. No! It hasn't had a nasty accident but it is meant to be that shape............

Bj

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This is why I intend to no longer purchase dismantled cars, as you don't know if you have all the parts and if there are interlopers. Although I still have a Riley in stock like that.

On the other hand all the hard work has been done in the dismantling and it does provide more hours of fun. Fortunately in this day there is more information about and it easier to access than in the pre-internet era.

You are making good progress Bernie.

Matthew

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You are absolutely correct Paul. 

 

Your Riley basket case is quite safe Matthew having had my fill of Rileys a great many years ago I am not looking for another. I have ben offered a loan of a "Spare Parts Book" which will give me drawings of most if not all the components. These often are as useful as a workshop manual. I can scan its pages so I will have a copy too.

 

Bj

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Hello Paul

Funny that you should ask I have just been putting a  first coat on the top half of the chassis. That is all the chassis I can see without either turning it over or climbing underneath it.

I have just realised that my colour scheme of Deep Indian Red and Pebble is what people referred to in the 1920s a "Blood and Bandages". I am too far committed to change it now.  At least it will be something different although having said that The Lagonda is Old English Ivory and Deep Brunswick Green.

I have just managed to borrow an original Fiat 501 Parts book which has lots of drawings of individual parts so at least I know what I am looking for. I will do some scans of the relevant pages so that I can refer to them in the future. After the chassis is painted I can start seriously looking for all the things I will need to have a "Rolling Chassis". 
Have taken the radiator to be cleaned and checked. It seems that the core is in excellent condition but there are  a number small leaks in the "body". By the body I am referring to the brass outer shell. This is part of the actual radiator and has to be made water tight. The "honey-comb" core itself is thankfully free from damage and has no visible leaks.

 

Bj.

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I think the color scheme will look great Bernie........

 

Good news on the radiator. Does anyone even make the honeycomb core anymore? If they are available, I'll bet they are really big dollar (Australian or US) items. 

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Here's some info on an Australian 503 I stumbled across. I suppose this would have the Ricardo cylinder head.

5a.jpg

Fiat 503 engine had 27 hp, 1460cc and a multiple-disc clutch with 4 speed tranny.

Oldest on show was an 87 year-old Fiat 503. According to its owner Ric, this model was the first Fiat with front wheel brakes, was only built during 1926-27, is unique in the state and one of only a handful in Australia. It drives through a four-speed gearbox.

Link - >  Fiat 503

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Hello Mike

Thank you for including the photograph, It shows (to the Eagle-eyed) the steering box mount and the oil level gauge and a number of other features. It is interesting the 501/503 must have been all Right Hand Drive. There is no provision to mount the steering box on the left hand side of the crankcase, the starter motor is mounted on the left side taking up the space where the steering box would other wise fit. the only way to positively identify the Ricardo head would be to take if off and look inside. 

503 Also had a slightly different radiator with squared off  edges similar the the smaller 509 Introduced in 1926 which had a single overhead cam 990cc engine and replaced the 501 as the smallest of the 1920s Fiats  

 

Bj

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Hi Bj,

I found this thread last night and couldn't resist the urge to sign-up and say g'day!

I'm nearing the end of a 10 year restoration of a 1923 501c, and seeing your photos brings back many memories. I bought mine as a resto project when I was 15, and have thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of becoming a backyard mechanic, panel beater and motor trimmer along the way. I've attached some photos below showing the restored running chassis and the current state of the vehicle as it sits now. The hood and rear seat is all that is needed to say this car is finally "finished". If you're ever in need of any detailed photos or answers to questions let me know and I'd be happy to help.

 

By the looks of things you're based in Victoria, Australia, like myself. If you find yourself at a loose end tomorrow there is an Italian car show called Autobella at Como Park North, South Yarra. In previous years theres been a few 501/3s so I'd suspect a similar turn out this year if you'd like to have a look at one in the flesh. My 501 is still in Adelaide at my parents house, but I'll be attending as a spectator in my 124 spider.

 

Keep up the good work! 

 

Cheers, Brodie 

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Edited by FiatGuy (see edit history)
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Hello Brodie 

Welcome to this little corner of the AACA Forum. 

Unfortunately I will not be at Como Park tomorrow but I have joined the local Fiat Club, I already know quite a few of the members who are also in the VSCC.

