Into the sunset…

KVT final

Once again, the days are turning chilly and the leaves have begun to change colour, a reminder that there is limited time left this year for top-down motoring and that before we know it, the roads will be clogged with snow. Autumn is a herald of endings and I think that this is a good time to wind up this blog. The Alfa is now sorted and drives like a champ (just in time for winter!) but will be put away for her long winter’s sleep in a month or so. In short, I will have little more that is germane to report with any regularity on this blog.

I’ve also found that with my return to the classroom, with all the marking and prepping that entails, that I have less time to generate decent content for both my blogs, so I thought it would make sense to focus on my other blog, caughtinmyheadlights.  I’ll provide any updates on the Alfa at that site as they occur.

I do wish to thank all the people who took part in, “liked”, “followed”, commented and engaged with us here. Without your contributions, comments and feedback, this would have been a barren and pointless undertaking. This blog is not “over” – it has merely been put to bed for the time being. Someday, I’ll be looking for a new “old” car again. At that point, I’ll blow the dust off and have at it… 🙂

Oh – and one last thing; it was my father’s contention that a car should always have a name. As an 18 year old buying my first motorcycle I enthusiastically adopted this practice and have named every vehicle I have owned. My Alfa is Italian and white, so it should go without saying that she has been christened “Bianca”.

Evelyn says:

This has definitely been an exciting adventure. My dad was a man who loved old cars, mostly run down ones, which he’d hoped to restore but never quite made it work (after having spent more dollars than he’d intended). So I was naturally quite apprehensive at the onset of this hunt for a ‘classic’. Whenever the Alfa lurched, grunted, slowed and the engine threaten to die, I worried that it would turn into a money pit. But thankfully, it’s all turned out well. 🙂

It was fun trekking out to ‘viewings’ and ‘testings’, and then to watch the drawings come to life.  And though, we didn’t get to do it much, it was brilliant driving around the neighbourhood with the top down this past summer. I look forward to many more road trips and car club drives in the Alfa.

Thank you to everyone who picked up this blog and talked about it on your own sites. It was great to see that it was enjoyed by so many.

Core 77

Autoblog

AOL

Car Build Index

Ineptechs

Bestride

Classic Driver

AutoCZ

DriveR

Cars Yeah   

Hemmings

Thanks again everyone – it’s been fun.

Cheers,

Bruce & Evelyn

Fixes…

Tank Brake Master

Got the car back this past week. It has been a rather involved story – I dropped the car off in late August – later than I had wanted to get it looked after, but the guy I usually take it to was unavailable, and the new guy I had found was going on holiday. I took it in to get the brake master cylinder rebuilt (as it was leaking  – see drawing above – red arrow points to main leak) and to see if he could figure out what was going on with the fuel pressure. He rebuilt the master cylinder and told me that he’d have to replace the fuel pump – but that this was hard to source. I said I’d wait. He found a new pump – but – two things – the “new” (old actually) pump leaked, and it didn’t help the fuel pressure issue at all. So he looked at the filters again and found them full of crap  – so he opened the top of the tank – and – hey – presto! Rust. So – he phoned me – told me he was going to return the fuel pump (so no cost to me!) and that the tank needed to be removed and re-lined. I approved this and he told me it would take a week or two. It was closer to two, but I picked it up last Tuesday. While I was there he showed me another tank which had had the same thing done… they take the tank out, remove the circular plate in the middle of the tank, on top where all the gauge senders go in, and they sand blast it out. They drill a hole in the top back end of the tank (where I’ve indicated the plug) and I think (this is a guess) that this is where they spray the lining material in (which is a sort of epoxy) and I suspect they do a sort of “rotational moulding” distribution of the lining around the tank by hand – I did look in the tank and saw some very small “waves” in the set material which suggested this process.

