Saturday, March 30, 2013

More eBay fun: 1971 #1 music courtesy of Rod Stewart

Part of getting the details correct on the Dino is period correct music for the original 8 Track player we will be fitting to the car. For those of you who do not remember here is the post on the stereo:

To complete the music system we found on eBay an original 8 Track of Rod Stewart's 'Every Picture Tells A Story' album. This album has the song Maggie May which would have been number one on the worldwide charts at the time that our Dino would have been cruising the streets on its first summer. An excellent detail to compliment the wonderfully original Voxson stereo system.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

More manufacturing : Reproducing Marelli S125 BX Tags

The devil is in the details and one of these is the ID tag that is riveted to the distributor. On the Dino it is a prominent feature that is clearly visible when the engine bonnet is opened. On most cars the original print is fully worn away. There are reproductions available but none are done to a high standard nor do they have the correct text which is applies to 206 and early L and M series Dino's.

Wanting to get things right we embarked on the project to perfectly reproduce the tags as original. While we were at it the decision was taken to make both the earlier and later versions as these are the ones that are not available anywhere. As always artwork took many hours and we want to offer a special thanks to our Marelli expert Adrian who assisted greatly along the way. In addition we worked with a specialist printer who used an ultra durable epoxy to achieve the most weather resistant print that we could.

So you own an early Dino and want to know which is correct for my car? Well that answer is not easy as there is no clear data to support which tag is correct for which car. As a generalization all L series Dino's and very early M series cars would have the tag that is mainly red. Chassis # 01150 from the sales brochure has the red tag and represents the latest car we have hard data on.

The silver tag should carry through the M series production through to the E series in late 1971. That said we have period images showing silver tags with the S125 BX print going as late as June 1974. The earliest car we have on record with a silver tag would be 01240. Our car 01464 had the silver label for sure as confirmed by Adrian.

These tags are available for sale at the store

Monday, March 18, 2013

One that flew the coop: Spending time with an exceptional Lancia Stratos

Today I had a real treat. I got a call from my good friend Tom S. who told me that I should come and visit him. Always up for a mystery and with a little time at my disposal I made the drive out to see him. As always with Tom he did not disappoint and what awaited me was a real piece of history; a genuine Lancia Stratos.

One of just under 500 built the Lancia Stratos is a car made by Lancia to satisfy the homologation requirements of Group 4 rally racing. In essence it is a full blown race car for the street. The tie to the Dino is that the Stratos uses a Dino engine and because its production took place after Dino construction ceased, it is believed that the last 500 Dino engines were allotted to Stratos manufacture.

This particular example is among the most original in existence having been purchased from the original owner; a Swiss mailman who bred pigeons. The car has hoards of original documents and is in quite remarkable and unmolested condition. Stratos' this documented and this original are rare indeed and it was a great privilege to spend time with it.

Never one to pass up the chance, a high speed drive was in order. Perhaps the most raw car I have ever been in the Stratos is an assault on the senses. The engine sounds incredible and the view out the front curved windscreen is nothing short of that offered by a fighter jet.

The bad news is that this gem will not be adorning my garage but one mans misfortune is anothers gain as the Stratos is available for sale. Interested parties may contact Tom S. directly at and feel free to tell him that sent you.

Now for some pictures starting with just an awesome period image of the Swiss mailman sitting proudly by his high speed chariot.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Controlling Corrosion: Stripping and prepping wheels for paint

Among the many re-finish jobs on the Dino, the wheels require special attention. They are made of an aluminum/magnesium alloy that corrodes if not treated properly. To this end a very laborious process is required to get them ready for paint. The process is as follows:

1. Remove old tires, tire stems, and wheel weights from rims
2. Thoroughly wash wheels and inspect for any damage
3. Chemically strip wheels. We use Goudeys paint stripper as profiled in previous threads
4. Wash the wheels again
5. Once dried touch up any missed spots in the blast cabinet using medium pressure and gentle media
6. Wash the wheels again
7. Apply Alodine solution as per directions to treat the wheels for paint.
8. Wash the wheels again

As you can see there are a lot of steps before any primer or paint goes on. This process was introduced to us by Steve Kouracos and is profiled in the following link on his website:


We thank Steve for sharing this information with us and look forward to the priming and painting steps.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Getting a degree: Using basic math to confirm ignition timing

Just when I thought I had escaped the trappings of high school math it comes back to haunt me. I was a poor student in school and slid by in math class where, much to the dismay of my teachers, I would use logic to solve problems rather than apply the procedures they were teaching. In the end I would get the correct answer so I figured I must have been doing something right but my teachers were never pleased.

Getting back to the world of Dino's I wanted to confirm some details of the static ignition timing but lacked a degree wheel with which to take my measurements. In the end a degree wheel is nothing more than a circle with graduated markings on it. In my case all I needed to do was take one measurement, that of 40 degrees before top dead center (BTDC). The circular harmonic damper on the crank was to serve as my degree wheel using some basic high school math and logic. Here is how I did it:

Step 1: Measure the diameter of the damper in mm

Step 2: Use the formula pi(d) with d being diameter to calculate the circumference of the damper

Step 3: Divide 360 (the number of degrees in a circle) by the circumference and I would get a dimension in mm that would equal 1 degree

Step 4: Multiply 40 (the number of degrees I needed to measure) by the result of Step #3 to get my final measurement. In this case it was 46.58mm

Step 5: This measurement was then transferred to a piece of tape where I accurately made 2 thin lines exactly 46.58mm apart.

Step 6: I used a dial indicator to accurately find TDC of the #3 cylinder as per the shop manual and then installed the tape on the outside of the damper using the factory indicator needle for reference.

Step 7: Making sure that I observed my points from exactly the same place to avoid any angular distortion I checked all of my measurements and confirmed my ignition timing.

The photo below should fill in any questions and this technique can really come in handy when a degree wheel is not available. I wonder what my high school teachers would think :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Black & blue: Restoring hard to find original inlet duct hose

Sculpted on the side of the Dino are two magnificent ducts that channel air to the air filter on one side and the oil cooler on the other. Once the body ends it is the job of some corrugated tubes to direct the air from the duct to its destination. Over the years these tubes get replaced for incorrect items and are often missing as was the case for 01464.

We thought it would be an easy task to source out a replacement but were we ever wrong. The original tube had a distinctive light blue/grey colour to it and finding something with this finish proved to be impossible leaving us on the hunt for an original part. Extensive searching yielded nothing until last week where a visit to a local Dino nut unearthed a pair of tubes that had long been painted black. A tiny flake of paint was removed unearthing the original colour below and we knew we had found our part. A special thanks goes out to Jon for parting with these to help our restoration.

The last stage was restoring the tubes where Paul spent the better part of 6 hours cleaning, polishing, and restoring the tubes. You see on the Dino these tubes are well visible from both the outside and the inside. Add complicated ribbing and you have the recipe for a really tricky clean up. As always Paul delivered and the tubes are ready to be installed hardly showing any of their 40+ year age.