A bit of music from the lamented Radio Blog Club

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, 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

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

With Added Body - Part VI

And now - a bit more.

As with so many Fulvias, the back panel was rotten at the bottom; Martin my sculptor friend, having seen the original Fulvia sketches from 1963 thought that a panel more curved than standard would be just the thing. I wanted round rear lamps anyway, since I believe that in almost every case, round is best. So the old panel was cut out and a new more curved one made. Very tricky without a wheel to make a compound curve and the panel was made mostly on Martin's knee. As the picture shows, a lot of bashing and filling had to follow the fitting!

Also, the picture shows the construction of the lower rear wings (more bashing and filling). I did away with the rear valance since I considered it to be unnecessary weight and just an air dam and mud trap. Curiously, seven years later at Fulvia 40 in Turin, I met Flavio Manzone, the designer of the new Fulvia. I suggested he look at the back of my car and upon doing so he exclaimed "It's just like mine!" Alberto, my interpreter replied "No - yours is just like his!"

I have added a couple of snaps taken when the car was nearly ready; I was pretty pleased with the results; it was the first time I had painted a car and the finish is "straight from the gun".

More next time.

À bientôt

Monday, February 25, 2008

With Added Body - Part V

Here, sooner than certainly I expected (!) is the next instalment in this rather snowballing series.

The picture on the left (click to enlarge) shows the new front panel that we made for the car. As I explained at the beginning of the series, the car really was very rotten. I had made attempts to fix the front, which in any case I had intended to modify and finally I threw in the towel and decided that there had to be something new.

I was never impressed with the small headlamps on the Fulvia and was determined to have the "standard" 7" units. Anticipating increased power and planning a cross-flow radiator I wanted a larger "hole" at the front which would also provide good flow to the oil cooler. The panel was made in two mirror-image halves and welded together, with the headlamp pods made separately and welded in place later.

Although not shown in the picture, the radiator is supported in the modern way with a couple of rubbers that fit into small fabricated mounts that are welded to the sub-frame. Sharp-eyed readers will notice that the ends of the front cross-member (sub-frame) have been cut away and welded up - a bit more space and a little less weight!

Above is a shot showing a headlamp pod in place and also the very scruffy-looking spoiler. The spoiler was for me at least, a happy accident: in 1989 I was working for a Porsche specialist, working mostly on pre-1973 911s (interesting to build those engines). The owner of the business was a keen racer and quite often there were bits that were not quite "as new" lying about. At this time there was a S III Fulvia coupé in the workshop that I was welding away at. Seeing a damaged 911 spoiler lying about I thought that the "bumper" profile looked vaguely familiar... Of course I offered it up and realised it might be a potential replacement for the rotten front valance on my Fulvia. A fair amount of "cutting and shutting" was necessary as may be seen from the picture, but the results were acceptable to me in the end...

The main mounting of the spoiler required I remember a bit of thought. In the end, I used a second pair of bumper irons welded to the first pair which worked out perfectly, the fixing to the fibreglass spoiler being made with coach bolts.

As I have quite a stack of pictures, I shall be writing a bit more about the project. In the meantime I shall be happy to answer questions or provide more information if required.

À bientôt

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Music/Computer Fans: don't miss this!

From time to time, I have had occasion to plug a blog or two in this pages.

This time it is again the turn of the amazingly resourceful CM, who regularly manages to find extraordinary, bizarre and wonderful things to feature there (when she isn't complaining about the current French government that is!).

Continuing on a musical note (groan) you might have noticed that I have expanded my playlist considerably: press the "play" symbol and you will get random selections, or you can click on any individual track that catches your eye. For a change of mood CM has a rocky playlist with some great classics, whilst those of you who read and maybe even enjoy my rants and "political incorrectitudes" here, might care to visit my second blog, Styx (which is not about cars but about other stuff). There is a rather different playlist there...

À bientôt

With Added Body - Part IV

Regular readers may recall that this series was prompted by Bart from Belgium asking about how the body of my special was constructed.
The previous articles in this series will have provided some information, so now to get to the dirty (and cheap) details. The picture on the left shows my friend Martin hard at it, working on the front wing mountings. Martin was a sculptor and quite fancied playing with some 18 gauge half-hard aluminium sheet! As may be seen, the original (rotten) lower front wing had been cut away, providing room for repairs and seam welding underneath; the triangulation I mentioned before may be seen below Martin's hands. First a steel angle was riveted to the original wing and to this, aluminium tags were fitted to which the outer panel was mounted.

