My last post talked about a GTC that was ready to come back from the paint shop, so I made room at my shop to receive the car.
Assembling a car from paint always brings up a bunch of little challenges and a bunch of little projects. A lot of the nose of this car was repaired and corrected with new sheet metal, so parts were removed and replaced that would not normally happen. When reassembling, I had to replace and correct all the changes.
An example would be the radiator overflow tank bracket. This part is pop riveted to the underside of the lower valence, but it was removed for sheet metal repair. Finding the holes, and riveting it back on was one little project.
I still needed to send some small pieces of chrome out for plating, but this was my last chance to check for fit on the freshly painted car before plating!
The grill will polish out fine (another little project), but the horse could use some new plating.
I have an order in for all the new rubber seals I will be installing. These will go in the doors, windows, and windshields.
Before any of the lights went back in, I will had to check the holes and clearance them for the studs. Not only will the lights be hard to fit if the excess paint isn’t removed, you also risk chipping the paint when the light is removed if it’s just jammed into place.
The biggest challenge I had was the broken and rusted capture nut cages.
The window frames are chrome plated brass and the capture nut assemblies are steel, so they rusted faster than the rest of the window frame. With one capture nut frame completely rusted away and a couple of bolts seized, I had to remove the parts so they could be reconstructed.
I still had to partially drill out the remaining bolt to give enough clearance to slide the remaining square nut out of the cage after carefully bending it open.
I fabricated a new cage with hopes of welding it to the remaining steel. The chrome on the window frame was in excellent shape, so I didn’t want to do add too much heat to discolor the chrome, but I needed this weld to stick. I thoroughly removed the rust on the steep pieces to give the weld a fighting chance of holding.
I made new M8 square nuts from some steel bar so they would fit perfectly in the original cage. I also made another one for the new cage I made.
After successfully welding the large cage to the window frame, I turned my attention to another broken and seized cage nut. After making a M6 square nut for this cage, I managed to reconstruct the cage and tack weld it back together. It’s repairing little details like these that take so much time to get these cars to come back together nicely!
I have a SII Ferrari 330GT 2+2 at the shop waiting for a center console to be fabricated and upholstered so I wanted to make sure everything else was ready to ship this car back home, but when I fired her up, I heard some noises that sounded suspiciously like an exhaust leak.
I took a peek underneath and found a couple of rust stains, but poking them a little bit showed these little stains were actually the signs of rust through holes in the mufflers.
This is classic ANSA muffler rust. It starts with small pinholes inside the mufflers that eventually rust through and become big holes. There are a number of factors that cause this kind of rot. ANSA systems are made with mild steel and not all steel is created the same. The amount of recycled steel and other base alloys added, along with how much of the impurities removed during steel making can affect the durability and longevity of steel. There’s a real struggle to the old adage “they just don’t make ’em like they used to!”
Add to this problem that Ferraris aren’t driven much, and if the owner does short trips or simply starts the car in the garage for just a few minutes to “warm it up” thinking he’s helping the car, the damage shows up in the exhaust system. This moisture from the exhaust gases builds up inside the pipes and mufflers when the exhaust isn’t given enough time to heat up and evaporate the water. It collects in the lowest point of the system, slowly rusting the system from the inside out.
Our options on this car was to replace the rusted out mufflers, but the rest of the system was in pretty good shape. Luckily, I had a system from another car the I could cannibalize the sections I needed to replace the rusty sections on the 330 instead of installing a completely new system. The other side may last a few more years because rust never sleeps, but this was cheaper repair without a full replacement!
I was feeling remiss about posting to this blog, and going over the reasons why. I’ve been blogging for over 20 years to this site, and it has become a normal routine in my life. I recognize the simple benefit of keeping track of all the automotive endeavors I’ve been involved with through the past two decades, not to mention the friends and community this blog has made, so it makes me sad when I don’t, or can’t post regularly. If you are subscribed to my YouTube Channel, then you’ll know part of the reason is the extraordinary amount of time it takes to produce, shoot, edit, and post videos compared the time to blog. I feel the benefits of seeing the cars and the work I do on is far better described in video than in still pictures, so it’s taken a lot of my time to continue to make these videos. Just like when I started my website, I felt there was content that I had to share that others just weren’t doing on YouTube, so I’m pretty proud of the content I’ve been producing and hopefully you agree…but that’s not the only reason I have not had time to blog! I looked back at my schedule this past month and was shocked at all the things I was up to, so here’s another reason I haven’t been blogging!
