January 5, 2006. Well, I didn't get most of the stuff done I had planned for last year, but you know how that goes... I did finish the engine for my Rally though. Standard US-spec 1290 to get me through emissions testing. Still, it was good practice for future high-performance engine builds as it's been years since my last one.
I also finished my revised version of the rear disc brake conversion that's on my '76. I'll be installing a set of those on the Rally, and if the kit works out as planned I should have a few spare sets available.
November 13, 2005. I added some more cars to the Corral. I've been sitting on these for a while. I Just can't seem to get as much done on the site as I'd like. Too many other projects!
I finished converting the yellow '73 I picked up a year ago back to Fiat power (it was rather cut up from a half-finished Honda drivetrain conversion) and it has since been sold. I have a pile of pics of the process which will make it onto the site sometime. I had to dig deep into my spares stash to rebuild the car but it felt good to save an early car.
Been doing some Fiat related engineering work, designing a custom intake for a friend's X1/9 autocross car. The design is complete, all drawn up in CAD, and I will begin machining components for it soon, though changes in the autocross rules might make the intake illegal for the class... in which case it will work just fine on one of my street-driven 128s! Pics of that to follow...
Current 128 project is building a new engine for my Rally...
January 28, 2005. Added a few more cars to the Corral. Keep 'em coming! It takes me a while to get them up, but I'll get to it - I promise!
January 9, 2005. Happy New Year to everyone! Each time I write one of these I realize how much stuff I have planned to do but haven't done... So, I suppose I ought to fire up the list of New Year's Resolutions.
October 1, 2004. Ah, how the months fly by. I haven't done as much to my cars as I would like, do to a busy work schedule, but I've been doing what I can. With the blue '76 gone I was able to get to work on the red '78 Rally project. I knew it was pretty bent from a previous accident and poor repair job, but I wasn't prepared for just how bad it was. I've got a ton of pictures to post and will get them up soon. Between the bend, cracked, and poorly welded sheetmetal, and the rusty floors and A-pillars, I've got a lot of work to do. Most of the sheetmetal from the A-pillar forward needs to be replaced or patched.
After finishing up a big project at work, I took a week off in August and spent some time back home visiting family. It was a good time to do some maintenance on my X1/9 (which my mom has been driving) so I got back to my roots and got down and dirty in the driveway again.
I scored a NOS ring & pinion for my '68 124 wagon on Ebay. Maybe I can actually get the vibration out of the rear end (I'm pretty sure the splines are all worn on the pinion shaft) and start driving it again.
Last weekend I picked up a '73 128 sedan that was halfway through having a Honda Civic engine & transaxle swapped into it. It's got a LONG way to go to be completed - basically the drivetrain is mounted but it still needs axles, shift linkage, wiring, fuel system, cooling system, etc. The car is so rust-free and straight that I think I am going to just convert it back to Fiat power. I have all of the donor sheetmetal I need (engine mount & heater box mount basically) to fix it. While it would be cool to have a modern engine with Honda reliability and economy and way more HP than stock, I think half the fun of an Italian car is the mechanical experience.
I added a few more cars to the Corral today. Sorry for being slow on the updates, but I do my best :)
July 25, 2004. I can't believe it's been this long since my last update. I've got a few cars to add to the Corral once again, but can't seme to find the time. It's been a very busy few months. I finished parting out the '76 sedan parts car. I removed all of the sheet metal up to the firewall. Those panels will be grafted onto the front of my red Rally to repair accident damage from a previous owner. I successfully rebuilt the cylinder head for my 124 wagon and got that engine reassembled. Now it needs some carburetor attention. I also freshened up the 1500 w/ big-valve head from my '73 sedan and dropped it into the yellow Rally. With the added power and a 3.76:1 final drive, it's now equipped to handle the freeways here in Southern California.
Oregon 2004 was a lot of fun (as usual). With my relocation to SoCal, it was a 12 hour drive each way (instead of 5) but even the time in the car was a welcome break from a hectic work schedule. We had a smaller turnout this year due to a variety of reasons, but there were still plenty of Fiats and Fiat enthusuasts in attendance. The trackday was a hit, like always, and I had the chance to pilot Mark Scholz' killer 128 sedan racecar. It's completely gutted, has coil-overs on all four corners, runs a 1500 w/ big-valve head, Alquati A19 cam, dual 40 DCNFs, and a Fiat 4-2-1 exhaust manifold. It makes plenty of power and I was having to only use 1/2 throttle when launching in first gear to keep from roasting the huge cantilever slicks! I made sure to get plenty of pics of that car so we can get it up on the Corral. We still have to do a proper article on the build-up and ultimate demise of his 3P.
Long-lost Fiat buddy Dave Voss turned up at OR04 with a sweet 131/Brava project. It had a healthy 1800 engine with stock 2-liter fuel injection and all of Dave's usual suspension tweaks; now it just needs the bodywork. He was the owner of my yellow Rally before selling it to Eli, and was glad to see the development I have done to the car (especially mounting the gauges!). He also developed the rear disc brake conversion that I've been running on my cars, and has generously given permission to post the drawings on my site. I have also done a slight re-design of the conversion and will be making a short production run of the parts since I can use a few and already know of several people interested in the kit.
