Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stamp of approval: Finishing the distributor

Re-building and detailing the distributor has been a real labour of love. After all it sits right on top of the engine in plain view so we wanted to make sure that it was as perfect as we could get it. To that end the case was carefully detailed, the fasteners re-plated, and the external wiring brought back to its as new condition. Below are some photos of the finished product along with details of a final project that we are most proud of. First is a before photo.

Now for the real detail work. Originally Marelli distributors had an ID tag on them. Some blog followers will remember that we have perfectly replicated these:

In addition to the tag there were some original stampings. One was a little arrow like marking that was not specific to the distributor while the other was a manufacturing stamp showing the date of production for the unit. Matching the artwork and getting the stamps done was a mountain of work but is one of those tiny details that puts a smile on my face whenever I look at it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

1.21 Gigawatts!!!!: Finishing the fuse panel

As some blog followers will know 01464 did not come with its original fuse panel leaving us to manufacture one from scratch as well as source and restore the necessary hardware for it.

Some old posts on the subject are here:

Making the fuse panel

Restoring NOS fuse blocks

Now with all of the parts sourced, tested, and restored to as new condition we put it all together into its final assembly. The only thing missing is red marker paint on all the fasteners once the wires are installed and the final tests are done.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Recharging the sun: The paint is given time to cure

With the paint applied, and having had time to bake in the heated spray booth, the next step was to just give the paint a natural amount of time to cure and settle before proceeding to wet sanding and polishing.

The weather in Southern Ontario is co-operating nicely so this process is being done outside with the sun offering its support to the project.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A fly on the wall: 01464 gets painted

Normally we would write something descriptive but today all words fail us so we will let a photo tell the tale...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Thank you Gran Turismo: Finding and restoring Serflex clamps

Todays posting starts off with a special thanks to Brett at Gran Turismo. Followers of the blog will remember that Brett already saved our skin once before:

This time we were not in trouble but a very nice surprise came our way via a casual visit to Gran Turismo in Alliston Ontario. While admiring some of the fine cars and service equipment they have, we spotted these gems among some other parts. Knowing the project that we are involved with, and wanting to help, Brett was kind enough to gift us his whole supply which was almost enough clamps for our entire car.

For those of you who do not know Gran Turismo, it is a very nice shop just north of Toronto Ontario. Brett and his crew cater to the value minded Ferrari owner offering excellent service with a good family feel. Their shop is always a pleasure to visit and you can be sure of good stories and advice when stopping by. Visit them at:

Getting back to the subject of clamps, This is something that the casual restorer overlooks but is vitally critical for any serious project. In the early 1970's Ferrari used French made Serflex clamps which have a very particular shape and adjustment screw (round with a slot head). While Serflex is still in business their clamps have changed shape leaving old stock as the only option to the restorer.

01464 in its life had almost every clamp replaced leaving just a few original ones behind. As such we needed to find and restore over 100 clamps to get the car back to as new perfect. The photos will show the restoration process and we are now happy to announce that every clamp we need is restored and accounted for.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Original screws: Steering hub and horn button restoration

With the steering wheel all done we turned our attention to the steering wheel hub and horn button.

First up is the horn button. The original one was taken apart, all of the electrical contacts were cleaned, the plastic polished, and trim ring re-chromed. As this is a center piece of attention for the driver we wanted to make sure it was perfect. While the photos taken under direct flash are very harsh, in the flesh the part looks like it was made yesterday and will be a fitting finish to our wheel.

Supporting everything is the steering hub itself. Observation of these hubs on original cars revealed 2 things:

1. The original wrinkle finish on the hub is much finer than the one on the steering column which is much more coarse. As such we refinished the part accordingly.

2. The Allen head screws had a predominantly smooth finish on the heads. Many cars you see restored have more readily available modern screws with deep stampings on them. Originally these screws were made by Lobo in Italy and had just a faint manufacturer and grade marking on them. Amazingly we were able to find just enough un-used original screws for our application. Again in the photos the markings look more prominent than they are in reality as the stampings are very faint.

Given the scrutiny that Paul would be giving these components in day to day use I knew they had to be perfect.

Monday, May 6, 2013

01464's wheel all finished: Steering wheel restoration 3 of 3

Having established what is correct to an original wheel and determining that a reproduction wheel was not acceptable to our needs it came time to have our own wheel restored. Let me tell you that this is no easy feat. The single greatest problem is finding someone with the skill and experience to properly re-cover a steering wheel. This is a VERY specialized art and is not the domain of the novice or casual artisan. It is reserved for those who have been doing it a very long time and who have a special attention to detail. After an intensive search we found someone who fit the bill and who gave us a bill that matched the magnitude of his work. Wheel re-covering is not cheap which is why I still recommend the reproduction wheel to all but the most picky owners.

In addition to a skilled craftsman another big hurdle was the leather itself. It was very time consuming to find leather that matched that used by MOMO originally. Every re-upholstered wheel we ever saw used a more modern leather that looks too charcoal and does not match the finish originally seen. Eventually we discovered a tannery that still made leather that was a dead match to original.

With the right materials and people in place the result was just outstanding. Our last two posts explained exactly what to look for so I'll let the photos speak for themselves. We are thrilled with the result.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Studying a reproduction wheel: Steering wheel restoration 2 of 3

I am often asked what is the difference between an original steering wheel and the reproduction ones that are available for somewhere between $300-$400 (depending on the vendor as there is only one reproduction wheel out there). Having spent the last post identifying details particular to original wheels, today we will post images of a reproduction wheel with the differences pointed out.

With many Dino's having very tired original steering wheels or incorrect ones fitted it is very common to see reproduction wheels. In the flesh they are very nicely constructed and (for the money) are a good and viable route for a Dino owner and worthy of consideration. If you are very obsessive they fall short but they do offer a good value replacement on what is essentially a wear item.

Check out the photos and judge for yourself.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

What is original?: Steering wheel restoration 1 of 3

Today we are kicking off a 3 part series where we will explore steering wheel restoration. The first step is to establish what is correct for a Dino and more specifically an M or E series car that uses the smaller central hub configuration.

I don't mean to leave the 206 and L series owners out but the information contained here comes from a close study of over a dozen original wheels that were confirmed as factory fit to either a M or later E series car. Our research showed no significant difference between these wheels so we lumped them together for observation. The only difference we observed is that some wheels say MOMO on the front (including Made in Italy on the rear) while others on the rear with no markings on the front or country of origin stampings. Note also that late E series Dino's did away with the steering wheels with holes and used solid spoke wheels instead. These are the same wheels fitted to Ferrari 308 models and are not being discussed as part of this post.

Dino wheels were fragile and often broke at the holes. As such many wheels have been changed out for the 'Prototipo' wheel which has a similar configuration but differs in its overall and grip diameter along with other key details. To the best of our knowledge the Prototipo wheel was never factory fitted to the Dino however many were changed out very early in the life of some cars leading to originality confusion among owners.

Below is an assortment of photos taken of a sample wheel we had referencing the details to look out for when restoring a steering wheel.

In our next installment we will compare the original wheel to the readily available reproduction unit sold by most parts suppliers.