SPORTS CARS OF THE 60's

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  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    They used to sell fiberglass rocker panels for the coupes and Spiders. I doubt those can be had now.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    I have found a product called Boeshield, developed by Boeing to inhibit corrosion in aircraft. It sounds a lot like Wax-Oyl, which is great. The problem, now that I have ordered some, is to find some way of introducing it into blind cavities in an atomized, dispersed state to ensure maximum coverage. That will give me an excuse to experiment in the shop.

    "The Fiat engine is just not as strong as the Alfa engine either."

    The evolutions of the FIAT twin cam were still winning important (not vintage) races into the nineties. Not bad for a motor that first breathed life in the mid-sixties. The following link provides some insight into its...strength, as well as its longevity as a design:

    http://velocetoday.com/cars/cars_120.php

    And, these were not the ultimate iterations of the successful race cars powered by what is apparently an under-appreciated power plant. Check the Integrale ECV, which never used its 600bhp in anger due to a rule change.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Ah, forgive me (mea culpa) but I don't wanna hear any comparisons between race car engines and production Fiat engines. It's just way too much of a stretch...ditto for just about ANY car that isn't racing showroom stock. Really I'm not criticizing Fiats for being cheap, just stating the obvious---it was a car built to a price, and Alfa was built to a higher price---so it stands to reason you are going to get better quality materials. Fiat interiors are basically biodegradable and Fiat electrics have something to do with the Vatican. I'll have to read the Da Vinci code to find that imtermittent ground wire!

    RE: Wax-Oyl etc. My only concern with any kind of chemical is this stuff seeping out of dark corners after the car is painted.
  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    "I don't wanna hear any comparisons between race car engines and production Fiat engines."

    Suggest you peruse Phil Ward's excellent book, FIAT and Lancia Twin Cams in which it is pointed out that the similarities between the production and race engines are more striking than are the differences, especially since, in the rally cars, the first engines used were basically stock FIAT, and later motors evolved therefrom. Later improvements, such as counter-rotating balance shafts, 16V heads, turbo and supercharging, were also seen in the production engines, due to homologation requirements. If the engines were solely "built to a price," the 1756 and 1995cc production motors would not have had both forged cranks and rods, the 2 liter cranks being Tuff-Trided. Not the cheapest way to build an engine.

    Regarding the electrics, I have found only one basic design flaw in the 124 Sport, and that is that all the current for the headlamps is routed through the headlamp switch and hi-low switch. A relay cures the problem. Otherwise, if all connections are clean and tight, there are no further intrinsic problems, at least in my experience. The 131 and Brava tail-lamps and most circuits designed solely for the USA market are a different story, and I can offer no defense. Btw, I have no problem following FIAT's wiring schematics, which is a testament either to their grounding (no pun intended) in logic, or to a flaw in my thought processes...

    I'll post my experience and methods using Boeshield. I hope Shifty's fears will not be realized, but I'll let you know if they are.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    What I meant was that racing engines are "gone through" and often rebuilt, strengthened and improved. It really doesn't matter if your stock crankshaft is made of superman-ium, if the cooling system doesn't work or your electrics are cheesy.

    The proof is how the cars do on the street in the hands of ordinary people, and in that respect, Italian sports cars haven't done all that well in America for various reasons.

    I drove MGBs and Alfas all over the country, and Fiats, too. Is this typical of the average driver? Don't think so.

    So I don't think we can judge these cars based on them being in OUR hands.

