THE VINTAGE FERRARI SPECIALIST

Monterey 2021 Part IV

August 29, 2021


Walking into Laguana Seca on Friday morning of Monterey week, I was met with a line of Ferrari Monzas, the two or one seat sports racers that Ferrari are building in limited numbers and made available to special customers. These cars were seen parading around the Peninsula all week as Ferrari shuttled them to some of the events like Quail, the Historic Races, and Pebble Beach. I spotted this yellow one belonging to a customer of mine.

It felt good to be back at the track after a two year hiatus due to the Pandemic. I felt attendance was down due to the lack of spectators from Europe, the UK, and other countries that were banned from coming into the US without a quarantine. I also felt some people may have stayed home domestically just to be safe.

It’s aways good to hear a Vintage Ferrari at full tick echoing off the hill at the Corkscrew!

One of the joys of going to Monterey during car week is to see the special cars that people bring to showcase their work. I found this car in the paddock that caught my attention. It started life as an original Mini, but is now a rear engine, rear drive, Japanese powered custom car built in Vancover Canada called a Spectre Type 10.

Singer did this type of high level customization to Porsche 911s, and these guys took this concept and applied their talents to a Mini.

The level of design, fabrication, and execution was impressive.

Monterey 2021 Part III

August 28, 2021


Friday of Monterey week started with the Werks Reunion at the Blackhorse Golf Course in Seaside CA, just up highway one from Monterey.

It’s a free event for spectators and it brings out hundreds of Porsche fans and owners. If you like Porsches, this is like going to heaven. In certain parts of the country Porsches are not that common, but Californians love them, so you can imagine how many turn up for a car show! Almost every model and variation was represented. I myself started as a Porschephile, so it was easy for me to slip back into the Porsche lingo, and blend in.

Even the car park was filled with hundreds of 911. After a couple of hours of immersion, I was ready to look at something else!

What I chose to look at was Ferrari parts! T Rutlands opened a branch of their parts business in Monterey right by the airport next door to John Bagioli’s shop Forza Motors. I stopped in to say hi to both shops and take a peek at what they were up to.

T Rutlands is constantly acquiring inventory from other shops and retiring technicians, so their used parts is always changing.

Just seeing the parts laid out reminded me of several customer’s cars looking for particular parts.

If I were next door like John’s shop, I would be over here every day picking through their inventory!

If you need anything, call Dave at T Rutlands.

Monterey 2021 in Car Video

August 27, 2021


This year in Monterey, I had the rare opportunity to ride and drive a couple of special cars. Here’s the video of the experience!

Please don’t forget to like and comment on the videos so I know you’re out there and want to see more. I’m having fun sharing them with the Ferrari fans that like this kind of content, but it helps inspire me to do more when I get feed back! Thanks!

Monterey 2021 Part II



There was a lot of ground to cover this year in Monterey, but that’s the same story every year. The auction previews were happening, the shows were starting, and add to that we haven’t seen each other in two years, so all the car enthusiasts were ready to go!

There was a heavy anticipation at the auction houses to see what the market would do. They all agreed that did fairly well in the past year or so transitioning to fully online auctioning due to the COVID Pandemic, but agreed it was nice to be back in person and showing cars in the flesh.

There was still a very strong online registration, and many people were planning to see the cars during the previews, but bidding for their cars online. Perhaps being in a crowded room during a pandemic was not the idea of health safety.

Dean Batchelor’s unrestored 330 GTC was up for auction at Bonhams, and I wanted to take a closer look.

I was disappointed to see the front shock mounts had not been repaired as per a factory recall in the 60s. I would have expected someone as knowledgeable as Mr. Batchelor would have known about this dangerous flaw and fixed the car. There is original, and there is dangerous. If you want to read more about this recall, click here. If you purchased this car, or know the person who did, please let them know!

There was a GTE up for auction that was on the verge of being a restoration candidate. All the details were there, and it wasn’t missing any major pieces.

