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BETTER THAN A ROLLS! If anybody can make a boxy coupé look good then it’s the Italians and Fiat’s strikingly handsome...
BETTER THAN A ROLLS!

If anybody can make a boxy coupé look good then it’s the Italians and Fiat’s strikingly handsome 130 Coupé is worth owning on looks alone – unlike Pininfarina’s other effort of the same era, the Rolls-Royce Camargue! A racy four-cam 3.2V6 isn’t as pacey as you’d hope and most came as an automatic, but the handling is excellent and, if in good order, the velour interior is inviting. Cheap for what they offer, but many cars are shabby and so spoil the effect.


If only the Rolls-Royce Camargue looked as good as the strikingly handsome Fiat 130 Coupé, both designed by Pininfarina during the 1970s. And of course being a big Fiat, they cost just a fraction of the Crewe classic. A racy four-cam 3.2V6 isn’t as pacey as you’d expect and as most came as an automatic a decent diesel would blow one away today. But the 130’s handling is excellent and, if in good order, the velour interior is inviting – but most are shabby. Cheap for what they offer at around £8000 tops.

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  •   Matthew Hayward reacted to this post about 11 месяцев назад
    FIAT 130 COUPÉ

    / #Fiat-130-Coupe / #Fiat-130 / #Fiat /
    RUN BY Martin Buckley
    OWNED SINCE 2009
    PREVIOUS REPORT Nov 2018

    I want to make #2019 the year in which I get everything – and I mean everything – sorted on the 130. It is 90% there but, as usual, the final 10% is proving the hardest. The problem with getting a car up and together piecemeal and ‘on the hoof’, as it were, is that as soon as you get one item right it tends to highlight all the other issues. What seemed acceptable last year now irritates the hell out of you.

    Top of my list for quite a while has been the suspension; every time I drive the Coupé, my overriding impression is that it wallows like a pig if driven with anything even approaching enthusiasm. Standards have moved a long way in 40 years, but these cars were fairly highly rated for their cornering capability. Yes, they rolled – everything did in the ’70s – but not quite as dramatically as this.

    It can only be dampers, really, but the odd thing is that when you bounce the car on each corner it feels rock-hard. I have mentioned this to Mark Devaney at Dino 24 Hundred several times, but we have now decided to galvanise ourselves. Mark has found a set of donor 130 Coupé struts and sent them off to Gaz Shocks in Essex which, as the name implies, builds custom gas shock absorbers. These take about four weeks to do (they are busy), so hopefully by the time you read this I’ll have a 130 that doesn’t want to scrape its doorhandles on the floor.

    Depending on how successful this proves to be, Mark is talking in terms of a thicker front anti-roll bar as well. The dampers will be adjustable, so hopefully we’ll be able to tweak them to best advantage without losing the good ride quality.

    The brakes are pretty decent, other than the fact that the vacuum in the servo disappears overnight so you have a solid pedal for the first minute or so; maybe it’s time to look at the booster. I still like the idea of finding an alternative disc and/or caliper to future-proof the car a little, because certain parts are getting rare and pricey. The way forward here may lie in the realm of the Stratos replica, because the genuine cars used a variety of 130 bits, possibly including the hubs and wheel bearings.

    I spent some time at the end of last year cleaning the engine bay with fairly good results. It was just a matter of some laborious elbow grease in every corner, making good use of the Polti steam-cleaner and the Gunk, then going over it again until you either get bored or realise you can’t get it looking any better unless you want to take the engine out – which, to be honest, is probably the only real way of doing the job properly. But still, it looks better than it did.
    As for the rest of the car, visually the only things I find irksome are the tired and faded window channels. I now have some samples of possible replacements from trim specialist Woollies to look at.

    Ace mechanic Gus Meyer sorted the fan-switch issue that cropped up on the Le Mans Classic trip, but we still need to look at the wipers (there’s only one speed when there should be two), the driver’s-side door lock (it won’t unlock) and fit the correct Marelli air horns: the Fiat’s American Edelweiss ones really should be on my #Oldsmobile-Toronado .