    As for Fiat electrics, I have had too many wires traced to....nowhere...to relax my guard. I think their grounding system on the 124 was BEE-Zarre to say the least.
  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    I guess we can agree to disagree. If an owner can't track down a simple bad ground, he's just as stuck as if the coil had exploded, so the effect is the same. My experience with numerous cars has been minor niggles, such as smoking headlamp switches (before the addition of a relay), leaky distributor seals causing oil to drool onto the exhaust manifold, the flange gasket of which has blown out, causing an irritating rasping sound, blowing gases past the oil leak from the rear of the head gasket. I wouldn't consider any of these things to be serious or difficult to repair, but can understand how another person would find them (or the combination) to be unacceptable. Seriously though, the 124 electrical system, when sorted, is fine, and I find the layout logical and easy to optimize. I just enjoy the sense of being involved with the car that I derive from its quirks and crotchets. I have a truck that is an appliance, but my FIAT is my accomplice. And finally, let me autocross an Alfa or MGB in the same way I did that 1438 FIAT, and if one or both survives, I will change my opinion.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think we have to view the rather disastrous performance of Italian cars in America in the 60s--80s as indicative of the average person's experience. This is not necessarily all the car's fault of course. We had mechanics who didn't know the cars and dealers who didn't care if you got service or not.

    I don't agree about the electrics on Italian cars. I think they are illogical and demonic. But sooner or later I did fix them all. Some of the color-coding is mighty strange.

    As for Alfa in racing, there is no comparison with Fiat in worldwide competitive racing history after World War I. Fiat hasn't been a real player since the early 1900s.

    This is probably why Alfa is so much more popular today in America than Fiat...the racing 'heritage'.

    I'd love to have another 124 Coupe. I'm not afraid of these cars at all. But there's not a shop in 50 miles I'd trust to work on one. I'd have to do it all myself or truck it in.

    Best repair shops for Italian cars in the SF Bay Area all seem to live in Berkeley/Oakland/Emeryville (East Bay).
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    I'd be the first to admit that Fiat's electrical gear is dodgy
    but didn't Alfa source most of it's wiring, switches, relays, bulbs, alternators and such from the same outfit, Magnetti Marelli (Fiat subsidiary IIRC)?

    On a side note wasn't the Fiat DOHC the first to use those accursed rubber timing belts?

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Here's what Wikipedia says about timing belts:

    "The first known timing belt was used in 1945.[5] The German Goggomobil microcar was the first mass produced vehicle to use a timing belt in 1950. The first American vehicle to use a timing belt was the 1966 Pontiac Tempest. The Vauxhall Slant Four was the first production overhead cam four cylinder design to use a timing belt, a configuration that is now used in the vast majority of cars built today."

    Yeah I always had a devil of a time with electrics on my Aflas and Fiats. Not BIG stuff, just annoying. It seems like the grounds would just.....go away....and come back when they felt like it.

    The 124 and Spider drove so much better than British cars of the time. You could tell you were in another time dimension.

    Some of the endearing characteristics of Italian sports cars are still embedded in my mind:

    One thing I remember was how when you went into first or reverse, the entire console would usually move with the gearshift.

    On the PLUS side, the tops operated with one hand, as opposed to British cars, where a come-along would have been a good tool for clamping the top shut.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    Thanks for the info on timing belts, God willing, I'll never
    buy another car with one of those damn things again. I was probably swayed by the advertising UniRoyal or BF Goodrich was doing about how pioneering the Fiat's belt system was. :P

    when you went into first or reverse, the entire console would usually move with the gearshift.

    That sounds like something a British car would do but it has never happened to me with any car. Going from a Triumph to an Italian one made the Fiat's electrics seem pretty sturdy by comparison. ;)

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You could be right. By the time I got those Fiats, they had already been through the usual "Torture My Fiat" syndrome of cheapskate Fiat owners before me.

    Alfas tended to get better care IMO.
  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    "As for Alfa in racing, there is no comparison with Fiat in worldwide competitive racing history after World War I. Fiat hasn't been a real player since the early 1900s."

