I’m pleased to report that the cheap starter core I picked up on eBay arrived a few days ago. I was able to swap the front aluminium casting with my broken one and I once again have a functioning 500!
The starter sounds smoother and better than it ever has, so that’s good news.
I also fitted a hand throttle cable, which is helping to keep it idling when starting on these last few cold nights / mornings. Worth the £20 and 1/2 hour of fiddling to fit it, I think.
I managed to agree a day with the shotblaster to pop over with the bodyshell and wait while it was blasted so that I can take it back immediately get some zinc primer on it. I used Lankies Refurb in Redditch, UK. Mark is a great guy and easy to deal with, I'd absolutely recommend him if anyone needs some shotblasting/powder coating carried out.
To get the bodyshell there I squeezed it inside my SWB Renault Trafic - it was a tight squeeze indeed and I had to remove the front passenger seats to fit it in...
At Lankies, pre-blasting:-
And after blasting....with Mark Handley (Lankie himself!) in the background:-
Then back to base for a coat of zinc primer:-
Now just the small task of building the shell back up into what most people would recognise to be a 'car'!
Whilst waiting to get the shell off to eb blasted I've been making a few panels that I haven't bought, or it is not possible to buy.
Rear Inner Cill Panels.
I know it's possible to buy these, but I fancied having a go at making some....there's a bit of trimming to be done as they are installed.
Lower inner B-post panels
It's not possible to buy these. If anybody wants some let me know and I'll make some more. Again, some trimming required as they are installed.
So I've finally managed to the the bodyshell (almost) ready to head off to the shotblaster. There's just a small piece of floor panel to remove where it overlaps the bulkhead on LHF - another hour's work or so.
On stripping the roof I've noticed that unfortunately there quite a lot of (accident?) damage to the roof panel on the LHS above the gutter. Not a lot I can do to pull it out, so it'll just have to filled again like it was before...
I'm pleased to report that the new engine has been a success. Several hundred miles in and there's no sign of the bearing issues I was suffering with the old engine.
I've been out driving as and when I can, used it to commute a few times and generally any time I don't need to take the family with me.
With autumn underway and the nights drawing in, I've got a few things I want to attend to to help get the car ready for the coming months.
Firstly, I need to do something about the lights. I'm perfectly happy driving with the standard lights at night on my own... but as soon as someone is coming the other way in anything modern, especially SUVs, then I'm left blind. So an upgrade is in the works. My Daimler has been upgraded to 60w H4 Halogen bulbs, which is more than adequate, but I'm aware that to do that on the Fiat I'll need to set-up some relays and run new wiring. I can do that easily enough, but in order to keep the original wirings redundancy (with separate circuits and fuses for left and right headlights which seems a sensible idea) then I will need 4 relays, and 4 new fuses and the associated wiring... it starts to add a bit and soon the cost is similar to that of a pair of decent LED headlights bulbs.
I've always avoided LED bulbs due to the horror stories of poor beam pattern and the dubious legally. But I think things have started changing, with better beam patterns now available, along with a range of softer warmer colour tones. Also looking at the MOT manuals, the rules have changed and LED bulbs in cars first used prior to 1986 now appears to be acceptable. I may well order some in the next few days and see how they look.
I also need to investigate the headlight adjusters, mine wont quite adjust to where I need them, they're a touch on the high side at their limit of adjustment. Not a problem with 35w tungsten bulbs but if I upgrade I think other drivers might be happier if I fix the aim! haha.
The other thing I think I should look into is the heater/demisting. I can feel it working, but I can also feel a big draught of hot air escaping round my handbrake and out of various other joins in the system. So I think I will need to investigate sealing things up as best I can, to make the most of the air flow available if I want any chance of the screen clearing on a cold morning!
Just realised I'd forgotten to update this thread!
Bianco got a new standard exhaust system from the manifold back fitted in the middle of September. What a difference it makes! I feel like I can actually use him now without feeling either embarrassed by the sound or attracting 17 year old boy racers in pop and bang mobiles at the traffic lights
The exhaust was fitted by Fettle and Finesse in Leicester, an absolutely lovely guy who clearly has a massive love for Panda 100HP's. He spent so much time fettling and finessing (lives up well to his company name!) the car so everything was perfect. I'd recommend him to anyone who wants the job done right.
Next on the list is a full suspension refresh. I've managed to source a super cheap set of Bilstein B4's through work, result! With some nice new top mounts and droplinks (the springs are near enough new already) he'll be good as new. Exciting times!
Just got back from MITCAR in Bianco and loved every minute of it. Was brilliant to talk to like-minded people. It was breath of fresh air from the usual classic car show snobbery.
Right, time to throw this engine together. The job I wasn't looking forward to was removing 60 years of slime off my spare crank case.
Last weekend, I pulled myself together and got on with it. A couple of hours later I had something looking much more presentable.
Not perfect, but good enough and properly clean in all the right places. Over the course of the week I cleaned up the internal engine parts and reassembled. No point going into detail here as it's just the same as the previous engine build in this thread. Friday night this is where it stood.
And by Saturday lunchtime the neighbourhood resounded to the glorious sound of a parallel twin 'roaring' into life.
I did a test run Saturday night, didn't go too far. Did about 10 miles taking it easy, then just like normal (i.e. flat out!). I'm pleased to report that all was well; no nasty knocking noises upon my return home, oil light not on, no signs of glitter in the oil etc. Ask me in 1000 miles, but so far this appears a success! haha.
I did miss driving the old girl this past month, it was lovely to get out on the road.
I never finished this off , I forget and also this takes too long for everything to load up and I forget what I have already covered .