    It seems the 130 is going up in the world at last, because I’ve been contacted by two separate parties looking for parts for ground-up rebuilds; one the subject of a car restoration programme on the TV. This indicates that they are either climbing in value (they are, but only a bit and it’s never been about that with these cars for me) or, with the youngest now more than 40 years old, there just aren’t enough really nice ones to go around.

    This is true in the case of the right-hookers, but I seem to get offered left-hand-drive Coupés all of the time. Most are described as ‘rust-free but in need of recommissioning’ – an estate agent-style euphemism for ‘knackered’.

    THANKS TO
    Mark Devaney, Dino 24 Hundred: www.dinouk.com
    Gus Meyer

    Plenty of elbow grease has got the 130’s engine bay looking a whole lot more presentable.
    The Coupé looks good, but now Buckley wants to get it driving just as well; once rebuilt, the replacement dampers (right) should help.
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  •   Matthew Hayward reacted to this post about 11 месяцев назад
    / #Fiat-130-Coupe / #Fiat-130 / #Fiat

    I got the call in June to take the Fiat over to Mark Devany at Dino Twenty Four Hundred for new struts. That happened fairly quickly, but no word on improvement yet because Mark is also sorting the handbrake, rear flexi hoses and pads. Meanwhile, I’ve ordered a set of engine hoses and I’m looking forward to getting it back any day now.
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  •   BimmerPost reacted to this post about 1 год назад
    CAR #Fiat-130-Coupe / #Fiat-130 / #Fiat /
    RUN BY Martin Buckley
    OWNED SINCE April 2009
    PREVIOUS REPORT March 2018

    Given its left-handidness and the fact that it is now reasonably dependable (I took it on a photoshoot in Swansea with no problems in March), I decided that the Fiat 130 Coupé was the natural candidate for a forthcoming trip to the Le Mans Classic, organised by my friend John Holland. With all fluids checked, the appropriate wind in the #Michelin-XWX tyres and the air horns mended by mechanic Gus Meyer (using an Edelweiss compressor, not Marelli, strangely), we set off three-up with wife Mia in the rear – which was no hardship because there are big armchairs and loads of legroom – and my pal Merrill as a 6ft 5in front-seat passenger. It was the longest trip I had tackled in the car, certainly since the gearbox conversion was done.

    In convoy with our host John in a borrowed Datsun Fairlady, we drove from my shed on a perfect Thursday evening. Chaperoned by Leslie and Chris Marsden in a modern, we had a cracking back-roads trip to Southampton in the twilight, skirting Salisbury Plain.

    The Fiat is now a nicely high-geared car for long trips and I was happy enough that its various drive train wobbles had been suppressed to a point where they would no longer drive me daft. In fact, with the wheels balanced the car is extremely smooth at speed and very competent on narrower, twistier roads, taking a wide variety of surfaces and cambers in its stride. Certainly it rolls a lot and feels under-damped at the back, but I can’t decide if this is age/wear or just what a Fiat 130 feels like.

    Our subsequent adventures are worthy of a column (see Backfire) so I will say no more, other than that the Fiat only disgraced itself by somehow deciding it didn’t want to put its engine fan on in the roasting heat. That was fine on the move, but not so good when we were lining up to get off the ferry.

    We made it without further incident to our lodgings at St Pierre De Lorouer and, as luck would have it, there was an Englishman called Simon living a mile up the road with a garden full of old Jaguars who was more than happy to rig up a remote switch for the fan. The heat also caused a couple of bits of trim on the seats to come adrift.

    I don’t really want to think about the fuel consumption, although in view of the fact that we were rarely overtaken on the péage on the way back, it wasn’t unreasonable.
    I ran around in the Fiat for a week or so, and then put it away for a month with every intention of sorting the fan switch and flushing the radiator, which was full of dark-brown coolant. I didn’t get a chance to do either before a trip to London for the Concours of Elegance, but I managed to get into the middle of Twickenham before I shattered the suave GT Man illusion by having to jump out of the car in a traffic jam and flick the switch.