Having just obtained a copy of the parts book I now realise there are a few things that I am missing. One of the problems when you buy a "car" that has been a collection of bits for between 40 & 50 years. This means that I was probably about 30 or 40 years old when it was taken off the road and pulled apart. 

 

Bj.

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Now as I have suggested earlier, a complete departure from tradition, the chassis now has its new coat of gleaming Pebble.DSCN5936.thumb.jpg.e61b2b0012d19a417c893fd6e49d9478.jpg

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You may have noticed that Madame Junek's car's chassis is painted a light colour apparently the same colour as the "body".

As sometimes happens, it seems as though our Fiat 501 has found a "name" for itself.   "Madame Junek".

This seems appropriate, especially when pronounced with an "Aussie" accent. i.e. The "e" in Junek is silent.

As there were no colour photographs in the early 1920s and I cannot find a written description of her car's colour, I am assuming that it was a light "off white" Or a very pale Beige/Grey.

Bj.

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On 07/04/2018 at 8:38 PM, FiatGuy said:

Hi Bj,

I found this thread last night and couldn't resist the urge to sign-up and say g'day!

I'm nearing the end of a 10 year restoration of a 1923 501c, and seeing your photos brings back many memories. I bought mine as a resto project when I was 15, and have thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of becoming a backyard mechanic, panel beater and motor trimmer along the way. I've attached some photos below showing the restored running chassis and the current state of the vehicle as it sits now. The hood and rear seat is all that is needed to say this car is finally "finished". If you're ever in need of any detailed photos or answers to questions let me know and I'd be happy to help.

 

By the looks of things you're based in Victoria, Australia, like myself. If you find yourself at a loose end tomorrow there is an Italian car show called Autobella at Como Park North, South Yarra. In previous years theres been a few 501/3s so I'd suspect a similar turn out this year if you'd like to have a look at one in the flesh. My 501 is still in Adelaide at my parents house, but I'll be attending as a spectator in my 124 spider.

 

Keep up the good work! 

 

Cheers, Brodie 

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Hi Brodie, I spent some time on your YouTube channel, great work. I love your 501, I'd now like one myself!

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I have just returned from buying a Radiator Badge from a fellow Fiat enthusiast. While I may have spent a little more than I would have liked, I am delighted with my purchase. At the same time I bought a Black Faced oil pressure gauge to match my amp meter. Both things that do not turn up every day. All I need to do now is to exchange a Silver faced Smiths 0 to 60 mph Speedo. On my way hone I discovered a very nice polished timber bed- head put out with some garbage. I could not fit it into the Peugeot without removing the "legs" so I may have to go back armed with a screw driver and perhaps a hammer.

 

Why do I need a timber bed-head, if you don't know and cannot guess, you will have to wait and see.

 

I have now returned again this time with the polished "Manogany" bedhead.

I have already stripped the much curilqued timber mouldings off and put them away for safe keeping. The overall width at the widest point is 1.100 mm which should be ideal to cut a dashboard to suit the Fiat. 

 

Bj

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Thank you Paul

I do not know about the USA but here in Australia it is becoming more difficult with the passing of each year to obtain suitable pieces of "timber" that is not Veneered Particle Board. To find something that is also finished with a "polish" that is not simply a tacky coat of Polyurethane is indeed worth stopping the car and at least looking at it. When it is "free for the taking" makes it even more worth the stop.

 

Bj.

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Be careful Bernie, or the men in blue may come for you. Stuff put out for a hard waste collection belongs to the contracted waste collector as soon as its out of the owners property. Does look nice though, and should make a good dash!

jp 26 Rover 9

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Hello jp

It is now quite a few years since I was taught to be cautious.

First I went in a borrowed vehicle,

I made sure that it was at a time of day when passing traffic was at a minimum.  

Not one car or other person passed during the minute or two It took to load that "bedhead" into the rear seat of the car. 

However IF I am unlucky enough to be arrested and dragged off to the local "Office of Civil Compliance", can I give them your contact details as a character reference .  

Meanwhile I am sure/hope that my secret is safe.  

As an extra precaution, should I perhaps, return the the scene of my crime and tape an envelope containing a Fifty Dollar note to the Lamp-post adjoining the site.  

Naturally I would have to do this anonymously.