The only disappointment was the application of burl wood on the dash! Not fitting of a GTE!

Monterey 2021 Part I

August 22, 2021


I arrived in Monterey and got in touch with Steve Hill who was planning on showing two Test Rossas at the Casa Ferrari Event at Pebble Beach in a couple days. They were at Steve Fremgen’s shop, Coppa Bella Motors and I invited myself over to see the cars!

Steve Hill manages a few Ferraris from the Bay Area along with his own cars. I’m working on his aqua colored GTE in NY, but Steve Fremgen has been taking care of the big guns! Fremgen and I have emailed each other through the years, and it was great to finally meet in person. He too is a one-man shop, so we compared notes and commiserated about the trials and tribulations of running a shop by ourselves.

This 1958 Testa Rossa just needed a little tweaking to run on the street for the weekend. As much as they’re drivable on the street, the spark plugs were changed for around town tuning, which is not what you would see on the track.

Steve also had a 1959 Testa Rossa and when Fremgen had it ready, we took it out for quick drive. The shop is just outside of Laguna Seca so we took blasted down Skyline Road to the track to get some fuel. I shot some video of this drive, and when I get back home from CA, I’ll post them.

We stopped by the Intrepid trucks in the Paddock to get some race fuel. It’s always fun to drive past a race track gate keeper that hardly stops you because you arrived in the right car!

Steve and I went for an extended drive around the neighborhood to make sure the car could handle stop and go traffic and idling around town before the weekend where she would be required to do it every where she went. The 59 TR did fine.

During one of our drives down Skyline, we avoided running over a local. Of all the years I’ve been out in Monterey, I’ve never encountered a Rattle Snake. I’m not scared of snakes, and jumped out of the Ferrari to take a quick picture. I just hoped it wasn’t some kind of sign for the week to come!

Ferrari 330 Head Removal



It took a several days, but I finally got the first head off the 330 engine. One head stud was really corroded and was locking the head onto the block, but with steady pressure and penetrating oil, I got the head to move off the block.

The second head required the same treatment by using a steel plate and steel bolts exerting pressure on the top of the head studs to slowly pull the head off the block. You can see the white powder that is from moisture corroding the steel stud next the aluminum head. This little bit of corrosion will lock the head to the stud, and cause all sorts of problems. As the head is pulled, I had measure the distance it was moving to insure it wasn’t moving unevenly and cocking itself to the head studs.

Eventually, both heads were safely removed from the block without damage.

The next step is to remove the pistons and rods so the crankshaft can come out.

Here’s a video of some of the disassembly.

Little Details on a Ferrari 250GTE

August 8, 2021


After getting back from our road trip in this Ferrari 250GTE last month, the new owner made up a “to do” list for me before sending the car to its new home. The wire wheels needed to be refurbished, so the tires were dismounted, and the wheels were shipped out.

I installed a set of seat belts that matched the interior of the car better than the black ones that were in the car. I also installed a set of belts in the back seats as well so the kids can go along for the ride!

The rubber boots that sealed the pedals from the weather were torn up, so I had to remove them to install new ones.

The panel from the floor board comes off so I could drill out the rivets that secured the old rubber and rivet new rubbers back in.

With everything back together, I guess we should replace the pedal pads too, as they’re pretty worn!

The brake reservoir could use some fresh paint, so it was stripped and painted. The brake fluid was doing such a number on the reservoir that you would think it was originally wrinkle paint when it was actually semi-gloss black!

I’m on the hunt for one of these glass lenses for this car. It’s a for the front turn signal on this GTE. The lenses on this car were incorrect, and I managed to find one lens, but still need another one. I’ve gone to the all the usual suspects, but haven’t been able to find another one. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Sunbeam Service

August 6, 2021


I’ve been so busy working on customer cars, I find myself neglecting my personal cars. My poor little Sunbeam Alpine probably gets the most neglect, and yet I still love this little car. She isn’t a cream puff, and has some rust in the body panels creeping in, but the chassis is solid, and there’s nothing better than having the top down on a warm summer evening!