So much else has happened in the last few months, but I just can't remember it all! A big one is the special engine and transaxle I picked up for one of my cars. More on that later...
February 26, 2004. Just added a few more cars to the Corral. Definitely check out the 128 Derivatives section and take a look at Sieg's 128 Idv. It's a truck! Factory built too, not a one-off custom. I've never seen one before and it is very cool, and very unique! I'm looking forward to more pics as he finishes his reconstruction.
I finally made a page for a great little article written by Colm Doherty about the history of the 128 engine. See "The Mouse That Roared" under the Info section. Big thanks to Colm for submitting the article and my apologies for taking so long to post it. Still catching up after graduation...
I'm still parting out that '76 sedan. Down to removing sheet metal. Drilling out spot-welds is not fun! I'll have an article on that soon enough, no doubt. My tax return was pretty generous this year, so I was able to acquire some Neway valve seat cutters and valve refacer so I can do my own cylinder head rebuilds. My 124 wagon needs the head rebuilt, so I'll probably do an article on that. However, Guy Croft has an excellent write up on his site about rebuilding DOHC Fiat heads (using Neway cutters), but it is entirely applicable to other Fiat heads as well. Check it out. www.guy-croft.com
Last note for the day: I just turned 26, which means I've been driving and wrenching on Fiats for 9 years! Time flies! Looking forward to many more and to meeting more people who share the passion.
January 3, 2004. Happy New Year everyone! The holidays put a serious cramp in my car hobby (in both time and money) so I haven't been up to much. Had to replace a seriously leaky oil pan gasket on the Rally and did quite a bit of maintenance on my mom's '95 Pontiac Grand Am. Joy. I'm a heck of a lot cheaper than the dealership though ;)
Major triumph of the month: I fixed my broken Pioneer CD head unit. It wouldn't read any CDs that I put in. After disassembling it, I discovered that one of the ears that hold down this little plastic box that's part of the belt tensioning system for the laser eye drive had broken off. A little Krazy Glue to reattach the ear and I'm back in business! I still have my eye on the Clarion DXZ835MP, but now that can wait till I have a few extra bucks (student loan repayments just kicked in).
I'm parting out a '76 4-door sedan (the one I picked up with the bashed rear end). If anyone needs any parts, let me know. The doors and gask tank are spoken for, but there's still plenty of other bits.
December 10, 2003. I finally bought a digital camera (Cannon SD100)! I'm trying not to think about what kind of Fiat parts I could have bought instead :) What it does mean is I will be able to expand the site a lot easier now. I still have quite a few old photos to scan, and brochures, and the like, but adding more content (mostly tech articles/pics) will be a lot easier now. I can even get some current pics of my cars up there (imagine that!). I've been stripping a '76 4-door sedan that I picked up for parts a while ago (it took a good hit in the rear, so I'm not parting a good car), and testing out the new camera on that. The car has some great examples of how bad the front unibody can get, so I'll be adding those to my rust article. It also had all the smog equipment intact and in place, so for those of us in emissions-regulated regions, I will now have some decent documentation of where all the emissions hoses and wires go. I hope everyone has a happy holiday season!
November 23, 2003. Not much new going on. I've been pretty busy with work and travel (moving a few of my cars, visiting friends, etc.) but have managed to put in a little bit of time on the page. I've added a few more cars to the 128 Corral (thanks again for everyone's patience for me to get that stuff added) and it's great to see more cool 128s out there and hear from fellow enthusiasts. Silly as it may sound, even the short, "Hey, I like your page - keep up the good work!" e-mails really make my day! I finished scanning 25 pages out of an old Car magazine graciously donated by Jeff Stich. It had a big article on the 128 when it won Car of the Year in europe. Tell anyone who thinks Fiats are pieces of crap to read that! :)
I spent a little time working on my Rally. I've had the station wagon (estate) gearbox in it for years, but the baulky shifting was starting to get to me and the traffic in southern California moves quite a bit faster so I needed something so I could keep up without having to run at 5000 rpm all day. I freshened up a Yugo 'box (new gaskets and seals) and swapped that in to take advantage of the 3.76:1 final drive and better 1st/2nd synchro design. Freeway cruising is much better now, but the poor little 1300 can barely pull 4th gear at times. This is the same engine I built for my first 128 6 years ago and it's seen quite a few miles and plenty of revs. Maybe it's finally time for a 1500...
September 6, 2003. Ok, after graduation, moving 400 miles to southern California, and starting a new job, I'm finally sitting down and working on the page. Hopefully I can keep the ball rolling and start building this site up as I've been planning. I still don't have an internet connection at my new apartment, so things haven't progressed as quickly as I'd hoped, but I'm doing my best (afterhours at work).
I read everyone's e-mail, even if I don't have time to reply. Of course, with the large volume of spam I've been receiving over the last year, if the title didn't include something indicating it was Fiat mail, there's a good chance I deleted it - sorry! I'm going to have to work on some forms or something to get the e-mail addresses off the web pages so the crawlers don't pick it up and start sending everyone spam.