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Le Français

Toujours, je suis désolé pour mes amis( et amies) français(es), mais il est difficile pour moi d'écire en français. Peut-être un jour...
S.V.P. regardez ce LIEN

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Best wishes to you all for Christmas.

I hope that 2009 proves to be a great motoring year - at least the price of oil is still falling!

A bientôt

Paul

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Italian and it's called "Covini"

Hello.

Here's another bright idea that will probably disappear - at least given the present economic climate, but I'll give them an "A" for effort:



Quite a nice noise...

A bientôt

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hello Again

Lancia doesn't have much luck does it? Having just introduced the attractive new Delta, with an expensive TV ad campaign (at least here in France) with the film star, what's his name, we have global financial meltdown, with the automobile industry suffering very badly.

In France many factories are to close for a period, and I know that locally there have been many lay-offs - for example in many of the engineering and machining companies in the Arve valley near here. FIAT by all accounts has been doing quite well in comparison. This is amazing considering that the group was in desperate straits just a few years ago. If car sales get slow for FIAT though, I suggest that instead of making cars they might start making spare parts for some of their classic models. The Italian spares service is an international disgrace. A friend here has a 1971 BMW 2002 for which he needed a new brake master cylinder. He went to BMW and it was delivered in less than a week. Those with Fulvias of the same epoch or Integrales from twenty years later can only dream of such things. Why cannot the Italians provide this sort of service? It might in months to come, keep some skilled people in jobs...

And on the subject of the automobile industry, the following cartoon from the Boston Globe amused me: after all as the old saying went "What's good for GM is good for America"!

Source: Boston Globe

A bientôt, j'éspère.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Well, It is a V4...


A while ago, I wrote about an extraordinary W9 engine.
Now a V4 - but not one you might have imagined. This V4 is based on the Ferrari Enzo engine and powers - a Ferrari motor-cycle!


When I think of the difficulty in building a simple modified Fulvia, I am staggered by the energy and resourcefulness of those who come up with such amazing concepts. This one was produced by Glinik from whose site the pictures here are taken. Not a lock-up garage project is it?

An interesting feature is that the project carries the Ferrari logo, which suggests that this project is very serious indeed.

A bientôt

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Round of Applause Please

Thomas Crook is one of my readers; he is also a talented animator as the following (quite mad!) video should show you:



Thomas has now completed university and is seeking a position as an animator; if any of you have any ideas you can contact him via my "Chatbox"!


A bientôt

Monday, September 08, 2008

Not Much News...

Hello.

I have no Fulvia news at present - except that a local chap - a rallyiste - has been in touch to borrow my rear hub tool (sadly he has his car worked on by some Alpine specialist - perish the thought!!!).

I thought though that I'd entertain you with a story from the 1968 race from Ron Dennis ,that appeared on Autosport.com today. Sorry if you've seen it already!

At the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, McLaren was celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the team's first victory - at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1968. Ron has plenty to say in the way of comparisons over the years and they are interesting - hit the link if you like F1 information.

For this blog, I just want to include the splendid anecdote which is very indicative of how much has changed in the past forty years. Here it is:

"This was a difficult race for us because we had two different types of engine in the cars and in Jack's car we had the latest Repco engine. In practice, one of the valve seats dropped out of the cylinder head and this was the only engine we had - the second one was locked in customs.

"We never worked at the circuit, we used to take the cars to a garage - there were all these local garages around and you would write to them saying 'Can we use your facilities?' during the weekend and they used to clear an area out.

"This was a difficult race for us because we had two different types of engine in the cars and in Jack's car we had the latest Repco engine. In practice, one of the valve seats dropped out of the cylinder head and this was the only engine we had - the second one was locked in customs.

"We never worked at the circuit, we used to take the cars to a garage - there were all these local garages around and you would write to them saying 'Can we use your facilities?' during the weekend and they used to clear an area out.

"As you know, there's a small airfield down the road, so the only solution was to take the cylinder heads off and Jack took them in his plane back to the factory, the engine shop in Guildford. They machined new valve inserts and literally took the cylinder heads home and put them in the oven.

"We were so tired when we got back to finish that night; we'd prepared all the engine - the engine was in the car to take the cylinder heads, and the next morning we got back to the circuit after working all night. And the Brabham trailer had a door that used to open from the bottom to the top and we arrived at the circuit, opened the door and one of the cars was missing.