My mechanic told me that this was a one time fix – that if this happened again, I’d need a new tank. Apparently, they are quite aggressive with the cleaning of the tank, and though there is a good solid epoxy type lining in there now, the metal won’t stand up to another blasting of this sort. The mechanic also, for a small fee, removed the steering wheel and re-set it so that the spokes lined up properly at “ten to two” instead of what it was previous – more like “13 minutes to almost two” if that’s even possible…

Oh – and he leaned out the SPICA injection as he thought it was running too rich. Finally, he told me that I shouldn’t rev the engine on start up (or even give it much gas to catch) as the SPICA injection is different than most other types of injection and that aggressive “gassing” at start up will flood the injection. Better to wait and allow it to catch “almost” on it’s own, apparently…

The long and short of it? I’ve driven the car below a half tank of fuel (where the fuel pressure light would inevitably come on) and have driven it close to 100 miles with no appearance of the dreaded orange fuel pressure light. I feel a weight has been lifted from my shoulders… 🙂

More from Brummen

BMW 1600

I was so busy looking at exotics at Brummen, that I rather neglected this one. I suspect that this is a late 60s or early 70s BMW 1600 convertible (well, I’m pretty sure about the “convertible” part) and it really was a lovely car. It was an unusual colour, a dark green as you can see; not a colour I’d associate much with BMW but that suited this car beautifully. This design is all the more impressive, because unlike the Ferraris, the Lamborghinis, and the Porsches that were evident at Brummen, this little car was quiet and understated, and yet it jumped out at me (metaphorically) when I walked passed it nonetheless.

Owning an Italian Car from the 70s…

Alfa belt

I was browsing through my Alfa Romeo Owners Manual the other day (looking for more information on my leaking brake master cylinder) and came across the above pictures – and I thought – “Hey – I’m obviously not the demographic for this car!”. Then I looked at the pictures again and realization cleared my crinkled brow as I realized that these meant that, indeed, I very MUCH was the demographic for this car… 🙂

🙂

Ahhhh. The 70s.

Cars and Coffee, Toronto

Porsche C&C

Went to Cars and Coffee the other weekend at the suggestion of one of my ex-students… met up with him there and toured around the cars. An amazing collection of cars; some classic, some modified, some quirky… This car is the one that I wanted as a 16 year old… and still sort of want. 🙂

The Gallery Brummen, Part 2

Kyalami

Another classic from “the Gallery Brummen” in the Netherlands. This one is a Maserati Kyalami… and again – like the Lamborghini I featured earlier, this is a car that I grew up seeing in car magazines and the like, but I had never actually seen “in the flesh”. This is no surprise, really, as these were only made from 1977 to 1983, and in that time, only 210 were actually built. The time in which this car was designed and built is clearly telegraphed; it’s a sedan that borrows heavily from the De Tomaso Longchamp but one can also easily see real reference to Guigiaros’ “cut paper cars” (such as the original Lotus Esprit, which was debuted in 1975). It’s not the most beautiful car I’ve ever seen, but it certainly does have “presence” and stance, and is clearly an Italian interpretation of a sports coupe. Most of all though, it is a reflection of it’s time. The colour choices  for the interior are a slightly yellowy cream colour with chocolate red/brown accents, (including the headrests) that is perhaps unhappily mated to a medium dark blue exterior that at the time was probably received as being the height of good taste… This car probably becomes more attractive if you stand next to it in bell bottoms and a snap button collar short. 😉

So – more of a rarity than an outright beauty, but fascinating and exciting to have seen nonetheless.

Update, 06/17/2015

Alfa new1

The Alfa is running beautifully now. Well, really well – but still slightly perplexingly. The fuel pressure problem disappeared after I filled the car with high test gasoline. The light stayed on for 1 or 2 kilometres, but after that, the baleful light disappeared. After that, as the mechanic promised the car ran perfectly (although he had suggested that I run the tank dry). Anyway, I’ve put about 200 km on the car and it ran without a miss. However (and there is always an “however”) when the car got down to about a half tank the fuel pressure light came on again – and within about 5 km, it was starting to hesitate… hmmmpf. So – I went to the gas station and immediately the problem was solved – no fuel pressure light. Is it the Hi Test? It does have 10% ethanol…

I’ve posted at the Alfa bb with regard to this and have several suggestions that I will be looking into. Still. The car is running well (though spraying a tiny bit of oil on the interior bonnet – but – HEY! it’s Italian….) so it’s an issue, but not a critical issue at this point. In general I’m thrilled with the car.

