A milestone moment for the 1957 Lancia Aurelia B20S, Ser.VI restoration project

Today we reached a long-awaited milestone in the progress of the 1957 Lancia Aurelia B20S, Ser. VI restoration project. Having completed basic electric wiring, not without excessive delays, the engine was ready to be started after its complete overhaul. The Master of Ceremonies was none other than our chief mechanic, Makis Efthymiou. Without further ado, here is the short video clip of the start-up procedure. The loud engine noise is due to the exhaust piping system not being as yet connected. Another positive observation is that there is practically no engine vibration. To boot she is an easy starter! A very good indicator to proper assembly of the engine.

Next phase: pre-painting the car and then onwards to the upholsterer. The end of the project is near!

Jay Leno explains about hs choice of Dynamat heat & noise insulation material for all his restoration projects!

Jay Leno explains about his choice of Dynamat heat & noise insulation material for all his restoration projects!

Feb 12 2015 update: At the Upholsterer: I was watching a restoration project from Jay Leno’s Garage, where Jay says “From now on we use Dynamat insulation material in all our projects”. It was enough for me to start Googling. Luckilly a dealer in Greece was located, contacted and the correct material Dynaliner was selected for our project! See more in the Gallery. For more: www.dynamat.com

Some photos from the status of the car as of today; clicking on any picture the viewer opens in larger format:

A new classic joins the stable in my Garage: meet the 1969 MG MGB

The MG Keys of pleasure

The MG Keys of pleasure

My spouse asks with a certain mode of temper: another classic-car? As big boys know well, spouses often cannot appreciate our investment decisions nor that we are stricken by the now famous verse of “Car Collecting, a disease for which modern man has no cure”. So when a good friend brought few days ago his 1969 MGB Roadster Mk II in true British Racing Green livery at the Classic-Car.gr for storage and with an accompanying ‘FOR SALE’ tag, I was prompted to take a closer look. We raised the car on the lift and thoroughly inspected the undercarriage, mechanicals, body condition etc. The verdict was positive with few minor and cosmetic ‘to do list’ items which will need attention in order to bring the car up to a top cruising condition. Because this is the main role of this particular car. To be driven as much as possible and to be enjoyed. Hence the car is now registered with regular license plates and insurance coverage for daily use.

Lambis' MGB here at the Voula Nautical Club.

Lambis’ MGB parked at the Voula Nautical Club ca. 1966. Here with my lady friends Rene Pongi and Evi Galazidis :)

The MGB is featured in a British Post stamp!

The MGB is featured in a British Post stamp!

My personal memories of MGB’s go back to my teen-age years when in the mid 60’s an Olympic Airways pilot, Lambis Costides had owned a light blue MGB Mk. I. (For my Greek readers, another account of Lambis can be found here ).

With the motto 'Safety Fast' a period MGB advert.

With the motto ‘Safety Fast’ a period MGB advert.

He had fitted a pair of spot lights and inside the cockpit an aircraft switch with telltale amber light, activated them; I was very impressed. Another admiring memory was when Lambis drove us quite fast down Syngrou Avenue during a hot summer night, hearing the distinct roar of the exhaust and experiencing the thrill of wind noises which only sporty roadsters can offer.

MGB's were and still are raced extensively. Here with Paddy Hopkirk.

MGB’s were and still are raced extensively. Here with Paddy Hopkirk.

The MG initials stand for 'Morris Garage'. I interpret the initials as "Many Goodtimes". :)

The MG initials stand for ‘Morris Garages’. I interpret the initials as “Many Goodtimes”. :)

All these memories came back to me when I first saw the BRG [aka Byron Riginos Green ;) ] car. I warmed up on the idea of owning an affordable classic roadster, not having to spend a fortune to bring her up to my spec’s and setting a goal to use her as much as possible for my short commutes from home in Kifissia to my www.3cg.gr man-cave in New Ionia. Other aficionados tell me that MGB’s are great Historic Vehicles for entering into Regularity Rallies, a sport that we do several times through each year. To boot, classic car prices are on the rise, and this example, Chassis No: GHN4L163339G, Engine No: MG 18GGWEH897 was an original Greek import car, first licensed in 1969. She also carries a “Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens” (FIVA) Identity Card with A/3 classification. What all these mean is that she is a highly original car which always lived in dry, sunny, no salty Greek roads and that she bears regular license plates; hence she can be used freely on the roads without the restrictions imposed on H.V. licensed cars. Enough reasons to go ahead right? Ipso-facto a friendly deal was negotiated and the car came into our family on 15th January 2015.

MGB@C-C&3cg

The 1968/69 MG MGB is silhouetted in front of the building which houses the classic-car.gr and the Classic Car Center of Greece-www.3cg.gr

Also pleasant is to know (according to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate), that this example was first dispatched from the factory to Greece on 7th February 1969 and that she is ‘a matching numbers’ car!

The British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, tells the true provenance of this MGB example.

The British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, tells the true provenance of this MGB example.

For those who would like to learn the complete history of the “B”, here is a lengthy but comprehensive documentary:

A picture Gallery of the ‘new’ car follows; upon clicking on any picture, the viewer opens in larger format.

Holiday Wishes 2014/2015 🎄

The end of the year is fast closing upon us all. For many it is a time of reflection as to how the old year had rolled, or for others perhaps more meaningful reflections and/or vows would involve the new coming year 2015. Either/or, it is certainly a period to spend happy and warm time with family, friends and beloved ones.

So here are my personalized wishes for all the family, friends, beloved ones and readers who may stumble upon these pages!

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Dodge lovers or not, I love the model (like my dad had during the family GE days); I suspect that not many can say NO to a truck load of presents? :)

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Another period picture, the delivery man bringing the presents home!

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At the close of the year I also celebrate the creation of our new Garage+ space. See here http://www.3cg.gr

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Being a pre-war Ford Model A owner, I could not resist yet another truckload of X-mas presents, could you? :)

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Since it is now early December, many folks are rushing to select their Christmas trees; not many though with their Fiat 500’s in a blizzard, but… ;)

Have a great Holiday period everybody!

 

Progress for the 1957 Lancia Aurelia B20S, Ser.VI restoration project

Since my last post on the Lancia Aurelia GT back in early March of 2014, a lot has happened relating to the restoration of this magnificent Italian classic Grand Turismo car of the mid fifties. On Tuesday  9/9/14 a certain milestone was achieved; the reconditioned Lancia V-6 engine (the first production V-6 engine adopted by a car manufacturer) was installed in the engine bay!

But let’s rewind to where we had left off back in March. We had set up the following ‘works to be done’ outline pertaining to our restoration procedure:

  1. Engineering and Mechanicals (mainly completing the body works and sourcing spare parts)
  2. Engine overhaul & reassembly
  3. Transmission overhaul & reassembly
  4. Suspension, steering and brakes overhaul
  5. Electrics (including a new wiring loom)
  6. Paintwork and Exterior
  7. Interior, upholstery, headliner
  8. Final detailing, testing and running-in.

Where are we today? I’d say having completed points 1 to 4, we should be about 60% done. Let’s be a bit more specific.

A/ Engineering and Mechanicals (mainly completing the body works and sourcing spare parts).

