Ferrari Vents

June 3, 2023

There are a ton of little parts that need attention when restoring a car, and the defroster vents on the Blue Scuro 330 needed new paint before installation.

After stripping off the paint, i found these really sloppy welds redirecting the angle of the inlet hoses. I’m pretty sure these vents were original from the factory, and I’ve seen some of this quality before in hidden areas of a Vintage Ferrari. I would guess the apprentices were trained on these pieces that no one would readily see. In a way, it makes these cars kind of endearing, seeing a truly hand made car. What’s the old saying? “A grinder and paint, make me the welder I ain’t!”

Are you guys watching these videos on YouTube? I’ve been spending more time creating these videos on that platform as I find them more descriptive than pictures on this blog. I will still be blogging, but more of my time has been spent creating video content.

I know some of you prefer to read a blog post at your leisure and have less time to sit down and watch a video, but don’t forget these are out there! Thanks for watching and let me know what you think and leave a thumbs up in YouTube!

Nardi Steering Wheel Refresh

May 27, 2023

I’ve got a steering wheel on a GTC that needed some attention. These wooded steering wheels have a tendency to crack, split, and the varnish wears thin. I re-glued the cracks and decided to refresh the varnish instead of stripping all the varnish and starting fresh. In the light of preservation, I wanted to keep some of the original patina but protecting the wood where the varnish wore off.

Before any work could be done on the wood, however, I needed to polish up the aluminum spokes. Years of oils and dirt from the driver’s hands gets on the spokes oxidizes the aluminum and dulls the finish. The fastest way to clean it up is with a machine buffing wheel, but the rest of the wheel has to masked off so not to damage the wood.

Care has to be taken not to buff too hard and remove the delicate engraving pattern on the spokes, but hard enough to bring back the shine!

Ferrari 330 Suspension Pivot Bushings

May 19, 2023

Before I clean, sand, and repaint the front portion of the chassis, I had to first remove the front suspension pivot bushings. The original bushings were made out of the Bakelite material that was pressed into the chassis, but the new ones are made out of brass.

Getting the old ones out required some sockets that were the right diameter, some threaded rod, and whatever I could find laying around my shop to pull the bushings out.

Since these bushings were going to be replaced, I destroyed some of them to press them out to make removal easier. It was a greasy mess, so I did whatever it took to make this job less messy!

These bushings will be replaced with new brass inserts which should out last my lifetime!

Ferrari 330GT Pedal Box

May 13, 2023

More signs of damp storage with this 330 when it came time to pull the pedal box out of this car.

I didn’t take many pictures of the process, but imagine a lot of contortions, reaching inaccessible bolt heads with vice grips, and some cursing, and you can picture the scene! She’s out, and ready for refurbishing!

I think one of the reasons why I like working on old cars is they’re very rebuildable. I don’t think Ferrari was expecting this car to be around for over 50 years, but its parts have survived and don’t need much repair to keep functioning. Engineering today manufacture parts to work exactly so many cycles to last an average lifespan, and to hell with someone who wants it to last longer.

The pivots in this pedal box were made of brass, and were in perfect shape with no play. All I had to do was take everything apart, clean the dirt and grit out, regrease, and reassemble.

I repainted the brake and clutch pedal arms, made a new sealing gasket, and reassembled the unit.

A fresh coat of silver paint on the cast aluminum assembly made it all look new again. Once it goes back in the car, it many not come back out of this car until I’m long gone!

Ferrari 330GT Returns from Paint

May 6, 2023

The long awaited return of the Blu Sera Ferrari 330GT finally came. I had to move a lot of things in my shop out of the way to pull the trailer containing the car inside to help with load out. It was a little bit harrowing as the car was mounted on a dolly with wheels that would hang up inside the trailer. I created a tug of war with the trailer’s winch and my forklift to guide the car straight off the trailer without hitting the sides and scratching the paint.

After a couple of hours of careful planning and maneuvering, I got the car off the dolly and on jack stands where she’ll sit until I get the suspension back on the car.

The amount of work would seem insurmountable, but since I’ve done this several times, it only happens one step at a time, and forward steady work will get it done! I started with details that I’ve learned to check early on to avoid issues later on in the restoration. One of these details was to check the seat mounting points and whether the capture nuts are working properly.

SII 330s have fiberglass floors but the seat rails are welded to structure connected to the steel frame. Checking the mounting points for the seat now insures that any needed repairs requiring cutting or welding can be done before anything else gets installed.