    I heard what sounded like the limited-slip diff growling when making tight turns in a multi-storey car park, then became more alarmed by a grumble when braking. I decided that it needed front pads and ordered them on eBay, but when Gus investigated upon my return home the pads all round had plenty of meat on them – and the diff is only slightly low on oil – so that one is still a mystery.

    I’ve yet to give the Fiat another try because it is still up on axle stands in the shed, after I got all enthusiastic and started wire-brushing the rusty suspension bits and painting the inner wheelarches with Waxoyl stone-chip.

    The Fiat’s electrics are still a bit eccentric. Somehow I get hazard lights when indicating left or right if I have the headlights on, and the drivers-side window switch works the wrong way round.

    I sometimes feel as if I’m running hard to stand still with this car. But I can’t give up now: with its engine nicely detailed, wiring tidied and the majority of the electrical gremlins resolved, I think I am in danger of having a truly sorted Fiat 130. Having gone through a dozen of them over the past 25 years it’s about time, really.

    THANKS TO
    1 Gus Meyer
    2 Jeremy Nash
    3 John Holland
    4 Sarah at Le Chaton Rouge: www.lechatonrouge.com

    The Fiat certainly looked the part on its trip to the Le Mans Classic. Wire-brushing the arches is making a mess. Pads are fine, so grumble is still a mystery.
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 2 лет назад
    CAR: #Fiat-130-Coupé / #Fiat-130 / #Fiat / #Fiat-130-Coupe

    Run by Martin Buckley
    Owned since April 2009
    Total mileage 46,468
    Miles since Summer
    2017 report 81
    Latest costs £350

    TURIN BEAUTY IS LOOKING GREAT

    At last, thanks to Gus Meyer, I have a speedo in the Fiat that functions. In case you are interested, the 130 is doing approximately 2350rpm at 70mph in top, while 3000rpm pretty much equates to 90, so the Coupé has really nice long legs.

    Getting the magic box of tricks from Abbott Enterprises to work was incredibly long-winded and Gus took the time to ring the firm in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to get the correct information. He assembled a good working non-metric instrument cluster from the various spare ones I had, and got the voltmeter to work – a first for this car.

    The Fiat 130 Coupé is now running the correct alternator and Gus has tidied up the wiring with a separate voltage regulator. It even has a powered antenna that goes up and down on the proper switch, and about the only electrical gremlins that I can think of are a duff courtesy- light switch on the driver’s side and one-speed (rather than two) wipers that don’t self park.

    The trouble, now that the car is starting to feel so sorted, is that I cannot help picking up on other things such as the vibration from (I think) the propshaft and the way the car looks as though it is listing slightly to the left, particularly from behind. Gus appears to have cured the latter, though, by adjusting the torsion bar on the front suspension.
    He effected a partial cure for the vibration by adding some spacers to the engine mountings so that it now doesn’t sit on the front crossmember. The prop, which is not the original but a modified Jaguar one, still looked as if it was sitting a bit close to the exhaust so, on Gus’ advice, I booked the car into Bell Silencers in Swindon to have the system modified. It wasn’t cheap but they made a nice job of it and sorted a few other bits such as rusty clamps and broken mountings.

    It’s now better, in fact almost acceptable, but not quite vibration free at certain speeds. Suspicion has to fall on the balancing of the propshaft itself, which will be another job for this year. I might get the front wheels balanced again, though, just to be sure.

    Talking of wheels, the Fiat was sitting on axle stands for weeks on end during the summer while I was waiting to get a set of alloys back from the painter in Swindon. It was a fiddly job and they clearly didn’t want to do it. In the end, John Stewart went in and did it himself but sort of got bored halfway through. The results were not up to the rest of the car, to be honest, mainly because he was trying to do it with the tyres on. He was only trying to save me money, bless him.

    In the meantime, Mark at Dino 2400 lent me a set of Coupé rims that I sent off to my usual wheel refurbisher, Mikchris in Stroud. They did a brilliant job and, shod with the XWXs that have been on the car for quite a few years, the wheels now look great. I also managed to get myself a fuel cap lock from Alan at ASMG Italia, who took it off his own project car.