After considering few options as to which body shop to use, obtaining couple of quotations, we opted to employ the services of Dimitris Chronopoulos (a.k.a. Naftis), who had successfully worked on couple of past projects for my partner Thanassi. Hence the B20S was truck loaded from my garage to his shop one fine day in mid-March. Naftis and his son Costas attacked the project with gusto and soon enough many imperfections were rectified. The engine bay and undercarriage as well as the trunk (boot) area, wheel arches, doors and door posts, trunk lid etc. were treated, straightened and primed. Few photos tell the story best.

The undercarriage undergoing treatment

The undercarriage undergoing treatment

Naftis at work with the B20's undercarriage

Naftis at work with the B20’s undercarriage

So here are some shots from the works already done. [By clicking on the photos they open in a larger size format.] ;)

A young assistant is positioned in the engine bay, sanding and doing preparatory tasks

A young assistant is positioned in the engine bay,sanding and doing preparatory tasks

The batter box area required a lot of attention and rectification treatment

The battery box area required a lot of attention and rectification treatment

The door posts and mounts required attention

The door posts and hinges required attention

Dramatic photo of the B20S body sideways taken from inside

Dramatic photo of the B20S body sideways taken from inside

In the mean time, a long quest to search and source an extensive list of spare parts needed for the project commenced, burning long computer hours, drafting and sending countless e-mails, sorting through replies, evaluating the answers, comparing prices, negotiating and finally placing purchase orders.

At this point it is worth to mention that our two main suppliers for spare parts are Omicron Engineering in the UK, and M.A.R.A. in Italy. With both proprietors of these fine establishments we became friendly, namely Andrew & Elizabeth Cliffe and Fabio Poledro. As a nice surprise Andrew mentions in one of his messages pertaining to the previous custodian of B20S-1548, Mr. Peter Hudson: “Dear Byron,
 It appears the car belonged for a long time to Peter Hudson. My parents know him quite well as they used to live nearby many years ago.  He has a Fulvia at the moment.
The address on the old registration document is still valid, so I suggest writing to him.   I don’t have an email address, but his telephone number is +44 1132 xxxxxxxx.  I would recommend writing to him or calling him, and maybe he can advise if he uses email.
I’m sure he will be pleased to fill in what history of the car he can remember.
Elizabeth has your wish list and is going through it now.
Kind Regards,
Andrew”.  As the saying goes, It is after all quite a small world! :)

Needless to say, thereafter I have established direct contact with Peter who has helped us by filling-in some provenance details of the car and even finding and sending to me the original ignition keys of the Aurelia! applause

Another issue to resolve was learning about and then sourcing the original color of the car, known as Azzuro Celeste, or sky blue. Scouting the various Fora of the Lancisti communities in Europe, the USA and Australia, I finally discovered that the original paint manufacturer for Lancia Automobiles S.p.A. was a company by the name of Lechler; to boot this company still exists and has a dealer in Athens! Hence Thanassi rushed to this shop and obtained a liter of the #1173 code item. Armed with this hard sought after item, a first paint trial was performed by Naftis. The result was quite pleasant.

One of the first 'Azzuro Celeste' paint trials

One of the first ‘Azzuro Celeste’ paint trials

B/ Engine, transmission, suspension, steering and brakes overhaul & reassembly

A glimpse of the engine block and a plethora of parts loaded on my Dodge Dakota pick-up

A glimpse of the engine block and a plethora of parts loaded on my Dodge Dakota pick-up

All these tasks were entrusted to Makis Efthymiou, a competent mechanic with many years involvement in competition preparation of formula, rally and other race cars. To boot he had recently successfully completed the overhaul of a very similar V-6 engine from a Lancia Flaminia. One word that characterizes Makis’ skills is ‘inventiveness’. No matter what the challenge faced, he would come up with a proper solution. His network of contacts and allegiances within the Greek ‘mechanicsdom’ has proved equally valuable. He attacked the project by first evaluating the disassembled engine and existing parts trove in my garage, as loaded on my Dodge Dakota pick-up truck in early in March.  We both agreed at that time that the challenge of jumping into a project that has been disassembled by someone else and even without knowing if all the parts are there, is awesome; like a big jigsaw puzzle…

The front drum brake and the sliding pillar sliding pillar suspension

The front drum brake and the sliding pillar suspension. Note the large air intake vent with mesh screen, quite advanced for a non-racing production car of the 1950’s!

Next step was to remove the front and rear axles plus transmission from the car while it was worked on in the premises of the Naftis body-shop. His inventiveness came to test regarding the unique design of the front sliding pillar suspension system that used by Lancia on its Lambda model from around 1922. Lancia continued with sliding pillar suspensions until the 1950s Appia model. Dismantling, inspecting and repairing these parts required some spacial tooling which we did not have. After searching on the net, I located some articles and pictures of the required tooling. Sharing these with Makis, he proceeded with fabricating these tools and eventually, not without considerable effort, he managed to dismantle the parts. Luckily, M.A.R.A. was able to supply some critically needed spare parts to complete the overhaul of the sliding pillar suspension!

The front axle has been reconditioned; the special tooling is deployed to tighten the shock absorber caps of the sliding pillar suspension.

The front axle has been reconditioned; the special tooling is deployed to tighten the shock absorber caps of the sliding pillar suspension.

A better view of the special tooling used for disassembly & reassembly of the sliding pillar 'beast'

A better view of the special tooling used for disassembly & reassembly of the sliding pillar ‘beast’!

Upon inspecting the transaxle, most of its inner parts were found in pretty good condition. In this photo note the extra lubricating pipe for the pinion gears.

Upon inspecting the transaxle, most of its inner parts were found in pretty good condition. In this photo note the extra lubricating pipe for the pinion gears.

All the other parts as brake drums, shoes, pedal assembly, steering box and linkages, rear axle as well as the trademark of the Aurelias, the transaxle (both a transmission, differential and clutch in one compact aluminum housing), were inspected and overhauled by Makis. While at it, the clutch disc and diaphragm were replaced. The nasty surprise came when we realized that the flywheel was missing from the parts trove. Fabio of M.A.R.A came to the rescue once again, pointing to two thicknesses used. ‘Which one do you need? Measure the thickness and let me know’ was his logical question. BUT, what to measure if one does not have the part in hand? After some back and forth, he revealed the little secret: flywheel sizes/widths/weights had a direct relation to the clutch disc diameter. Ipso facto, we could now answer this critical question, since we had a clutch disc in hand to measure and report!

Few of the parts to be reconditioned. The clutch disc and diaphragm were replaced.

Few of the parts to be reconditioned. The clutch disc and diaphragm were replaced.

Having worked on the various sub-assemblies of the car, having ordered and taken delivery of a rather large collection of spare parts from Italy and England, and at the same time Naftis having completed all the preparatory work on the B20S body hulk, the time came for the car to be moved (sans wheels) to the workshop of my friend Costas, where Makis would commence the critical V-6 engine rebuild. Ensuring a safe moving procedure, a special dolly was constructed; the car was placed upon it, fastened down and then loaded to a car transporter truck. At its new friendly guest house, the car would remain for few months until the completion of the engine overhaul and the installation of all the sub-assemblies, i.e. until the end of September 2014.