While I am there would you advise that I check and if there is a survelience camera hidden anywhere nearby, should I destroy it and along with any other CCVT that may or may not have captured my horrendous crime.

Now I am so upset, it is will very likely I will not sleep a wink for weeks and weeks.

While there is no longer a DEATH PENALTY in Australia, given my great age, if I am sent to prison for an extended period I may easily die before I serve out my term,  especially as this may be for 20 years or more. 

What should I do? 

Who will take over the Fiat and finish it?

Bj.

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Now having spent the night worrying about this, I still do not know what is the best thing to do,

If I take it back someone may see me and report me to those dreaded "men in blue" for "dumping rubbish".

The only thing I can think of, is for me to cut it up into pieces small enough for me to put it into our "bin" one piece at a time. One bit per week so it cannot be easily detected.  But that would take weeks and weeks to get rid of it.
What would you suggest?

The only other thing I can think of is  for me to cut it into the shape of a dash-board and disguise it by fitting some instruments, for instance an oil pressure gauge, an amp meter and a speedo, I could even throw in some switches and other controls.

Then no one would really know that it was really a bedhead.

Perhaps I will do that. 

Will you promise not to tell anyone what I have done?

Bj 

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)
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I wouldnt worry about it quite that much Bernie! If there was no 'booked hard waste' hivis orange sticker, forget it altogether! My remark was mostly tongue in cheek. If they come, pretend deafness, or not speaking English. I am sorely tempted to do as you have quite frequently, except SWMBO gets very cranky at me.

jp 26 Rover 9

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2 hours ago, oldcar said:

The only other thing I can think of is  for me to cut it into the shape of a dash-board and disguise it by fitting some instruments, for instance an oil pressure gauge, an amp meter and a speedo, I could even throw in some switches and other controls.

Then no one would really know that it was really a bedhead.

Bj 

 

That sounds like the best idea Bernie.........the "officials" would never guess it was disguised as part of a century-old car. :D:lol::o

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PGW..thumb.jpeg.87887d5b638e6734db4140cd512bcaf1.jpegJP & Paul,

Neither of you, I am afraid, have acquired a truly "vintage sense of the ridiculous" . You need to find some old copies of my favourite author, P.G Wodehouse and spend some time studying them. Not just the Bertie and Wooster but some of his Pre-1930 stories. These were written at a time when our cars were new. I have almost 100 of his books, most if not all first editions or early printings, I am currently re-reading them, some for the third or fourth time. The main message from them is that "Life was never meant to be taken seriously". You mention having your "Tongue in your cheek". Once you are over 80 (OBE) you will learn that it is the only way to be.

Paul,

Many of PGW's earliest books were written while he was living in the USA.

 

All I can say is "Don't worry so much, it will never happen!"

 

Bj.

.  

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For all those born after 1985, that strange contraption PGW is sitting at is what used to be known as a typewriter. As you pressed on one of a number of "keys" it printed a letter of the alphabet onto a sheet of paper. By pressing the keys in a predetirmined order you could spell out a word, that is of course you knew how the word was spelt. This was known a typing. By pressing on a greater number of "keys" you could could even "type" a complete series of words to create a sentence. If you wanted to comunicate with another person you could go further and create several words to "type" a message commonly known as a "Letter". I know this may be confusing for some of you as these "letters" were actually composed by using (sometimes) a great number of individual letters. I believe that this has something to do with using English as a convenient but not universal language.

This (letter) could then be placed in an envelope with the other person's Name and Address written on the front. Then by going to the "post office" you could purchase a postage stamp which had a form of dried adhesive on the reverse side. By making this moist by licking the "postage stamp" with your tongue ( I know this sounds revolting but it was something you "had to do") you could make it adhere to the top right hand corner on the front of the envelope. By placing your message inside the envelop then placing the envelope into a "Post box", usualy found mounted on an outside wall of the Post-office. Eventually one of the employees of the Postal service would arrange for your "letter"to be delivered to the address you had written on the front of the envelope. This could take anything up to a week, ten days or for somewhere further away perhaps up to a month. Letters going to an overseas destination may take anything up to three or four months. Since the advent of reliable aeroplanes, by sending your "letter"  by "air mail' or if you are living in France "Par Avion". you could reduce the time taken to deliver your letter to a matter of days. 