If there is one thing I find hard to get used to it’s this; my last car was the Mercedes you’ve seen earlier. That thing was a tank. With this car, if I have my hand on the quarter window as I drive over a repair/dip in the road, I find that I can feel the car react in different areas – through my foot (accelerator) first, my butt (seat) second and my hand windshield/quarter panel) third. The whole car “shifts”. Not in a “bad” way – just in a very “direct or precise” way. I’m, still trying to figure out whether this is good or not, but am leaning on the side of “good”. So – the handling is taking some getting used to. But in a good way. I had been warned that Alfa’s had wonderful road-handling, but this was not necessarily guaranteed to make you feel like you were in a luxury car…

If there is one thing I’ve learned with this car, it’s that if the top is down, the windows must be also. Otherwise, every crease in the road is accompanied by an unhappy rattle of the windows… I want to find out if this is “standard” or whether (for instance) I need to replace the door rubber…

But – in general… 🙂 Planning to go on an Alfa drive at the Escarpment not this weekend but next. Can’t wait!

The Gallery Brummen – Part 1 of many

Lamborghini

OK – Let me first, be completely honest. As much as I would wish to own this car (and as much as I metaphorically kicked its tyres) I am nowhere near being close to being in the market for a car of this sort. I was fortunate last month to be in the Netherlands and made sure to stop by “the Gallery, Brummen“.

The Dutch are wonderful – very much like Canadians (Sorry!  😉  ) in that they are largely unassuming, accommodating and friendly. In spite of the fact that I viewed the entire collection with a slightly glassy look in my eye, an unattractive froth at the mouth (leading, of course to the odd unintentional drool, that I masterfully kept from hitting the lovely cars and befouled my shirt, instead) and wielded my camera and iphone with a “brio” that while not endangering the cars proclaimed me to be the typical idiot who had no intent (or wherewithal) to purchase….  they were remarkably patient, and after an hour and a half of this I left on my own without being escorted out (as I fully expected) by security.

The car above is the first one of its kind that I have seen in the flesh, as it were. Not surprising, as this is one of 247 built. 247. Let me repeat that, 247.

How many are left? I don’t know  – if this were an impressive, scholarly site, as opposed to being the errant maunderings of a less than well informed idiot like myself, I might be able to tell you. As it is, all I can do (the drawing took me long enough to scotch any possibility of serious scholarship here) is tell you that some 50 years ago there were only 247 made…

I was gob-smacked. Really – Gob-smacked. When I saw the car, my face flew to the right and spital flew, endangering a Ferrari Dino to my right, but I heroically caught it in my right hand… (and then surreptitiously wiped it on Evelyn’s shoulder… 😉   ). This is the first example I have seen of this actual car. All joking aside, I was really lost for words.

I had actually contacted the Gallery and asked if they would allow me to test drive a Mercedes 250SL. They responded immediately with a positive, suggesting only that I give them a couple of day’s notice so that the car would be available. In the end, I was unfaithful to this site, but faithful to my Canadian values and failed to take advantage of the test drive. This was not a disappointment. My time was well spent. I’ll be covering this more in the near future.

PS – The Alfa is running beautifully now – more to follow on this… 🙂

Update, 06/02/2015

amber

My dreams are haunted by the baleful blinking of an amber light… but more on that later.

The end of May turned out to be a torrid time. We were finishing up our trip in Europe when I caught a virus. Evelyn got it too and had a fever on the flight home. I got worse after we got home, eventually getting fever, sore throat, and headaches. All this time I was also trying to get the car safetied and licensed. Not a lot of fun.

The car passed safety easily, but I did need to get a little work done, including new brake pads and calipers, and once I had the safety sorted, I was able to get the car licensed which is always a bit of a chore given the long queues at the Ministry of Truth… er, Transport. What has been plaguing me though, was an amber light, on the centre console above and between the fuel gauge and the oil pressure gauge. This amber light is to indicate “low fuel pressure”. It came on when I was driving the car home from purchasing it, and within a kilometre or two of coming on, the car was hesitating and lurching. I discovered that pulling over and giving the car a rest and a cool down would sort this, at least temporarily. Still, no fun. During the safety, my Mechanic looked into this and found that one of the fuel filters was ancient and falling apart, so it was replaced, he took it out for a long drive and the problem seemed solved.