The rear axle was also reconditioned

The rear axle was also reconditioned along with the De Dion linkages

Same for the steering box and the pedal assembly including the brake master cylinder

Same for the steering box and the pedal assembly including the brake master cylinder

The transaxle and LH brake drum in position

The transaxle and LH brake drum in position

The rear leaf springs were disassembled, tuned and the special rubber insert between the springs fitted. Th hubs and U-joints were also reconditioned/replaced

The rear leaf springs were disassembled, tuned and the special rubber insert between the springs fitted. The hubs and U-joints were also reconditioned/replaced

The engine block after the crankshaft having been machined and balanced

The engine block after the crankshaft having been machined and balanced

A special mention is due for the engine overhaul. Early on Makis and I had visited the machinist shop (apparently one of the most reputable in Athens) to who we entrusted the engine block, crankshaft, new pistons, liners, connecting rods and the two cylinder heads. We bought six new pistons & cylinder liners, while the already reconditioned in England heads were inspected, milled, polished and the valves checked for proper seating. The crankshaft was reground and balanced, new main and con-rod  bearings fitted.

The new cylinder lines on the workshop bench

The new cylinder liners on the workshop bench

A number of other tasks had to be completed. The inner water cooling passages needed scraping and cleaning before the new liners could be installed along with their new O-ring rubber seals. Some studs required rethreading and/or replacement etc, etc. The Zenith carburettor was also entrusted to a specialist for reconditioning and replacing its jets & needle. Ditto for the radiator and fuel tank, brake/front suspension fluid canister which were disassembled, cleaned, pressure tested etc.

The new pistons already mated with the connecting rods

The new pistons already mated with the connecting rods

Makis Efthymiou is rather happy with the progress made so far!

Makis Efthymiou is rather happy with the progress made so far!

For a more thorough photo album documenting in great detail the jobs done by Makis click HERE!

The final stage of these works culminated by the milestone of fitting the engine in the engine bay, a task done on 9/9/14. At the same time both the prop-shafts and gearbox linkage rod were fitted. Several more details need to be addressed as: gas pedal assembly linkage where some additional parts are required and awaited from Italy, installation of the dual piped exhaust system, radiator & plumbing, brake & suspension fluids, clutch & hand-brake linkages, steering wheel etc.

The overhauled V-6 engine is just about ready to be installed in the Aurelia's engine bay!

The overhauled V-6 engine is just about ready to be installed in the Aurelia’s engine bay! (Photo courtesy of Makis Efthymiou).

The B20S on the hoist, with the engine in!

The B20S on the hoist, with the engine in!

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The front end cum engine, sans radiator ;)

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A nice sight! The engine in its home.

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View of the undercarriage, note the new flywheel (black), reconditioned brake master cylinder and the front half of the prop-shaft fitted.

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The rear half of the prop-shaft and the gearbox shift rod fitted. Note the brass fuel pipes leading to the ‘reserve cock vane’ fitted in the passenger side floor board.

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The V-6 2,45 cc engine with the air filter, is now bolted firmly onto the engine bay.

With the steering wheel installed

With the steering wheel installed

With the radiator installed

With the radiator installed

The front end now with the radiator installed

The front end now with the radiator installed

A top quality Facet electric fuel pump was fitted (in addition to the original mechanical one) to facilitate starting of the engine.

A top quality Facet electric fuel pump was fitted (in addition to the original mechanical one) to facilitate starting of the engine.

In addition, a heavy duty fuel filter was installed

In addition, a heavy duty fuel filter was installed

Regarding the hydraulic clutch master cylinder, a special aluminum bracket was machined and secured next to the brake master cylinder. The brake lines piping was insulated from axhaust pipe heat ;in the old way'!

Regarding the hydraulic clutch master cylinder, a special aluminum bracket was machined and now secures also the brake master cylinder. The brake lines piping are insulated from exhaust pipe heat ‘in the old way’!

Afterwards, the partially restored B20S will be transported once again, this time to the electrician’s workshop for fitting a new custom made wiring loom and installing lights, switches, the reconditioned instruments et. al., before we can reach yet another milestone: firing her up! :)

December 2014 update.
@the Electrician. Progress has been slowed down by few factors. Few more parts were needed which took some time to source in Italy. For example the windshield wiper mechanism, needed to be in hand before the dashboard panel and the instruments wiring could be installed. Second, after getting this vital part, the spindles upon which the wiper blades are fastened were shorter. This required careful machining. The list goes on and on.

Continue reading

1957 Lancia Aurelia B20S, Ser.VI

Another 1958 Lancia Aurelia B20 Series VI, painted in AZZURRO AGNANO-CELESTE AURELIA color. This is how our project car will look like when finished. Perfectly matching with the clear sunny sky of Greece!

Another 1958 Lancia Aurelia B20 Series VI, painted in AZZURRO AGNANO-CELESTE AURELIA color. This is how our project car will look like when finished. Perfectly matching with the clear sunny sky of Greece!

A new Project for Athanase & Byron

You can quote us: The Lancia Aurelia is one of the ten most significant automobiles of the twentieth century, and therefore of all time.

Pete Vack, Veloce Today

Getting Acquainted

Lancia emblem ca. 1957

Lancia emblem ca. 1957. The Marque motto is: ELEGANZA IN MOVIMENTO Dal 1906!

Lancia may be a little-known Italian automaker in the United States, but it is one of the oldest and most innovative in existence. This firm, founded in 1906 by F.I.A.T. race driver Vincenzo Lancia, quickly earned a reputation for brilliant and unorthodox engineering, jewel-like build quality and athletic handling. In addition to these virtues, the Turin, Italy-based automaker created the car considered the first modern GT, the 1951 Aurelia Gran Turismo.

That car, built for eight years in six generations (series), embodied all of the characteristics that GT enthusiasts have come to love, including a beautiful body, powerful engine, accommodating interior and sophisticated road manners. Indeed, the fastback Aurelia racked up numerous racing wins, including the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, the Liège-Rome-Liège Rally, and a first in class at Le Mans. The final Series VI cars, built from 1956 through 1958, are the most refined, and carry values that have risen dramatically in recent years, highlighting their rarity and desirability.

The Aurelia GT–commonly called B20 after its factory code–was designed by Gianpaolo Boano at Carrozzeria Ghia, with styling refinement and body production by Pinin Farina. Following Lancia tradition, the monocoque Gran Turismo was more than simply a pretty face: it was powered by the first production V-6 engine, an aluminum OHV design with hemispherical combustion chambers, single or dual carburetors and a 1,991-2,451cc displacement. This engine was mated to a rear-mounted transaxle that combined the gearbox, clutch, differential and inboard-mounted drum brakes; a sliding pillar/coil spring suspension supported the front, while a coil-sprung semi-trailing arm independent–later a De Dion/semi-elliptic leaf spring setup–supported the back of the car.

The B20S6 cutout drawing reveals many of the technical innovations introduced by the Lancia marque at the early 1950's

The B20S6 cutout drawing reveals many of the technical innovations introduced by the Lancia marque at the early 1950’s

The Aurelia GT's interior featured a split front and one-piece rear bench seat, and the four-speed manual gearbox was shifted on the column; a popular and valuable option was the Nardi floor-shift conversion.

