The 124’s restoration
Despite Cinzia’s effort to preserve her as better as possible, she was quite rusty and with all her chrome plating flattered. She lacked some little but important parts and had some 100 thousands miles on the clock.
At least she was repainted once a time but the job was very low key and showed many faults and shortcomings. There were however all the important components and her general health was not so bad, especially considering the venerable age. Interiors altogether were so good after feminine cares.
During the entire 2006 year the car was well preserved in my friend’s garage, a fresh, dry and shaded corner of him workshop. Sometimes I’ was there to dust her and to run up her old engine. Apart for the first time, he promptly sparkled all the times.
Finally, at the start of this year, the 2007, on January 15 we began to work on the 124. Firstly Piero and his team dismantled the suspensions, the brakes and transmission components; next we downloaded the old little engine and his gear-box. The next three days the car had all this components replaced by brand-new ones: I’ delighted myself to open all their boxes and packaging. All that precious spares were purchased all around Italy by our well-estabilished friends and, apart for new rubber carpets, there weren’t particular difficulties of availability however.
January 18 circa, we ferried the naked body to a close paint-shop, being
there old car specialist. Here, another friend, Leonardo (Leo for friends),
trestled and dismantled in turn her components, such doors, glasses, lights,
We knew some rust points but, when Leo lifted the floor rubber carpets we saw low foot zone completely rotten. The terrible rust had literally eaten and badly holed the car front floor. All of that because some rain water had filtered, during all those years through the old sealings so far and stopped there. So the engineer had to cut away all the rusted parts, up to the start of the main low spars. Fortunately the main body and spars were intact and in good conditions.
Then Leo began to scratch away the rust and braze new iron in those amputed areas, rebuildings those parts and fairing over the holes. After an accurate “war” to the hated rust, then came the primer, a dense hand brushed white paint that covered and protected the new job.
All under surfaces of the car, especially inside the fenders, were accurately washed with a high-pressure blowing machine and then had a thick layer of a special tar, especially suitable for this porposes.
Next the body was carefully filled and then sanded off. It followed a dark grey primer sprayed layer. Once this primer was set, the so-darkened body was sanded off and carefully trimmed to avoid the minimum fault.
Next the paint coat followed: the car was sprayed with her original dark green paint, both outside than inside, in the cockpit; all the previous primed areas were carefully covered also to give her an omogeneous look.
In the rebuilding process Leo took a great care to those little items and particulars: he choose the right screws, repainted (satin black) all such items like the seats-runners, the clackson-trumpets, the supply-regulator box, the petrol tank… etc.; nothing was left away or forgotten.
I’ personally took the radiator grille and the front light-rings to a chromium workshop to receive a new coat of chrome layer: they emerged in pristine conditions and now they seems like new! in the meantime I’was quite busy to find all those spares and components the 124 lacked: during the previous summer I’ found, in a farmer’s courtyard a very aged relic of another first serie 124: she laid there since many years! with the permission of the old kindly owner I’ selected some very precious and unsuitable spares like the accelerator pedal, unique for this version, a driving-wheel component, some cockpit switches, the original (and not so available) nose steel “Fiat” logo, a carburettor (albeit of the Mk.II version, being this sample refitted with a new engine) and other engine items.
old speedometer, not working anymore, was used in my studio for decoy
purposes. After systematic searching, with a great shot of lucky, I’
found another example quite intact near a scrapyard, some fifty miles
This was a 1400 “Special” Mk.II version but she supplied another quite huge of spares: all the mirrors (being the originals quite deteriorated), the glare sun folding flaps, the interior handle points, plus some spares five wheels, some very precious chrome trims, the arms of the glass-brushing, and many more!
Many components were overhauled by myself, with great satisfaction. I’ took the radiator to a specialist workshop also and, after a week it emerged completely rebuilt and repainted. I’ve purchased some five brand new wheel bosses from a little spares market, plus the complete tail lights. With another lucky shot in my searching I’ve found an old man who stored many spares like a complete gear-box, new front lights, and a huge of all sort of little items. When he sadly passed away, his daughter presented that spares to me.
Now the car has been re-assembled back: she was lovingly and carefully rebuilt, the interior’s floor have had new soundproofing and sealing tar panels; the old rubber carpets and covers were properly repaired by a brave upholsterer. The internal frames and spars had received a strong and redoundant anti-corrosion treatment, the famous Dinitrol. Today she’s quite ready, minus her engine. And the wheels discs need to be repainted. What a smart look she has now! nothing was left to chance.
Now she’s waiting for engine. This, in turn, was completely dismantled and quite all its parts were sunk in a huge chemical agents tank to wash them back to new status. The entire job was undertaken by the best workshop of my county, specialized in this tasks. The cylinder-block was overhauled, rectified and “re-shirted” to bring cylinder sides back to initial status. The head and the valves were revised altogether, the pistons are brand new, like water, petrol and oil pumps. All the accessories are new. I’ve purchased a complete engine sealings kit to the purpose.
When the car will be completed, she’ll emerge quite like a new one, her conditions would must be the best possible. She’ll need a new run-in.
We are working to achive this goal.
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