    I meant in no way to disparage the storied racing history of Alfa Romeo, nor the production cars, which I enjoy and admire. I was merely responding to the opinion that the FIAT twin cam is fragile, which I believe to be a canard. As for FIAT's involvement in international motor sport, it is true that they have not competed solely under the FIAT name since the early twentieth century, but the company has raced its products under noms de guerre from the fifties to the nineties. Abarth and Lancia have both been quite successful (the former drove the SCCA kind of nuts. In 1970 they put 2 liter Abarths in the same class as 427 Cobras!)in road racing and rallying. I already provided the link to a story about some of the FIAT-powered Lancias that raced in the '80s, and the FIAT name was used along with Abarth on many of the Abarths that raced late in the twentieth century.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes but again Abarths are massaged motors and Fiat never competed in their own factory teams in big-time international motor sport after WWII to my knowledge. I'm sure independent teams did from time to time.

    But sure, SCCA, you can race anything you want I think.

    I'm sure they are fun on the track!

    I think Fiat motors in the hands of ordinary American drivers and under the tyranny of ordinary American mechanics, never did very well in this country. Certainly more the victim of neglect than inherent malfunctions.

    Still they died left and right in this country. It was basically a massacre, for whatever reason.
  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    "On a side note wasn't the Fiat DOHC the first to use those accursed rubber timing belts?"

    I recall car mags of the period crediting the German Glas as being the first production car to use a timing belt.

    I do love the whir of a timing chain when it is new and tight, but I don't miss the sound of a loose chain slapping the inside of the timing case, nor the chore of changing such a chain. Chain-driven cams do make for a prettier engine, though. I've never had a problem with a timing belt, but my dad's 128 sustained severe engine damage when its newly-installed (by the dealer, not by me!) belt failed, so I can appreciate your aversion to the Gilmer belt.
  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    "Yes but again Abarths are massaged motors and Fiat never competed in their own factory teams in big-time international motor sport after WWII to my knowledge. I'm sure independent teams did from time to time."

    Okay, you were talking about international racing, and I think we can agree that ALL the cars involved had race motors. But you are in error when you aver that FIAT hasn't competed with its own factory teams since before WWII. Abarth was a de facto factory team until absorbed by FIAT when it became the acknowledged
    FIAT racing team. The Lancias, which were road raced and rallied in the seventies, eighties, and early nineties were acknowledged as FIAT factory race cars. Yes, the Stratos, too, used an engine made by FIAT, the same one used in the Ferrari and FIAT Dinos.

    Now, with respect to the road-going twin cams, it is again my experience that the engine is durable, and to use your expression, "right." Most problems with the cars did not relate to the engine, unless one is looking at USA-only emissions stuff. The egr systems were notorious...But the unburdened engines that were in USA-market cars from '68 through '73 were sweet and dependable. The things that did go wrong in significant number(distributor seals, exhaust flange gaskets, external oil leak from the right rear of the head gasket) were not serious, and probably would have been remedied earlier had the company not been scr*wing around with constantly-changing emissions requirements. To be fair, most mid-seventies cars were terrible because of this.
  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    "I recall car mags of the period crediting the German Glas as being the first production car to use a timing belt."

    On further reflection, I have a dim memory (which may generally be the case...) that Glas was built by the company that was Goggomobil.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Here's a guy who really liked the 124 as much as we do:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/A3LGNAS6QXD59W

    Not sure I agree that they would easily best an MGB on the track, though, at least not a tight one. Not a lot of low end torque in a 124, but an MGB had lots of grunt.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    I agree, it's hard to believe that a 124 would "easily dust" an MG-B on the track. If that were the case more would have been raced. I don't think I ever saw a 124 Spider or coupe in a race but MGs were everywhere.

    It's too bad that article was illustrated w photos of the comparatively ugly and heavy big bumper car.

    Now this is what a 124 Sport Spider should look like>

    image

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    "Not sure I agree that they would easily best an MGB on the track, though, at least not a tight one. Not a lot of low end torque in a 124, but an MGB had lots of grunt."

    On this we can agree. When I was doing most of my autocrossing in the early '70s, I belonged to the MG Car Club because they were active in the sport, and there was no local FIAT club that was. They always set up tight courses and were the cars to beat. Oddly, an Opel Manta, with auto trans, belonging to another member was also very fast, mostly, I think, because all he had to do was hang on and steer. Suspension looked like a 124. One particularly masochistic member (who had a TC or TD, which I never saw) campaigned a late-sixties ex-police Dodge Coronet with no steering assist. He always finished the day with bleeding hands...