The month started with a flight to South Florida to inspect a Ferrari F40. A customer of mine asked for my help finding one, and one popped up at Curated in Miami. Curated made a splash in the fast pace Social Media/YouTube world selling super cars like F40s and Lamborghinis. If you’re 35 or younger, you’ve heard of Curated. I heard they had a very nice low mileage F40 in their showroom, and after getting all the details, researching the history, confirming its provenance, we decided I needed to go down and see the car. I was in Florida for 18 hours, drove the car, gave my approval, and worked with Curated and the buyer to seal the deal.
Although I deal with older Ferraris, I love the F40. The production started in the late 80s, and lasted only a few years. It was one of the last cars built while Ferrari’s founder Enzo Ferrari was still alive, and marks the end of the “Enzo Era” cars. It was a car that I’m sure made the Commendatore proud with twin turbos, composite bodywork, and a look like nothing else. I personally feel there is nothing on the road that can be mistaken for an F40, ever since or ever will. It’s angled purposeful stance, crazy high rear wing, and bare bones interior says this car is meant for nothing more than going fast. This car didn’t have any driver’s aids like ABS, or traction control, so when the turbos spooled up, hold on!
You may be seeing more of this car in the future. Stay tuned!
I have a Lusso at my shop that is going through a Classiche Certification Process. This involves submitting detailed photos of the car with chassis numbers, internal numbers, body numbers, and parts numbers to the factory for them to confirm the car is “as it was built” when it left the Factory. The “Red Book” Ferrari presents shows some of the pictures, and “Certifies” the car. Normally this is done through a Ferrari Dealer or documented by an agent Ferrari accepts for the certification process. The certification of this car is going through a Dealership, but I am submitting the photos because the car is at my shop.
The hold up was taking under car photos of the chassis after I installed the correct exhaust system. Clear unobstructed views of the underside of the car was needed for the certification process, but I still work with jack stands at my shop. This job pushed me over the threshold to finally getting a lift installed at my shop, but with supply side issues, the lift I ordered was delayed. When I returned from Miami, I took the car over to the dealership next door to my shop and borrowed their lift for the pictures. The lighting was not ideal, and I couldn’t spend the time I would have liked to take my pictures, but it was the best I could have done considering the circumstances.
I have been through the certification process with cars before, and it can be tedious. Ferrari SpA has a certain idea of what their photographs should look like and any deviation could cause them to reject the submissions. I’ve learned to not ask why they rejected certain photos, and to just copy their examples exactly. Hopefully with my degree in photography, I can live up to their expectations! The owner and I have our fingers crossed that our submissions will be accepted.
I needed to make a trip up to New Britain, CT to inspect a 330 GTC that is painted and ready to come back to my shop. It looked great, and I approved the work and headed back to my shop to make some room!
Another customer of mine asked me to help with selling his Ferrari 355 Spyder on Bring a Trailer. I’m not sure how happy I will be dipping my toe in the world of BAT, but I believe this is the right venue for a car like this. It’s a three owner car with 15K miles with a 6 speed manual transmission. Not only is it a rare British Racing Green, but the first owner was Tommy Hilfiger. We just got it fully serviced by Pocono Sportscar with new tires and inspection. The headers are fine, and the top retracts without problems. I hope the car does well for the owner, as it seems manual transmission cars seem to be getting a premium. My hesitation will be fielding the questions on BAT that often have nothing to do with the sale of the car, or having someone “mansplaining” why his 355 Spyder is better!
The to-do list before submitting photos to BAT will be a full detail, replacing a broken seat lever, and shooting some videos of start up, top actuation, and driving videos. I just need to find time in my schedule to do it!