The next picture shows a card template in position. This was not the final version - at the time I had envisioned copying the beautiful arrangements on the Le Mans Peugeots, but we all agreed that this was a bit de trop.

However the wings and other bits were intended to improve the aerodynamics of the Fulvia, and for all I know, they may well have done!

I decided that there would be an air exit at the rear of the wing; this would help keep the brakes and exhaust system cool and also keep under-bonnet temperatures a bit lower (worth a couple of octanes...) The problem was that with the wing extended back to the door shutline, the door wouldn't open... This explains the gap.

The panels are fixed with countersunk rivets - about 600 in total on the car generally spaced at one and a half inches.

And here's the wing after weeks of filling and rubbing down, showing the air duct. Incidentally, these ducts really work: on a wet day there is nice curved spray of mud on each door - looks jolly aerodynamic at least!

Next time, I'll be taking a look at the spoiler and the distinctly non-original front panel.

À bientôt

With Added Body - Part III

Hello again.

Here is the rest of my 1996 article which summarises the specification as it then was and gives a few more details. I should add that quite a few changes were made between 1996 and 2003, in particular, the front brakes. Sorry about the layout: the text was copied over from Word and is impossible to format, despite my best efforts with the HTML - it just refuses to respond.

Next I shall, as requested try to write a little about the way we managed to fabricate the body work, with some pictures of work in progress.

À bientôt



1967 Fulvia Coupe. Sills reinforced with central membrane, all seam-welded. Sub-frame boxes removed, triangular sections rebuilt in 12/16g steel, seam welded. Rear of sub-frame removed. Sub-frame modified to use 2000 rear mounts. Gearbox tunnel removed and replaced with extended SII tunnel, triangulated to scuttle. Centre and rear sub-frame mounts triangulated with square tubing. Front flitch panels triangulated to "A" post. Wheel arches seam-welded to wing tops. New wings and rear panel fabricated from 18g aluminium sheet - riveted in place. Rear quarter lights removed and welded up. New front panel fabricated; front valance replaced with modified Porsche spoiler. Dash panel replaced with tubular structure; steering column lowered.


82 x 75mm, 1584cc. Block bored & sleeved; flywheel lightened; head gas-flowed; 40mm inlet valves, 35mm exhausts.

c.r. approx 11.5/1. Ex-works rally-profile camshafts(BWE) timing approx 50/70/70/50; lift at TDC: 4.3mm

Lucas mechanical injection Mk II. Bosch electric fuel pumps. Throttle bodies 42mm bore. Exhaust manifold 4-into-1, primaries 39" long, bore 35mm opening to 38mm; pipe after collector 60mm.

Oil and fuel coolers. Approx. 145 b.h.p. @ 6700 r.p.m.


Fulvia 1600 sport gearbox 11/39 diff. Extended remote-control with revised lever ratio and shortened gear-lever. Solid rod clutch throw-out.


1600 SII coupe suspension with Nylatron bushes. Rubber spring-to-wishbone mounts replaced with ball races in HD-30 supports and hardened steel plates on spring. SI rear axle, extra (inverted) leaf added to rear springs, solid bushes.


AP racing magnesium 4-pot calipers mounted on special adapter plates at front. SI Dunlop rear calipers lined with stainless steel. Pressure limiting valve. master cylinder: SI 18mm bore. Shortened, fly-off handbrake lever.


Cromodora 6x14, 185/60-14 tyres (to be replaced with Porsche 7x15 wheels with 195/205/50-15 tyres)


0-60: 7 secs, top speed: I haven't found out yet!


Alfa-Romeo - Radiator and fuse-box (Sud) fuel-guage (Duetto)

Ford - Fuel pump (XR3i) injection (Cosworth FVA)

Jaguar - header tank (XJ6)

Lancia (other than Fulvia) - Alternator, sub-frame parts & mounts, catch tanks, anti-roll bar (2000);oil cooler (Delta HF) silencer (Thema)

FIAT - various brackets, linkages (various),brake limiter (Panda)

TAXI - headlamps

TVR - rear lamps (Tuscan race-car)

Porsche - Spoiler, fuel-pump, washer-pump(911)

Honda - passenger seat runners (Activan)

Rank Xerox - Throttle linkage bearings (10-90 copier)


Many thanks to:-

Martin Hall - bodywork fabrication and swearing lessons

Justin Hildreth -"Captain Bracket" - all sorts, notably exhaust manifold, injection installation, fabrication and the handbrake.