    Stock for stock on a race course, I would have to agree with the Car Lust guy and R&T: the Spider would be faster. R&T did a comparison of cars that were eligible to run SCCA Showroom Stock the first year, and picked the Spider as the car to beat. As for SCCA Production classes, that club had a definite Anglophilic tilt then, and the rules were so skewed to favor the MGs and Triumphs, that it was pointless to go to the trouble and expense of preparing a car just to be a perpetual underdog. Drove a guy named Al Cosentino nuts. May have been a short drive, though...
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    Drove a guy named Al Cosentino nuts. May have been a short drive, though...

    LOL, here's a recent picture of Cosentino with his latest ride>image

    Here's a cool thread about old Fiats.

    I wonder where I put my old F.A.Z.A catalogs :sick:

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    That's a great looking Monte Carlo, but apparently it never rains on Uncle Al's current planet. He has made being a FIAT enthusiast very interesting and I am happy to see him looking well and carrying on with it. The last forty years would not have been the same without him. I still have my old FAZA stuff, but they are about as useful as catalogs now that FAZA seems to be out of business as they were in the heyday. You had to work to order anything from Al!
  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    If the content of my last post was inappropriate or even off-putting, I apologize. I was not attacking Mr. Cosentino, but attempting to illustrate the nature of the relationship between him and those of us in the community of FIAT enthusiasts by making a small joke about his Lancia Monte Carlo not having windshield wipers. I shall be happy to change the subject to something that might not even be Italian...or at least to go with someone else's topic.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Member Posts: 1,650
    I don't think it was you, fiatlux. It seems really quiet on all the Edmunds boards today. I think some of the regulars must be busy with "real life". ;)

    I must say that I really did enjoy your discussion with Shifty regarding the relative merits of 60s-70s Fiats and Alfas. I have always admired both makes of that era, even though I have never owned one. It was most enlightening to read the opinions of two knowledgeable gearheads with direct experience. :)

    james
  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    ...and I don't believe the subject has been exhausted.

    I associate sixties sports cars with certain high points in my personal history, so I have a warm spot for Sunbeam Alpines and Datsun 2000s, as well as the FIATs that I so passionately defend. I don't think there are any cars of this genre that I don't like, although I realize there are qualitative differences among them.

    I was driving my first car, a '58 Ford Fairlane on 6th Avenue in Tacoma, which was THE cruising street at the time, but since it was only about 4:00 PM in the early spring time, cruising had not seriously begun. My left front wheel cover decided to abandon barge, and took off down the street before describing a half circle and crossing the two oncoming lanes, ending up in the lot of the Big 6 gas station, directly across the street from where I had stopped. While I was trying to figure out how to navigate over there to retrieve the part, a dark blue Sunbeam Alpine made an easy and fast u-turn and stopped next to the cover. The driver's door opened, and a lovely brunette reached out and picked it up. I finally was able to make my turn and pull up next to her. After pretending to take off with my wandering piece of Ford, she gave me her phone number and invited me to tap on her window that night. The next few months (until graduation) were an adolescent's fantasy made real. How could I not love all things Alpine, especially when equipped as that one was?

    A few years later, my then girlfriend (six-plus feet of hwp blondeness) and I were on our way to go skiing. She had a late-sixties Datsun 2000 (a surprisingly quick little car), which had two bald rear tires. After we made the turn onto the road that led, after five miles, to the ski area, we were forced to stop on an uphill surface that, if not ice, was at least polished snow. We became immobile, except for the spinning rear tires. Someone threw some sand in front of the tires and I started pushing. After the little car gained some momentum, rather than having her stop so I could get into the passenger seat, a maneuver that I believed would get us stuck again, I jumped up onto the trunk-lid mounted luggage rack, thinking that would help with traction, and rode the last four or so miles in that manner. Because I survived it, I viewed that as a great time.