The Aurelia GT’s interior featured a split front and one-piece rear bench seat, and the four-speed manual gearbox was shifted on the column; a popular and valuable option was the Nardi floor-shift conversion.

As built, the Aurelia GT’s interior featured a split front and one-piece rear bench seat, and the four-speed manual gearbox was shifted on the column; a popular and valuable option was the Nardi floor-shift conversion. The Series V B20 of 1956, which made 110hp and 124-lbs.ft. of torque, gained a sturdier front axle, a stronger transaxle and a standard Nardi wood rim steering wheel, while 1957-’58 Series VI coupes, making 112hp and 127-lbs.ft. of torque, received vent windows and chrome hood trim; different final drive ratios were fitted each year to offset feature-driven weight gains. It’s believed that 300 Series V Aurelia GTs were built, with 620 Series VIs following in 1957 and 1958: 3,871 units encompassed the entire production run.

Lancias may be low-key, but the groundbreaking Aurelia Gran Turismo has experienced a steep rise in value in the last 40 years. Steve Peterson, president of the American Lancia Club, says, “Aurelias have particularly gone up in value, and their values vary with the Series.” He notes that earlier Series B20s are more highly valued than later examples like our Series V and VI, but even still, “I can’t imagine a good driver going for less than $80,000(*). They’re now attracting a different sort of customer than originally; I think there is a point in value, and Aurelias have reached that point, where cars become investment commodities, and they start to get churned.”

This article originally appeared in the February, 2012 issue of Hemmings Motor News.

(*)Prices of B20 & B24 Aurelias have risen significantly over the last two years. In fact the Sports Car Market SCM 2014 Price Guide on p. 36 lists B20’s at a low $97,500 & high $165,000 with a % Change Note of 30+!

Lancia Aurelia B20 drawing by Athanase!

Lancia Aurelia B20 drawing by Athanase!

A B20 silhouette drawing by Athanase!

A B20 silhouette drawing by Athanase

Our newly acquired B20S #1548 project 

During one of our recent private Garage Nights in mid Feb. 2014 at Alex V.’s place, Athanase and myself had just returned from our RETROMOBILE 2014 Paris, France visit, with the intent to show about 800+ photographs to the guys via a projector on a 2x2m. white screen. Over pizzas and vino rosso, the talk circled about a certain Italian project car which a mutual friend was considering of selling. It was a late Series VI Lancia Aurelia GT, carrying the factory code name B20S (S=sinistra, i.e. equipped with LHD), bearing a VIN 1548, denoting a car assembled on Friday 3rd May of 1957 and finished on Wednesday 5th June, coincidentally just one day before my birthday! See the ‘Registro Aurelia’ report: Dati Aurelia B20s 1548

The Lancia Aurelia B20S as we first saw her (end Feb. 2014)

The Lancia Aurelia B20S as we first saw her (end Feb. 2014)

The Pininfarina made Scocca (body) bears Serial No. 0552

The Pininfarina made Scocca (body) bears Serial No. 0552

Only 420 B20 examples were made during that year, before production ended next year with an additional 312 units. In total, from the introduction of the Coupé in 1951 up to 1958 only 2.640 units were made, hence a rare car indeed. This Aurelia was imported to Greece by our friend John K. few years ago from England, as it’s previous owner was an elderly British gent who walked out of the project, but quite luckily, had also acquired a second ‘basket case’ B20 as a parts donor platform. After clearing Greek customs and filling a room with her generous dowry of parts, John ventured into a slow paced restoration process entrusting the V6 engined car to an out of Athens body shop. The half started project by the Brit had progressed somewhat under John’s stewardship by rectifying usual rot areas for the model, such as door sills, treating wheel arches etc., etc. Needless to say, the original floorboards were in solid condition and required little attention!

A view of the many unopened parts which accompany the B20S.

A view of the many unopened parts which accompany the B20S.

Immediately a rendezvous to inspect the car was arranged and one sunny morning in late Feb. my childhood friend Athanase and my self drove the 200km distance to Argos, all along discussing the pros and cons of a 50/50 restoration venture together. John met us at the town’s entry bridge and we immediately went to the body shop to see and photograph the B20. After that session we went to downtown Argos to see the room full of spare parts, featuring among the various double items, two engine blocks and countless of unopened packages. A trove yes, but what a challenging task it would be to open them all up, sort, photograph each item, identify their part numbers, catalogue them, and most importantly determine which parts are missing and would need to be sourced. A Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson affair.

Two engine blocks

Among the many parts, there are two engine blocks

Over lunch at the nearby historic town of Nafplion, the car’s dossier was reviewed, establishing that her factory color was the mellow Azzurro (light sky blue) Lechler code: NF 8012, Name: AZZURRO AGNANO-CELESTE AURELIA, while over Espresso coffees a win-win deal was outlined. Armed with over 80 photos in the can, we drove back to Athens and slept on the whole project idea. Upon downloading the photos and viewing them on my iMac’s big screen, a lot of details pertaining to the car’s condition, usually not so obvious to the naked eye, were revealed. Such will be quite useful to us during the restoration process and will also serve us in building up the car’s dossier with ‘before & afterdocumentation. The steering column and box, front and rear suspension components including the drive shaft, transaxle cum inner drum brakes, all need to be removed, repaired and restored. Then the naked body would need to be rotisseried and treated accordingly. Considering all these factors, we made our detailed offer which through the good and friendly mediation services of Alex V., was finally accepted by John. Ipso facto, we are now taking possession of this handsome GT aiming to do an appropriate restoration.

The original trunk floor & floorboards attest to the car’s overall solid condition

The original trunk floor & floorboards attest to the car’s overall solid condition

6th March 2014: the B20S arrived in Athens!

The B20-1548 Italian Registration Log! We are grateful to Corrado Bellabarbas for his excellent research services! :)

The B20-1548 Italian Registration Log! We are grateful to Corrado Bellabarbas for his excellent research services! :)

On the evening of 6th March 2014, the B20 arrived in Athens on a transporter truck, while another closed van in escort carried all her dowry of parts. John K. who oversaw in person the transport, also handed us three thick dossiers which contain the car’s history as recorded by its meticulous previous British owner, Peter W. Hudson of Leeds, Yorks. For example we now know that the B20 was imported to the UK from Italy on 1st August 1966 assigned the registration KUC91D, while her last Italian license plate No. was Roma 377510.  Previous registrations include Roma 301413 while the initial registration was 23328 AP. We also now know that the first owner of B20S-1548 was Silvano Bernabei from Rome (from November 25, 1957 to January 13, 1958). We are still checking if Silvano was related (son) to Inico Bernabei of Cisitalia 202 Cassone fame. Fast forward to today, her Greek Historic Vehicle plates now are I.O. 5875.

The British MOT Registration card.

The British MOT Registration card.

The plan was to position the car and parts into my Garage for inspection, parts sorting, cataloging etc, before assigning her to the body shop of choice for continuing the restoration under our custody. Few pictures and a video clip from that milestone day follow:

The B20S arrived in Athens

The B20S arrived in Athens under light drizzle

Being guided down the ramp

Being guided down the ramp

Positioned in my Garage

Parked in my Garage with the radiator grill positioned. The new exhaust pipes and the bumpers are stored under the car. The B20 was easily maneuvered by placing the rear wheels on two hydraulic transport rollers (dolly’s).