"It had come loose, opened the door and it was about two miles down the road parked in the corner of a road completely undamaged with a whole crowd of people around it! So Jack arrives with the cylinder heads and he never knew the car had dropped out the back of the truck. It was very embarrassing! Needless to say, it didn't finish, but not because of that reason."

Then: Ron Dennis with Jack Brabham
Image source: Here


Now: Ron Dennis with Lewis Hamilton
Picture source: The Sun

A bientôt

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dodgy Photoshopping and Dodgier Cars - from Russia

From EnglishRussia.com comes a photo report of a rather dubious car show. I can without fear of contradiction, declare that the "photoshopping" is at least as bad as many of the exhibits (and that's saying something).

I did like this ZIL or perhaps ZIS, Packard copy though:

Picture source: Englishrussia.com

And I didn't see a single Italian car in the pictures - let alone a Lancia.

A bientôt

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Fascinating Thread - for the Technical

I have been a member of Atlas FI.com's forums for about six years (the main site is Autosport.com). Whilst searching there today for something interesting about the Fulvia that perhaps I could add to this rather (currently) under-posted blog, I came across a fascinating thread in the Technical forum.

This concerns an engine-design project carried out by a university student who is doing a master's degree. His project? A W9 engine of 2977cc predicted to make 526HP!

So far it seems that the engine has not been run, but it certainly exists - here. Here's a picture taken from the site:

The article on the site contains a lot of interesting detail which I heartily recommend to any of you with an interest in technical matters.

The subject of the Fulvia came up early in the thread on Atlas (which runs to six pages).

One poster wrote:

There are some pics here: http://www.viva-lancia.com/huib/sor.htm

and some cutaway drawings on www.carsfromitaly.net if you follow the links through to Lancia models then Fulvia.

A beautiful engine IMH

I agree - although those of you who have read my "Developments" series on this blog will know I have my reservations, notwithstanding my enthusiasm for the Fulvia in all its forms.

Finally I commend the thread to those amongst you who are technically inclined; the depth of knowledge of some of the regulars there is breathtaking. Some of the contributors are obviously senior engineers in the industry who have plenty to say on some of the subjects I have touched on hereabouts (and on other things too).

A bientôt

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Anecdote from the Hungaroring

The following, lifted from Autosport.com - the Daily Grapevine amused me; I hope you enjoy it too:

PS: The other story that emerged from the dinner was of a poor newspaper journalist drafted in for his first F1 race as replacement for their regular correspondent. Sitting down in the Bridgestone motorhome, which was situated in this paddock right next to Ferrari, he thought the Japanese tyre manufacturer actually ran a team.

Turning to Hamashima he said: "I'm sorry to have to ask you this, but when do you think you're going to start competing on level terms with top teams like Ferrari and McLaren?"

Hamashima was a bit taken mystified by the question until another Fleet Street journalist leaned over and said, "Er, Bridgestone is a tyre company old boy." Cue much laughter...

A bientôt

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Apple iPhone 3G - Could be for You!


The picture above shows the new 3G iPhone, for which there have been reports of people queuing for days to be amongst the first to have the new toy. Apple reportedly sold 1,000,000 in the three days following the launch.

Since then developers have been busy coming up with new applications for the phone and one I found yesterday really was quite a surprise and should be of great interest to those of you who are developing your cars - or who even just take a close interest in your Fulvia's performance.

The new application has the rather unfortunate name of Dynolicious (how do they think of them?).

As you can see from the pictures, all the performance data you could need are provided.

I learned about this from Gizmodo, from which the pictures came. The article explains that the iPhone has a built-in accelerometer which is used to generate the data.

Now all you have to do is a) get an iPhone; b) load up Dynolicious; c) find a police-free zone or a race-track to get down to some serious testing!

Best of all is the price of the application: $12.99!

A bientôt.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

New Look

You will no doubt have noticed the new look: blue for Lancia and Yellow for Turin... Sadly this blog page is somewhat corrupted I suspect and I was unable to change the colour of the hyperlinks to something more contrasty; I have urgent need of someone who understands the nightmare that is HTML!

I have been sent some more restoration pictures and these will go up here this weekend. I shall do my best to try to post a bit more and once again, apologies for the dearth of activity.