Doug Ellis - machining; throttle bodies, suspension mounts, brake mounts.

Barry Waterhouse - solid bushes, cylinder sleeving, flywheel lightening, lining of rear brake cylinders and what Harry would call "Facilities" and advice.

Peter Ward - design of front caliper mounts, advice re injection, concepts and technical theory.

Bob Blurton (BBI)- THE Lucas man - for advice and an entertaining Sunday afternoon.

Gary Crawford - preparation of bodywork, loan of MIG and spraying equipment, lots of good ideas and encouragement.

Dave Tweddle - advice and encouragement in the early days

Paul Collins - for the door handle idea.

Harry Manning - apart from everything else he sold me the car!


BWE - all sorts of things, far too many to list (but see above)

Goodwins - aluminium

George King Metals - aluminium, alloys and steel

Thos Tingley - steel tube

Think Automotive - Aeroquip tube and fittings, gauges

ADA racing - brake calipers

Ken Mills Injection - Lucas parts and overhaul of injectors

Wurth UK - Nuts, washers, rivets, connectors.

GSJ - stainless and standard bolts and nuts

Lucas - fuel system parts

Strand Glass - fibreglass cloth

Cannons MSA - Exhaust tubing paint etc.

Car Paint & Panel - paints

Fay's metals - copper sheet, aluminium and steel

Friday, February 22, 2008

Geekend Again - How life once was?

I have mentioned Techrepublic's excellent weekly "Geekend" features before.

Today's includes a gem of a video that I felt sure might interest some of you; the link to the article is here

Health warning: there are scenes showing people smoking...

A bientôt

Friday, February 15, 2008

Lancia Automobili

Image source: here

The title of this piece is also the name of a public group on the photo hosting and sharing site, Flickr.

Here's the link to Lancia Automobili.

I am sure that many of you enjoy making pictures of your cars: here is a chance to share them with other Lancisti. I have posted a couple of the pictures here to give you an idea of the site's contents.

Picture source: here

A bientôt

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The best-laid plans of mice & men etc.

Some of you might remember my recent piece about Fernando Alonso and what he said a year ago contrasted with the outcome; well this time it's the turn of Ralf Schumacher and Toyota.

I regularly glance at the "one year ago" section on, and there is usually value there.

À bientôt
Photo source: Here

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Full Noise"? Not quite, but still...

I am one of the many fans of the amazing V16 BRM - a glorious failure in truth but with one exception: It had the best sound of any racing car - ever.

1.5 litres, 16 cylinders in a 135°V with a Rolls-Royce-built centrifugal supercharger eventually providing about 4.5 Bar boost, it developed near the end of its career (1955) nearly 600bhp at about 11,000 rpm.

First a video showing a VERY BRAVE man driving a V16 up the narrow bumpy hill used at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Second a collection of images accompaned by Nick Mason's well-known recording of his V16 at Donnington Park

I think you might enjoy these!
À bientôt

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rolls-Royce Merlin & Bentley: Eccentric Britons

I stumbled across these madmen whilst looking for something else. Well worth watching (ignore the silly music at the beginning)

À bientôt

With Added Body - Part II

Many thanks for the comments; thus stimulated, here I go.

A bit of a cheat actually this time. First a couple more early photos from mid-1990 I would guess:

Photo: Dave Tweddle

Photo: Dave Tweddle

The upper picture gives an idea of the welding tasks undertaken - all the usual rotten Fulvia areas. Note at the front that I have "triangulated" by boxing-in the flitch thus vastly increasing its stiffness. The second snap shows "The Happy Welder" (probably forgotten about the can of Stella and thinking about a pint of proper beer).

In September 1996, three months after the car finally took to the road, I wrote a fairly brief history of the project fror the English Lancia Club magazine. I propose to repeat it here since it does give an overall idea of the project; a few things have changed since then, but in those days I probably had a better memory!

Here is the first part of the article:

At the recent Castle Combe track day, my car finally made its appearance after what seems to have been an interminable gestation period (seven years).

It is not and never will be, finished.