The B20 engine block sans cylinder heads

The B20 V-6 2.5 Liter engine block sans cylinder heads

Another dream may come true

In the 1951 Mille Miglia, Giovanni Bracco and Umberto Maglioli, driving the B20 GT Series I (1991cc, 91bhp) with No. 332 finishing second behind the Scuderia Ferrari 340 America! It was the first appearance of the Aurelia Series I.

In the 1951 Mille Miglia, Giovanni Bracco and Umberto Maglioli, driving the B20 GT Series I (1991cc, 91bhp) with No. 332 finishing second behind the Scuderia Ferrari 340 America! It was the first appearance of the Aurelia Series I.

For some time in the past I was dreaming about what a ‘once in life-time’ experience it would be for motor heads like us to be in a position to enter into the Historic Mille Miglia. This notion was reinforced in October of 2013 when we had the pleasure of meeting in Athens with Stefano Pasini, a well known and respected ophthalmologist, writer-journalist, a car and audio enthusiast and also involved in the Organizing Committee of the MM! It suddenly clicked that owning a true MM eligible GT, this dream is a lot closer to becoming real… It is befitting to mention of the B20’s racing achievements, even briefly: These cars proved to be highly successful in competition, with perhaps the Aurelia’s most shocking achievement occurring at the 1951 Mille Miglia. The factory entered four Aurelias, and the B20 GT Mark 1 of Giovanni Bracco and Umberto Maglioli soon left the 2-liter competitors behind and began closing on the overall leaders, who were piloting cars with 50% to 100% more displacement. In the torrential rain, the 2.0 liter 80hp Aurelia closed five minutes on the leading 4.1 liter Ferrari 340 in the second to last leg alone, and was still closing at the end of the event, placing second overall! The Aurelia lost by 20 minutes in a 13 hour race, amply demonstrating the capability of both drivers and car. The Aurelia met with countless other competition successes, including another class win on the Mille Miglia plus further class victories at the Le Mans 24-hours, Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti, Pescara 6-hours, Carrera Panamericana and Targa Florio, among others.

The future will reveal if this dream will one day become a reality…

Some specifics

 Given that Athanase has recently restored few classics (among them a Fiat 500, a Jaguar Mk II etc.), plus has recommissioned a Viotti and an Alfa Romeo Junior ‘Scalino’, likewise I have completed two ground-up projects, involving a 1967 Mercedes-Benz 250SE Coupé (W111) and a 1962 VW Käfer 1200 (Beetle Typ 113), we have set up the following ‘works to be done’ outline pertaining to our restoration procedure:

  • Engineering and Mechanicals (mainly completing the body works)
  • Engine reassembly
  • Transmission
  • Suspension and Brakes
  • Electrical (including a new wiring loom)
  • Paintwork and Exterior
  • Interior
  • Reassembly, testing and running in.

Our primary goals for this project are:

  • Finish with as an original B20S example as possible, but improve the cooling
  • Complete the project by December of 2014 and have it FIVA registered as an A/3 class
  • In time for filing an application to participate in the MM 2015

Lancia Aurelia B20 GT Specs

Engine

  • Configuration: 60º V6
  • Location: Front, longitudinally mounted
  • Construction: alloy block and head
  • Displacement: 2.451 liter / 149.6 cu in
  • Bore / Stroke: 78.0 mm (3.1 in) / 85.5 mm (3.4 in)
  • Compression: 8.0:1
  • Valvetrain: 2 valves / cylinder, OHV
  • Fuel feed: Weber 40 Carburettor
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
  • Power: 118 bhp / 88 KW @ 5000 rpm
  • Torque: 172 Nm / 127 ft lbs @ 3500 rpm
  • BHP/Liter: 48 bhp / liter

Drivetrain

  • Chassis: unitary steel
  • Front suspension: Lancia sliding pillar, semi-elliptic leaf spring
  • Rear suspension: DeDion axle, semi-elliptic leaf spring
  • Steering: worm and sector
  • Brakes: drums, all-round
  • Gearbox: 4 speed Manual
  • Drive: Rear wheel drive

Dimensions

  • Weight: 1050 kilo / 2314.9 lbs
  • Length / Width / Height: 4370 mm (172 in) / 1550 mm (61 in) / 1400 mm (55.1 in)
  • Wheelbase / Track (fr/r): 2660 mm (104.7 in) / 1280 mm (50.4 in) / 1300 mm (51.2 in)

Performance figures

  • Power to weight: 0.11 bhp / kg
  • Top Speed: 180 km/h (112 mph)
  • 0-60 mph: 12.3 s

Auctions

Past sales:

Resources

Useful links:

A list of Aurelia owners past and present:

  • Fangio
  • Mike Hawthorne
  • Leslie Hawthorn
  • The Earl of March [see his video below]
  • Jay Leno
  • Riccardo Patrese’s father.
  • Anthony Pritchard (Writer and Historian)
  • Mike Wilson
  • Francois Chevalier (Owner of Paul Ricard Circuit)
  • Boncompagni (Ferrari Racing Driver)
  • Jean Behra
  • John Savage (President of the Lancia Motor Club)

Racing career:

Access this link for a brief pictorial of the Aurelia GT racing history: http://viva-lancia.com/aurelia/sport.htm

General figures:
Data covers years: 1951-1959
Number of events: 59 (including 1 race where did not start)
Total entries: 251 (contains 167 finishes and 70 retirements, finishing ratio: 70%)
Photos in Gallery: 2 (0% of all entries)
Achievements:
Wins: 4 Additional class wins 20
Second place finishes: 7 Top 3 finishes 1
Third place finishes: 10 Races finished on podium 15
Best result (count): 1st (4x) Pole positions 0
Notes of interest:

Most frequent drivers: Enrico Anselmi (12), “Ippocampo” (9), Gino Valenzano (9), Felice Bonetto (9), Salvatore Ammendola (9), Antonio Pozzato (8), Giovanni Bracco (6), Ugo Piperno (6), Roberto Piodi (5), Ferdinando Gatta (5), Mario Giobellina (5), Luigi Fagioli (4)
Most frequent chassis: B20-1508 (9), B20-1010 (6), B20-1510 (4), B20-1506 (3), B20-1511 (2), B20S-1228 (2), B20-2254 (1), B20-1505 (1), B20-1005 (1)
Most frequent tracks: Mille Miglia (99), Coppa delle Dolomiti (48), Giro di Sicilia (26), Targa Florio (15), Monza (10), Coppa della Toscana (6), Carrera Panamericana (6), Giro dell’Umbria (5), Giro delle Calabria (5), Monaco (4), Pescara (4), Trofeo Sardo (3)
Most frequent countries: I (225), MEX (6), F (5), MC (4), A (4), P (2), CH (2), BS (2), YU (1)

Source: www.racingsportscars.com. For the extended Race Results of the Aurelias click HERE!