One of my regular Fulvia correspondents is experimenting with programmable ignition, an excellent idea in my view although not entirely easy - unless one has a great deal of dyno time available. His car is highly developed with many exciting features; he knows who he is... I hope that before too long he will allow me to "lift the veil" a little and show off some mouth-watering developments. However, my readers will, I am sure, understand that it is perfectly natural to keep original ideas "under wraps."

À bientôt

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Restorations

I am flattered that from time to time some of my readers take the trouble to share information about their cars and in particular details of the work that they are doing. Recently I have been sent two sets of pictures showing restoration work - either done or "to do". I have always found such pictures instructive and often inspiring, so, presuming no objections from the senders, here is the first selection I have chosen.













No doubt those of you who have worked on your cars will be familiar with the areas shown!

I await your comments with interest.

À bientôt

Thursday, July 03, 2008

News from South Africa

Those who you who look at my "C Box" - RH side of page - might have noticed that I have received contact from Phil at the Cape Lancia Club located as their website says, in beautiful Capetown.

I recall meeting, many years ago in Harry Manning's place a splendid South African enthusiast who ran an early Flavia. I asked him how he managed for parts... His response in best pioneering style: "I make 'em - and I can fix your TV set too!"

Lancia at one time had an assembly plant in South Africa, which, I imagine, together of course with the perfect climate, accounts for the very considerable numbers of classic Lancias still in use there - see the beautiful Lambda in the picture above - sorry Phil, I couldn't resist...

I hope to hear from some of the Cape Lancisti - and I think if one of them would care to contact me with some information, I should be delighted to add a piece about Lancia's South African operations; and of course I hav added a link to the club's home page in my links list (RH side of page again!).

À bientôt

Fuel Consumption News

Hello.

I do not for a minute imagine that I have to remind you that the price of crude oil has now reached $145 per barrel, and nor do I have to point out the impact that this is having on our lives!

Nevertheless, "necessity is the mother of invention" so the old saying goes and now a chap in America is claiming that his 1987 Ford Mustang can do 110 miles per gallon. Not bad you might think; in fact since he is an American, he will be talking in US gallons; the equivalent in Imperial gallons would be 132 mpg - or for my continental readers, 2.1 litres/100km.

There is nothing like a pain in the wallet to stimulate development is there?

À bientot

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rallying is Dangerous

Yesterday, I spent most of the day watching our local rally: Le Rallye du Pays Rochois. It was my intention to write a piece illustrating the glories of the French countryside on a beautiful sunny day whilst various French men and women competed over the special stages.

This will have to wait for a little while, as sadly in the penultimate "special", there was a tragic crash: a Renault collided with a tree. The driver actually survived the accident but tragically died of heart failure after being freed from the car by the emergency services. His co-driver was taken to a hospital in Geneva - the usual procedure with very serious injuries.

However, for now I attach a little video clip that I think will entertain some of you

video

À bientôt

P.S. By the way I have had the same problems with this post as with the Nantua one: again I had to delete a load of HTML gibberish, before Blogger would accept the post - and again all I did was type out the post onto Blogger's page!

Bloggrrrrrrrrr

Anyone know a better blog-host than Google's blogger? I apologise for the appalling appearance of the previous article which was in no way my fault. I spent an hour trying to edit it to no avail.

To start with, Blogger rejected my publication on the grounds that "Your HTML cannot be accepted."

What HTML? I hadn't made any or written/created/cooked up any. The stupid program does this allegedly by itself. So I deleted great tranches of rubbish until it accepted the article and if it finds this bordel acceptable then that speaks volumes for Blogger.

Now the various fonts that appear in the article do not appear on the draft page; anyone who doesn't believe me is welcome to a screenshot!

Finally it is about time that Blogger produced a preview page that at least vaguely resembles the item that will appear on the blog.

Grrrrrr!!!

A Grey Sunday at Nantua




















Despite its Italian-sounding name, Nantua is a picturesque small town located at the west end of the Jura mountains in the Departement de l'Ain about 50km or so from my home. The landscape is delightful in the area helped to a great extent by the lake pictured here.

So, I can hear you ask, what's this got to do with this blog? Well, sadly not much, although it does concern cars at least. I was in Nantua to meet a bloke concerning some possible work and the occasion was an English car show or more properly, gathering.


