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keninman

Odd little Italian car

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Okidoke, by the age standards here this isn't that old. I purchased this on a whim after I viewed it on Facebook Market. It is a Siata Spring, the title says it is a 1970 but the vin seems to point to a 1969. Siata, 'Società Italiana Auto Trasformazioni Accessori' was in business from 1926 to 1970 (Wikipedia, n.d.). From what I gather it is built using mostly a Fiat 850 Spider and Siata making the body and chassis, which are about the same thing. I managed so far to have the engine purring like a kitten, except from the holes in the exhaust. I striped the passenger side front spindle nut and damaged the outer wheel bearing because I didn't ever consider a left hand thread.  I was able to locate the bearing NOS but the M14 - 1.5 nut has been a fiasco. Speaking of fiascos just try to find shocks for this thing. Someone has restored it previously and changed the paint from yellow to red. The fell short of stopping the rust and now it has several spots bubbling up under the paint. The floor pans are nearly non existent and I am going to have to not only replace them but beef the whole center up or scoot my butt along the pavement. At least they are flat and not pressed into a bowl. 

 

I put the car up in the import forum and did get a couple of responses but man I could use some help. If anyone here has a line on other Siata Spring owners or mechanics who can offer support and advise I would be much appreciative to find them. Thankee all for looking and any help you can offer. 

 

 20180810_204923.thumb.jpg.d2e99b190fc84373047885a306dac27e.jpg

 

20180810_205342.jpg

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Just be careful and let your head rule over your heart. You need floors, body work, exhaust, spindle etc and shocks. You do know that you are going to spend a lot more than the car is worth. It might be wise to cut your losses. 

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I disagree. It needs work but not a huge amount of work as such things go. The expense can be spread out by doing one job at a time. And you will have a cute, unique fun car to enjoy. It should be worth the money in entertainment alone.

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Join the owner's club if there is one. They will be a valuable source of information and parts and may have some fun events. Chances are whatever problems you have, their members ran into and solved long ago.

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You should be able to replace the floors with flat steel or get someone to do it. To restore rigidity you might do what I did on an MGB many years ago. It looked good but had some badly repaired rust issues and the body was sagging. Rather than redo the bodywork I got 2 pieces of 1 1/2" square steel tubing and fitted them inboard of the rocker panels. I welded flat plates on both ends that went up into the wheel wells and bolted them on . I was astonished how rigid it made the whole body. I had planned to add angle iron pieces bolted through the floor but this proved unnecessary. As a bonus the steel made an excellent place to jack up the car or place it on a hoist.

 

After that it was a simple matter to adjust the doors and this time they stayed adjusted.

 

Any muffler shop should be able to bend up an exhaust pipe and for such a small muffler and pipe, should be very cheap. The wheel hub or spindle, well that is where it helps to know the owner's club and ask where they get parts.

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On ‎8‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 5:25 AM, keninman said:

Thanks but they are a couple thousand miles from me.

True, geographically, but only a mouse click on the computer. They may be a good source of information even from a couple thousand miles. It was that way for my Riley. There is 1 group I joined in the US, but I also was in contact with members of a Riley group & parts supplier in England. Contact was both by phone & email.

I've done similar but in reverse for Impala owners in Europe & Australia - sold parts & gave technical advice.

 

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Why does  people on here say it  is to much to restore a car . there isn't many cars out there that you will get your money back . It is the joy you get from doing them your self and the people you met along the way . I have meet a lot of great people with this hobby . When you are through with this world you can't take anything with you but your memories . Enjoy . Kings32

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3 hours ago, kings32 said:

Why does  people on here say it  is to much to restore a car . there isn't many cars out there that you will get your money back . It is the joy you get from doing them your self and the people you met along the way . I have meet a lot of great people with this hobby . When you are through with this world you can't take anything with you but your memories . Enjoy . Kings32

Because for some, maybe a lot of people on here it is no longer a hobby & hasn't been for a long time. It is now a business or investment complete with dishonest wheeler dealers that show up whenever money in large quantities is involved, maybe not here, but they are around this "business."

Perhaps you've heard the saying about 1970 Chevelle SS's. There's more of them today than were ever built.

Edited by George Smolinski (see edit history)
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But why  discourge new members from trying there hand . ?  We all started somewhere.     It's like don't restore but buy from me .   Kings32

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kings, in my original post #5, I am only suggesting that ken steps back and evaluates how much work he is claiming he needs to do to get his car up to being safe and roadworthy. Repair or to replace the exhaust system, perhaps. To replace the floors and crossmembers, even though they are flat is not a job everyone. Cutting, grinding and welding is involved, unless you do a galvanized sheet and pop rivet job. The car is a convertible which will require bracing the body before you do any cutting. Replace the stripped spindle, ok, fairly simple unless it requires a spring compressor or special tools. Body work, the DS rear looks pushed in, do you repair it correctly with welded in patch panels or just Bondo over everything? All I am suggesting is don't be like the guy that has spent 70K restoring his Model A Ford, for gosh sakes it's a Model A. Sure we all started somewhere, but what is required on this car might be a bit much for someone that stripped a spindle trying to remove the nut. There are garages all across America with project cars that have stalled.

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It is very easy to get involved in an old car project and end up putting more time and money into it than you intended, and more than it is worth. Even worse is to spend hundreds or thousands of $$$$ bucks, get discouraged and be left with a half finished non running car no one wants. This may be uppermost in the minds of those who have been  ' through the mill' and want to warn others.

