Gentlemen, Start Yor Engines!

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for almost three years to hear, and today, it happened! We started my Ferrari engine for the first time in 26 years! Click the picture below, and you’ll hear her start up for the first time!

What’s funny, is I expected more theatrics than that! I’ve heard more cantankerous starts from cars parked overnight! François says that most of the cars he’s rebuilt start that easily, and says he’s been very lucky. I think there’s a little more than just luck involved in getting one of these old 12 cylinder motors to fire up that easily.

We’re going to have to back track a little to tell the whole story of my day. Before I filled the gas tank with premium gasoline, I had to re-route the soft gasoline coming out of the gas tank. François noticed my error, and told me how the line would interfere with the suspension movement.

I loosened the lines, and rerouted the flex hose over the frame rail. I still need to have one of the suspension bump stops fixed before I mount it, but at least the line is now out of the way.

After that, I filled the gas tank with about 15 gallons of gas, and turned on the electric fuel pump. After about 30 seconds of clacking, I could hear fuel being pumped to the carburetors. I had some small leaks down by the electric pump, so I had to stop everything, and tighten some bolts and banjo fittings. As fuel made it to the carbs, I found some more leaks at the fuel rail, so those were tightened as well. Eventually, I stopped all the fuel leaks, and we were ready to start!

After the car started running, François discovered two needle floats were sticking in the front two carburetors. The floats on the carburetors are designed to shut off excess fuel from flooding the carburetor, but when the valve sticks, fuel dumps into the carbs causing all sorts of problems from hydra locking a piston, or setting a fire. My carburetors were rebuilt, but any piece of trash could have gotten into the carbs, and fouled the works. We decided to take the tops of the carbs off, and clean the floats out.

After the carbs were put back together, and the fuel rail reinstalled, we were back in business. François checked to make sure all the cylinders were firing, and the carbs were synched. He worked methodically, tweaking and checking. This went on for about 20 minutes, while I looked for leaks and checked the gauges.

I was very happy to see all the gauges working! The ammeter was hooked up backwards, so when the alternator was charging, it was showing negative current. It was a simple fix that took five minutes. As the water temperature rose, a small leak started at the heater shut-off valve, so I tended to that as François continued to work around the engine.  I was really pleased to hear the electric fan turn on  automatically when the water temp gauge read 180 degrees! All my diligence was paying off!

Here’s another movie of some tweaking he did to make the car run smoother. He let it warm up before revving her up, but that is going to be some sweet sound when I driving down some back road. I can’t wait!

I’ve been waiting so long for this day, I hadn’t really thought about what the next step to take! There’s still a ton of work to do, but getting her started sure allows me to move forward with all the other projects. I broke out the side vents and began fitting them to the car because the next major push is to get her registered and insured so I can put some mileage on the motor. Once all the mechanicals have proven reliable, I’ll work my car into the upholster’s schedule for the interior.

Man what a great day!

Previous Restoration Day
Next Restoration Day
Ferrari Home Page