On arrival I saw plenty of Jaguars as the French have a great affection for these - yes even including early XJ6s! However there were one or two more recherché items, for example the bizarre Ghia Austin-Healey 3000 and the stunningly lovely Swiss-bodied Alvis:


I was introduced to an Englishman (who like me has a French name) resident in Switzerland, who had arrived in a splendidly restored 1953 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn, quite a rare car in England - the Bentley version, the Mk VI being much more common. Incidentally I have read that R-R marketed the Bentley in the UK as at the time there was a "strong wind" blowing from the left in England and it was thought that the Bentley radiator grille was a little less "obvious" than the Rolls one.


















The chap was very friendly and invited me to sit down with him and share a pleasant lunch and an excellent bottle of wine, which I did. Later we drove together up to the prize-giving where my new acquaintance received first prize for his car - deservedly so in fact.


















However, for the Italian car fan, all was not lost; any of you who go to these kinds of event will know that the car park is often as interesting as the event itself. On this occasion, I found a delightful Ferrari 250GT, that I would very much liked to have driven home!

À bientôt

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's Been a While Hasn't it?

Sorry for the silence; apart from the fact that I have had no inspiration, I have been rather busy with various things, and in particular my computers...

Anyway an old friend sent me a link which I was delighted to receive. It concerns my boyhood hero, Mike Hawthorn, Britain's first Formula 1 World Champion.

Hawthorn won the championship, by just one point fifty years ago in 1958. After winning the championship he immediately announced his retirement; he was killed in a road crash in January 1959.

In those days Grand Prix drivers did a lot more than just F1 racing. Like most of his contemporaries Hawthorn raced sports cars and also saloons. On his day (and it must be admitted he was inconsistent) he was awesome in the D-type Jaguar - fastest lap in a D-type at the terrifying Dundrod circuit in Northern Ireland is just one example of his talent and bravery - and he was one of the very few who could go really quickly in the tricky Ferrari 750 Monza (Ascari died in one of these).

Anyway, here's a delightful video, made in 1956, where Hawthorn equipped with microphone takes us on a lap of Le Mans in a D-type.



Given that it is the fiftieth anniversary year of Hawthorn's success and that the Le Mans 24-hour race is in progress as I write this, I think that this post is really jolly appropriate - as Hawthorn himself might have remarked.

As a parting shot, I think I should add that Hawthorn - and his father Leslie who were based at Farnham in Surrey, were great Lancia fans; Chris Nixon tells an hilarious tale of young Mike's adventures in an Aprilia, and Leslie Hawthorn's Aprilia EYE 606 was at dear old Harry Manning's garage until the end.

À bientôt

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Speed test

Well as you can see above, I have now added a new speed test. It is not the one to which I referred the other day, but unfortunately that one cannot be made to work with Blogger.com. Still, it doesn't look too bad!

À bientôt


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Internet Speed Test

Sorry about the delay on the super new Broadband Speed test, I am trying to find a solution - I have the code uploaded but it doesn't work and the instructions are no help at all. I am, in the words of Lou Reed "Waiting for my man" - in other words it is NOT a "Perfect Day."

The test can be seen here - car enthusiasts will appreciate the design.

The company offers an Internet Speed test too. Well worth a look.

À bientôt


Monday, May 12, 2008

Didn't see the joke...

Picture source here

Now this chap knew exactly what to do with his £50 banger when some obnoxious official clamped it... Read all about it here.

I once bought a Fulvia for £50 - and drove it away, but that was a long time ago!

À bientôt

Friday, May 09, 2008

Back

Hello all; yes I am back home in France after my spell in England, much of which was spent in front of a computer and a bit underneath a Land-Rover about which, more anon.

I have been away about five weeks in which time the price of a barrel of oil has increased by about 32%, with Goldman Sachs now saying that the barrel price could reach $200 in six months...

So how topical is the idea pictured below?

Picture: Gizmodo

Yes, it's your own fuel-producing plant; it makes ethanol from sugar, water and yeast, or stale beer amongst other things. It can produce 35 gallons (US) - about 132 litres - of 100% pure ethanol in a week. Yes it costs $10,000 but with the way prices are going it will start to look like a bargain. The full story can be found here.

Ethanol does not have the same specific heat as gasoline, so your Fulvia would require some re-jetting to run the richer mixture required, but ethanol has a Research Octane Number of about 110, so pinking should be a thing of the past.

