What's in the Workshop #1, August 2018

Ordinarily, people only really get to see the cars we've been preparing when they're all done, without necessarily knowing the work that's gone into getting them to that shiny, sweet-running point. As such, we've decided to keep anyone interested up to date with what our spanners have been tightening over the past few weeks. This is the first part of something we aim to do every month, so be sure to check back soon to follow our progress with these cars, and all the others that arrive here in Norwich's Little Italy.

Alfa Romeo Spider S3


We rescued this from abandonment in a filthy Norfolk barn way back in 2014. An initial explosion of activity saw the body stripped back to bare metal (what was left of it, anyway!), new panels installed pretty much everywhere, the leather interior reupholstered with the correct material imported from Italy and a full respray in the glorious 'Celeste Chiaro Metallic' livery. We have never actually driven the car!

We've struggled to find a spare moment to continue the restoration in the past few years but, in recent weeks, we've luckily returned to it. A faulty ignition switch has been fixed and we have started preparing for a brand new roof to be fitted, removing any corroded lugs from the rear channel and replacing them. It's great to be working on it again - soon it will be done and we'll finally get to drive it we hope!

Fiat 124 Spider


Another long term project here at italicar, this 124 Spider was purchased at an auction last summer when we actually had two other 124 Spiders. Now they've both found very happy new owners, our attentions have finally turned to this example. We're concentrating on getting the car through an MoT before considering the cosmetics, and it's coming along nicely (just hope it's on the road when there's still some sun).

We've ironed out an annoying issue with the return on the carb' and overhauled the braking system. It now runs absolutely fine and there should be plenty to update on this car come the next #WitW (the funky acronym all the cool kids will inevitably be calling these new blog updates!).

Lancia Fulvia 1.3 Rallye


We recommissioned this beauty after the owner bought a Fiat Tipo Liberty from us. It had been sat unused for several months and wouldn't actually start when it arrived. We quickly resolved this by cleaning up the ballast resistor on the coil, then treated it to a new MoT, tidied up the metal around the fuel tank, fitted some new switchwork and flushed out the coolant system after recoring the blocked, ailing radiator.

Our favourite job requested by its owner, though? Take her on a "spirited" test drive to uncover any other gremlins. That one we completed with gusto and she subsequently travelled back to her home in London refreshed after her brief holiday in Norfolk.

Fiat Coupe 20V Turbo


One of our favourite cars, this low-mileage Coupe is getting the full italicar treatment. It currently cuts something of a sorry figure, stripped out for a full respray (no glass, no trim, etc) and the air-con has caused us a massive headache. It was leaking from the evaporator behind the dash, a mammoth task to gain access to. Literally, the only way to remove the dash was to first remove the windscreen!

After weeks of work it transpired that the root of all these problems was a simple O-ring having been left off from the factory when the car was built. It's booked in for the paint as I type, so in the next instalment of #WitW (is it catching on?) it will look a little more impressive, we hope.

Alfa Romeo GT 3.2


The owner of this GT 3.2 brought it to us with a phantom coolant leak, losing litres but never having seen a puddle. (I'm sure lots of you are sharing precisely the same sense of dread as us when we heard this). Our test-drives resulted in no further symptoms (it actually drives very well) but using a chemical "sniff-test" proved that a high level of hydrocarbons are present in the header tank.

This would very strongly suggest that a head gasket has failed, and on these glorious Busso engines that is no mean feat to rectify. Check back with #WitW (the hashtag is practically viral now, right?!) #2 to see what further tests have uncovered, and how far we are in getting it back to rude health.

Fiat 127 1050CL


We recently sold this charming little car to one of our long-time customers (his family has bought no fewer than two Lancias from us in the past) and this month saw its first trip on the open road in nearly 12 years. Sills and underside welded, a new timing belt, a brand new bonnet sourced and fitted, a few little MoT jobs and she was ready to go. See our YouTube channel to see our Project Diary entry for this 127.

Now it's back up and running and fully road legal once more, we're now turning our attention to the fine tuning of the mechanicals and, fingers crossed, the cosmetics very soon. Genuinely one of our favourite ever finds, we want to do this resilient little survivor proud.

And that's just a small percentage of what we've been kept busy with so far in August. We've also been preparing the Lancia Delta HF Turbo ready for sale, taken delivery of the last remaining Fiat Tipo 2.0 GT in the UK, bought and sold a Phase 3 916 Spider and much, much more. Pop back in September to see what we've been rapping our knuckles on and breaking a sweat over!