The B20GT Series II in the 1952 Mille Miglia of Luigi Fagioli & Vincenzo Borghi

The B20GT Series II in the 1952 Mille Miglia of Luigi Fagioli & Vincenzo Borghi

The B20GT Series III in the 1953 Mille Miglia of Luigi Anselmi & Luigi Maggio

The B20GT Series III in the 1953 Mille Miglia of Luigi Anselmi & Luigi Maggio

The B20GT of Antonio Pucci placing 10th in the 1953 Targa Florio

The B20GT of Antonio Pucci placing 10th in the 1953 Targa Florio

The Bracco D20GT in the 1951 Carrera Panamericana race

The Bracco D20GT in the 1951 Carrera Panamericana race

The D20GT with the mighty Mercedes-Benz 300 at the 1952 Carrera Panamericana in Mexico.

The D20GT with the mighty Mercedes-Benz 300 at the 1952 Carrera Panamericana in Mexico.

To Be Continued sign

More updates of the restoration work progress are here!

© Byron E. Riginos, Kifissia, Greece, 2014. (ver. 1.3)

A long time dream comes true! My ‘new’ 82 years old Ford Model A

Ford Mod. A w. ATWATER KENT logo

Emmanuel Riginos’ Ford Model A Tudor bearing the Atwater Kent radios logo. On the fender posing, his brother Alecos

Readers of my Blog may have seen a previous post titled: My next classic/veteran car investment? dating 11th May 2011. In that post I was sharing my desire to acquire one day a prewar classic and more specifically a Ford Model A, similar to a car that my father Emmanuel Riginos owned in the 1930’s in Athens, Greece.

Hence the famous line of Dr. Martin Luther King I have a dream seems befitting. This dream started many years ago when upon shuffling through old family photographs, I discovered few pictures of my Father’s car in the 1930’s. It was a Ford Model A Tudor.

I was looking at these pictures and was wondering about what kind of driving experiences, sounds, smells etc such a car would offer. Slowly the idea to obtain one day such a car settled in my mind. To boot, one evening at the PHILPA Club, Dimitri Vernardakis, our President, told me this: ‘Byron you ought to get yourself a prewar car’, an advise that was never forgotten.

The Car at the Classic Car Auctions premises in Canton Ohio awaiting shipment

The Car at the Classic Motorcar Auctions premises in Canton Ohio awaiting shipment

Recently (Spring 2013) that dream became a reality. After an extended search in Europe and in the USA markets, with the help of few good friends, this particular example was found in Canton, Ohio, inspected, serviced and a deal to buy was concluded in mid April 2013. Soon after the car was loaded on a closed transport heading to New Jersey Container Terminal Port from where it was placed in a 20 Foot container and shipped to Piraeus. Of course I was in great anticipation to see and drive the old lady, as this acquisition marked the first time of buying a car from far away without having seen it up close myself…

Special thanks go to my good friends Alex Vazeos, an Etceterini cars collector and Myron Vernis of Glenmoor Gathering Concours d’Elegance who have been instrumental for my ‘Dream to Come True'; plus to my new friend Bob Lichty of Classic Motorcar Auctions who ‘pro-bono’ looked after all the details of the deal, the US title change, fund transfers, getting the car serviced and arranging shipment from Canton, Ohio to New Jersey!

The Model A is being loaded onto an enclosed car transport for the journey from Canton, Ohio to New Jersey Port

The Model A is being loaded onto an enclosed car transport for the journey from Canton, Ohio to New Jersey Port

Loaded in the 20' container and secured for the transatlantic crossing

Loaded in the 20′ container and secured for the transatlantic crossing

24th April update: The car was booked on the vessel ZIM Rio Grande 46E sailing on 10th May 13 and arrived in Piraeus on Saturday 1st June 2013; provided it would clear Greek customs in time, what a nice June 6th birthday present that would be!

The ZIM Rio Grande Contaner Vessel brought the car to me :)

The ZIM Rio Grande Container Vessel brought the car to me! :)

June 7th update: finally chasing the delayed arrival or the US Title within the Kifissia Postal Sortation Office, on Friday June 7th the car, via the adept services of the PHILPA Customs Clearing Agent, namely Elias Athanasoulas [many thanks Elias, well done!], cleared the bureaucracy and the 20” Container was loaded on a trailer truck bed. Then it was taken to a nearby container depot, for placing the box on the ground, thus making the unloading procedure quite easy. The photos and the video clip capture these memorable moments and trace the car resting in company with other cars of my collection safely in my Garage.

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Unloading the Container from the semi-trailer

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The moment of truth! First glimpse of my much awaited ‘new’ car! Upon opening the container doors a distinctive ‘old American car’ smell oozed out. Immediately, the unfastening and chock removal procedure commenced.

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Behind the wheel for the first time: rolling the car out of the container

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Next task, loaded the car onto a transporter for taking her to my trusted mechanic John ‘Motorman’ Palmos for the first inspection and start-up

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On its way from Piraeus to the North of Athens; many hoots and thumbs up on the way :)

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My friend Robert Smith behind the wheel, taking her out for a first test drive after adjusting the advance timing

June 16th update: the FMA underwent a ‘crash detailing’ service undertaken by Mike Tsaltas of www.swell.gr in an effort to be ready for its first public appearance in Greece, participating in the Parade of the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013” event. In between my good friend Robert Smith offered his knowledgeable services for adjusting the timing and expediting the car’s technical inspection for obtaining its ‘historic car’ FIVA card certification and license plates.

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Changing gears on a fully unsynchronized 82 year old gearbox requires ‘old car drivemanship’, a talent Robert has in abundance (owner of a 1918 Ford Model T among other prewar and classics).

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Mike ‘Swell’ Tsaltas doing his magic on the soiled rag-top

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At the same time a horde of accessories and spare parts sourced from Mac’s Antique Ford Parts are gradually being fitted, improving the car’s appearance and operation

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Part of the fun for many car collectors is the ‘deepening knowledge’ for the newly acquired model. Manuals, schematics, reference books, memorabilia etc help to enhance the experience…

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Mike’s assistant George ‘swelling’ the running boards

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Among the accessories, the Ford logoed headlight protective covers go well with the radiator stone guard option, to be proved useful when rallying ;)

Front radiator view with the stone guard, 'my b-d' bespoke license plate, and the Quail Motometer radiator cap

Front radiator view with the stone guard, ‘my b-d’ bespoke license plate, and the PHILPA-Antique Car Club of Greece badge

Detail of the Quail Motometer radiator cap

Detail of the Flying Quail with Motometer radiator cap

The RH engine bay after having been detailed

The RH engine bay after having been detailed

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View of the LH engine bay after having been detailed

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The Data Patent and Body Number templates on the firewall indicating S/N 4558478, which means that this car was produced during May 1931

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The cabin of the Roadster after being swelled. The seat belts are a modern accessory but allowed by the Judging standards for safety reasons

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The pedal area after being swelled

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The dashboard after being swelled

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The frugal instrument panel of the Model A

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The dual side mounted spare wheels along with the cowl lights where part of the standard accessories for the Deluxe model B-40 version

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Side mounted spare wheel detail

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The RH license plate indicates the car model year

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The wire spoke wheels are fitted with a set of white wall tires

Detail of the side windwing mounts and top release butterfly

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Side view of the car after being swelled

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Front view of the car after being swelled

Side view of the car after being swelled

Rear view of the car after being swelled

We made the race against the clock and the car did motor proudly and took its place among other historic vehicles, parading in front of thousand car loving spectators :)

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In good company with a 1934 MG PA at the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013′ Parade

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In good company with a 1934 MG PA and a 1926 Chevrolet SK Tourer at the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013′ Parade

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Parading at the track of the ‘2nd PHILPA TATOI CIRCUIT 2013′

Next event: the ’42nd PHILPA International Rally’ in the Peloponnese during Sept. 2013.