However, following an all too brief spell on the track due to a faulty condenser and a cracked cylinder block (which was due to my negligence!) many visitors expressed interest in the car. For me, an inveterate fiddler and modifier, this was very satisfying, as I am aware that specials are, to say the least, not nearly as much "the thing" as they were in Julian Jane's day.

Anyway, this piece is neither to be a cri-de-coeur nor a tedious account of every weld or piece of fabrication until the triumphant day when the car "passed its MoT with flying colours" - why do they always say that? (it did actually).

No, apart from a few disconnected jottings, I just wish to express my grateful thanks to the many kind friends who have helped and also to the numerous motor-manufacturers whose designers (unwittingly) contributed parts. These I list at the end.

And now a little about the project

Thanks to Gerald Batt and Harry's neighbours, the Deadmans, I was able to collect OMY 142E from Harry's premises after his death

· The car, for which Harry had paid £60, turned out to be composed roughly of 65% steel, 25% filler, the balance being mostly oily filth, holes, cobwebs etc.

· After about three months of weekends welding, I had a shell.

· Since the project was not done "aircraft-style" - i.e. drawings first (I can't draw) it developed organically. Examples of this include the purchase of various steel wheelarches, the three different mounting-places for the oil-cooler, two mountings for the injection, three radiators etc.

· Why injection? A number of people asked me this at 'Combe. Well first of all, I've always admired the Lucas mechanical system both for its success over twenty years of motor racing and for its ingenuity - just three moving parts in the metering unit and two of those running at clearances of .0001"! I was, of course, aware of the works efforts with the Kugelfischer system, but no-one's ever told me how much power was obtained. There are rumours that such a 1600 came to England but after fifteen years of Lancias I have yet to meet anyone who has seen a VAR 1016 Fulvia, let alone an Iniezione! Anyway, I was very fortunate to be offered a Lucas 6mm 4-cylinder unit with a Cosworth drive and 4 injectors at a price I could afford, so then I was committed.

· The idea was to reduce the overall length of the inlet tract, which is especially long and tortuous if the works manifold with 45s or 48s is used. I have plans to shorten the tract still further. The reason is that a shorter tract will improve top-end power and together with injection, provide much-improved throttle response - never the Fulvia's strong point. Additionally, injection provides superior atomisation of the intake charge - essential with long ports - and thereby additional mechanical "octanes" by virtue of a better burn.

At a recent rolling-road test, the engine delivered 110 b.h.p.(and climbing) at the wheels at 6700 r.p.m. Unburned hydrocarbons were very low - 95 p.p.m. proving the "burn" theory. Incidentally the power output is equivalent to about 145 b.h.p. at the flywheel. I am still using the original Cosworth F2 fuel cam which came with the injection which is hardly suitable, whilst the ignition timing is actually a guess - we didn't touch it during the test session - there wasn't time; neither has the cam timing been addressed.

· More work has to be done on the exhaust system. I have found that Fulvias respond very favourably to attention in this area. This may seem a platitude, but take a look at the dismal exhaust valve-throat area on a standard Fulvia head and I'm sure you'll agree. Another thing: why did Lancia use the 1300 manifold on the 1600? The fact that stainless steel was used is really an admission of failure - I've seen them red-hot! The fact that I have virtually to dismantle the entire front of my car to remove my fabricated 4-into-1 manifold is another admission altogether of course! There's really very little room; back to the (virtual) drawing-board, I suppose.

· As for the rest of the car, the approach has been to make it as solid as possible keeping weight to a feasible minimum; it is still too heavy. Following Peter Gerrish's suggestion in the Fulvia Journal, the sills have a central membrane. Seam welding serves to integrate the "A" post into the sill structure with further triangulation of the flitches forward and above, that. I have done away with the troublesome boxes by simply removing the rear portion of the sub-frame and mounting it where Nature (and Fessia) intended - in the original place; a lot of work, but weight is saved and rigidity gained. There are solid bushes (from Barry Waterhouse) and my ball-race front spring mounts beautifully executed by Doug Ellis.

· Next? Well, how about a mechanical fuel-pump (always the Lucas bugbear) dry sump, rose-jointed outer front anti-roll bar mounts, alloy brake-disc bells etc? It's nice to dream...

Actually, before Goodwood (next spring), I have to dismantle the car and rebuild the engine, hopefully with the magic head that Peter Ward has been threatening to do for me which he says will (with a proper fuel-cam etc) provide 175 b.h.p. with torque to match. I have to re-think the exhaust manifold, the heat from which causes great suffering to the steering idler box and I also have to polish out the runs in my paintwork. As I said, it will never be finished...