With the nice weather in Spring, I also have to take some cars that are stored in my shop out for drives. Some cars are just being stored for a few months while others are here for a year or so, but it’s best to run these cars every couple of months, especially the carburetor cars. Fuel also goes bad when it sits in the tanks, so running these cars helps keep fresh gas in the tanks. Unfortunately, the time I take driving customer cars is time I don’t spend driving my cars. I know, boo hoo, but I’ll manage somehow!
That’s what has been happening in my professional and “automotive life” in the past 4 weeks. (Oh, yeah, I also went to Greenwich Concours for a few hours a couple weeks ago too!) On my personal life, my wife and I have been working on putting a property we have on Airbnb. It has a nice view of the Catskill Mountains, and we feel a nice spot to get out of NYC for the weekend. We have a manager that lists it for us, but getting contractors to do work in a timely manner is problematic, so it’s not just with getting Ferraris fixed!
We found ourselves installing a walkway for the rental house because who else was going to do it in 2 weeks?
We’re working on getting the rest of the house listed, but still have some work to do, but its a start. I may even throw in a value add to the stay at my Airbnb with a free shop tour!
It doesn’t slow down this summer either. Ellie has decided to attend University of Vermont to study Plant Biology. Ellie has been interested in green spaces, sustainable agriculture, and trying to make a difference in our environment. My wife and I are so proud, and excited to have Ellie start her new chapter in life. Staying on the East Coast gives Ellie a chance to still make some car events with me, but we’ll see if there’s time!
My plans this summer are to drive up to Mont Tremblant at the end of July for the FCA event. My friend Steve Hill is shipping a Ferrari to my shop to caravan up to Canada. If anyone else is driving up from New England, come join us!
In August, I’m planning on going to Monterey to do the usual events. The Silver Lusso I mentioned earlier is slated to attend Casa Ferrari at Pebble Beach, so I’ll be shepherding that car onto the lawn. I hope I get to see some of you at one of these events this summer.
I hung the pipes on the Lusso and carefully checked for clearance making sure it wasn’t hitting against anything. Vintage Ferraris sit low to the ground, and their exhausts are the first thing to hit something, so tucking it up as close to the body is crucial. The other challenge with a Lusso is getting the rear pipes to exit properly once the pipes clear the undercarriage. There isn’t one straight line coming out the back of the car, so trying to reference parallel lines so the tail pipes look perfectly even and “straight” took a lot of looking and sighting the car from different angles. Setting the car down on the ground was also part of the process because no mater how well the pipes looked up in the air, the true test was to view the car on the ground looking it from a standing position.
Once I had the system tacked in place, I took the whole assembly off and had it TIG welded together. Although everything will get painted black, TIG welding would give the system a much better connection with great penetration and a better looking weld. My friend Carter helped me out and had it returned to me in a couple days. Thanks Carter for the quick turn around!
Learning to TIG weld is on my list of skills I want to gain, but for now I have to rely on my friends!
With the pipes all TIG welded in place, I MIG welded the plates that are another detail specific to the Abarth exhaust system that ANSA Systems don’t have.
Greg Jones not only supplied the pipes for this reproduction Abarth exhaust system, he was also generous enough to send me some pictures of an original Lusso exhaust he photographed on an unrestored Lusso. The first thing I noticed was the finish of the exhaust was in black wrinkle. I’ve often painted exhaust systems in semi-gloss or flat black high temp heat paint, but the pictures of this original exhaust was proving at least on a Lusso, the Abarth system was in wrinkle. This detail would not have affected the Ferrari Certification Process, but I really wanted to get all the details right on this exhaust system.
Unfortunately, it was March, and just not enough heat from the midday sun to wrinkle the paint I would need to apply to the system. I was thinking of asking a local powder coater to allow me use of his oven, but he was pretty back logged with work. My only other choice was to paint the exhaust in sections and heat the paint with a heat gun. It was slow going, but I managed to get it done!
Greg came to the rescue again by supplying the correct exhaust clamps for the system. Abarth used these special clamps made from sheet metal bent into shape, and Greg had some made. The one on the right is an original one I had at the shop, and the one in the middle is what Greg supplied. Because pipes and connections were supplied by different vendors, not everything fit perfectly together, and the way these clamps fit the pipes, I had to grind some of the material away to make it all fit.
