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.
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.