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...
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Formula 1

Hello again.

This weekend marks the start of the 2010 Formula 1 season with the Bahrain Grand Prix. It is 60 years since the inauguration of the World Drivers' Championship; the first ever WDC race was held at Silverstone in 1950.

So let's for a minute or two, forget the multi-billion-dollar, over-regulated circus that prevails today (and which I still find fascinating despite its shortcomings) and turn back the clock sixty years and absorb a little of the atmosphere of Grand Prix racing as it was.

And a Tipo 159 Alfa-Romeo is my idea of what a real racing-car should look like - especially with Dr Farina at the wheel:

A bientôt

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Rocker Shaft Issues

Many times working on Fulvias, I have found problems with the bolts that secure the camshaft bearing caps/rocker shaft supports. Often this is because stupid individuals have mixed up the bolts and not noticed that one of the longer bolts is slightly shorter... Also I suspect that the very hard aluminium alloy used by Lancia for the Fulvia engine might be prone to crystallisation/ cracking after years of cyclical stress. either way the nasty Helicoils® tend to give way. They should be replaced with Timeserts®

Edit: After re-reading this, I should add that another cause of Helicoil(r) problems is over-tightening of the bolts. Every overhead-camshaft engine that I have worked on has not required extreme tightening torque on these bolts and of course the Fulvia is no exception. the correct figure is 15.9ft/lbf, or 2.2Mkgf, or for the younger ones, 21.6NM

Anyway the following can happen (though I've not heard of it happening in a Fulvia) My first Fulvia that I bought in 1982 had a persistent tappet noise that no amount of adjustment would cure. It was due to a Helicoil that had let go...

A bientôt

The F&M Specials

I cannot recall ever having written about the F&M Specials here; I was prompted by accidentally finding a link to a video featuring one of them which you will see at the end of this post.

It is years since I read about the origins of these interesting cars. As far as I know they evolved from a car that was prepared for Pat Moss (late sister of Sir Stirling Moss) to drive in the Targa Florio. This I think was a 1300 and she finished a very creditable 9th - she was after all an excellent pilote. In fact her brother is a Fulvia enthusiast. A few years ago he was guest of honour at the Lancia meeting in England and a friend of mine asked him what he thought of the Fulvia. "Great little car!" he replied "You could point it at anything." This really sums up the Fulvia doesn't it? OK well I think so.

Could this be Pat moss?

The Squadra Corse tried very hard to get more power from the Fulvia's engine and having only managed around a claimed (but challenged) 100BHP/litre the only other option was to get the weight down. It is recorded that one 1600 rally car weighed 780kg. How this was acheived bearing in mind homologation restrictions and the requirement for a roll cage, I cannot imagine.

Cesare Fiorio was the rally boss at the time at Lancia, and he and co-conspirator Claudio Maglioli, rally driver, engine tuner and brother of racing-driver Umberto Maglioli. Apparently Fiorio allotted a budget of one million lire (about £500 at the time) which doesn't sound very much to me. But then creative accounting is not new is it?

A short side step: In 1999 I made a trip, in my Fulvia Iniezione to Turin. Naturally I had to photograph the famous Lancia building, but at the time its appearance was rather spoiled by the fact that there had obviously been a fire on one of the floors (the fifth or sixth I think). On returning to England I showed the photographs to various Lancisti there, one of whom observed "I suppose that that was the Accounts Department!"

So for the F&Ms (there were three genuine ones) much hacking was done: the roof of course went and the tail of the car was shortened right back to to rear spring hangers.

The striking appearance that resulted from these modifications and of course the romance of competition history, has prompted the construction of a number of replicas. Here's one I was offered at Fulvia 40 in Turin in 2003 (€35000):

It was supposed to have all the "right bits"... I could well imagine myself blasting down to the "Abinger Hatch" for the Surrey Fulvia Meeting in this car and perhaps doing the Goodwood Track day too. Sadly sums of money in the order of €35000 have eluded me for my entire life.