Next time, the rest of the article which gives some specifications and other details.

À bientôt

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pour mes Lecteurs Français

Picture source: here

Chers lecteurs et lectrices, ici un lien utile pour vous : un dictionnaire technique mécanique français/anglais.

J'espère qu'il permettra d'améliorer le plaisir de vos visites ici !**

À bientôt

**Merci CM, pour la traduction

Waiting! (Was "With added body")

Photo: Colin Marr

Hello. I have started looking through some pictures with a view to starting this mini-series; now I am waiting for your input (please see the original piece).

Meanwhile I came up with a nice snap made by a good photographer; it was taken on a pleasant one-off test day held a few years back at North Weald Aerodrome in Essex. I gave Colin the photographer what I think was quite an entertaining ride...

À bientôt

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Get A (Second) Life

Lancia is appearing to be going increasingly "virtual." First we have their involvement with the Chat tool Weblin, which features little people at the bottom of your screen and now Lancia has gone in big with "Lancia Island" on Second Life - the virtual world.

I haven't visited yet, but there is apparently a showroom...

Virtual motoring: should please the "greens"!

Lancia official site (where you can hear a clip of Mme Sarkozy singing "Bang Bang": quite appropriate really...)

À bientôt

Long Overdue

From Picato (see RH side of page). Source: here

I said a long time ago that I love cats, and from time to time I would put a picture up with a quotation to suit.

Well the cat this time is a fine fellow sure enough, but I couldn't find a quotation to suit him, so I have added two quotes that I hope might amuse.

You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat. ~Albert Einstein

A catless writer is almost inconceivable. It's a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys. ~Barbara Holland

Source of cat quotes:

À bientôt

More Miscellanea - TechRepublic

TechRepublic is an excellent institution for those who wish to keep up with the world of computers etc.

An excellent feature is the forums. There are two: one for discussion and the other where one can ask a question, for example about software problems. The attitude of the many IT professionals there is superb and they are most helpful - even I can understand their advice (!) and they have solved a few problems for me.

It's not all serious there though. Each Friday there is a feature called, rather self-deprecatingly, "Geekend". This week's edition included the following, which amused me:

A major research institution recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science, tentatively named Administratium. Administratium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons and 111 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic weight of 312. The 312 particles are held together by a force called morons, which is surrounded by vast quantities of peons.

À bientôt

And if there's a hose-pipe ban, what then?

Land of the Free (if you look after your lawn)
Image source: here

To me, this story from the International Herald Tribune beggars belief.

Government encroachment has really got out of hand - this time in the "land of the free."

À bientôt

A Kindred Spirit

As an "ex-pat" one of my pleasures is to receive my copy of Private Eye, a publication that I have enjoyed for many years.

I had never imagined that I would have had anything in common with "Quin" in Knife & Packer's "It's grim up North London", but the latest one certainly should ring a bell with those of you who are familiar with my "little computer difficulties"...

Click on the image to Enlarge
From Private Eye 1203

Friday, February 08, 2008

Another Interesting New French blog

Right here

Presented to us by the enigmatic Constance Prunier.

Look, I know that there are millions of blogs, so please bear in mind that I am aware of this fact. I also know that many are just gratuitous rubbish...

Confession: I have wanted to be perceived as "arty" since I was about 20 years old, a fairly long time ago, so when I see something that looks "arty" I am inclined to be sympatique.

This one started just a week ago and as far as I can tell, given my lamentable French, is about love, sex and arts.

Come on boys I know I shouldn't say it but there's more to life than cars (which will probably be soon banned anyway - I mean what I call "cars").

À bientôt


This rather nice image was sent to me by another of those who take the trouble to comment hereabouts!

It comes from an interesting place - a place for which I wonder what the future holds. It is "Le Musée du Fumeur" - "The Smoker's Museum" which is situated in the 11th arrondissment in Paris. Those who are interested may like to know that the site is available in both English and French.

I am amazed that the government has not closed it down yet... There appear to be plenty of pictures of smokers enjoying themselves. These days I think that enjoyment is off the menu.

Thanks Fleur!