Of course this is another example of dynamic American enterprise, a commodity conspicuously lacking in certain other countries. I can imagine that anyone attempting to make his own "environmentally-friendly" fuel would quickly attract (in England) the attention of HM Revenue and Customs and most likely, the anti-terrorist squad as well (28 days in jug, possibly rising to 42). In America, according to the article, tax breaks will be available.

That's progress.

À bientôt

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A bit quiet...

You will have noticed that things are a bit quiet hereabouts. I do have an excuse: I am in London at present and rather busy helping a friend out.

As soon as I have a chance I will try to write something new, so in the meantime, thanks for your loyalty.

À bientôt

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Model Nation?

The question posed in my headline refers to La France, but as you will see I was not using the word "model" in the sense of "perfect"...

Source: L'Internaute

Consider the photograph above: M. Gerard Brion spent 14 years building an exquisite model of the whole of Paris (inside the Peripherique - i.e. all 20 arrondissements) in the garden of his home near Montauban in South-West France. There is more information - and pictures on this site.

M. Brion regularly updates the model to include significant events and the model is open for public viewing.

This piece was prompted first by discovering the amazing model described above which in turn reminded me of another extraordinary French model maker, M. Pierre Scerri of Avignon and his wonderful model of a Ferrari 312. Many of you I am sure, will have heard of this staggering achievement, but if you haven't, prepare to be astounded. And if you have, I am sure that you will agree that the project is worth a second look:



So if you are agonising about say, rebuilding the brakes on your Fulvia, respect this man - he even made the tyres - and spark plugs and the 48 valves and the fuel-injection and the instruments AND the fully operative six-speed transmission! More information on this site.

Unbelievable!

À bientôt


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Er... Modifications

There were some dark mutterings in the Lancia fraternity in England when I first appeared with my rather modified Fulvia:

However I now realise that I was nowhere nearly radical enough: consider the special pictured below from this Gizmodo report:

Source: Gizmodo

Now this owner really did try hard didn't he?

À bientôt

Eiffel Tower New Update

Source here

I have often referred my readers to CM's blog Jour Après Jour ("Day after Day").

Appalled by the proposed modifications to the upper part of the tower, she has followed news developments closely as may be read (in French) here.

After a lot of fuss and, I should think a certain amount of embarrassment for various newspapers - The Guardian included - it seems that the whole thing was a plaisanterie - a joke.

However it seems the Eiffel Tower Company has not ruled out action on this matter!

À bientôt

Monday, March 24, 2008

An Anecdote

About twenty years ago I made the acquaintance of a delightful chap, a partner in a firm near London that specialised in restoring classic cars and at that time in particular, Lancias. This chap was a fine race driver at club level and campaigned in a variety of cars including a Stratos and a Ferrari 308; he had a very attractive, smooth style.

Well I was told, actually by a mutual friend, that some years before the chap was on holiday in France, driving his 1300HF. Being somewhere in the south he decided to have a go at one of the Monte Carlo Rally stages (driving was fun in those days!).

He was delighted to have got within five minutes of the time achieved by Sandro Munari in a works car on the rally.

I should say "was delighted" until he realised that, whilst he was enjoying his summer holiday in his Fulvia, Munari had set his time in the snow!

I have always found these types of story very sobering, in making me rather humble about my own modest abilities behind the wheel.


Sandro Munari in action - and obviously trying hard!
Picture source: here

À bientôt

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Scrapbook - V

Here's the next instalment of my scrapbook series, from early last year. Many of the photos are from the Fulvia Engline Developments series I wrote.

Click to enlarge

It seems incredible that as I write this, it is snowing heavily outside; here's a snap I took yesterday morning: so much for Spring in Haute Savoie!

À bientôt

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On Second Thoughts...

Don't bother driving over to see the Eiffel Tower as suggested in my previous article - better take the train.

This article from the BBC reports that the long arm of the busybody, interventionist EU is after you motorists. They even say that speeding is one of the "principal causes of death on the roads."

Specious rubbish but what can one do in the New Total Euro State?

À bientôt

Symbol of France

I suppose that the Eiffel Tower has to be the ultimate French Symbol - an icon recognised all over the world. I have always loved "La Grande Dame" as the tower is known in France although it had numerous critics when it was built. Additionally there were many sceptics, who believed that the structure would be incapable of supporting its own weight. Eiffel answered these critics with an exact scale model: 30cm tall (the real tower is 300M tall) it weighed 7 grammes - a quarter of an ounce!