About Ford Model A’s

The History of the Model A 1928-31

1929 Ford Mod. A Roadster

1929 Ford Mod. A Roadster

Introduced to the public in late 1927 as a “New Ford Car,” the Ford Model A could trace its roots all the way back to the establishment of the Ford Motor Company in 1903. Actually, the first car produced by the developing auto manufacturer was labeled the Model A. Henry Ford would work his way through a series of letter designations for his automotive creations before settling on the successful formula that would become the Model T. In the years that followed, as America’s roads and driveways filled with Model T’s, Henry Ford would remain reluctant to significantly tamper with his beloved car’s design.

Henry Ford portrait

Henry Ford portrait

It was only in the face of plummeting sales by the mid 1920’s, the result of a buying public that sought the modern upgrades offered by Ford’s competitors, that Ford finally relented. In an unusual business move, Ford halted production of the Model T in May of 1927, shutting down the entire production operation for 6 months to allow for retooling and final development of the new Model A Ford.

1928-29 Standard Coupe

1928-29 Standard Coupe

A Ford Mod. A Coupe being assembled.

A Ford Mod. A Coupe being assembled.

Working under an impossible deadline, Ford managed to get the design and production requirements in place for the release of the “New Ford Car” by November of 1927. Henry’s son, Edsel Ford, had unsuccessfully tried to convince his father to abandon the Model T years earlier. Unbeknown to his father, Edsel had been secretly working on the development of a new car and would ultimately play a significant role in the design of what would become the Ford Model A.

A Ford Model A Roadster body ready to be mounted on its chassis.

A Ford Model A Roadster body ready to be mounted on its chassis.

Ford Mod. A's being assembled at the Rouge line.

Ford Mod. A’s being assembled at the
Rouge line.

Unlike its predecessor, the Model T, which was the result of an evolving process of design, the Model A was designed, complete, from the ground up. The Model A was truly a “New Ford Car.” Mechanical upgrades for the Model A Ford included a new 3-speed transmission, hydraulic shock absorbers, and four-wheel mechanical brakes. Other significant improvements were an electric starter, water pump, speedometer and gas gauge, and the introduction of Triplex safety glass. The styling of the Ford Model A, elegant and integrated compared to the Model T, brought Ford into the modern era with a vehicle that looked more like a car and less like a horseless carriage.

A period Ford Salesroom featuring Ford Model A's.

A period Ford Salesroom featuring Ford Model A’s.

The first Mod. A was delivered on Jan. 26, 1928.

The first Mod. A was delivered on Jan. 26, 1928.

Henry Ford created a sense of hype and mystery surrounding the release of the Model A Ford, relying on the media to reach the buying public and generate interest in the “New Ford Car.” Shortly after the Ford Model A was made available to the public on December 2, 1927, orders for the new car far exceeded supply. Ford scrambled to increase production and by mid 1928, producing up to 4,000 cars per day, was still not meeting the buying publics demand. In an effort to meet demand, Ford steadily boosted production, peaking at around 9,200 cars per day by June of 1930.

During its four-year production run, the Model A Ford would be offered in a wide variety of car and truck body styles. For 1928, Ford offered several different style passenger car bodies:

Early Ford Mod A. Fordoor

Early Ford Mod A. Fordor

Standard Phaeton, Standard Roadster, Standard Coupe, Special Coupe, Sport Coupe, Business Coupe, Tudor Sedan, Town Car, and Leatherback Fordor Sedan. Truck bodies included: Open Cab Pickup, Closed Cab Pickup, Pickup (box), “A” Panel Delivery, “AA” Panel Delivery, and Deluxe Delivery.

In 1929, Ford expanded the options for passenger car body styles by adding the Steelback Fordor, Cabriolet, Station Wagon, both Murray and Briggs versions of the Town Sedan, as well as Murray and Briggs versions of the Standard Fordor. The Standard Fordor (2 window) was also introduced. Options for truck bodies remained the same from the previous year.

For 1930, the Leatherback and Steelback Fordors, as well as the Special and Business Coupes, would be dropped from the lineup. New passenger car bodies included the Deluxe Phaeton, Deluxe Roadster, Deluxe Coupe, Deluxe Fordor (2 window) and Victoria. Truck body options included the addition of the Deluxe Delivery and Panel Delivery (drop floor), Special Delivery, Town Car Delivery, “AA” Panel Delivery and the “AA” Deluxe Delivery.

Introductory Period Brochure

Introductory Period Brochure

The Story of the New Ford Car poster.

The Story of the New Ford Car poster.

The year 1931, was the final of Ford Model A production, would mark the most extensive offering of passenger car and truck body styles in the vehicle’s brief history. New passenger cars for 1931 were the Deluxe Tudor, Slant Window Cabriolet, Slant Window Standard Fordor, Slant Window Town Sedan, Slant Window Deluxe Fordor (Blindback) and Convertible Sedan. The Standard Fordor (2 window) and Town Car were no longer offered. For truck bodies, a Deluxe Pickup and a wide bed Pickup (box) were introduced.

Like the rest of the nation, the Ford Motor Company would endure the effects of the economic Depression that began with the stock market crash in October of 1929. Despite reducing prices for 1931, Ford continued to see a steady decline of new car sales.

Perhaps learning from his mistake of sticking with the Model T long after the public regarded it as outdated, Henry Ford had been actively working on a new design for 1932. The successful development of the new V8 Ford for 1932 would ultimately put an end to the short but successful run for “Henry’s Lady,” the Model A Ford.

A FMA Coupe in the snow!

A FMA Coupe in the snow!

President Franklin Roosevelt in a Ford Mod. A Roadster.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) is sitting in a 1929 Model A Ford 68A Convertible Cabriolet.

Summary of models produced: Ford Model A Standard Phaeton, Standard Roadster, Standard Coupe, Special Coupe, Sport Coupe, Business Coupe, Tudor Sedan, Town Car, Leatherback Fordor Sedan, Open Cab Pickup, Closed Cab Pickup, Pickup (box), “A” Panel Delivery, “AA” Panel Delivery, Deluxe Delivery, Steelback Fordor, Cabriolet, Station Wagon, both Murray and Briggs versions of the Town Sedan, as well as Murray and Briggs versions of the Standard Fordor, Standard Fordor (2 window), Deluxe Phaeton, Deluxe Roadster, Deluxe Coupe, Deluxe Fordor (2 window), Victoria, Panel Delivery (drop floor), Special Delivery, Town Car Delivery, “AA” Deluxe Delivery, Deluxe Tudor, Slant Window Cabriolet, Slant Window Standard Fordor, Slant Window Town Sedan, Slant Window Deluxe Fordor (Blindback), Convertible Sedan, Deluxe Pickup and Wide Bed Pickup (box).

