Category Archives: Classic Cars

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!