Restoring my vintage 1978 Ferrari is a labor of love
Thanks for all the interest in receiving regular updates on my 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS, which I have thoughtfully, but without much originality, labeled Project 308. The name may not be very creative, but I actually made significant progress I mentioned it for the last time. The biggest novelty is the paint job. After four months in the care of my longtime friend Lawrence Partap, owner of Lawrence Auto Collison in Brampton, Ontario, it came back to me with a shiny coat of Rosso Corsa – also known as the paint code FER300. , or Ferrari. red. It really is a wonderful sight.
During those four months that I was without a car, my hands were still full with several small tasks. The hardest part was repairing the two doors. The car had been completely cleared of all possible windows and trim before it was sent for painting, but Lawrence further asked me to come and remove the doors so he could get the best possible access during the process. painting preparation.
What initially seemed like a relatively easy task has turned into an almost impossible mission. We were trying to leave half of the door hinge on the car body to allow for easier alignment when reassembling. This is done by simply removing a hinge pin which is supposed to come out with little force. Bad luck, because each of those four pins was completely frozen in place by years of neglect and lack of lubrication. We then shifted gears and reluctantly unbolted the entire door hinges from the body, and I brought both doors back to my store to finish changing the hinge pins.
My plan was also to repair the holes in the car’s stereo speakers which had been grossly enlarged at one point in its history to accommodate massive door speakers. After reading various owner experiences online regarding stubborn Ferrari hinge pins, I knew I had a job to do. Hours of torture followed.
Unfortunately, working on a vintage Ferrari is sometimes no different from working on any other brand, despite what people think of its pedigree. After successfully removing all of the door hinge pins, I set out to fabricate and shape sheet metal repair panels that copied the original speaker pockets and TIG welded them.
Currently the car sits on my winch with the full rear frame stripped of all components. The rear brake calipers have been rebuilt and all the suspension arms have been sandblasted, powder coated and the bushings replaced. Even the rear frame itself receives treatment. It will be stripped down and painted as I prepare to start bolting components, which will include new and improved performance-focused suspension springs and shocks.
I haven’t started to be a full restore, but it’s slowly getting closer to that status. As I said in one of my first writings on Ferrari ownership, there is no such thing as a cheap Ferrari. Lucky for me, it’s a labor of love, and I don’t have to pay myself – otherwise I’ll be in trouble.
Your automotive questions, answers
I just listened to your last update / discussion on your Puma EV conversion. I tried to find a way to convert an old Austin Healey Bug-Eyed Sprite to an electric one. I was looking for a store in southwestern Ontario that could help me with this conversion. Ideally, we can put my body and interior on an EV platform. Your discussion of using a destroyed Leaf as a donation car is an interesting one. Where can I get my hands on more information and a store that can help me? (Unfortunately I’m a little mechanically challenged)
Thanks Geoff. I regularly receive correspondence regarding the conversion of classic cars to electric, further confirming that further investigation in this area is warranted. Unfortunately, our Puma EV conversion is still pending. The pandemic has caused me to shift my technician resources to focus solely on keeping my business in the dark. In other words, repairing cars pays the bills, while playing around with an EV conversion doesn’t. I think we’re all feeling a little bit optimistic and a return to normal is imminent. How much I will dive back into our conversion.
As far as your EV quest goes, I don’t think placing your Healy bodywork on an EV rig is the answer. The amount of effort required to put it all together is prohibitive. The route I would consider would be to keep the whole car intact and substitute an electric motor for the internal combustion engine (ICE). The necessary batteries and electronic components would be strategically placed throughout the vehicle. My idea as a Nissan Leaf donor is only to get all the parts needed, but not to use the chassis.
The only store I know of in Ontario that does this as a business is Epic Car Conversions, based in Toronto, but that’s only based on my internet research. I had no relationship with them.
I own a 2007 Audi A8L with 190,000 km. The car had no mechanical or electrical problems. I service it every spring at a German auto specialist and recently spent $ 1,400 on new tires. I drive the car about 10,000 km per year. Every spring before I come back from Mexico I think about replacing it with a new car and when I come back I look at it and drive it, I wonder and wonder why I would sell it because it is probably not worth over $ 8,000. My question is, am I at risk of having a major repair issue that could cost more than the value of the car? There isn’t much information about the historical or common issues of A8, because there is so little.
I jokingly refer to old European sedans as “cliff cars,” which means they’re amazing to own, until they aren’t. There is always a time when these sedans fall off a cliff and fall into a cesspool of financial misery.
Your question reminds me of a relatable story. Several years ago another A8 owner came looking for a repair quote. The owner loved his car and wanted to keep it on the road as long as he could. They provided us with a laundry list of items to check out. They didn’t tell us they were looking for a second opinion, but I could easily see they were doing the rounds, as the items on their list were far too obscure for the average consumer to come across at random.
After inspecting and confirming that the car was in a general state of disrepair, we provided an estimate of almost $ 8,000. I was sure we had just wasted several hours of our lives providing this detailed assessment. To my amazement, they eagerly gave us the green light. Cautiously, I took over from our technical advisor and called him to express my concern that spending so much on a car of this age and value could be a waste of money. I strongly suggested that they would be better off investing that $ 8,000 in a newer vehicle. They wouldn’t hear any of that. They were fixing this car regardless of my warnings and they preferred us to fix it because we would save them $ 5,000. Confused, I asked them where they found the $ 5,000 savings number. They provided me with a copy of the dealer’s $ 13,000 estimate they had received two weeks earlier. So John, I can’t answer your question specifically, but yes, it will most likely fall off a cliff at some point.
Lou Trottier is the owner and operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. A question about maintenance and repair? E-mail [email protected], by placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.
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