Monday, April 20, 2009

Interlude II

Some encouragement occurred today from Jalopnik - one of the contributors, Murilee Martin, who I hear also helps judge the LeMons, started this thread, where I semi-announced our Brava entry. Murilee replied:

"If you show up with a Brava- or, better yet, a Strada- in Texas, you'll be an instant legend."

So that makes me want to hurry up and finish hooking up wires on the Spider, so I can move it around, and get the Brava out of storage and running. In spite of (so far) the lack of a firm team, there's no reason not to start work!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

De Fiati

Getting a team together is proving to be rather more difficult than I had at first conceived. I had thought everyone who heard about this project would be beating my door down to participate, but the level of ambivalence (likely due to cost) has been surprisingly high and at the moment I have only one more or less confirmed team member besides me. To complicate the problem, I've decided to try for the October race instead of next March, in spite of the chance that I'll fry in the broiling heat on the track. I have several people left to ask, so more on this later.

I've gone over the car in a little more detail, and all I can say is I am going to get what I deserve. It is in terrible shape, and I'm not dressing this up for the benefit of any future judges who might read. It sat in a field for several months after having been pulled out of another field. The registration I believe was last valid in 1995. The fuel system is as nearly completely ruined as possible: gas tank full of tar, fuel pump seized, fuel lines rotted. Luckily I have a spare fuel pump from the Spider, and I've cleaned out a few of these Fiat tanks before with a pressure washer and much patience. The engine looks OK, albeit with all the standard Fiat twin-cam oil leaks, and the transmission and differential at least rotate. The AC is all there and will be removed and sold (no freon). The interior is completely trashed (and full of maps from all kinds of state parks), but that's OK since it will be coming out. The dash and its funny little sliding glovebox is badly cracked, and the gauges are cloudy. The driver's window was down when I first saw it, and from appearances it had been that way for a while.

The brakes are present but completely nonfunctional (but that's OK too since brake costs are exempt). The power steering (the first I've seen on a Fiat) is present and full of fluid. The rust is not too bad - I haven't had a look at the floorpans yet but given the climate in California (where I think it originated) and here I don't expect anything terrible. It started off gold, and was painted red and then green over the previous color, so where the paint has peeled or pieces of the car have fallen off all three colors show through. Soon the ripping out will begin!

Next Chapter: The Fellowship of the Ring-Brava