    The 130 was resprayed a year or so ago, but there were a few details that I wasn’t happy with. The door frames had been missed, the driver’s door had been damaged due to a broken check strap, plus the fit of both doors and the bootlid was poor.

    As a result, I booked it into Custom Motor Bodies to get all of the above sorted. CMB also fitted a new check strap, which, handily, is the same as those on a Gamma Coupé. Charles Shelton of the Gamma Consortium sorted me one of the posh repro ones from Japan.

    As you can see in the pictures, the car is looking fantastic and can hold its own in any company, although there is still, inevitably, stuff that I’d like to tackle. There are the scruffy window felts, wind noise around the driver’s door (and the mechanism on that side, which will lock but not unlock), plus daft little things including the fact that the gear quadrant doesn’t light up. There is also something a bit wacky going on with the indicators on the dash, which disappear when you turn on the headlights.

    But given what it is, plus the fact that I have done everything arse-about- face and in effect restored the car over several years while still using it – and thus done several jobs more than once – I think that it’s turned out pretty well.

    THANKS TO

    Δ Gus Meyer
    Δ Custom Motor Bodies: 0121 475 8989
    Δ Dino 2400: 01892 534958
    Δ Mikris Finishers: 01453 763873
    Δ Bell Silencer Services: 01793 751719
    Δ ASMG Italia: www.asmgitalia.com

    ‘The Fiat is looking fantastic and can hold its own in any company, although there is stuff that I’d like to tackle’

    The Fiat kicks up dust as our man enjoys a spirited drive. The propshaft is due to receive further attention in 2018, though. Buckley’s very pleased with the end result. Refinished alloys finally do the car justice. Fit of bootlid and doors is much improved.
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  •   Shelby Glenn reacted to this post about 3 лет назад
    Lovely - but it will have to go. The #Fiat-130-Coupe is really not my kind of car. I bought it on a whim at Bonhams’ auction at the RAF Museum at Hendon last year. I went there with a view to bidding on an unusually original pre-war #Jaguar SS 2 1/2 Litre saloon - which is much more my usual cup of tea.

    The SS turned out to be not quite as good as I’d hoped, but nestling under the wing of a Lancaster bomber was a #1972 #Fiat 130 Coupe with immaculate metallic blue paintwork and perfect rust- coloured velour upholstery (more than a few teddy bears must have been sacrificed to upholster this car). I’ve never owned a car with velour seats before. Leather seats and a walnut dashboard (except in sporting models) have been my prerequisites.

    The Fiat is not only rather modern for my tastes, it’s also distinctly modernist. At the time, my collection comprised an #Austin-Healey BN6, an #Alvis TD21, a #Jaguar-MkIX a #Daimler V8 250, a Riley RMB and a Jaguar XJ6 Series 1 - all very traditional and very English. These are the sort of cars that demand to be driven in Harris tweeds, unlike the Fiat whose lines should be complemented by a sharp Armani suit - and I can tell you that there’s nothing like that in my wardrobe.

    Despite not ticking any of my usual boxes the one-owner, 50,000-mile Fiat won me over. When I decide to bid on a car I tend not to enter the bidding until the last moment. But once I start I’m usually determined to keep bidding until I’ve bought the car, even if the price exceeds my estimate of its value - the adrenaline flows and I suppose I don’t like to be beaten.
    Reader Ian Dixon-Potter’s #Fiat-130 Coupe was an auction whim. Now he has doubts.

    There was only one other bidder and I acquired the car for a very reasonable £8732 including commission. In the months that followed I’ve become increasingly impressed by the Fiat’s qualities. I’ve even pressed it into use as my everyday car.

    It’s a truly beautiful car in a Seventies sort of way. Unlike some other low-volume grand tourers from early in that decade it has no mechanical weak spots. It’s powered by a smooth, gutsy 3.2-litre V6, has razor sharp steering and beautifully balanced handling. The quality of the internal and external detailing is streets ahead of most Italian cars and you can see why motoring journalists refer to it as the nearest thing to a Rolls-Royce to come out of Italy (it was designed by Paolo Martin who later designed the Camargue).