Last summer, I noticed some oil dripping from behind the rear brake drum, and I finally decided to take a closer look. As I was afraid to find, and axle seal had failed and gear oil was soaking the rear brakes.

Looking at the shop manual, I found the seal is integrated in the axle bearing, so the brakes, and axle shafts would have to come out so I could remove the bearing.

Giving some attention to my Sunbeam made me feel good. She deserved my time so I could spend some more time behind the wheel of this little British car on some more summer evenings!

Ferrari 330GTC Bodywork: Checking the Trim Fit

July 31, 2021


I stopped by the Panel Shop to check the final fitting of some trim pieces before the car is shipped to the paint shop. I brought the headlight assemblies down to along with some other brightwork to make sure they fit the car. Now is the time to tweak the steel to fit the trim instead of later when the paint is on the car.

I bought a new windshield gasket a week or so before and fit it to the front windshield before heading down to the shop.

As usual, fitting the chrome trim was a little bit of a challenge, but I managed to coax it into place with some lube and lots of tugging and pressing. This is probably one of the hardest things on my hands in all of restoration. It usually takes a day or so for my hands to recover from all the strain!

I brought the windshield assembly down to The Panel shop and we laid it in place on the car to check for fit. Mark had moved some metal along the bottom edge of windshield and he wanted to make sure he didn’t make any dimensional changed to the windshield opening that would affect the way the gasket, glass and chrome trim fit the car.

Luckily, everything fit pretty well, but it soon became evident I should be sending out the windshield chrome out for fresh plating. What looked pretty good on the car before with the old paint will not look so good when we have fresh paint applied to the car. I will be taking the gasket and glass apart again and sending this trim out for fresh chrome.

Mark and I stepped back and looked at how the bumpers sat with reference to the grille and head lights. With hand made cars, they’re never completely symmetrical, but tweaking the parts at this point before the paint is applied is our last shot at making major changes. Hanging some of the chrome helps take in the overall look of the car so we could make any changes.

I also checked the gasket and headlight fit to the body.

Mark welded in the holes for the side view mirror so if we wanted to reposition the mirror after paint, we would have real steel to drill to.

Since the whole nose of the car was remade, I brought the nose badge in for installation. Click on the image to see the install.

Road Trip in a Ferrari 250GTE

July 23, 2021


I’ve been taking care of this Ferrari 250GTE since 2001 and it had recently sold to a new owner. The new owner asked if I would be interested in taking a road trip with him in his newly acquired GTE to familiarize himself with the controls, and to make a list of “do-dos” as we drove.

I filled the tank with premium pump gasoline to see how the engine would behave with the 10% ethanol fuel readily available in the US. Although I try to use non-ethanol fuel that is available in my area, that is not the case for all of my customers.

We left my shop in Hudson NY, and headed up to VT for the first leg of the trip. The weather forecast was for scattered showers, but the skies were clear up until we were about 30 minutes from our first destination. A line of showers chased us from the west as we headed north into the Green Mountains.

We arrived in Vergennes VT to visit Peter Markowski at RPM, and there was room for us to tuck the GTE in the workshop while Peter showed us what he’s been working on at his shop.

I try to stop in Vergennes whenever I’m in the area but it’s been a while. He’s as busy as ever just like the rest of us in the repair and restoration of old cars. Although Peter does a lot of Ferrari work, we also will work on anything, so you never what you’ll find at the shop.

French cars to British cars along with the Italian stuff is sharing space to be repaired, maintained, or restored.

After the tour of the shop and the out buildings, it was time to hit the road, and the timing was perfect, the showers had passed overhead, and we were now chasing it towards New Hampshire.

We arrived at our stop in Hanover NH and covered about 300 miles that day.. The car ran great,

Here’s a short video I shot of Michael’s experience.