À bientôt

"With added body"

To my posting entitled "What would you do?" I received the following comment:

Hi Paul I also read your blog occasionally. You combined the 2 most beautiful things in this overheating/ozonlayer destroying earth: Fulvia & France. And then you're writing about them. That's what we call: Magnifique! I read them with a lot off interest. Like Paul asked: please give some info on your Fulvia coupé bodyworks (the baby blue one). And off course: we're going for the juicy details! ;-) Greetings from Belgium Bart Berlina S2 Zagato S2

The sort of posting that warms the cockles of my heart. Of course you all know that really the engine is the thing for me; having anything to do with bodywork I generally feel is a bit of a necessary pain, although it is undeniably rewarding: "No pain, no gain" as the saying goes.

I am happy to accede to Bart's request, although it will have to be another series, and looking at the collection of old photographs I have, I shall have to spend quite a lot of time scanning them.

Looking back, I was really very disorganised, and I was also very poor (as now) which meant that many compromises had to be made. I do not seem to have a picture of the car as it was originally, but I have added a couple of snaps here to show a couple of fairly early pictures that were taken after about three months' work (three months of weekends of course) and a third picture taken about four years later when the project was a little nearer completion.

The car was quite unusual, being an early 1300 coupé - not a "Rallye" - it was all steel and did not carry the "rallye" insignia (look at the rot in the bonnet). It was first registered in April 1967 and its serial number is 2002.

I have no intention of making this series a "blow-by-blow" account of the progress. I hope to find enough pictures to enable me to write about specific aspects.

If any of you have specific things that you would like me to write about in connexion with the car, then let's hear from you.

À bientôt

[P.S. Usual disclaimer about the terrible layout: not my fault and nothing to do with me]

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Spot the Non-Smoker!

Général de Gaulle. Source: here

President Roosevelt Source: Here

Adolf Hitler Source: Here

"Uncle Joe" Source: Here

W.S. Churchill source: Here

Funny how things turn out sometimes isn’t it?

Sorry about the layout, I know it’s rubbish but I am incapable of understanding how to place pictures and wrap text etc. And I cannot align the captions, so sorry again. "Blogger" offers a preview which bears no resemblance to the final page: neither does the composition page, so one is rather in the dark. Perhaps one day Blogger will offer a WYSIWYG service?

Perhaps I should offer a caption prize!

A bientôt

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Front spring specs from the factory data book
Click on the image to enlarge it

In this part of my suspension “mini-series” a few words concerning springs.

First, naturally enough the front. The table here shows a range of six different specifications and a couple of observations are worth making. First notice that the Fanalone had the same front spring fitted as the SI 1200 and 1300, 1300S and 1300 Sports. Second, notice the special spring fitted only to 1200 and 1300HFs (818-140 and 340). This spring is flatter and softer than any of the others, so if you have one of these, my advice is don’t break it, as they are hardly likely to be found in your local breaker’s yard!

Not much to add about the front spring: after all they are a pain to change and as the list shows, practical choice is limited. If you do want to change one, take the greatest care as they are installed with considerable pre-load and are perfectly capable of taking your arm off. You have been warned!

Rear spring specs from the factory data book
Click on the image to enlarge it

Turning to the rear, there are just five types. This time the Fanalone shares only with the SI 1200 and 1300 Zagatos (Sports) – the 1200 Zagato 818-132 gets mentioned here – and once again the early HFs have the flattest and softest springs, reflecting no doubt the reduced weight of these types.

Rear springs do corrode badly: this tendency is not helped by the plastic interleaving fitted. I have frequently rebuilt rear springs and since the plastic is usually shredded – and even if it isn’t – I discard it. I remove all the rust and if I had an industrial polishing machine I would polish all the leaves too, just like old Bugattis and Grand Prix cars. I then apply grease and Waxoyl. The simple buckle clamps (two per spring) I fix very tightly and weld up afterwards, this keeps the spring aligned and in good order.

For those who wish to lower the rear there are two approaches. First one can invert one of the leaves, usually the third counting from the bottom. Alternatively an additional leaf – a third or longer fourth - may be added at the top again inverted, which has the effect of both lowering and stiffening the rear. To do this you will need a longer centre clamp bolt, but a 6mm cap screw works perfectly.

Finally, Fulvia springs do sag and sometimes break (as do front ones sometimes). Some of the modern spring makers’ ideas of replacements are frankly laughable. I once was given an SII sedan fitted with replacement rear springs. Instead of six thin leaves they had four thick ones. The car’s ride was very hard on my liver and of course on the chassis too!