The larger clamp also had a small gusset welded to the clamp, that Greg’s did not have, so I welded some in.
The smaller clamps did not have gussets and fit without any modifications, so they went on without much drama. These clamps, however, have to be installed on the pipes before the system is installed so forgetting to put them on the pipes before one hangs the exhaust will be a problem!
Well after much work and chasing down the details, the exhaust is in the car!
I have a couple more stickers to apply, and I have to wipe off my finger prints on the chrome exhaust tips, but she’s done!
Posting a blog post is quicker for me than the time it takes to shoot, edit, and post a video, but they’re so much more descriptive. Hope you like it and agree!
For those who are not yet subscribed to my YouTube Channel, there are a bunch of videos there that you might find interesting. If you’re reading this blog, then you’ll like what you’ll see on YouTube. Click here.
As I was going through the valve train on this Interim Ferrari 330 I have at the shop, I found some excessive wear on a few of the roller followers.
The video above will better show the amount of wear I found. Not all of them had this much wear, but the bronze bushing in the middle of the roller wears as it rolls over the camshaft lobe. The excessive clearance causes the valve lift to change, affecting performance.
There were two solutions to this problem. First was to replace the worn pieces with new rollers, bushings, pivots and c-clips. The second solution was to replace this whole assembly with a kit that uses small needle bearings and modified rollers. I decided to replace the worn rollers with stock replacements and not do the modification. In my opinion, the needle bearing kit certainly offers less friction, and perhaps better performance, but was it necessary for a street driven engine? I could understand the need for more performance in a race engine, but even then, how competitive did these Vintage Engines need to be? The simplicity of the original design gave less failure points, and if normal valve adjustment intervals were followed, any wear like this could be found before it got this bad.
When I removed the distributor for inspection, I found the angle drive filled with oil! The drive seal had failed and was allowing oil to pump into the angle drive. I’ve seen this happen before where oil will continue to fill into the distributor and foul up the points!
After carefully marking the position of the drive gear, I removed the gear and popped the rock hard seal from its home.
Since this car is new to me, I tried to correct the little details that I bothered me like these wire nuts on the ignition system. These might belong in house wiring, but not on any automotive application, much less in a Ferrari! I also soldered all the connections and replaced the cheap crimp connectors.
With the wrinkle painting done on the rest of the engine compartment, I turned my attention to the air cleaner. Gone are the days when we could get good paint strippers, so we’re left with environmentally friendly stuff that is a lot less effective at removing paint. After two rounds of applying stripper and waiting for something to happen, I decided to take these parts to my local powder coater to finish the job.
I needed to install the front springs on a 250GTE I’ve been working on, but wanted to do it a safer way than I was taught by Francois. Francois’ method required the weight of the engine to compress the spring enough to install the keeper, but this method would always scare the hell out of me! Since the engine was not installed yet, and wanting to find a safer method, I started asking some of my friends in the Ferrari business how they did it. Steve Fremgen in Monterey showed me a spring compressor tool that was made for BMWs and Mercedes suspensions that could be modified to work on a Ferrari, so I bought one and tried it out.
Ferrari used an aluminum spring perch that is held in place with a large C-clip so the tool would have to be modified to allow me to instal the C-clip.
I cut the spring compressor tool down so it was allow space to push the aluminum cup inside the spring perch with enough room to install the clip. The center of the tool has a threaded rod that compressed the spring assembly, and the jack was used only to push the assembly in place. Once positioned correctly, I installed the C-clip and released the tension from the jack and the spring compressor. It was much safer, and didn’t require the engine to be in the car for the springs to be installed. Thanks for the tip Steve!
I started working on a 330GT Interim 2+2 a couple weeks ago, and the owner and I decided to paint some of the engine parts correctly while I had them out for a valve adjustment. Some of the old wrinkle paint was already flaking off, but I took the rest of it off with some paint stripper and some power washing.
The weather was on my side for wrinkle painting last week so I was able to bake the parts in the midday sun for the wrinkle paint to take full effect.
Heavy coats of wrinkle paint was applied from a spray can, almost to the point of running, and as the paint was drying, the paint would wrinkle. I can’t wait to put these parts back on the car to see how good the engine compartment will look!