Fiorio and Maglioli finished up with the F&M2, which was really rather ugly. It weighed 650kg and was supposed to have 160HP.


Finally, here is the promised video. It is an in-car effort with Claudio Maglioli himself, driving one of the F&Ms. The noise is amazing and reminds me of when I heard Munari's No 14 running at FIAT's test track in 2003.

A bientôt.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Followers (2)

Welcome to the two followers who have signed up.

I hope you will find something interesting to read here!

A bientôt

Fanalone: Two Rotten Pictures and a Lubrication lesson


Finally as they say, Spring is round the corner.

The Fanalone on which I reported last year is located in an area which is about 800 metres ( about 2700 ft) above sea level and given the fact that this location is in South Eastern France, snow inevitably has to have its say. This year temperatures dropped to as low as -17° and there was 50cm of snow. The recent gradual thaw meant that I could get back to it.

I removed the rest of the engine from the subframe and stripped it down. After nearly ten years, 26 rallies and plenty of road miles too, I was not optimistic but was pleasantly surprised. There is no significant wear to the bores which are in excellent condition as is the crankshaft (supplied secondhand at the time of the Evolution Engineering rebuild that I did). But the big shock was the condition of the lower centre main bearing shell, as you know the Fulvia's Achilles Heel - or arguably, one of them! I apologise for the photo quality - light was difficult.

All the main bearings were perfect! And I should add that the rev-counter tell-tale reads 9000 rpm, the result of a "buzzing" during a "yump" on a rally. There is no need to replace them - to do so would simply be an unnecessary extravagance.

Some of the big ends have marks and will be replaced. the owner has a set of bearing shells, but these are reticular tin easily recognisable by their silvery finish whereas the correct bearings should be lead indium which are grey in appearance. These will be purchased.

I shall replace the piston rings, merely as a precaution and to ensure that performance remains optimum. 1600 Fulvias always seem to wear their timing chains rather quickly, probably because the chain is really a little on the long side: when Lancia developed the 1600 the increased stroke meant that the block was 12.3mm taller than the 1300's. This of course meant that the timing chain had to be longer. About one to one and a half links would have been ideal, but of course this is impossible so 118 links it had to be with a larger tensioner to take up the slack. So the chain will be replaced.

The oil pump is in excellent condition and will be refitted.

Now then the point of all the foregoing blurb! The owner is absolutely rigid on two points: first, she will never race a cold engine and on the road will cover five miles before she applies any heavy right foot. Second she insists on using only 100% synthetic oil. The oil we have used in this car since it was built in 2001 is AGIP Racing 10W/60 fully synthetic. I have argued in the past that any reasonable modern oil is much better than the products available when the Fulvia was made, but I have to say the results speak for themselves - and after all, I have always said that a can of oil is always cheaper than a new engine.

Having wrapped up and packed away the various parts pending the arrival of the bits and pieces I shall need to do the rebuild, I then removed the gearbox from the subframe as this will be replaced, the owner happily having a spare! She has never been happy with the original, I agree: it is not very nice. It is also bloody heavy. Fulvia gearboxes are heavier than they were 25 years ago or so when I first started lifting them...

The subframe pictured below is much filthier than my rotten photo shows! When conditions improve outside, it will of course be properly cleaned, the replacement gearbox installed and then the S1 1300 steering box, which is excellent as 1300 steering boxes usually are, installed. I mentioned this in an earlier piece.

The plan is that after the bottom half of the engine is built up, I shall then have a look at the head. We have some replacement Fanalone rockers to fit - regular readers will recall we had some rocker and camshaft trouble a while back, and there is a set of new valve springs too.

I'll do my best to make some better pictures next time.

Meanwhile if YOU are anywhere near here - i.e. close to Geneva, then get in touch - I want some Fulvias here to work on!

A 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.