blog                Blog Page 18

12th - 14th June 2019

Alfa GT rear shock absorber collapse!

As Mrs MG moved her Alfa GT off the drive there was apparently a "klonk" or "bang" and then it wouldn't move.

I reversed the car using a bit of welly back onto the drive, jacked up the rear and removed the OSR wheel to inspect, suspecting a seized brake caliper or handbrake mechanism. What I found was fairly horrific, although apparently a very common fault with the Alfa 147/156/GT family of cars, the lower spring pan had detached itself from the strut, fallen down and thus collapsed the suspension on that corner.

A new Sachs shock absorber was ordered from Ebay (about 85 delivered) and I set to work removing the old one. In theory a fairly straightforward job, but the two large lower mounting bolts were seized solid, and it took a few drenchings with WD40 and about an hour with breaker bars and my air gun on full pelt to free them off and remove them.

The droplink bolt threads had disintegrated too and so this was cut off and thrown away.

On arrival the new shocker was fitted with a new droplink (about 15) and the lower mounting bolts were thoroughly cleaned up and copper greased for 'next time'...

The other side LOOKED ok...

10th June 2019

Fiat Panda Italia 90 Obsession

Firstly, I'm not a football fan at all, but love both Italy and Italian cars. I'm also old enough to vividly remember the great summer of 1990, and the euphoria that swept the Nation as 'our' boys progressed towards the semi-final of the World Cup.

At the time I had an Alfasud, but one of my mates, Grubby, had a battered and rusty 1982 black Fiat Panda 750 that we all of course derided, but it lasted for a year on nothing more than petrol and neglect.

I understand the Italians take their football seriously and to celebrate the fact that they were the hosts that year Fiat released a special Italia 90 edition of their popular Panda in white with green and red pinstripes complete with football style wheeltrims.

Fast forward almost three decades and my want for any original Fiat Panda has grown strong, but in particular for an Italia 90. They are now very rare and collectable (with values to match) and so I've toyed with the idea of 'doing' a replica for a year or two, if and when funds, space and time ever permit.

In the meantime, I recently discovered whilst looking through parts diagrams for something else that Italy also produced another Italia 90 car, the Alfa 33 series 2, in both saloon and sportwagen estate versions. A little more subtle than the Panda, the 33 just had the red and green pinstripes and Italia 90 decals.

These pictures show an Alfa 33 Italia 90 edition, the decals shown on the official parts diagram and an old stock decal set image found online:

Fiat Panda Italia 90 Miniture replica

The Alfa 33 Italia 90 discovery re-ignited my lust for the Panda, and as I can't afford one I decided to try and convert a cheap De Agostini 1:43 green Carabinieri Panda Fire I had in a box into an Italia 90 replica.

I initially sanded off the Carabinieri decals, removed and filled in the Police roof equipment and used some JBWeld to turn the wheels into trimmed versions. It was then primed, sprayed white, touched up and fitted with tiny decals made on the PC.

I hate close work and as you can see this hasn't turned out particularly well! It really didn't help that the windows dissolved in cellulose thinners either...

6th June 2019

Deflettore antiturbo!

Accessory purchase has arrived from the 1980s!

I've 'ummed and ahhed' about getting original Alfa Romeo wind deflectors for my series 3 Alfa 33 for many years. Some Cloverleaf (including one my brother had) and Veloce models of the series 2 had them from the factory, and they looked ace. No series 3 models had them from the factory, but they were an accessory item in the incredibly comprehensive series 3 accessory brochure of 1990.

A couple of weeks ago at the Chiltern Hills Rally I looked closely at a series 2 with them fitted, which made my mind up once and for all. I had to find some.

The internet initially threw up a battered and scratched used drivers side item and a new pair in Alfa Romeo packaging at a stupendous price, but having found the correct part numbers and searched deeper I found a set of NOS OEM items in Germany at a not quite so stupendous price, and I bit the bullet and placed an order.

They arrived really quickly, very well packed (in a Germanic fashion), and not only was the 30 year old Mauri Edoardo box a sight to behold on it's own, the perfect items are as per Alfa factory supplied, stamped and stickered with the correct logos and numbers. I'm thrilled and now look forward to some good weather to fit them on. More soon...

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