    Those experiences led me half-way to the transition from big American iron to those funny little foreign things. I would be interested in knowing how others came by their particular enthusiasms, and, if urged, would be willing to divulge what pushed me the rest of the way and keeps me there still.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    Great stories, Fiatlux....a few years ago Peter Egan wrote a column, the gist of which was that in his experience two-seat roadsters made fine snow cars. Remembering my experiences I'd have to agree. They were so light, all you needed was one helper to push and you'd get unstuck. With at least 50% of the weight on the drive wheels and good steering and brakes they were quite handy in snowy conditions.

    I never even bothered with snow tires once I had switched my TR-4A to radial tires and I didn't bother with them on my Fiat 124 Spider either. Those cars did have one big drawback in bad conditions though, piss-poor wipers that couldn't deal with a rapid accumulation of heavy snow and of course the plastic backlights weren't heated.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I drove my Jaguar XK140 through many New York winters. I won't say it was EASY, but it made it. Car was a b**ch to start in cold weather though.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Member Posts: 1,650
    Starting cars used to be a fine art. Now any idiot can do it. :P
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    Starting cars used to be a fine art. Now any idiot can do it.

    Indeed, the starting procedure during cold weather for my Fiat Spider was thus:

    -Pretend it is ordinary car, get in insert key put clutch in, shift to neutral.
    -Listen to starter spin and engine almost but not quite catch, realize that choking will be neccesary.
    -Pull out choke, turn key.
    -Engine starts, attempt to put choke back in and realize that expansion of metal due to cold has caused choke butterfly to stick.
    -Start car, engine fires. Crank heater up to full blast (such as it was).
    -Open hood latch and get out of car (brrrrr!)
    -Prop hood open.
    -Undo three wing nuts holding air cleaner cover.
    -Using finger prop frozen butterfly valve open.
    -Replace air cleaner cover and wing nuts.
    -Unprop hood and close.
    -Get back in car, close door.
    -Close choke
    -Drive car.

    What could you expect from a car made in a country where it never goes below freezing? :sick: Funny thing is if you followed the procedure it would start every time except for a 15 below morning in Killington. Waiting till after breakfast gave the battery enough time to thaw and fore the sucker.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The Jaguar had a vacuum operated "starter carburetor" which was a rather arcane device. I'm not sure I ever did figure out how it actually worked.

    Often I would take the battery into the house with me on cold days and haul it back out in the morning.

    I got just one chance. If it caught and ran, fine. If it ran and stalled, that was it for the rest of the day. However, I could PUSH start it anytime I wanted. It liked that.

    The heater was, of course British and therefore a joke. But after a while, heat from the exhaust and transmission got things pretty toasty in there---winter AND summer!

    The Moss gearbox was a clunky one and quite ornery in the cold as well.

    If we had only had all these synthetic lubricants my life back then would have been so much easier!
  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    "Those cars did have one big drawback in bad conditions though, piss-poor wipers that couldn't deal with a rapid accumulation of heavy snow..."

    One thing I admire about the Italians is that they are not burdened with a foolish consistency. None of my Spiders had windshield wiper motors that would actually move the wipers over a dry windshield (not something I recommend, but a revealing test), while my 124 Coupe had a wiper motor that could, as Archimedes averred, move the Earth if given a suitable mounting point.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 56,994
    I prefer the starting procedure of my fintail...while being older than most of these little cars, is much easier.

    If it is cold out, say freezing, and the car hasn't been driven in a few weeks...I just leave the key in the 'on' position which runs the fuel pump and primes the FI for about 20 seconds...I might pump the gas a couple times if it is really cold (even though the manual tells you not to), and simply turn the key. 9 times out of 10, it will fire right up on the first turn of the key, and run without a problem.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 56,994
    What about those of us who like larger examples of funny foreign things?

    For me, I think it's because I was a James Bond villain or some [non-permissible content removed] henchman in a past life. :P
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    prefer the starting procedure of my fintail...while being older than most of these little cars, is much easier.