Now people who are educated and competent at using an electronic devise, which has almost superseded the typewriter, called a "computer" you can now send a "letter" to people living in almost any corner of the earth (which actually being a sphere, Earth does not have corners) in a matter of minutes or if you are very smart perhaps seconds.

 

Bj.

 

Could someone please tell that small child to stop crying that they are not really in trouble but children under the age of about two or three years should not play by banging the "keys" of the computer, It is not their fault that it has started to smoke.  Daddy will make it all better by buying the nasty old man a new (secondhand) computer.

 

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13 hours ago, oldcar said:

Now having spent the night worrying about this, I still do not know what is the best thing to do,

If I take it back someone may see me and report me to those dreaded "men in blue" for "dumping rubbish".

The only thing I can think of, is for me to cut it up into pieces small enough for me to put it into our "bin" one piece at a time. One bit per week so it cannot be easily detected.  But that would take weeks and weeks to get rid of it.
What would you suggest?

The only other thing I can think of is  for me to cut it into the shape of a dash-board and disguise it by fitting some instruments, for instance an oil pressure gauge, an amp meter and a speedo, I could even throw in some switches and other controls.

Then no one would really know that it was really a bedhead.

Perhaps I will do that. 

Will you promise not to tell anyone what I have done?

Bj 

Ahhhhhhh.  The trials and tribulations of the impecunious enthusiast!  ;)

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Hello Frank,

Not only IMPECUNIOUS but also an OBE to compound the problem. 

In case the definition of the highly significant British decoration has bypassed Davidsonville there are not one but two definitions The most commonly used version is the "Order of the British Empire" awarded to people of British heritage for some outstanding service to Her Majesty the Queen. The other, which in fact is the case before us. Is awarded for pure bloody minded tenacity in holding on to life above and beyond the official "Three score years plus ten"! Indeed if you have not heard of this award it may be that the fault lies in the company you keep.

It is usually awarded to silly old buggers who live to be OVER BLOODY EIGHTY!  With luck I should be receiving my second "star" later this year.

 

Bj.

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Despite being very wet and windy yesterday I managed to make the two plates to locate the four bolts that secure the front springs onto the axle. This may not sound such a big deal but my starting point was the cut the required piece of steel out of a length of 4inch by six inch channel section. This came to me some years ago and I am slowly cutting it up every time I need a small(ish)  piece of 1/4 inch plate. Having cut out the two rectangula pieces I then could mark their location and drill the five holes in each. The fifth hole? This goes over the centre bolt through the spring. These have now been cleaned up and painted Deep Indian Red and are hanging out to dry. 

On Friday I received in the mail a laser cut base-plate from one of my new Fiat Club friends.  This is to be the starting point for three branch exhaust system. I cannot make a start on this until I have the motor sitting in the chassis. The centre port is to serve both number two and three cylinders. This is/was common practice with small four cylinder engines.

 

Bj.

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Bernie, I had to laugh when you related that you have a big piece of channel that you cut on to get 1/4" plate. I do the same thing.........years ago, when they would let us purchase scrap metal at work, I'd look in the scrap bin every day for things like that. Still using some of it. :)

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Hello Paul

I used to have an old neighbour, now long departed, he was the ultimate scavenger who would often visit building sites after the workers had gone home, I often used to wonder if some of the stuff he used to drag home was not something the workers would be searching for the next day.

These days all building sites have eight foot high fences and gates that are locked every afternoon when the workers go home. It must save building firms thousands of dollars.

This piece of channel started out at about six to eight feet in length, I have used about half of it so I think that it will "see me out". I dread to think how many "cut off disks" I have used up cutting bits off it....

Bj.

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Good morning

I have two diff assemblies that I have not even looked at as yet. Given my thoughts on how much/far these cars are driven by the new generation of enthusiastic "collectors" I doubt that it should be of too much concern. It seems to me that it is more important for it to fit in with the rest of the decor in their "man-cave".

I seem to remember my father talking about this (Fiat diffs) in 1946 but his main concern then was how far he could drive on an impossibly small petrol ration. 

 

Looking back I note that I started this "thread" on January 17th 2018. Just three months ago!

I actually bought this Fiat almost a month later on February 12th.

The gestation period for a human baby is nine months so I think that I am making reasonable progress.

 

Bernie j.

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