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  1. #21
    Amministratore Fiat500USA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KellyfromVA View Post
    Some of the more unusual cars I've owned/built:

    1956 Chevy 'Shorty' Wagon. (Cut the middle door and frame out myself)

    1957 Chevy Belair 'Shorty' Wagon (Previous owner cut the middle door and frame)

    1968 Chevrolet Camaro RS 396.

    1965 Datsun "Fairlady" Roadster (1500 engine)
    1966 Datsun SPL-1600 Roadster (1600 engine)
    1969 Datsun SPL-2000 Roadster (2000 OHC Engine)

    1967 Ford Mustang California Special convertible with a factory 390cu/4 speed manual. Had to unbolt the drivers-side motor mount and lift the engine with a jack, then go through the wheel well to replace two spark plugs. The alternative was to remove the brake master cylinder.

    1967 Austin Healey 3000 Mk III. I loved that car. Parts would literally fall off at stoplights, but I'd just pull over and put them back on.
    1963 Austin Healey 'Bug Eye' Sprite. Had an MGB 1600 engine retrofitted. I got to the point where I could pull the engine and transmission, replacing the clutch in an hour and a half by myself.

    1977 Lamborghini Countach. I bought the repossessed car after it had been damaged in a fairly minor accident. The previous owner (son of a Saudi family), had abused the poor thing. With the help of an old semi-retired Italian mechanic that used to work for Ferrari, I rebuilt the engine, transmission, and repaired the body damage all in a storage warehouse. The less successful part of the project; was getting the awful cologne smell out of the passenger seat foam. I needed money for college, so had to sell the car. At least it was for a good profit! Always made an impression when picking up a date in that car. Had the windows tinted (probably too dark for the crappy headlights) but that car looked so badass! Black with dark-tinted windows. Would love to have that car back. All the engine noise, gear whine, stiff steering, and so-so brakes made the car a chore to drive in a commute, but get it out on the open road? Nothing like it ever.

    1971 Jensen Interceptor British style with a Chrysler 440 V8.

    What's in the garage(s) currently:

    1971 Triumph TR6 (with Moss supercharger kit)
    1954 MG Magnette ZA
    1988 Saab 900 (non turbo)
    2012 Fiat 500 Sport
    2014 Jaguar XF (supercharged)
    2017 Volvo XC60-R
    2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP
    Nice list! I've heard about lifting the engine to get to the spark plugs on that Mustang. Cool cars are always worth the extra effort in my book. The TR6 is one of my favorite English cars. That supersharger sounds wild!

    That Countach must have been a trip to own. How were the parts to get for that? I love Lamborghinis but I was scared off by the parts availability and of course the prices. I worked at a shop fixing Italian stuff so I had an in on the service side. I figured Ferraris were more doable from the support side of the equation at least.

    Badass cars, especially back then were exhausting and intense to drive slow and in traffic. The Alfa is like that. Road & Track said after a few miles driving it in stop and go traffic with its stiff Dual Disc clutch that grabbed high and release low and clunky shifter, you'd trade it for a clapped out old pickup truck.

    Back in the day I was going to sell everything to buy a 308 and then use an old like a Fiat 128 for week day driving, but knowing me I would drive the 308 around anyway. I worked at an import parts place in between dealerships at that time and the guys would kid me that I would deliver parts in the Ferrari. I would have, too. I would load my GTV6 up and deliver parts in it. We said we had the fastest parts delivery service around.

    When Ferrari died, the prices went crazy and that idea went out the window!
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiat500USA View Post

    That Countach must have been a trip to own. How were the parts to get for that?
    At the time, it wasn't too bad. There were a few instances where they sent the completely wrong part(s) from Italy. Had to make a few international phone calls and put my friend who spoke fluent Italian on the horn to get the proper parts on the way. This is all before the Internet, so we had to rely on photocopies of parts manuals with greasy fingerprints all over the pages. My friend would usually get into a screaming match with someone at the Lambo parts house, followed by a pleasant Ciao! before hanging up. After hanging up, my mechanic friend would say; "eh, they will be sending us something in the next week or so." Do you think it will be the right part this time? "Eh maybe, maybe no." Patience is a virtue when one owns a Lamborghini. They shouldn't be considered daily drivers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiat500USA View Post