Anyway, next year is the 120th anniversary of La Grande Dame and as usual with such celebrations, the French have something spectacular planned. Judge for yourself from the picture below and from this article in which the picture appears.



Get that Fulvia restoration moving and drive over to have a look.

À bientôt

Saturday, March 15, 2008

More Memories - Scrapbook IV

I know that I have been a little less active over the last few days - in fact I am rather busy with one thing and another.

Click on the image to enlarge it

Meanwhile here's the fourth "aide-memoire" for you, from the early part of last year; included was my trip to the Jura for a Zagato, and the beginning of my long Fulvia Developments series.

À bientôt

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More Memories - Scrapbook III

This set is from the early part of last year. Once again, a few more reminders for you: all this stuff may be found in the blog if you need help to recall whatever I was writing about!

Click to enlarge

À bientôt

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cats are good for your health - Official

Moustache

I have often featured cats here, and it is my intention to continue to do so - even if Alberto Ascari would cross the street to avoid a black cat...

Now there's news that we should all have one (or more) of these delightful creatures as pets and avoid heart attacks.

Quite right too.

À bientôt

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Watch Closely...

Look out for our favourite car...



If any of you can explain the cartoon I'd be most grateful!

À bientôt

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Blog Retro Scrapbook II

Bringing us up to the end of 2006, here's the second of these aides-memoire

Click to enlarge

À bientôt

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Blog Retro Scrapbook -1

Not counting this one, I have produced 216 articles on this blog since I started it in November 2006. The original idea was to encourage owners of Fulvias that I am in a position to provide expert care and assistance. Sadly (for me at least!) I have had only three "commissions" in all that time. Nevertheless, it is good to know that I have on average, 47 visitors per day, so that is a small reward.

Now a short series looking back, that perhaps will jog the memories of my readers and introduce new visitors to some of the older articles.

Click on the image to enlarge it

À bientôt

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Fulvia Scrapbook

All except the infra-red image and "Amaranto"
were made at Goodwood trackdays
Click to enlarge the image

Another brilliant "scoop" from CM. This time she has discovered an excellent piece of software that enables one to create "scrapbook pages". The beauty of this software is that it is very user-friendly, the proof being that within 15 minutes of downloading the software I assembled the page above. If I can do it it must be easy.

The software is called Ript.

I suppose that in the past it was only possible to make such pages by using the likes of Adobe Photoshop® and/or Adobe Illustrator®; anyone who has looked at these undoubtedly competent programs (for those with graphics doctorates) will know just how "easy" that is...

Here's a short video that introduces Ript®:



Expect more "scrapbooks" in the future!

À bientôt

Monday, March 03, 2008

Geneva Motor Show News

In this article from the International Herald Tribune, there is a lot of boring stuff about Lithium-Ion batteries and "hybrids" - after all has anyone seen a 3-litre V-12 Lithium-Ion battery? And if they have, they won't have heard it!

Anyway, this is not a rant - all my complaints, rants and miscellaneous observations can be found on my other blog Styx.

No, the reason for this post is the following:

"Fiat surging from sixth best-selling at the end of 2006 to the fourth in January, largely at the expense of the French automakers and thanks to the sales of its Panda, Grande Punto and 500 models.
The Turin-based automaker, which has been returned to profitability and cleared itself of debt in less than four years, will be at the car show with the Fiat 500 Abarth, a sporty version of its award-winning and hugely popular redesign of the classic 500 last summer. But the Fiat Group's big gambit will be with a new launch by its Lancia brand of the Delta sedan.
Lancia hopes that the new car will help propel the brand to sales of 300,000 a year in 2010 — from about 120,000 in 2007."

Next I hope a new rally programme: let's have the glory days back eh?

À bientôt

SI½ & SII Driveshafts - Be Wary!


Trying to find something to write about, I had another rummage in the archives, and came up with quite a nice cautionary tale.

I cannot quite remember why this particular lady brought her Fulvia to us, but on inspection I noticed that both the front drive shaft gaiters were in a terrible state and should be replaced. As was normal practice, I contacted the customer and she said "But I have just had replacement outer CV joints fitted!"

Well the company that fitted the CV joints had its eye off the ball; despite being "specialists" they hadn't noticed that the car was fitted with "S1½ type shafts" These have a shorter splined section and do not use the spring clip compressing collar that the SII type does.