 

This is  a valid viewpoint but not the only one. I always suggest going over an old car clipboard in hand noting down all the parts and repairs it needs. Then sit down in front of the computer, price parts, and figure out what you are getting into. Map out a plan and make up your mind if it is something you want to commit to.  If it is too overwhelming STOP don't do anything else, it is better to sell the car even at a slight loss, that to get sucked into a money pit.

 

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This certainly did turn into a lively topic. I might spend more on this than it will ever be worth. I view it as a toy as well as a piece of history. One big issue is that it has a lot of Fiat content but not necessarily everything from one model as I have already discovered. 

I can replace the sheet metal in the floors but there is no way I can do it to original. I can weld up the exhaust but when that goes I will have to fabricate something else using whatever is available. 

 

I see that I have garnered some great ideas for groups that may know something I need to learn. As far as an investment vehicle, all of those are far beyond my means. Dad always said I had a Champagne appetite and a beer pocketbook but I usually come up with something that works. I appreciate everyone's responses and hope that more come in. 

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You might be surprised how easily and cheaply your local muffler shop can make an exhaust system. If it has a conventional muffler and pipes they make them up from scratch every day, it doesn't matter what kind of car.

 

For the spindle, floor etc it might be best to tackle one thing at a time. As I said, map out a plan, possibly first making the car roadworthy and driveable, worry about cosmetics later. I know pictures can be deceiving but it does not look that bad to me.  Even the Owee on the left rear corner isn't so bad. You should see some of the Klunks they want to fix up around here.

 

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Let's be reasonable. If I look in my local ads for an interesting fun car I see $5000 $10000 and up for convertibles, kit cars etc. These are NOT desirable collector cars, just 10 year old convertibles and fiberglass bodies on old VW pans. For something interesting from the sixties or earlier, or a muscle car it could be multiples of that.

 

I don't know what the OP has in his car but if he had it on the road, all in for that kind of money (5 to 10 grand) most people would not find it unreasonable. This suggests that spending a few hundred, or a few thousand on floors, spindles, exhaust etc is a sensible move, at least as sensible as anything involving old cars. If you get tired of it you can always sell it and get most of your money back.

 

If you get the chance to go to the beach, bomb around with the top down, wave at the pretty girls it's cheap entertainment. And you will never be younger than you are right now.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I gave $1750 for the car. So far I have bought it 4 new tires which I have changed myself, the tubes look good, two tires looked really good but I know they are probably 10 to 15 years old. I have purchased enough brake line to replace all. The master cyl and wheel cyl have already been replaced. After much ado I believe I have two correct belts for the engine. All panels are with the car, the seats are torn but I plan to use cheap Ebay water proof seat covers. The top has a couple of holes but I don't intend to have it out on rainy days. I bought it a waterproof car cover so it does not have to stay in the garage. I wasted money on shocks that are completely wrong but have since found a Youtube video on how to modify cheap Monroe shocks to work. I damaged the spindle nut and apparently 14x1.5 LH nuts are in short supply. I bought a die to true the spindle threads back up and a tap to make my own damn nut.

 

The two biggest challenges are going to be to find the correct Fiat parts and the rust. Way too much rust to not beef up many areas. This little car should go 75 to 80 miles an hour and right now I would not dare get it over 35. My first goal is to get it a floor, some undercarriage supports and rolling down the road before the snow flies. However I have been working every weekend and taking vacation days to help my son get a metal roof on his house and garage. Between the rain followed by 90 degree temps we are not going as fast as I had hoped but we are getting there. 

 

This little car will roll again and like Rusty suggested, it is just for fun though I would have to trailer it to a beach :)

BTW the rear fender isn't damaged, I just stuck the rear panel and  bumpers on for the pic so they aren't bolted to anything. I didn't notice the once had angled down. 

Edited by keninman (see edit history)

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You shouldn't have to 'make' things like spindles and nuts. They should be available from Europe where they sold FIATS by the millions.This is one reason the owner's clubs are so important.

 

Hell there are FIAT dealers in America again, it would be a hoot to go in there and try to buy a part for a 1969 model. They might even be able to get it for you.

 

A good body man can fix the floors. They hate to do that kind of work because it is nasty, and there are liability issues. If there is an antique car club near you, or some old car shows, it will pay to ask around and find out who they use and trust.

 

Later.... Is this your spindle nut? They call it an axle stub nut, left hand thread, and it fits Fiat 500/126/600/850 which are all the small models from the sixties and seventies. Price one Euro, which is less than $2 bucks.

 

https://webshop.fiat500126.com/en/chassis-und-steering/front-axle/axle-stub-nut-left-hand-thread-_right-side

 

I also stumbled on this forum site which covers all Fiat models including the older ones from the sixties and seventies. There is no Siata Spring section but a search turned up some posts. There is an 'other' section.

 

https://www.fiatforum.com/

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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AH rust.  I've owned vehicles that when I had to brake hard, I worried that the chassis would stop but the body would keep on going.

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Rusty, the problem with this nut is that they do not list its specs. I did order a nut that is supposed to fit an 850 but it is 18mm and I need 14mm. There in lies the problem. The engine and drive train is from a Fiat 850 but what are the spindles from?????? If places listed the size and thread pitch it would be no problem unfortunately they only list models. 

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On 9/2/2018 at 12:27 PM, Rusty_OToole said:

 

If you get the chance to go to the beach, bomb around with the top down, wave at the pretty girls it's cheap entertainment. And you will never be younger than you are right now.

 

I friggin love this reply. It should be chiseled in granite somewhere!

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