Francois and I finished an engine and transmission rebuild a while back and I built a crate to ship to Canada several months ago. With scheduling conflicts, along with logistical issues shipping these two crates, I offered to drive the whole lot across the border myself to insure the package got delivered safely and securely. My concerns were not only making sure it passed through customs, but also moving an irreplaceable engine transmission with a freight company without fear of damage or loss. The owner agreed that would be the safest way and then offered to accompany me during the 7 hour drive from NY to Toronto!
I think John knew if he came on a ride along with me, there would definitely be more Ferraris to look at and I didn’t disappoint! Our first stop across the Niagra Falls Border was to see Rob’s project. He has a couple of SI 330s he’s been piecing together through the years, and has been collecting parts from all the usual suspects.
If you’ve been following SI 330s for over a decade or two, the “wicker car” is one that some people may remember. This was a SI 330 that had a wicker appliqué installed on its flanks! A Ferrari parts collector named Fred Petroski in Chaumont, NY had it and it was missing it’s engine and some of the mechanicals. Although the car had been sold by the time I visited Fred’s collection over a decade ago, here are a couple blog posts: Part I, Part II. Fred passed away several years ago, but his company still has some parts left. Rob bought the car and had spent the last several years putting this car and a second 330GT back together!
As with most gear heads, we ooo’d and ahhh’d at Rob’s parts stash. Eventually, Rob will be getting these parts installed on one of the cars he has, but he’s been making steady progress!
Our next stop was just 20 minutes away to see what Hugh was up to. His Ferraris consisted of a 330 America, a 330GTC, and a Dino, two of which I had a hand in helping Hugh acquire.
The 330 America which was a restoration project in Virginia and I drove down to VA to pick Hugh up at the airport to inspect and inventory the car. Hugh bought the car, shipped it back to Toronto, and started restoring the car himself. Having won a Platinum award for this car was a testament to the level of Hugh’s restoration skills! Here’s fun story about this car from 2016.
I spent a night in Toronto after dropping off the Engine and Transmission. Now that it was across the border, with proper duties paid, John and I delivered the packages to his domestic shipper to transport it directly to his company across Canada. It was a quick two day trip but I not only got the job done, but also introduced a couple of Canadian Vintage Ferrari neighbors living just on the other side of town! Thanks guys, and I’ll see you all next time!
A new to me Ferrari arrived at my shop the other day. It was a 330GT 2+2 but this one is a little different than a regular SI four headlight car as this one is known as an Interim car. Although not officially recognized by Ferrari, this particular version of about 125 units were the transition between Si and SII 330GT 2+2s.
The interiors of these cars have a wood dash and look very similar to the SII 330s.
Mechanically, the engines are the same throughout the 330 range, but the biggest difference were the brakes and transmissions. The SI 330s had a dual master cylinder set below the floor where the pedals hinged below and the lines were plumbed to dual remote brake boosters. The SII cars changed this set up to resemble how most modern brake systems were designed with hung pedals and one brake booster in line with the master cylinder. The Interim cars may have had the four headlight look of the SI cars, but they had the brake system of the SII cars. The Interim cars also had the later 5-speed transmissions found in the SII cars instead of the older 4-speed plus electric overdrive found in the SI 330s.
This particular car was a little rough around the edges where the paint was a little worn. These days, this is euphamistically called “patina” but it’s not a look for everyone. I sometimes like cars like this, because it’s less worry for the owner when parking this car in public spaces!
The front of the car from the windshield forward showed cracking in the paint from a cheap paint job that was applied a couple decades ago.
My job was to assess the car, perform a valve adjustment, and make a list of suggested work this new customer should do. He’s never driven another 330 and wanted my thoughts and opinions on his car. I’ve actually worked on two other Interim 330s, but they’re very similar to SII car despite the four headlights.
Since the valve covers were coming off to do the valve adjustment, I suggested now was the time to apply fresh wrinkle paint to the valve covers. My vision was to clean up the engine compartment a little and repaint the air cleaner, valve covers, and exhaust shields so when the owner opens the hood, a little diamond in the rough would show its potential! I believe the few hours of extra work to get this little detail right will go a long way to make the owner proud.