    You can also see why it cost more than twice the price of a #Jaguar-XJ6 in 1972. There’s something decadent, almost louche, about such a large, powerful two-door car.

    But despite all these merits it’s really not my kind of car and will soon have to find a new owner to make way for an early #Jaguar-E-type . Now that is my kind of car.
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  •   Shelby Glenn reacted to this post about 3 лет назад
    Car #Fiat-130-Coupe
    Run by Martin Buckley
    Owned since April 2009
    Total mileage 32,619km
    Miles since July 2014
    report speedo not working
    Latest costs $250


    Before I embark on getting the body and paint sorted on the Fiat 130 Coupé, my first priority is to get it driving properly and make sure that everything is working as it should. That way, once the car is finally looking smart and shiny, I hopefully shouldn’t find myself having to pull it apart again.

    A real cause of frustration has been the lack of a functioning speedometer since the car received its new four-speed ZF gearbox. I understood that some kind of electronic alternative would have to be devised (probably taking its readings from the propshaft) but what I didn’t want was an ugly digital readout in place of the original analogue Veglia unit.

    On hearing of my dilemma, Borgward enthusiast John Wallis kindly donated a box of tricks called Cable X, sold by a company called Abbott Enterprises in Arizona. It’s basically an electronic ‘dip switch’ that you can configure to the particular tyre size and final-drive ratio of your car, and takes its readings from a magnetic sensor that runs off impulses from the propshaft. Perfect! The only trouble was, I needed the $250 magnetic sensor for the thing to work.

    I ordered one online from Abbotts and then forgot all about it until just before Christmas, at which point I realised it had been a long time coming. It turned out that it was in the country, but nobody could tell me where. Despite my short temper, Abbotts was very helpful and sent me another by FedEx rather than US Postal Service, the unit arriving just a few days later. Sorry if I was a bit rude guys. Jon Wills of Cotswold Classic Car Restorations has promised me that he will fit the new set-up any day now.

    Scanning the adverts at the end of January, I spotted a #Fiat-130 saloon for sale up north. Thinking it might have been my original blue one – the car in which I collected my newborn son Sean from hospital in May 1996 – I gave the owners a call. It had sold instantly and, on closer inspection, was not my old car anyway. Feeling thwarted, I looked around for another and found something even more interesting on a well-known classic car website in the form of a silver 1971 130 saloon with the 2.8 engine. An early version never officially imported into the UK, it features the smaller V6 and a totally different dashboard plus several other details that I could – but won’t – bore you with.

    The car looked very sound but had clearly not been used for some time. It wasn’t running, but the engine would at least turn over (130 V6s seem to seize up for a pastime) and the grey cloth interior just needed a good clean.

    I have always had a perverse hankering for one of these early 130s and justified the purchase on the shaky grounds that it was sufficiently different to my Coupé to make ownership of both a near necessity. Plus, I’d been plotting a trip to Italy to find a 130 saloon but, because this one was sitting in Kent, I would be saving myself the bother. I bought it unseen on the strength of a set of pictures (the owner turned out, perhaps predictably, to be Andy Heywood of Bill McGrath Maserati fame, who is currently pruning his collection), and have been pleasantly surprised by the overall soundness of the car.

    Apart from various patches of surface rust on odd panels there’s no real rot and, like my Coupé, the underside is perfect. It has electric windows all round, air-conditioning, and the early dash with the ribbon speedometer. Being a later 2.8, it has the 160bhp engine rather than the 140bhp unit so it should go quite well. The plan is to have it running in the next few days and, if possible, get an MoT and run it ‘as is’ before turning to the bodywork.

