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Old 16-01-2010   #1
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Project Bambino

I bought my 1969 500F some time ago and always promised it a rebuild as it was in 'original' condition. I stripped it completely and delivered the body to a mate who specializes in restoration. Over the last couple of months the body was shot blasted, all of the rust removed (and the bits of baked bean tin covering the rust ...) and new panels & sills welded on where required. It is approaching the point where it will be primed and painted bright red. I'll collect photos over the next week or so and post them.

Mechanically the car wasn't too bad. The PO had rebuilt the engine so all I did was remove, clean, rustproof and repaint the cowling and clean the engine and gearbox/diff. I rebuilt the generator - new bearings and brushes and did a similar job on the starter.

The interior was fairly sad so the upholstery has all been replaced using high quality automotive black vinyl with red piping. Very chic.

I'll rebuild the suspension and brakes when I get the car back from the body shop. I'm hoping to lower it a little and fit front disc brakes.

I've attached a photo of the bits lying in our spare room - my wife is very tolerant.

Chris
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Old 16-01-2010   #2
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Re: Project Bambino

Excellent!

Look forward to seeing the finished result.
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Old 16-01-2010   #3
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Re: Project Bambino

Looking forward to seeing more pictures.
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Old 22-01-2010   #4
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Re: Project Bambino

A few photos from the body shop.

There was a bit of rust in the floor and this has been removed with new panels welded in. It had sustained both front and rear impacts in the past - though probably at relatively low velocity. I bought a new bonnet and front panel as well as rear engine support and engine lid. The panel fit is now excellent with even shut lines all around.

Both outer sills have been replaced and the inners repaired. The space between has been sprayed liberally with a rust resisting paint product (like Waxoyl) and should be effectively rust proofed. The underbody will be similarly coated.

There looks to be a fair bit of filler at present, but this is a bit of an illusion as the bulk of it will disappear when the car is sanded and rubbed down prior to undercoating.

The two guys in the photo lifting the front of the car are the panelbeater and one of his apprentices. He has a very good name around where I live and has done a lot of work for members of the various car clubs in the area. He is very methodical and takes great pride in his job. The other cars in the workshop at present are a mid70s Rolls-Royce, a mid20s Austin, an MGB and a Corvette. All have been stripped for restoration - in fact the Corvette is just a chassis at present.

Will keep you updated as the project rolls on.

Chris
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Old 22-01-2010   #5
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Re: Project Bambino

These photos are of the seats. When I got the car they were in poor shape - the frames and springs were OK, but the upholstery was patchwork and torn. The rear bench seat was in similar condition.

A local upholsterer repaired, rustproofed and recovered them all for me.

Chris
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Old 22-01-2010   #6
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Re: Project Bambino

Great pictures !! Love the black seats with the red trim, very nice
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Old 23-01-2010   #7
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Re: Project Bambino

great photos. I like the upholstery, too. Looking forward to seeing it finished. How long will it take?
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Old 24-01-2010   #8
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Re: Project Bambino

I'm not sure - there is not much to these cars, but as I also have a full time job, it'll be a weekend labour of love. I have plenty of space in my shed and have spent the last couple of months cleaning, rebuilding, rustproofing, repainting etc. everything that was removed from the car. Some of it I've stored in a spare room in the house as I have another old car that I'm also restoring and it is nearly finished. I will probably get the Fiat back in the next week or so and I'll start then - I intend to take plenty of photos and post the informative ones here.

To answer your question, I guess I'd like to have it back on the road by midyear.

In and around all of this, I'm chasing a donor NIKI 650 (Fiat 126p) as I'd like to upgrade the original engine/gearbox to the later model 650cc with partial synchro box, alternator, pre-engaged starter etc. I don't want to make it into a boy racer, but as I live in a very hilly area, a larger motor may make the car more user friendly, particularly as my wife wants to drive it

I'll keep (all three of) you posted

Chris
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Last edited by Bambino; 24-01-2010 at 00:34.
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Old 03-02-2010   #9
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Re: Project Bambino

A few more photos of the prerestoration state of the car.

The interior was pretty sad, though complete except for the knee pad on the lower dash. I can get a new one, but it will be for a LHD model, so I'll have to modify it to fit.

The engine/transmission was just grubby. I've cleaned it up and checked it all, so I'll put it back in the car while I search for a 650cc 'upgrade'.

The PO had cut a bit hole in the rear firewall. God knows why - maybe for a large speaker, maybe for access to the engine bay. Either way it's been welded over.

The worst rust was under the rear window rubber. This was repaired with a preformed panel. There was some rust in the floor and outer sills, covered with pop riveted cans. All has been fixed properly.

The rear engine support had been biffed and badly repaired. This has been replaced.

The front compartment had been collecting leaves for a while, but was otherwise not too bad. The car came with a new front panel so I had this fitted. The old one wasn't too bad but it also had been dinged in the past and was full of filler.

Chris
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Old 10-04-2010   #10
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Re: Project Bambino

My car remains at the panel shop, rust free with straight panels and shut lines still resplendent in primer .....

They have been very busy with other more pressing jobs, but assure me that it will be finished soon. When I visited it before Easter, they had fixed a big cardboard key to the rear so it looked like a windup car - panelbeater humour
If they do it again, I'll get a photo.

In the meantime, I've been accumulating new parts. I've attached a couple of photos.

Front disc brakes (4x98 pattern) - the new rear 4x98 drums are coming this week.

'Sports' suspension - reverse eye front leaf spring and lowered rear spring plus reasonable shockies. Please excuse grubby shed floor

Can't wait to get it all together.

Chris
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Old 10-04-2010   #11
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Re: Project Bambino

ohhh...shiny! the floor makes the shiny new parts look all that much nicer...I'll have to remember that trick.
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Old 11-04-2010   #12
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Re: Project Bambino

The shine won't last long once I get it out on the road again ....

Chris
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Old 23-04-2010   #13
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Re: Project Bambino

My usual weekly visit today.

The car is now in primer. It will be undersealed and hopefully painted soon, though I've heard that before .....

Despite taking about 5 months, the guys restoring the body are doing an excellent job.

The picture shows it on stands - the three guys and myself lifted it up onto the stands just before I took the photo.

Chris
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Old 26-04-2010   #14
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Re: Project Bambino

lookin' good. That reminds me, I need to get some jack stands or better yet a pair of ramps...
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Old 28-04-2010   #15
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Re: Project Bambino

Cool!

Keep us updated Chris!
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