I already discovered my first issue and that was relocating the seat belt mounts. The previous owner anchored the seat belts to the floor pan with large flat washers as I see in a lot of vintage cars, but when the floors are made out of fiberglass, there wasn’t any strength to these anchors in the event of an accident. I’ll have to figure out a good mounting point that will tie into a steel structure and not interfere with any interior components like the transmission tunnel or seat sliders.

The wiring harness was taped up to keep from painting it all, but I had to carefully remove all of it so I could start assessing the wiring.

I think the wiring will clean up well, but the frame sections in the engine compartment will need some clean up and painting. The brake lines will be removed and replaced.

This photo represents a list of work I have to do against the firewall. The oil pressure hose will have to be removed to replace it with a new one after the fittings are cleaned and plated. The main fuel line will have to removed and replaced with new steel lines that will get the fittings silver soldered in place. The small return fuel line will also replaced and routed back to the fuel tank. The throttle cable and linkage will need to be removed, cleaned and re-greased. The hood release mechanism will have to be disassembled cleaned, painted, and put back in service. Finally, the defroster drain tubes will have to be removed and replaced with new hoses and clamps.

There was plenty of work under the dash as well. Despite any effort to label a wiring harness, I have always had labels fall off, or get painted over, but luckily, this wasn’t too bad. There was also signs that someone had done the usual shade tree repairs on the harness in its past, so all of this will have to deciphered and repaired.

Here’s a YouTube Video of the day that the 330 came back to my shop.

Ferrari 330GT 2+2 Brake Booster

April 30, 2023

One of the sub assemblies that I needed to address was the brake booster on the 330GT going through restoration.

I’ve been rebuilding them myself and they’re relatively easy once I learned the trick to getting the can apart. The internal seals are now available, and as long as the internal plastic pieces aren’t broken, the rebuild is straight forward.

The problem I had was the can itself. This car was stored in damp conditions for a long time, so certain parts corroded pretty badly. My concern was how smooth this can was going to look after I removed the rust.

A little moisture collected inside the can, but should clean up pretty well before I send it out for fresh gold cadmium plating.

I bead blasted the outside of the can, but couldn’t achieve a flat smooth surface because of the pitting due to the rust.

I’m going to try to grind and sand down the pits and see how much metal I’ll have to remove to make the can smooth again. From there, I’ll have to sand blast the can again and see if the surface will go back to smooth. The plating will show any imperfections if it’s not done evenly. I may have to replace this can with another one in my stash that is in better shape if it doesn’t look right after blasting.

Lusso Wants to Stay

April 29, 2023

I’ve been working on a Ferrari Lusso this winter getting an exhaust done and sorting out a few things, and she was finally getting to a point when I could send her home. It’s been a pleasure working on this car because this car is one of my favorite Ferraris, but I was also glad to be sending her home.

As I was installing the air cleaner however, I felt that sinking feeling when the threads strip out of the carburetor. The alloy casting on Weber carburetors are very soft, and through years of use, they have a tendency to pull out. I had to stop what I was doing, and take the air cleaner out to address this issue.

The way some Vintage Ferraris fuel systems are plumbed, the fuel rail and all three carburetors tops have to come out to fix this pulled stud. I decided to cover all the openings with tape, and fix the stripped stud in situ.

I hand drilled, cut, tapped, and threaded a time-sert to replace the threads so I could go back to prepping the car for departure.

Having the back end of of this engine apart while it was at my shop, I took it out for another test drive and put her back on the lift to check for oil leaks. Ferraris are notorious for leaking oil, and although I don’t promise to make an engine leak free, I try my best to eliminate the bad ones. I was surprised to find a significant leak coming from somewhere by the 7-12 bank, but couldn’t really see it. The oil was dripping down by the coolant pipe and onto the oil pan.

On a closer look, I could see a wire coming out of the oil line ferrule, and suspected this may be the cause of the leak. Before this car was purchased by the current owner, it was restored about 20 years ago, with very little mileage driven on the car. Even though the hoses all looked new, the lack of mileage may have caused some of the rubber to contract. The errant wire may be showing a poorly assembled fitting that may not have leaked when it was first assembled, but was now dripping oil.