    Aw c'mon, there's no art to starting a fuel injected car. Insert key and turn...Geez

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 56,994
    Hey, if you don't let the system prime, it won't start right up...there is some knowledge involved ...it's not my fault the car was made with a practical starting system :P
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Fuel injection was for sissies! :P Shooting ducks in a barrel IMO.

    Ah there was nothing like hearing that puny starter motor barely turning over the engine as I pulled the choke cable on my MGB completely out of its holder!!

    My fintail Mercedes with dual carbs always started in the coldest of weather. The Germans took the fun out of driving old cars in winter in the 1960s.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 56,994
    What can I say....I like cars that start and run...I guess that eliminates most Italians and Limey-mobiles :P . And with FI, no cold weather stumbling issues, it pretty much just goes. I had my lifetime share of carb problems in my first car, a 66 Ford with a 390/4barrel. What a nightmare, cold blooded gas guzzling...FI is the way to go.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Benzes did have their hard starting issues back then. The 190SL was notoriously fussy about ignition point gap settings, as were the sedans. The Germans said 12", and if it was 15", you could just forget about starting on most cold days. The 300SL was fussy about spark plugs. In those days injection was not as refined as today and it ran a bit rich. Coupling that to the 300SLs compression ratios and camshaft, etc., you had to really run these cars into redline, even in 1st or 2nd gear. If you putted around town in a 300SL, you were toast. The plugs would foul for sure.

    But jumping from a British sports car into a 190SL was a revelation. While the 190SL was very tame and slow, it was so well built that an MG owner could hardly comprehend it. If only the 190SL had some kind of torquey motor, it would have been a formidable opponent. As it was, it was a pushover for most British sports cars. The 190SL gearshift was awful. In fact all Mercedes gearshifts were pretty clunky until the 280SL came out.

    And those aren't so great either.
  • fiatlux1969fiatlux1969 Member Posts: 52
    "The 300SL was fussy about spark plugs. In those days injection was not as refined as today and it ran a bit rich."

    The injected Corvettes, too, were notorious for eating spark plugs, to the tune of a set every 3500 miles, or so.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    Porsche 356s with the 4-Cam Carrera motors were infamous for fouling plugs unless you habitually shifted at high RPMs (north of 5000). This was well known at the time and I think today many Porsche owners are afraid of "lugging" their engines.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think most Porsche owners with a 4-cam motor are afraid to even start them much less lug them or rev them. Most owners pull that motor immediately and drive around in a regular 356 motor. The reason? Well the roller bearing crank and rod bearings simply did not function well at low RPM (not enough pressure?), and so you could wipe out the crank or blow the motor just putting around town.

    Well so what? The "so what" is the cost of rebuilding a 4-cammer these days, or even finding anyone alive who can do it competently. It's very complex and will cost you probably $30,000--$40,000 dollars to get the job done.

    Only to have to do it again in a painfully short number of miles vis a vis a plain bearing 356.

    The Corvette fuel-injection (Rochester) was also mechanical but it had some serious faults, among them no way to adjust for temperature or barometric pressure. Tuning them was a PITA. They would also varnish up pretty fast if you didn't run them a lot, causing the need for complete disassembly.

    The German system was also mechanical but pretty docile and bullet-proof. Too bad Chevrolet didn't just buy the rights to it (probably way too expensive to produce). Remember, Corvette back then was not an affluent man's car.

    But Corvette did get one HP from each cubic inch using FI, so that's impressive.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 56,994
    I know the cold start system can be a problem, the solenoid etc...and it does indeed have to be revved to run right. But, these problems can be remedied with some luck.

    I don't know about these ignition points you speak of however, I had the fintail converted to electronic ignition about 7 years ago :P ...I haven't laid a finger on it since. I hate adjusting points.

    Nobody buys a Mercedes to row it yourself!
  • oregonboyoregonboy Member Posts: 1,650
    I hate adjusting points.