The best bit was that they did notice that there was no spring collar, and so some "craftsman" decided he would make them - with a hacksaw and a piece of steel tube. I think the photograph tells the rest of the story (I included a correct SII collar for comparison purposes) but of course with the collar in the way the CV joint was not locked onto the shaft. Nice.

À bientôt

Sunday, March 02, 2008

With Added Body - Part VIII

Hello again.
Here are a few more photographs from the archives. First a picture of two of the miscreants involved in the project - me on the left (inevitably with hacksaw in hand) and Justin ("Captain Bracket") on the right. Photo taken by my father, probably in 1994.


Next, a shot of the original instrument panel, all neat with a lid and everything!


Now two pictures of the early injection installation. Originally I cannibalised a pair of worn-out 42mm Solexes - until I persuaded Doug Ellis to make some proper throttle bodies! Note the oil filler. I had to move it to the front because I had used the studs at the back of the head for the original mounting to mount the drive bearing support for the injection. The new location for the filler made for quicker oil filling and better breathing. It was later replaced: I had a FIAT oil filler welded to the top of the cam cover and a separate breather pipe added.

And finally a snap of the Fulvia waiting in line at the Goodwood trackday - where the video below was shot.

Photo: Neil Sims

À bientôt

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Proof of the Pudding...

A number of you have been very patient in following the "With added body" series here which covered the building of my low-budget Fulvia "hot-rod".

Just to prove it was not a fake, here is a video... It was made at Goodwood at a Lancia Motor Club Track Day in the Spring of 2002. After a couple of fast Deltas (the yellow one belongs to a friend (Demon Derrick - it has 340HP) you can see my Fulvia, with yours truly with the pedal really "to the metal". Sounds quite good really!

The credits for the video may been seen at the end - thanks to them for recording one of my "moments"!




À bientôt

Thursday, February 28, 2008

With Added Body - Part VII

Just a "quickie" this time: a couple more snaps from the archives.

First, my collaborator Justin tacking the steel rear quarter lights (he can use a stick welder I cannot) I think I finished them with gas - which I learned of necessity when I had my first Fulvia!


Now a snap showing the original 4-into-1 exhaust manifold. It was massive as I mentioned in the LMC article, but in fact I think it was actually a pretty good design. It was of necessity a bit longer than I wanted but I think that it was better than the present one which is too short. I believe that the primary length of a 4-into-1 on a Fulvia should be 30". Incidentally, the snap also shows how I made the solid rod clutch linkage to replace the horrid (especially on RH drive cars) cable. I installed a new bush in the opposite side of the bell housing and reversed the cross shaft. Then I cut the lever and welded in tube to suit.



À bientôt

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Another Cat Quote

Picture source: here


Picture source: here

From the eminently quotable Michel de Montaigne:

"In nine lifetimes, you'll never know as much about your cat as your cat knows about you."

À bientôt


An Appeal - Norton Motorcycles

Picture source: here

This fine piece of British Engineering dates from 1961. It is a "Slimline" Model 50, 350cc Norton, made in Birmingham the year before the company was moved to Woolwich.

I have had a brush or two with motorcycles in the past: there was a friend who had a Norton 99 600 Dominator on which I saw the "ton" whilst riding on the back on the M2, on our way for a typical biker's afternoon at Margate...

Then there was the Panther 600 with sidecar that I was given. It was just before The Accident, that I had found an attractively modified early 1950s Norton that the owner was willing to sell me for £20. Sadly The Accident intervened, so no Norton for me, a pity as it was one of my favourites (I was never a Triumph supporter).

Anyway that was all a pre-amble. My girlfriend, who lives in Paris has an agency. Talking with a new client yesterday it arose that said client is looking for a Norton similar to that in the picture, either a Model 50 or an ES2 (the 500cc version). It must be a "Slimline" so would have been made between 1961 - 1963.

If any of you out there have any ideas please let me know by email VAR1016


À bientôt

Sod the Law!

SMOKING IS NOT ONLY PERMITTED ON THIS BLOG - IT IS ACTIVELY ENCOURAGED

New Internet Speed test

Music and Radio Blog Club

Radio Blog Club, a good friend for a while appears to be in some legislative difficulty...

However, in tribute to its brave effort, I shall leave the existing track on this page (which amazingly still works)

Sadly my Playlist no longer works (hence its removal) thanks to the absurd "Hadopi" legislation in France. Apologies to all.