I will try to complete it soon enough .
The day before I am due to depart for Dover , I go out in the car for just a 10 mile round trip , it was lucky that I did do this because on my return , I park in the garage and there is a large pool of coolant under the car , it wasn't a small drip ,it was almost pouring out ,open the bonnet ,the radiator has failed big time .
I go online and order a rad and ask that they process the order ASAP , they do this and within 2 hours I have a Magnetti Marelli box with a shiny new rad in it .I had to refill the water and drive to collect it and then let it cool off a bit before starting work on it .
Big thanks to Ricambio of Wallington , a company many here should know of and use for Italian car parts .
Replacing a Panda rad isn't the most difficult task , the top mountings were seized and I snapped both of them but managed to put that right easily enough and within another 2 hours I had a water tight cooling system , I even went for a test drive on the M25 and M23 in traffic to make sure there was no overheating .
I actually drove the whole distance to Anchiano ,village north of Lucca , disembarked off ferry at Calais about 12.15am Thursday and after a couple of detours and petrol stops ,arrived at the village about 2.30am Friday and parked in the only available space , next to a Panda "Young" , a Gen 1 750 cc engine car .
A few days later the first failure occurred , very minor problem but needed to be fixed . I turned on the wiper to clear the overnight rain and the blade went all floppy ,the clip holding blade onto wiper arm had failed ,so only needed a new wiper blade . Where to buy one from ?....There's a FIAT dealer I pass every time I drive in to Lucca called Lunatici but I first of all looked for a spares shop . I find Arnaldo Rossi , it's like a British motor factors of the 1980s ,nothing wrong with that , long counter with blokes serving or on the phone . I don't have much Italian language skill but I manage to buy a wiper blade ,it helped that I took the old one in with me and it didn't fall off again .
It's lucky it didn't fail on the trip down as the rain was pretty heavy on arrival in Italy and driving down through Trento Aldo Adige region .
On my last day I am visiting 4 car museums in 1 day , all close to Modena , I wake at 3 am ,can't get back to sleep so I pack up and get on the road .
I am using the slower route on the SS12 road that stretches all the way from Lucca and passes Modena , Verona , all the way to Brennero where Italy ends but I am only using the bit up to Modena today . It's slow progress on the hills up to Abetone ,which is high enough to be a ski resort .
First stop is at Lamborghini , Sant Agata Bolognese , I have a pre booked ticket for their opening time of 9.30am . I get there far too early and wander about a bit , found a second factory on the industrial estate off the main road and notice the internal roads are named Aventador and Diablo .
Second museum is a private collection , also pre booked but they are very relaxed there and don't check you at the door , it's a Maserati collection on the west side of Modena in Via Corletto Sud , The Panini collection ,on a dairy cheese producer farm .
The display is all housed in one compact building but it is full of excellent , rare and some unique cars .
I chat with the very friendly proprietor Sr Panini , son of the now passed founder . I saw some of the cars on display at the Vernasca Silver flag event just a couple of weeks earlier .The red car in the pics to follow being one of them .
Next is the Cassa Enzo Ferrari museum in Modena itself by the railway , I have been to this at least 6 times now but there is always something different to see ,indeed the first time was to see a collection of very rare Maseratis ,in a Ferrari museum !
When I arrive the car park is full ,I park out in the street and after completing my museum visit I find the Panda has been broken into in broad daylight .
The passenger doorlock was forced and they have rummaged around my stuff but I believe that nothing was taken . The doorlock is still usable so it obviously didn't put up much of a fight in keeping them out .
4th museum of the day ids Galleria Ferrari Maranello , I have bought a combined ticket for Modena and Maranello which saves a bit of cash , you have 48 hours to use both parts . Glad I had a ticket as non ticket holders had to queue ,I could go straight in .
After the shock of having the car broken into and the excess June Italian heat I'm having a melt down ,again , I go around this museum quite quickly , taking pics and decide that I now want to go home . I wanted to go to Alfa Romeo the next day in Milan but that just got added to things I scheduled to do but didn't do .
I get on the A1 , leading straight onto the A22 at Modena and start the long trip home . I now notice the fuel gauge isn't moving much ,it seems to be stuck in the 2/3 to 3/4 section , so now I have to keep an eye on miles covered an fill up the tank more often . I think that might have fixed itself since returning as the needle has now dropped to 1/4 . The drive up to Brennero is slow as the car is most comfortable at 60-65 mph ,mixing with the HGVs ,it's only a 2 lane autostrada anyway so I venture into overtaking lane 2 only occasionally . The engine is also running a bit hotter than I am comfortable with but the fan working overtime keeps it out of the red .
I had no sleep on the trip from Calais 2 weeks earlier but this time I have to stop many times for sleep ,rest ,food and petrol . I also wanted to travel through Austria in the early hours so as not to hold up traffic on the difficult hills of Fernpass ,it's also raining again .
The rest of the trip is quite straight forward ,there were the people who wanted to talk to me about the rare Panda and there was a massive detour around a closed tunnel on the road between Landau and Pirmasens but I eventually arrived back at Calais for a Saturday ferry home , having left the Tuscany village early hours of Thursday .
If you have read all of that then thank you .
Pics are.......the day before the departure , Autogrill Italy service area somewhere en route , next to the Panda Young , one from each museum , the red Maserati coupe seen in 2 places , a Lamborghini LM 002 , Ligier Maserati , Ferrari 250 TdF , Ferrari 250 LM , then the journey home ,the scenery on the A22 motorway is stunning . You can see the car gained more stickers gradually throughout this trip .