So maybe I can figure out how to list my site updates in chronological order on this page.
In the past I had hired three different people to build me a website & none of them got around to it.
(OK, the first guy I didn't pay, but the other two got retainers & nothing happened.. )
It seems web designers can be the new Prima Donnas in our culture.
Anyway, I tried to figure out how to build websites.
I built this one & I take all the pictures & write all the copy.
I think it's doing OK, but I get too busy to update it, & when I come back I often forget how the darn thing works.
What I am going to try to do here is asign anchors to various images on the site, & then link the dates below to those anchors.
Click on a date below, & it should take you to the page & the latest projects.
Heck. Maybe I'll get creative & send some of the links to other places. That would be interesting.
I remember my luggage got sent to Singapore once instead of London.
Maybe the baggage handler did it on purpose, or maybe like me he wasn't quite sure which buttons to press.......
Surroundeed by oportunity. That means I'm too busy.
I did just lose parking for four of my cars recently, so that's a bother. I have just listed my wonderul Fulvi GT for sale on eBay accordingly.
The link is here:
Still too busy to update the site. Again.
Well, I did just purchase a cool old car in Belgium last week.
Let's see what happens when I try to import it.
Maybe I'll set up a page detailing it's return to driving status.
The Guy I bought it from was the second owner & purchased it in 1994. A bit of rust, & maybe short on recent service dates. I'm sure it will turn into a deep end of the pond project.
We shall see !
A delightful red Flavia PF coupe has come up for sale. You might want to review it here: Red Flavia
December 2014: Wow. Another year sails by ! So may fascinating things have happened, all of which get in the way of updating a website. Maybe again at some point I will be more focused on posting here.
I think it would be nice to do a series of ebooks and or videos to explain how some of the stuff around the shop gets done. There are so many skill sets that get evolved around keeping old things up and running.
Well there's a nice thought for the new year. Heck, maybe I could even figure out a way to monetize it. Hope all of you enthusiasts out there get a chance to spend some time learning or exercising your will in that 3 dimensional mental chess game of the pursuit of keeping machinery functional.
Here's a nice snap of the yard. No snow, but pleasant enough anyway. We'll use it as the digital equivalent of a Holiday card.
I'm off to go port a cylinder head ......
Again, so many projects it is tough to keep count. Running late for the shop, but I will point out one of my customers is selling my old Series II Appia sedan. You might check it out here: Lancia SII Appia
June 2014: Well, it looks like it takes me about 6 months to turn on the computer & do some updating. It seems I am a bit too busy in many other arenas.
Today I came to the realization once again that things change. In the old days cars would come apart. They were newer then. Take the fasteners off & the pieces would usually separate. It seems that cars no longer do that. The last four Lancia Appia motors I have seen refused to be disassembled. Not just one on occassion, but every single one of the last four.
I thought I would point them out, maybe we could vote on which one is the worst. You may note that all these motors are expected to run in the future, not to be boat anchors.
Here's how it should go. Head lifts off engine with a hoist:
OK, Motor number one: Horribly seized. It took me days to get the head off. Look what's inside:
OK, we all agree. Horrendous. But it will run again, it's just not as simple as thrownig in a gasket set & some rings.
Motor Number Two, the next Appia engine that visited the shop:
Unbelievably difficult to get the head off. After every fastener was removed, it took an addittional eight and 3/4 hours over a five day period with a cutting torch & various penetrating oils, jigs, pullers, & hydraulic presses. You can only do that work for about two hours a day as it is such a battle, after that you need to do something more relaxing like pull out frozen suspension pieces or remove transmissions.
OK, after all that, another Appia motor comes in. Finally it must be time for just a regular engine that needs disassembly. Right ?
Ladies & Gentlemen, I present Motor Number Three:
Arguably the worst of the lot. Insanity to press & pull that thing apart. It was brutal. Mechanics from a neighboring shop came by to wach the struggle and several wagered I would never get the head off without total destruction. There is a uTube video of some Italians pulling the frozen head off of a Lancia Fulvia. They broke down to using a sawzall & removed it in seven pieces. OW. I was tempted by day two. This one did come apart, but I can only imagine what it may cost to get it running.
And the winner ? The next one that came in, Motor number Four. Really, couldn't I finally get an easy one ?
You think I'd swear off trying to fix these things by now.
Every last one of these lumps refuses to be a straight forward rebuild.
How did Number Four win you ask ?
I can't even get it apart & I have tried for over a month.
I wonder what's inside......
( As an added note, three of these four were said to be "Running well when we parked it. " Be carefull when buying dead cars on the internet ! )
January 2014: So my last updates on this page were in June of 2013 ? Wow. That's impressive. I have been branching out into other arenas & while every day has been mostly fascinating & always eye opening, my car world has slipped behind in the time I have spent on it. My own personal fleet has even fallen into maintenance only mode, & no new engineering projects have been pursued though I have many on the desk & look forward to getting back to the lathe soon. Maybe this spring !. I actually went out & bought the first new car I have ever owned, just to have a full time reliable unit for all the other projects I'm chasing down. So what tempted me & made me vote with my wallet ? I bought an Abarth. How is it ? Kinda like driving a video game. The power steering is numb like a computer console, & at the end of the day it is a top heavy sedan that eats front tires when pushed. It rode like a empty pickup truck on a dirt road, & after mix & matching three sets of shocks, three sets of springs, & two sets of rims & tires, it is now tolerable on the choppy California roads I drive on. I still prefer driving my lowered X1/9s that have a more supple ride at the end of the day anyway. I will say it's reliable & averages 29 mpg which you too can get if you follow this link & buy the gorgeous Lancia Appia S3 sedan that is listed in my for sale section. Need more room ? Try this link to a Lancia Flaminia Sedan. Also a gorgeous example.