À bientôt

Democracy in Action: Spot the Difference

What? No seat belt, smoking, and a war to win? Perhaps he sometimes drank!
What chance has he got?
Picture source: Here

There are soon to be a presidential election in Russia and parliamentary elections in Iran.

The Russian Electoral Commission has barred former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky from running, on what may be perfectly legitimate grounds although personally, I have my doubts given the complexion of Putin's Russia and the enormous backing Putin has given his chosen candidate (not to mention the quid pro quo of Putin's guaranteed job as Prime Minister after the people have made their choice (!)). Full story here.

Meanwhile an Iranian of distinguished origins has been barred from his country's elections:

Among many hopefuls barred from running in the election is Ali Eshraghi, a 39-year-old civil engineer who is also a grandson of Khomeini, founder of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. Eshraghi told the Kargozaran newspaper he had not been told why he was rejected. "My neighbours told me they were questioned about my private life, including ... whether I shaved, whether I pray or fast or smoke," Eshraghi said. Full story here

The article about Russia doesn't specify if Mr Bukovsky was asked about smoking or not; personally I think that after what he has been through he is entitled to a puff or two, and anyway it's his business after all.

In closing I have to say that none of the present "hopefuls" in the United States primaries appear to me to have the look of the smoker about them; as a result, I predict that none of them will achieve the deserved renown of that Great Smoker and President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt!

À bientôt

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Where there's not smoke...

In a recent posting here I introduced my case against "Big Government" and I complained about increasing encroachment on the private lives of the public (citizens in many countries, subjects in others).

With the rubbish pumped out by the nannies in Engand and in France it is easy to assume that such outrages are limited to one's own country. This is not the case:



This headline appears at the top of a bi-lingual Canadian Website whose purpose, although motivated by the very severe regulations in Canada (prisoners are not allowed to smoke!) takes a stance not dissimilar to my own.

The trend continues: if you are overweight, you may well be denied medical treatment - in the UK. You have "lifestyle choices" so long as they happen to be in agreement with those that the Government has chosen for you. It is ironic that there are moves afoot to ban battery chicken farming (quite right too) whilst before too long there will be "battery people" chained to their TV sets - where by another irony they will be free to watch "Big Brother" or some such garbage.

A more hopeful outcome may be possible in the USA: it seems that sense may prevail in Mississippi if this article is to be believed, but what is terrifying is that somebody proposed the law in the first place. And remember that in some states there are even non-smoking parking meters!

Finally, and a lot closer to home, in Paris, Mayor M. Bernard Delanoe is proposing to ban all cars over eight years old from the city.

What price Fulvias in France then??

And there are proposed new laws limiting students to four drinks maximum in an evening.

Can you see where all this is leading?

Real leadership is needed and fairly soon: everybody must understand that this is not just about the smokers...

À bientôt (If I haven't been censored by the health KGB)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Suspension - That Rubber Again

In my first article about the Fulvia's suspension, I apologised for the lack of pictures to illustrate the points I made.

The more recent articles have managed pictures, but now thanks to Neal, I have a good picture of the original front suspension arrangement. This shows S II 1300 front suspension (pressed steel wishbone), but the installation is identical to other models.

Note: the rubber is brand new. Picture: Neal Sims

In my original article, I wrote:

The one, to me, unpleasant compromise at the front in all series, is the means of coupling the upper wishbone to the transverse leaf spring: the famous rubber. Consider how the suspension operates: as the wheel rises, the upper wishbone moves towards the horizontal. At the same time (since they are joined) the spring is gradually straightened, so of course it effectively “lengthens” in positional terms. Of course as the wheel falls the process is reversed. This all means that the rubber is subjected to considerable shear loads and thus offers substantial resistance to suspension movement.

A little study of the picture should help you to appreciate my points!

À bientôt

Monte Carlo or Bust - Part II

A very nice part of the world: view from end of the stage

Each year, after the Monte Carlo Rally, the Historique is run. Today I went down to have a look as there was a stage due to start at 1:00, a very civilised time indeed. The stage was due to start at Laffrey, about 25km south of Grenoble so not an enormous distance for us to cover to get there.

There was a slight problem: a stack of snow fell overnight: we were debating whether or not it was worth going, but after battling through heavy stuff hereabouts (at nearly 3000ft altitude) when we got to the motorway it was just pouring with rain...