    Scruffy but solid: both cars need cosmetic work but it will have to wait until other jobs are done.
    Ever-expanding Buckley fleet now includes an early #Fiat 130 saloon as well as the Coupé.
    Electronic speedo wired up to Fiat’s dash.
    Black magic: Cable X should sort speedo.
    ‘The saloon is sufficiently different to the Coupé to make the ownership of both a near necessity for me’
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  •   Shelby Glenn reacted to this post about 3 лет назад
    / #Fiat-130-Coupe / #Fiat-130 / #Fiat /
    Run by Martin Buckley
    Owned since April 2009
    Total mileage 32,619km
    Miles since January
    2016 report none
    Latest costs unknown

    GETTING FIREDUP OVER NEW PAINT

    The 130 Coupé has made its way to Cotswold Classic Car Restorations’ bodyshop, and any day now will have a new topcoat on it – I’m just awaiting the colour code from Italy. The Fiat had to be buzzed down to bare metal in places, the paint having become pickled after its years in the south of France, but the epoxy primer that Jonathan Wills has used is less likely to be affected by moisture. For those using this two-pack system at home, he tells me that you can roller it on rather than spray if you don’t have a ventilation system.

    What then follows is a laborious process of ‘keying up’, applying filler to get flat panels – of which there are a lot on the 130 – and making sure that the various feature lines are correct.

    There is a slight debate about whether to use resurfacing spray filler, which saves a lot of donkey work but can absorb moisture and lead to problems later. The alternative is a high-build primer, then a rub down with 180-grit to get rid of the coarser scratches that can re-emerge when the topcoat sinks. John’s preference is wet flatting with 800 wet-and-dry, priming and then blocking back with a ‘stain’ to highlight any pinholes or high points.

    Another important thing at this stage is to do a ‘dry fit’ of the various fixtures and fittings before the topcoat goes on. You don’t want to find, once the car has been painted, that mouldings, doorhandles or anything else won’t go back into place properly because a shape has subtly changed in the refinishing process. Once that’s done, there will be three or four coats of base coat plus the same of lacquer.

    Having sat idle for many months now (its last MoT was in 2013, I think), the engine doesn’t want to start so it’s been a case of pushing the Fiat everywhere. I have reconciled myself to the biscuit-coloured leather interior, which goes well with the blue carpets and the silver body, and for now I have given up on getting someone to tackle the instruments. You might recall that the car is fitted with a four-speed ZF ’box from a Jaguar XJ40; it works beautifully but has an electronic speedometer drive, which will necessitate a conversion kit if the speedo is ever going to function. Mark Devaney of 24 Hundred, meanwhile, has updated me on the 2.8-litre 130 saloon that I bought last year. It’s remarkably solid, but apparently needs a front passenger door because the frame is very rusty. The car obviously hasn’t been used for many years, so Mark’s first task was to get the engine going. It wouldn’t turn when he tried by hand, and the culprit was found to be a seized water pump. After fitting a replacement (plus a new cambelt), it turned freely so he connected a battery and cranked it over with the plugs out to get oil pressure. Encouraged by that, Mark fired it up on Easy Start. Although it went for only for a few seconds, the engine sounded sweet with no bottom-end rumble.

    The next step will be to run it for longer with fresh oil. To do that, he’ll first need to sort out the cooling system so it holds water. The thermostat housing is extremely corroded, and the likelihood is that it’ll need replacing. To access that and the other cooling system joints, he had to remove the inlet manifold.

    Luckily, Mark had some gaskets in stock. In period, these came in various thicknesses to take up the difference in the positioning of the cylinder heads (any skimming would place them further down the ‘vee’, thus necessitating thicker gaskets). As Mark put it, the car requires a lot of work, but in terms of bodywork it’s not far off the condition my Coupé was in when I got it.

    The Coupé shown midway through the all-important surface preparation – by the time you read this, it should have received the final silver topcoat.

    Primer starts to go on in the spraybooth.

    The saloon’s #V6 now starts but will need a cooling system overhaul before it can be run.

    Bodywork isn’t pretty but the 130 is solid.
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  •   Shelby Glenn reacted to this post about 3 лет назад
    CAR: #Fiat-130-Coupe / #Fiat-130 / #Fiat
    Run by Martin Buckley
    Owned since April 2009
    Total mileage 46,387
    Miles since November
    2016 report c25
    Latest costs £742

    ALLOYS FAIL ACID TEST FOR REFURB

    Apart from a few details, the 130 Coupé is pretty much finished. The new windscreen went in no problem and, before he disappeared to Spain, my father-in-law John Stewart had the front-seat mechanisms working nicely and checked that all the lights were operating. I seem to have lost the fuel filler-cap lock, though, which is annoying. Nobody appears to have one – other than a man in Italy who wants £125 for it delivered, which is a bit strong even if he has fired some WD40 into it to confirm that it works! Unless my friend Andrea comes up with something, however, I fear that I may have to take up this offer.