Well, off to put out fires & bottle some wine. More car news soon !............. Happy New Year
June 2013: A friend bought my wonderfull Fulvia sedan, & is considering selling it as he has too many cars.
If you are interested I can put you in touch with him. Here is a link to the car when I owned it: Fulvia GT for sale
June 2013: I often get emails requesting some more writing & reflection on this neglected but well enjoyed website. That modern man can have his own forum, basically for free on the internet is an amazing thing. How far back in history have people reached out to be heard on some level, & at what cost ? We can now get a computer & do a bit of studying & learn how to use the platform & build a website to rant or remiss. We are living in the future. Blurring the lines between interest, passion, compulsion, character disorder & neurosis, I have bought & towed home another dead old car. Perhaps I should document some of the thoughts & reflections I have while nursing it back to driver status. If I can remember how to update this site, I shall start a new page here: Lancia Fulvia Resurection.
May 2013: Where does time go ? So many interesting projects. I decided to grow my own food, make my own wine, work in a recording studio.
Hang out with the Band, met a cool Girl, bought a floating home/houseboat that's sinking ( you thought cars took alot of time ) worked on old tube electronics & generally ran out of time to update this website.
Maybe this weekend ? Well here's a few snaps of cars that have dropped by to visit. I really must post some more engineering stories soon. Tonight I argued with a French rear hatch motor in a Zagato bodied Lancia with no wiring diagram. Impossible madness. Well now it works anyway, & coming home at midnight I'm ready to head for that wine cellar for a bit of compensation...........
Here:s a nice new addition to the neighborhood. Just came in from Italy...
& again.... more old cars stopping by to visit:
November 2012: Back to playing in a Band. I'll try to put in some cool car photos soon !
February 2012: 5 months goes by, & no updates ? Once again too deep in fixing cars & playing Rock & Roll to work on the site.
Good intentions though. Soon !
But now I'm off to go make some air correction jets on a lathe for some Weber carb bodies to recalibrate a Ferrari off idle hesitation
A belated Happy New Year to everyone............
October 2011. Busy as ever, once again time to post some update photos.
June 2011 How time flies. I have been in Italy up towards the north digging for old cars. The sad news: All gone.
Over the last several years some tax law changes have prompted people to crush old cars that were lying about in shops & yards. Accordingly the ones left have gone up in value.
For my last three trips I have not been able to bring back a single one. The few available are so overpriced I don't think they are marketable here.
I do have a fantastic Fulvia coupe for sale though. It has a great California history .
I'll try to post some snaps from Italy soon, & some of the great cars that have been in the shop. I've been too busy fixing stuff to keep up with the website, but I have good intentions.
Off to go rebuild an Appia motor before the next Flaminia comes in
Cheers from Italy !
January 2011 Already ? So many projects & not enough time to document them.
November 2010 So many things. Just back from Italy. Cars are more elusive than ever to locate. I understand some type of standing tax on parked vehicles has motivated people to scrap them.
I always used to see so many old cars in back lots and now they are all gone. We must appreciate the ones that haven't been flattened
The New York Times posted a nice little article on the shop at:
I'll get around to cutting & pasting it to the site sometime soon.
I have plans to build a page dedicated to pictures of old cars out back, as it was just a few years ago you could see such things. . I really can't believe how they have all gone away.
August 2010: How long hs it been ? The best of intentions, and too many projects. I just posted a few snaps to the what's in the shop now page. Built a 7 tier Organic garden in the back yard, & each tier is 4X 8. It burns an incredible amount of time but the food is exceptional. Several Bands I am in have been active recording & playing shows. The recording studio I run has been constantly updated, & sonically is providing some impressive sound reproduction. For many years I have been a winemaker, & last year I hit some new highlights on the learning curve towards being a commercial producer, but the time investment is immense. Started a new company to market some of my designs. I started with a 5 channel data logger for vibration analysis, but it got so complicated I don't think I can market them commercially. ( what people really want is one red button that does it all. Waveform analysis gets a little deep for the generic consumer I'm afraid.) Great tool though. As an obscure side bar, I'm now building a Guitar players' appliance code named " the Zombie Love Box" The prototype is sounding great & I'm fine tuning the graphics. The Logo floats in side illuminated lucite & looks pretty cool. The original lucite sign idea came from a shop I visited in Florence Italy years ago. I showed up on a Friday & the cranky owner said : "Come back Monday. " I burned 2 days of Hotel time I couldn't afford & arrived Monday at his shop. Of course it was closed . Finally I have been able to fabricate a reasonable version of what I had envisioned: The type of sign that would hang on the side of a building in Milan around 1949 to indicate a Doctors office on the third floor. Cool !
May 2010: Let's convert a car to fuel injection ! Currently gathering photos. This will be interesting, a new link soon... ( OK, it's August & finally a link. It is really looking good on the bench. The last fuel injection conversion was to a throttle body & it runs just great. The new one is Multi Port & I can't wait to compare the differences......)
April 2010: A nice Lancia Fulvia SII coupe comes up for sale.