    I love Lamborghinis but I was scared off by the parts availability and of course the prices. I worked at a shop fixing Italian stuff so I had an in on the service side. I figured Ferraris were more doable from the support side of the equation at least.
    Ferrari's are definately easier to get parts for. Especially some substitute parts, like the dash switches for the 308's are the same as was sold in most Volkswagens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiat500USA View Post
    Badass cars, especially back then were exhausting and intense to drive slow and in traffic. The Alfa is like that. Road & Track said after a few miles driving it in stop and go traffic with its stiff Dual Disc clutch that grabbed high and release low and clunky shifter, you'd trade it for a clapped out old pickup truck.
    Depending on the trip length and traffic, its true you would be physically worn out by the time you reached your destination. Hot days were the worst. No air conditioning, and only half of the door windows would open. The fan and vents were okay, but the engine heat leaking from behind you makes one feel like rotisserie chicken.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiat500USA View Post
    When Ferrari died, the prices went crazy and that idea went out the window!
    Prices went crazy again starting in 2011, and just recently started going down. The thing is, most of the good numbers-matching cars are in collections, or still a little overly priced. One has to be careful with the numbers of grey-market 308's floating around in used car dealerships. It's also surprising how many "brokers", that refuse to provide maintenance documentation history, let alone the factory-certified build sheet. 'Who did the 30,000 mile engine-out service?' Uh, not sure. Run away!
    Last edited by KellyfromVA; 11-04-2019 at 10:04 PM.

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  4. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by KellyfromVA View Post
    At the time, it wasn't too bad. There were a few instances where they sent the completely wrong part(s) from Italy. Had to make a few international phone calls and put my friend who spoke fluent Italian on the horn to get the proper parts on the way. This is all before the Internet, so we had to rely on photocopies of parts manuals with greasy fingerprints all over the pages. My friend would usually get into a screaming match with someone at the Lambo parts house, followed by a pleasant Ciao! before hanging up. After hanging up, my mechanic friend would say; "eh, they will be sending us something in the next week or so." Do you think it will be the right part this time? "Eh maybe, maybe no." Patience is a virtue when one owns a Lamborghini. They shouldn't be considered daily drivers.
    It is amazing how we got parts back then. Corresponding and phone calls. I worked at a parts importer in the 2000s and we brought parts in from Germany but occasionally from Italy. It was tough even then. The Germany were hard enough, but it Italy was even tougher. Sense of urgency is not the same wherever you go.



    Depending on the trip length and traffic, its true you would be physically worn out by the time you reached your destination. Hot days were the worst. No air conditioning, and only half of the door windows would open. The fan and vents were okay, but the engine heat leaking from behind you makes one feel like rotisserie chicken.
    Air conditioning was not good back then. I can imagine that huge front windshield being a magnifying glass!

    The Lancia I had also had a huge windshield, and although the air conditioner worked at some point, it would leave the vent cool but by the time it hit you it was lukewarm.

    One day, my buddy said let's fill it up and I said OK, and was pleased until I went to a bar later that night and pulling up to park, the AC hose blew and I shot the largest cloud of R12 you could imagine all over this guy's custom van. With the headlights on it looked like the thickest fog you've ever seen and I quickly split. The owner must have been surprised to see ice all over his van in the middle of summer.



    Prices went crazy again starting in 2011, and just recently started going down. The thing is, most of the good numbers-matching cars are in collections, or still a little overly priced. One has to be careful with the numbers of grey-market 308's floating around in used car dealerships. It's also surprising how many "brokers", that refuse to provide maintenance documentation history, let alone the factory-certified build sheet. 'Who did the 30,000 mile engine-out service?' Uh, not sure. Run away!
    I was really into the cars and learned all I could about them when I was going to buy one. Joined the club and all that, but that was 30 years ago. I knew the head loan officer at a bank and secured special loan terms and everything was a go until the market blew up. I'd occasionally entertain the thought, but now, not so much. New Ferraris don't really do anything for me and I hate to admit that I don't follow them much. It's funny because I have Ferrari press credentials that took me years of hounding to get but I don't really do much with them now.

    I figure for the cost of a 308 I could get a couple of nice Fiats and have money leftover to maintain them.
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  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by map View Post
    "My" first car (actually dad's) was an Olds F85 Jetfire... one of the silliest cars ever produced. It was beautiful and fun to drive, but 1/4" of snow made it squirrely. It's "remarkable test-driven turbo engine" (GM's line) had less HP than the V8 and when the engines started coming apart, GM's solution was to solder the fluid injector closed. That really PO'ed the owner, who then sold it to dad. (He'd paid big bucks for the turbo option, to find it disabled before he bought the car.)

    We ended up replacing the turbo w/ a 4 bbl carb... not a great swap since it had lower compression than the factory 4 bbl... but it ran cooler. IIRC the tank was originally a windshield washer bottle, mounted where the batt is on this engine's pix.