I picked the car up, drove it home, and it ran much longer without the FP light coming on – but come on it did. Once on, it ran longer without lurching – but lurch it did. I resorted to my old trick of letting it cool and it was fine – but now the generator light had come on, and my fuel and oil pressure gauges had failed. I drove the car back to the Garage the next day to get the alternator replaced, and it ran perfectly all the way up without the light coming on (though this could have had something to do with the same thing that was effecting the other gauges – but it didn’t hesitate or lurch at all). It turns out I didn’t need a new alternator, there was simply a bad relay that was burning a fuse and causing the lights to bugger up. So – fixed. Yay!

I drove the car down to the MTO to sort the licensing, and even took it on the highway – no sign of the amber light. Sadly, when I took the car out later in the afternoon the light was back on and the car was beginning to hesitate again. The mechanic has told me that there is nothing wrong and suggests that this may be the gas (the gas smells a little odd) and says I should just burn the tank off, fill it afterward and see what happens. I don’t really see what else to do at this point, because I can’t think of anything else that would be causing this that hasn’t been checked.

The odd thing about this is that it has been completely inconsistent, sometimes coming on shortly after start up, sometimes taking about 40 km before winking coyly on. I’m being careful with this as I understand it’s easy to bugger the engine if you ignore this as the Spider uses the fuel delivery as an aid to engine coolant – so lack of pressure can cause other problems than the obvious. Anyway – fingers crossed that a new tank of gas will see the unpleasant amber light off.

Done Deal. 05/03/2015

Apologies for the hiatus in submissions, but I have been busy on different fronts – not least securing the purchase of this, my new car;     🙂

Alfa final 1

This is a 1976 Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider Veloce, manufactured on April 26, 1976, and, surprisingly (given its condition) it has spent its entire life in Canada. The car is Ivory with an Amaranth tex interior. It has some 52,000 miles on it, and has service history back to 1991.

Alfa final 2

The paint was redone at some point in the late 80s, and the convertible top is newer – canvas with sound-dampening and a boot to cover it when stowed. The interior is all original, including the radio which boasts 2 AM presets and 3 FM presets. Oooooh. technology….

Alfa final 3

The car has driven very little in the past 10 years, but it has been babied. The previous owner replaced the fuel pump, topped up all fluids, replaced some hoses, emptied, removed, cleaned, replaced and filled the gas tank… all in the last week or two in preparation for my purchase. On the way home, the car still exhibited some small fuel pressure issues that will have to be addressed.

Alfa final 4

The car is still not licensed for the road – I need to get it certified, the plates updated and the ownership changed, and this won’t happen immediately as I’m off to Belgium on Friday, but I figure it’ll be ready by late May, early June.

I’ll be visiting the “Gallery Brummen” in the Netherlands next week and will be doing some sketches there – as well, possibly, as test driving a 230SL… more on this later… and more on the evolving story of the Alfa too!

One Man's Search for the Perfect Vintage Ride

Stéphane Kardos

One Man's Search for the Perfect Vintage Ride

mi8site

en attendant que le zinc réouvre

Mustang Maniac

The home to Classic Mustang Restorations

Wheels and Goals

News, updates, features and opinions on football and motor sport

Stephen Camp

Formula One Journalist

One Man And His Mustang

A Classic '66 Ford Mustang Coupe v8 Full Restoration Guide

Franky F1 Aerodynamics

For All Aerodynamics Lovers

Inches of Mercury

All things automotive.

One Image F1

All-time F1 Images

Sink00

One Man's Search for the Perfect Vintage Ride

Classic Fast

If it's fast, I'm writing about it.

The F1 Stat Blog

Your Home of F1 Statistics

The Chicane

A Celebration of Historic Motorsport

intelligentF1

The Voice of Reason

ScarbsF1.com

One Man's Search for the Perfect Vintage Ride

stefan's sketch blog

One Man's Search for the Perfect Vintage Ride

GP evolved

Exploring Formula 1 Racing: Watching One Historic Grand Prix Race At a Time

%d bloggers like this: