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

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.


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


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

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.