    Attachment 35425 Attachment 35426

    My first foreign car (not including VWs... almost American) was a '59 Hillman. It had unique brakes, where stopping distance was measured in yards; yards being how many house yards you passed before stopping. I think it was about 1 yard per 5 MPH. I bought a wrecked Sunbeam Alpine to swap in the engine; found someone had replaced the Alpine's engine w/ one from a Hillman. Still, I got the distributor driven tach and misc parts.
    Attachment 35427
    That Olds is neat. I forgot about that one. I need to check that out. I love reading old road tests and Popular Mechanics on these old cars.
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  6. #25
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    After my 1969 FIAT 850 Sport Coupe, I bought a new 1979 Subaru BRAT. Loved that thing. It was the only car we ever leased, and at the end of the lease we had to let it go. Our first child was on her way and the BRAT wasn't a 3 person car! (Unless one of us could be persuaded to ride in the seats in the rear truck bed...) Same color as this one. However, I asked the dealer not to apply the body stripes on ours. I thought it looked much better without:

    1980-Subaru-BRAT-brown03[1].jpg

    We bought my wife a new 1979 Mustang. It was a hatchback with a sunroof, and it leaked. The dealer couldn't seem to fix it. Plus the transmissions in many of them had troubles, We got rid of it and bought a 1969 MGC GT; identical to the one below.

    The MGC was to be the replacement for the Austin Healey 3000, since the Healey was a fairly old design by then. Not having cash to develop a proper Healey successor, they used the MGB and MGB GT as the basis, and shoehorned in the large Healey engine. Also had a larger radiator, stronger brakes, stiffer suspension springs, some chassis stiffening, and etc. There were two hood bulges to clear stuff underneath, including the front carburetor. They did a credible job with what they had, (Prince Charles apparently still has his!) but it still looked like an MGB, and so lacked the Healey's curvaceous beauty. But it sounded great, and went really well (I had mine up to an indicate 120 MPH. Oops). All was good until you had to turn a corner. Not terrible, but nose heavy compared to the regular MGBs!

    9446552[1].jpg

    And about this time I bought a wrecked 1968 Triumph Spitfire, and started a restoration. More on that later!

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  8. #26
    Lifetime Member Haring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smark View Post


    We Really like my wifes new 1985 Honda Predule.
    I'm so jealous. I love old 80's Hondas. I had an '83 Honda Civic 1500 S. Always wanted an '84-85 S or an '86 Si but never got one. Also wanted an old first gen CRX, but never got one of those either. My one real love was the 2nd gen Preludes and the color of your wife's gray one is the exact one I wanted. Hard to find any of these old Hondas in good shape anymore.
    2018 Luminoso Orange 500c - H&R Springs - Matte Black CV2s

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  10. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haring View Post
    I'm so jealous. I love old 80's Hondas. I had an '83 Honda Civic 1500 S. Always wanted an '84-85 S or an '86 Si but never got one. Also wanted an old first gen CRX, but never got one of those either. My one real love was the 2nd gen Preludes and the color of your wife's gray one is the exact one I wanted. Hard to find any of these old Hondas in good shape anymore.
    When we bought our 1985 Predule. There was a long waiting list, of customers. The car came only in 3 colors. Dark Blue metallic, dark gray, and a bright red. What ever color came in a the dealership. Was the color you had to buy. We got lucky, and got the dark gray one.

    My first CRX, was hit in the rear, and pushed into the rear of a El camino. I received a insurance check to be fixed. Still drivable. Got rear ended again Before getting it fixed. By a large Pontiac Bonneville. Collected another Insurance check. Bought another brand we CRX si with both Insurance checks.

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  12. #28
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    Yeah, I loved the early Subaru Brats, too. I swapped my '73 VW bus straight up for it. I got it from a shop after the owner drilled out the engine drain plug then drove it to a shop to have the plug replaced... so an '80 w/ a '79 engine. It started w/ factory stripes, but was plain after I repainted it at home (clipped the front fender on concrete while backing/turning). I was amazed at how well it handled, and it could travel on snow that other 4WD's avoided.
    1.jpg

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    My new 1976 Camaro. It had a white interior. The seats were always dirty from me, working in the service department. It had a under power 305 cubic inch engine. Pretty car, but so slow. It impressed my wife of today, 43 years ago.


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    My brand new 1981 Celica GT hatchback. We got married in with this car. I traded my gas pig Trans Am for this Toyota. Oh way a feeling. The first week of ownership, we drove it all the way to California in it. 4K miles, in one week. What a way to break in a car.


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