    I have been getting all sorts of fancy ideas lately about having big front brakes fitted to the Fiat but, having reacquainted myself with it on a trip to the MoT test station, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the anchors are, really. It got a ticket, too, which is always a relief, and, while it has been off the road, DNP 386N has officially become an historic tax-free vehicle. Amazingly, I managed to sort all of that over the counter at the Post Office.

    To keep momentum behind the project, while John is away I asked Ian and Richard at UK Detailing just up the road in Ewen to spruce up the engine bay and recolour the seats. Everyone has commented on how good the Gamma looks inside now, so I felt that it would be rude not to give the Fiat the same treatment.

    John had managed to fit the front seats the wrong way around in a ‘senior’ moment, which meant it was the ideal opportunity to have that rectified as well. Ian removed all the chairs and door cards, and even treated the black sections.

    The results are marvellous, and the engine bay looks great as well. While they were at it, I asked them to fit the new Pininfarina badges on the quarter panels using a brochure for reference to make sure that they went in the right position.

    The only problem was the alloys. Because they are actually magnesium, they don’t take kindly to being dipped in whatever acid the refurbisher uses. So, unless I wanted to pay £200 a wheel (I didn’t), we had to devise another plan for those. I even got hands-on and made the passenger-side powered window work while the door card was off.

    What remains are a lot of silly electrical issues; the fact that I still don’t have a functioning speedo is top of my list of irritations. So much time has elapsed since I was first given the kit for converting the unit to an electronic system – running off pulses from the propshaft – that I can’t recall if I ever had all the bits that I needed in the first place.

    This was making my brain hurt, so I decided to get Gus Meyer (my Merc man from Swindon) involved because he relishes these kinds of jobs and doesn’t mind getting stuck into the internet to find whatever parts or information he needs. I dropped the car off with him for an “initial consultation” for a list of faults that included slightly droopy suspension on the driver’s side (too many fat blokes driving it), the rattling exhaust and lack of charging. I vaguely remember that the alternator is off a Peugeot 604 – and the wiring is all to cock – hence the under-bonnet red light rather than a proper indicator on the dash.

    Gus wants to tidy up all of this, reinstate the factory set-up and found me the correct alternator on good old eBay for £95. With that fitted, he can start tackling the rest in earnest and reckons that he will soon have a solution to the speedo problem. Incidentally, the mileage quoted refers to the UK mph instrument pack that I’ve fitted, rather than the old kilometre one.

    And, finally, a brief note on my 130 2.8 saloon. A failed attempt to sell the car last year resulted in it being returned to me by Dino 2400, with the sage advice that, while it’s a sound car, it was at the point where serious money needed to be spent. I decided that, unless the engine ran, no one was ever going to want the thing – least of all me. Once again, it was a job for Mike Conner: another epic that involved surgery on the decayed cooling system, a rebuilt carburettor and various other bits. For once, my cache of spares came in handy. I’m happy to report that it now runs and moves under its own steam, with just a hint of brakes and no power steering – although both of those items could quite easily be revived. Blowing exhaust aside, it sounds magnificent and everything evidently works, but Mike had to blank off the heater because the matrix is leaking. The car’s sat looking at me now, in fact, just before it goes off to its new home.

    THANKS TO
    UK Detailing: 07530 429127
    Gus Meyer
    Mike Conner at Purley Road
    Garage: 01285 652365


    UK Detailing did a superb job of cleaning up and recolouring the leather upholstery, which is now as good as the exterior.

    V6 and bay have also had a good seeing-to: they are now unrecognisable from their grubby former state.
    Dirt and discolouration before treatment. Brochure was used for badge reference. On axle stands while rims are being done. Dirt and discolouration before treatment. Black seat surrounds are much improved.
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