I finally got a clear shot with a bore-scope to see the drop of oil forming on the fuel fitting to confirm my suspicions as to where to find the leak. Unfortunately, these special oil and fuel lines are sold by the inch, and their fittings are tapered, so re-seating them with success is rare. I ordered new oil lines and ferules and got to work!

Ferrari Brake Restoration

April 21, 2023

It was time to disassemble a set of brakes from a SII 330GT I’m restoring. They’re in pretty rough shape, so I had my work cut out for me. Rebuilding brakes used to be simple, where I would have boxed these up, sent them to a brake rebuilder, and they would have come back cleaned, but because there aren’t many places I trust are going to do things the way I want, and are willing to do the whole job, so I’m doing most of the work myself.

The brakes were pretty corroded, but most of the fasteners came out without much persuasion.

I didn’t get away cleanly, as a couple bleeder screws were seized beyond removal from the piston bodies. I tried heating the parts cherry red to break the rust free, but they fitting simply sheared off when I applied any force. The only solution was to drill out the bleeder screw. This was one of the main reasons I bought a Bridgeport milling machine a few years ago so I could drill accurate holes in situations like this.

There was such satisfaction when an accurate hole that was drilled by the Bridgeport allowed me to pull out the seized threads without damaging the mating threads in the caliper piston.

I disassembled the brakes and ended up with this pile of chaos!

The next step was the laborious task of de-greasing, and bead blasting the rust off the brake parts.

Now that the brakes were stripped, it was time to send them out for White Cadmium plating. This process is getting harder to find a shop that will do it, and it seems to be getting more expensive every time I send out a batch, but it is what it is. In the past, my brake rebuilder would have it done before he re-sleeved the caliper pistons, but now the brake guy I use only does sleeving, so the plating has to be done separately before sending the pistons out for stainless sleeves. After they return, I will have to install the seals and boots to reassemble the brakes! It’s a lot of extra steps, but it’s what rebuilding brakes has become in a diminishing world of industry!

Here’s a video of the process of breaking apart the brakes. Check out my other videos on my YouTube Channel.

Ferrari Exhaust

April 16, 2023

I cleaned up a pair of y-pipes on a Lusso exhaust I was working on. They were in good shape, but had some surface rust that I wanted to remove and paint with some high temp exhaust paint.

Looking down the flanges, I found a pretty heavy weld securing the flange to the pipes. I don’t believe this was how Ferrari would have done this.

I got out my die grinder and smoothed out the transition and made the exit diameter between the connection the same. I don’t know when a restriction like this will make the biggest change, but removing it has got to help!

Concours Ferrari Exhaust

April 6, 2023

I removed the old and rusty exhaust from a Lusso I have at my shop and started installing correct Abarth style reproduction exhaust system. There seems to be a lot of confusion with Vintage Ferrari Exhausts and I’ll try to help clarify the issues. The exhausts I will cover here are specifically for the 250GT Ferraris manufactured roughly from the late 50s to the mid 60s. Originally, Abarth was supplying Ferrari with exhaust systems, so cars like SII PF Coupes, 250 Lussos, 250GTEs and some 330GTs came with Abarth Exhausts. By the mid to late 60s Abarth stopped supplying exhaust systems, and companies like Cereto, Spacem, and ANSA started supplying exhausts. Once a company like ANSA became the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), they were asked by Ferrari to supply replacement exhausts for the previous models. So in the late 60s, if you needed a replacement exhaust for your Lusso, Ferrari would supply an exhaust that was manufactured by ANSA. Enough time has gone by and many original exhaust systems were replaced long ago with ANSA systems that people have forgotten that ANSAs were the replacement exhaust. It’s only been through research and finding original unrestored cars with preserved original exhaust systems that we can prove this story is true.

Through the collaboration with several shops and my exhaust manufacturer, we have come up with an exhaust system that reproduces the original Abarth Exhaust system. Just last year, we even had the Ferrari Classiche Department approve the system for certification.

The biggest difference between the correct Abarth exhaust and the incorrect ANSA exhaust is the detail on the exhaust tips. Abarth used a steel tip that had a separate chrome sleeve that slid on the end of the tips while ANSA simply chromed the whole tip and painted half of it black. ANSA then added the all too familiar red tape between the transition of paint to chrome along with the orange paint inside the exit of the exhaust.

The Abarth tip is also a sharp transition between the pipes and the tip, while the ANSA had a more rounded transition. The correct Abarth tip you see here will get wrinkle painted and the chrome tips will be added once the whole exhaust is painted and installed.