Ferrari Restoration By The Hour

Ferrari Restoration By the Hour

Today’s entry will follow my day in chronological order at the risk of boring you all! It gives you a better idea how long things take to get done, and why this restoration has taken three years!

7 am: Woke up, and went through my usual Friday routine. I put on a pot of coffee, turned on the computer, checked what’s been going on in the Ferrari Message Board on my site, and checked my e-mail. If there’s any e-mail for me, I try to answer it before I leave because I won’t see a computer for the rest of the day until I get home.

8 am: Start gathering all the things I need to bring up to the shop from home. I usually make a pile by the door during the week, but now is the time to figure out how to carry it all to the car. Today’s pile is small with only some Lexol to clean the leather seats François is going to lend me.

8:30 am: Stop by the grocery store on the way out to buy a sandwich for lunch. I find if I don’t buy it now, I won’t eat all day. When I get involved with the Ferrari, it’s real easy to forget to eat!

9:00 am Arrive at my car after a 15 minute walk. Living in NYC, it’s the closest I can park to my apartment, and still have it affordable.

9:30 am Arrive at East Coast Auto Trim in New Rochelle, NY to pick up the seat adjusters from my seats that are missing from the set François’ lending me. Frank already removed them from my seats and had them ready to go, so this stop took only five minutes.

10:30 am Arriving at the shop in Connecticut, I immediately began pulling out the seats to make sure my seat rails will fit. Although they’re supposed to be the same type of seats, with Ferrari, you never know. Luckily, everything lined up.

I noticed François had not yet mounted my windshield, so there would be a slim chance for me to get my car on the road today, but I can always hope!

11:00 Once I got settled into the shop, it was time for me to unpack the trunk of the Ferrari and look for a Zip lock bag of spacers and bolts. These spacers go between the seat rails and the floor mounts, and I can picture exactly what they looked like, but had to find where I put them!

11:30 With the bag of spacers, and bolts found, the seats went in pretty quickly. Soon I had both seats installed, and I sat behind the wheel of my car for the very first time! I adjusted the seat, and felt the action of the clutch, brakes, and gas, and thought to myself, “so this is how it’s going to feel!” I pretended to shift through some gears, and even tried how the pedals felt for heel-and-toeing. Everything was very comfortable, except for one thing, I kept thinking to myself, “Damn, that steering wheel is big!”

12:00 As I was going through the trunk of the car, I found the headlight trim rings, so I figured I might as well install these on the car. I first had to find two bevel headed machine screws to mount the trim rings. Looking through a box of miscellaneous screws, I found two that would work. François had some extra u-shaped weather stripping, so I put this on each trim ring, and screwed the rings in place. Believe it or not, it took over an hour to mount these two trim rings! The screws had to be found, the screw holes had to be cleaned of paint, and the weather stripping had to be fitted and cut. It’s a wonder how many hours like this is spent on a restoration!

1:00 pm There are already holes for a “Talbot” type side view mirror, so I gathered the pieces and parts to my mirror for mounting. I polished this part years ago, and put it away in a plastic bag, but today it would finally be mounted. The gasket between the mirror base and door was pretty dried up, so I had to make a new one from rubber sheet. It took two tries before I made one that was neat enough to put on the car. After mounting, I sat back inside the car, and adjusted the mirror. Another step towards getting this car roadworthy.

2:00 pm Lunch

2:20 pm I drive my car to a garage where I store some parts to get the hood for the Ferrari. I find that it doesn’t fit in the back seat of the Toyota! I contemplate if I want to drive back to the shop and borrow François’ pick-up truck, but feel that there has to be a way to get my hood in my car for the short trip back to the shop! I find that the narrow end fits in the trunk, but it hangs out the back of the car. Luckily most of the weight is inside the trunk so I tie the trunk lid open, and make sure nothing will damage the paint if I hit any bumps.

2:30 pm I unpack the stainless steel hood spear to try it on for size. It fits on the center line of the hood,. I’m only missing one bolt, so I’ll have to make one up next time.

2:45 pm Further inspection of the hood reveals a bunch of issues. First off, The underside of the hood was never prepped or painted.. Old glue that should have been stripped was never touched. The whole hood should have been stripped, not just the top side! Another major issue was the mounting nuts in the hood. It looks like someone drilled out at least four bolts to get the hood free from it’s mount. Unfortunately, they never fixed the seized nuts, so now I have to deal with them!

3:00 pm The first step was to find eight bolts that fit in their respective holes in the hood. I’m not really concerned about Concours correct bolts right now, but I’m just trying to find the right sized bolts to get the job done. Once the hood is mounted, and fit correctly, I can always replace the bolts later. The next step was to drill and tap the bad capture nuts. The bad hood hinge nut was fixed without too much difficulty, but the two for the hood spring were problematic. These nuts were spinning in their cages, so drilling them out was not happening. François and I devised a way to drill a small hole next to the nut, and jamming the nut with a small pick while drilling it out. Once the nut was drilled out, threads were tapped back in the nut. The next step was to force some epoxy putty into the cage of the capture nut with the hopes that this will harden and keep the nut from further spinning freely when it comes time to put a bolt in place.

4:30 pm I took a power sander and tried to take some of the excess glue off the back side of the hood. All the while I was doing this, I got more and more angry at the previous body man. How hard could it have been to strip the whole hood of paint and adhesive when he was prepping the top side? This is a true sign of laziness! Now I’m left with a hood that is painted on one side, but rough on the other. I can’t heat the hood up to soften the glue because it could screw up the painted side, so I’m left with sanding some of it off, and hoping that the hood pad will hide the worst of it!

The rest of the underside of the hood will have to be hand sanded, and painted semi gloss black next time. All the little pieces of hardware need to come off as well for cleaning and polishing.

5:30 pm One of the things I wanted to get to today before I called it quits was the horn. I needed to put the horn switch in the steering wheel so I could have a functioning horn. After I installed it, I tried out the horn, and nothing happened. I was a little shocked because I could have sworn I had tested it before, and remember it working before. I took out my well worn wiring diagram and checked the fuses, and relays. Poking my head up under the the dash, I soon found my problem. The carbon brush that allows the horn to work in the steering column was not working properly, so after a simple adjustment, the horn switch was working.

6:00 pm It started pouring rain outside, so I decided that it was an omen for me to call it a day. I started gathering all the tools from all the different areas of the shop and put them away. I try my best to keep everything that belongs to my car near my car. You can imagine how easy it is to lose pieces to my car when it’s surrounded by other Vintage Ferraris of the same period!

6:30 pm Left the shop for NYC. I usually leave at 7:00 pm, but with the rain, there wasn’t much more work I could do on the hood of the car. The sanding should be done outside so the dust doesn’t get all over the other cars.

8:15 pm I hit pretty bad traffic getting into the city, but I finally got in, and parked the car.

8:30 pm Got home, turned on the computer, checked my mail. I took a shower, got something to eat, and sat down to tell you what my day was like!

Previous Restoration Day
Next Restoration Day
Ferrari Home Page