This nice Fanalone (complete with Spanish crew)
needed a bit of attention

We found on arrival that the snow wasn't just around home: in fact the stage had been cancelled since one of the cols was closed and the cars had to be re-routed. This meant driving a further 20km to just south of La Mure on the N85 where we were able to see at least a few cars arrive at the end of another stage.

The "opposition" had fine service facilities.
This is former F1 driver Eric Comas's rental operation

À bientôt

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Big Brother Can Watch You - Even More Soon

I daresay that some of you have yawned and others sighed, on reading my numerous posts about the French anti-smoking regulations, that are identical to those imposed on the British population last July.

Whilst I obviously have a vested interest since I am a dedicated and enthusiastic smoker, this is not quite the whole story. Those of you who know me will be well aware that for many years I have complained and grumbled about increasing government interference in the lives of the population. This kind of intereference has become almost a raison d'être for so-called Liberal Western "Democratic" governments.

You motorists should know what I am talking about: after all would speed cameras for example receive a democratic "thumbs-up"? I don't think so.

So have a read of this article from Slashdot; it will give you an unpleasant look at the unpleasant future.

À bientôt

More on the "Rubber Solution" - Suspension Again

Picture: William

Arguably my most loyal reader/commentator, William (see comments on recent articles) has not only sent a picture of his solution to the problem of the rubber between the top wishbone and spring but has allowed me to publish it here.

And so I have! As may been seen, William has opted for a simple mount, using a 10mm bolt supporting a row of ball races each 8mm wide. Looking at it I should say it will work very well.

À bientôt

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Another Jaguar Tale

I recently mentioned the story about Jaguar borrowing John Coombs's Ferrari 250GT for evaluation, and in that piece I touched on Jaguar's optimistic horsepower claims in the 1960s. I should add at this point that others were equally guilty: Aston Martin for example.

When the Aston Martin DB4GT was first announced, there was apparently a conversation at the works along these lines: "What should we say about the power output - 300BHP?" (asked the first of the two protagonists whose names escape me) "No" replied the second, "say 302 - it sounds more honest." So 302HP it was. For the delightful DB4GT Zagato they claimed 315HP, presumably even more honest!

Reading such stories has always been a great pleasure for me, and whilst retailing the Coombs story earlier this evening I recalled another, which returns us to Jaguar and their horsepower claims.

In 1960, Jaguar acquired from BSA the assets of the sadly declining Daimler company. Soon after, in 1961, Jaguar announced the Mark X saloon complete with the famous slogan "Grace, Space, Pace." Jaguar of course had had a look at what Daimler was making although there were no exciting surprises really in the "cupboard."

Daimler was producing, apart from a rather ancient 6-cylinder engine which powered the "Majestic" model, two V8 engines, one of 2.5 litres that was fitted to the remarkably ugly SP250 sports car and the other of 4.5 litres that was fitted to the "Majestic Major" model. These V8s had been designed by Edward Turner, father of the Triumph parallel twin motorcycle engine, the "Speed Twin." They were good engines, nicely made although not especially radical as I recall. Daimler claimed 220HP for the 4.5 litre engine and having actually owned one of these enormous cars (17 feet (5.1m) long and weighing 37cwt (1883kg)) I can assure you that the engine has plenty of steam - they were real horses and if there were not 220 of them, there very nearly were. The great barge went like a bomb - I paid only £60 for it too!

Jaguar's Mark X was powered by the famous 3.8 litre XK engine, with " gold-top straight port" cylinder head and three 2" SU carburettors - very similar to the E-type installation. Jaguar claimed 250HP for this version.

Wondering whether the 4.5 litre Daimler V8 might have a place in Jaguar's future plans, some bright spark sent an engine to the experimental department and had them install it into a Mark X. When the assembled "special" was tested it managed 135mph (217kph): rather more impressive than the 120mph (195kph) that the Mark X could manage with its "250" Jaguar ponies.

I do not know whether or not there were some red faces at Jaguar on hearing the outcome of the tests, but if there were not, then there was no sense of shame at Brown's Lane!

A postscript to this story: the very dated-looking Majestic Major continued in production until 1968, whilst its connecting-rods were used in the Repco-Brabham 3-litre Formula one engine in 1966; a pretty good recommendation I should say.

À bientôt

Sod the Law!


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.