Valve Adjustments and Tune Ups


I don’t know if it’s noticeable, but we’re swamped with work at the shop. Francois is heading into race season, so it’s going to get even busier without the Frenchman around all the time! I’m doing O.K. with the workload, and am trying my best to make everyone happy. I’m lucky to have patient customers willing to wait for their cars to get done or wait to get their cars in the shop. I hope they feel it was worth the wait!


I finished the valve adjustment on the NART Spyder replica, scraped off the old gasket material and sealant, cleaned up the valve cover gaskets, and prepared to install the new gaskets that arrived in the mail from my parts supplier.


&%#*% ! These weren’t four cam valve cover gaskets!! I was furious with my parts supplier for putting the wrong part in the mail, but after stewing over the mistake, I calmed down and asked to have the right part shipped out asap. I’ve been trying to make sure simple mistakes like this didn’t happen by sending emails or text messages with the specifics of my order. I checked my notes, and the mistake was not on my end. Keeping the work coming into the shop and going out requires an orchestrated effort of diagnosing the problems, ordering parts, planning the time it takes for them to arrive, scheduling the days I will be at Francois’ to install the parts, and working with my truck driver to pick up and deliver cars around this schedule. With a small shop like ours, one wrong part delivered to the shop the day I need to install it leaves a car taking up space until the right part arrives, preventing me from working on another car I scheduled next in line. I love it when all my planning comes together, I hate it when it falls apart. Ultimately, it’s my responsibility to fix the delays, but I know sometimes it’s just out of my control. It’s a problem I’m sure every other shop in the world suffers, so I know I’m not alone.


With the correct gaskets delivered the next day, I was able to move forward with the reassembly of the 4 cam engine!


During the valve cover debacle, I luckily had a 330GTC I could jump on so it wouldn’t be a complete waste of a day. The owner wanted a tune up, fluid change, and general once over. This car is new to our shop, so the first thing was to take her out for a drive. Many owners have only ever driven their own cars, and may not know exactly what to expect from a Vintage Ferrari. They often look to us to tell them if something is normal, or if “they all do that” when they bring a car down for us to service. The more I drive these cars, the more my knowledge base expands, and the more I know what a GTC should “feel” like. It truly is one of the perks of working on Vintage Ferraris for a living.

This car was very nice example. There were no outward problems, and everything was handling, stopping, and steering as it should. It looked like it was going to be a straight forward service on this old girl.


When I popped the cap off the distributor, I found my job was going to be even easier when I found an optical pick up installed inside the distributor. A previous owner replaced the twin points set inside this distributor with a single optical trigger to fire the plugs on this engine. Although we’re not a fan of electronic distributors on old V-12 Ferraris, when they are working well, there is no reason to disturb them. Often times, the problem with these systems, is they either work, or they don’t. It’s the “don’t” part of these systems that drive us mad!
Save the Date!

The Radcliffe/ Car Show!

May 7th 2016

I’m very excited to do this again, and look forward to see old and new friends at this annual event. Richard Garre and I have hosted this car show to celebrate all types of machinery, focusing on Italian Cars. There’s parking for about 100 cars and we will always try to accommodate late comers, but if you want a guaranteed spot call Richard to preregister!

Radcliffe Motorcars

12340 Owings Mills Boulevard
Reisterstown, Maryland 21136
Phone: 410-517-1681