    I was never fond of that either, although I got pretty good at it when I owned a Mazda RX-2. It had a 12A rotary-engine with 2 distributors and 3 sets of points that it would severely pit in short order.

    image

    The trick that I learned was to pull the distributors out of the engine and adjust the point gaps with the distributor clamped in a bench vice. Much easier than hanging over the engine bay with your neck twisted at an odd angle.

    The distributor gear-drive used low-pitched gears, (large teeth), so proper orientation of the distributor, upon reassembly, was a snap.

    Unfortunately, when I tried the same technique on my Rotary Pickup, I discovered that the 13B engine used a distributor drive with much finer teeth. Oops! :sick:

    And speaking of hard starting, I remember the rotary engine occasionally starting cold on one rotor, and having to sit there for a few moments feathering the throttle until the second one kicked in.

    james
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    When I drove a Volvo P1800 for a while (never liked that car) , I just had an extra distributor all ready to go, and every 5,000 miles or so I'd just swap them out. Easy job on a B20 engine(ten minutes, tops) and you could easily time that Volvo engine to either "ping lightly", "ping heavily" or "ping moderately". :P They would ping even on 100 octane. Probably the lousy timing gears they used. Climbing a hill in overdrive sounded like you were dragging a chain link fence around.

    A friend bought the car, did a fabulous rebuild, put on an B20E head and FI and an IPD cam and it was a much different (and better) car all around. We tackled the overdrive rebuild together and it was a very difficult job indeed. Not for rookies.

    But he never did get the stock instrument gauges to work. They were AWFUL in the P 1800. I doubt there is one running today that can sport a full set of working factory gauges. So he built a special display with aftermarket gauges and that solved THAT problem.

    Oh, and the "oil cooler" on that engine was laughably useless. It was about the size of a tin can lid and they put it on the SIDE of the engine, toward the back, not in front of the air stream.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    of my '66 TR-4A (non-IRS):

    -Spare distributor Cap & Rotor
    -Set of Points and condenser (point guage in glove box)
    -Set of four spark plugs.(gapping tool in glove box)
    -Spare V-belt
    -1 Pint Braking Fluid
    -2qts 10W-30 Motor Oil
    -Full set of box and socket Wrenches
    -Phillips Head Screw Driver.
    -Flat head screw driver.
    -Jumper cables.
    -Small oil can for squirting carb dash pots bi-weekly.
    -Assorted pliers, electrical tape, bungee cords, wire connectors etc.
    -Spare radiator hose.
    -Three road flares.
    -Normal items carried in trunk of all cars such as jack and spare tire.

    Now you know why sports cars of that era generally had luggage racks, there was no room in the trunk for actual luggage. :shades:

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I had a TR250, which of course was called a TR5 in the UK. It's one of my favorite British sports cars, combing the TR4 styling with the TR6 engine.

    In addition to a complete parts warehouse, I would carry a rain poncho, to wear INSIDE the car.

    My most reliable 60s British sports car was my 71 MGB and most reliable sports car in general was my Porsche 911T but that was technically not a 60s sports car but a 1970 model. But they made the same basic car in 1969.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    My brother had a TR-250, that was a very sweet car, the smooth six was a much better motor than the big four and I thought his car was generally a lot less fussy (I forgot to mention the UniSyn I carried in the glovebox). For those who don't know a UniSyn was used to synchronize the twin carburetors--another bi-weekly or monthly job.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I finally tore apart my SUs, re-bushed them, installed all new jets---problem OVER! Simple elegant wonderful carburetor---much misunderstood, even by me for a long time. I came to love them...sigh.....
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    Our TRs both had Strombergs, based on what I've heard over the years they were less
    reliable than SUs. My bro never had trouble w his but mine were constantly a bit out of sync.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Those Strombergs sucked big time. Adjusting the jets was a real hassle. But they did produce good power for that engine. The Strombergs were called "vacuum depression carburetors" and worked differently than SUs. They had a rubber diaphragm inside that controlled piston movement.
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