Working the Phones

2/23/00 Working the Phones

I spent the last couple of days on the phone hunting down parts sources for my Ferrari. I found that a company in California called “Energy Suspension” makes a polyurethane tie-rod dust boots
to replace cracked and worn out rubber ones. I don’t think the yellow ones will be appropriate for a vintage Ferrari, but the black ones will do fine. They’re supposed to stretch quite a bit to fit many applications, but the shaft of my tie-rod is 0.89mm thinner than their smallest boot. I may be able to overcome this gap by using some silicone sealant, but the only way to try it is to order a set. “Energy Suspension,” however, does not sell retail, so I had to find a supplier. It would have been great to find a local shop that carried these boots, but the company couldn’t locate a supplier that stocks these particular parts. Exasperated, I finally decided to go the mail-order route. “Summit Racing” stocks these pieces for under $4.00 bucks, but there’s a $6.95 S&H charge! $11.00 dollars for two tie-rod end boots? Uh…No! I decided to try and find something else I could tag on to this order, but came up empty. I decided not to waste my money buying something I didn’t need just to make up an order. I’m sure I’ll eventually find something I’ll need, or I’ll find a local supplier of these parts.

The next set of phone calls involved the missing “America” emblem for my car. According to some Ferrari experts, not all 50 Americas came with this badging.  I don’t know if my car came with a badge, but considering it is the only exterior indicator of my car’s rarity, I would like to have an “America” script gracing the trunk lid of my car.

The editor of “Sportscar Market” magazine, Keith Martin, also owns a 330 America. He e-mailed me recently to tell me he had accurate pictures of this elusive script, and wanted to know if I was interested in having a couple made up. I asked François to recommend a shop that was familiar with doing this kind of work. When I called the recommended chrome shop, and explained what I wanted to do, the owner of the shop explained his process. Ideally he would like to start with an actual emblem to copy, where his machinist would re-create a copy in solid brass. This would then be buffed, and chromed to a finished product. He could make one using a picture as a guide, but its accuracy would be limited by the interpretation of the picture. When I asked him for a approximate price for this labor intensive process, he said that a recent job involving Rolls Royce emblems ran about $500 bucks! Considering I haven’t even begun working on my engine, spending $500 dollars on a chrome emblem seems a bit much.

I still have another problem to deal with on this badge thing! The best way to make a new badge is to find a real one, but who has one, and how do I get it to copy? François Sicard restored a 330 America several years ago for Peter Kalikow. Mr. Kalikow has an extensive collection of Ferraris, all of which are beautifully restored. Knowing of this car, and the existence of an America badge, I could just imaging the conversation of me asking to borrow the rare emblem off of Mr. Kalikow’s car! “Hello? Mr. Kalikow? You don’t know me but, I own the same car as you…I was wondering if you could be a dear, and lend me your badge so I could get it copied? I’ll get it back to you in a couple of months!…Mr.Kalikow? Hello?…

If Peter Kalikow ends up being the only person I can find with an emblem to copy, I need to find an alternative to taking his badge off his car. I’ve seen mold making materials that can be used to make impressions, and if I can find one that won’t risk ruining paint and chrome, I will try learning the technique where I can spend five minutes with Mr. kalikow’s car to make an impression, and be done. The next step after that is to create a positive of this negative mold out of a resin so I can send it out ot be copied. A pretty complicated process, but another adventure in learning!

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