Almost every Ford Mod. A car body will be found in this gathering!

Almost every Ford Mod. A car body will be found in this gathering!

From the same FMA gathering.

From the same FMA gathering.

Fun Facts:

  • Riding the roads and the airwaves. The Ford Model A was the subject of the 1928 song, “Henry’s Made a Lady Out of Lizzie,” which sang the praises of Ford’s new addition to the road.
  • The first Model A Ford engine, stamped “A1” by Henry Ford himself on October 20, 1927, was put in a Tudor Sedan that Ford personally drove and tested before giving final approval to begin production of the car. At Henry Ford’s request, the engine was eventually placed in a 1928 Phaeton that was reserved in Dearborn for the use of his friend and fellow innovator, Thomas Edison.

    Henry Ford punches the engine number on the first Ford Model A off the assembly line.

    Henry Ford punches the engine number on the first Ford Model A off the assembly line.

  • The 20 Millionth Ford was a 1931 Ford Model A 160-B Slant Windshield Town Sedan. Accompanied off the assembly line by Henry and Edsel Ford, the black car was lettered on the sides and, so it could be seen from the air, the roof, with “The Twenty Millionth Ford.” The Sedan would be taken on a tour of the U.S., stopping at nearly every Ford territory and dealer along the way. Rumored to be lost in a fire sometime after the publicity tour, the car was discovered in Michigan in 1999. After Ford determined it was indeed “The Twenty Millionth Ford,” the company agreed to lease the car from its current owner. Ford then devoted their resources to a complete restoration of the car in preparation for their 2003 Centennial celebration. As part of the lease agreement, the Town Sedan will be displayed at Ford World Headquarters for the following 10 years.
The Twenty Millionth Ford Model A was a Fordor!

The Twenty Millionth Ford Model A was an 8 window 1931 Ford Model A 160-B Slant Windshield Town Sedan!

Henry Ford and his son Edsel in front od a Mod. A Fordor.

Henry Ford and his son Edsel in front od a Mod. A Fordor.

Text Sourced from: www.macsautoparts.com

Greece in the 1930’s

A period advertisement from the first Ford distributor in Greece, J. Kontellis & Co.

A period advertisement from the first Ford distributor in Greece, J. Kontellis & Co.

Finally, few pictures of our Father’s (Emmanuel V. Riginos) 1929 Ford Mod. A Tudor which he brought to Greece upon his return from an extended 15 year period of immigration to the USA. Upon his return to his homeland, he also brought (importing & distributing) the Atwater Kent radios to Greece in the late 20’s – early 30’s.
He used a 1930 Ford Model A Tudor as his car and on the door panels the round “Atwater Kent Radios” logo was affixed.

Ford Mod. A & KENT RADIO

Here Emmanuel and his brother Alekos Riginos admire a newly erected street side advertisement of the ‘Kent Radio’.

Ford Mod. A w. ATWATER KENT logo


He used a 1930 Ford Model A Tudor as his car and on the door panels the round “Atwater Kent Radios” logo was affixed.

Riginos Bros&Atwater car breakdown-ca.1939

The Ford Model A has broken down! The agony of the moment is captured on the faces of Emmanuel and his other brother George Riginos’s faces.

Manolis Riginos Ford Model A Tudor, bearing Greek License Plate No. 30914.

External links:

Model A Ford Reference Sheet, Owners Manual, and Help

Model A Ford Club of America

Model A Restorers Club

The Model A Barnyard

Ford Model A Assembly Plant in Edgewater NJ

www.fordbarn.com

My YouTube Ford Model A Playlist

Model A/AA Ford Websites

Internal Link:

My Next Classic/Veteran Car Investment?

The VW Käfer is back on the streets!

The finished 1962 VW Beetle made its first 'after the restoration' appearance during the '9th Concours d'Elegance PHILPA 2012'.

The finished 1962 VW Beetle made its first ‘after the restoration’ appearance during the ‘9th Concours d’Elegance PHILPA 2012′.

I am pleased to report that at long last my 1962 VW Käfer restoration project has been completed successfully! And just in time to enter the car in the “9th Concours d’Elegance PHILPA 2012“. The ‘spare no expense’ restoration project lasted about nine months and by all accounts the result is quite stunning.

Picking up the thread of the story since the previous post detailing the process, I add few words before completing the project; the car was loaded on a transporter from the body shop heading to the upholsterer, Christos Tsadilas. There, the TMI upholstery kits were fitted to the car, the front windshield was replaced along with new rubber seals, the carpet kit was improved and fitted.

Here is a short video clip from the unloading sequence:

Afterwards the car was taken to the electrician Stefanos Tokatlian (who had fitted the new wiring loom and had done all the connections), for fitting the new Blaupunkt Frankfurt radio sourced from Koenigs Klassik Radios, plus few other details.

Several last minute missing items were sourced from Oval Dean who carry BBT stock items in Athens, before the car was declared ready. On the first drive home along the highway, the speedo climbed to 110 kph without any hesitation or drama.

The renovated little car with matching numbers is intended to be driven regularly, has normal licenese plates and is pledged to my wife Ivi as a birthday present :-)

Enjoy the photo album here below.

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The body shell (and all parts) has been surfaced immediately after the sandblasting.

The Restoration Project of the 1962 VW Käfer continues

Several friends who know about my venture into the deep waters of yet another ‘ground-up restoration’ project have been asking about its progress. Well here is an update.

After having separated the body from the rolling chassis (see previous post by clicking here), two main tasks have been taken care of:

  • Sandblasting the body shell and it’s already removed parts (bonnet, deck lid, doors, fenders etc.),
  • determining the actual condition of the car and drawing up a ‘parts required’ list

The verdict (and the lesson learned) is that if one plunges into a restoration project, ‘you either do it right or do not do it at all’. What I mean is that only after one skins the shell (in this case by sandblasting), can truly assess the actual condition of the metal, which more often than not, in old cars has been surfaced by several coats of body filler and paint, effectively hiding its true condition. Nasty surprises uncovered? Oh! yes. The bonnet (or front trunk hood) has been badly treated apparently after a front end collision. Ditto for the apron. The spare wheel well bottom looked like a strainer with several pit holes. The door bottom part has been treated badly from a rust attack. The rear deck lid (engine hood) as well as the lower heater channel areas had its own rust malaise’s. All these parts are characterized as ‘B.L.R.’ (i.e. Beyond Local Repair) and need to be replaced.

Back to the drawing board. That is the list of spare parts required grew longer than initially anticipated. While sourcing parts on the Internet is a great boon for any restorer, believe me the task of searching, identifying parts, comparing prices, determining delivery availability and summing up the costs from many vendors is a very time-consuming job! I ended up breaking the purchase orders from three sources: VW Heritage in England, Custom Speed Parts in Germany and BBT4VW.com in Belgium via its local new agent and friend Oval Dean Parts. Orders were placed, screened, verified, negotiated and awaited for taking delivery. Overall about 200 items were included in the lists. Few days ago I took partial deliveries from the three suppliers while back orders are still outstanding and will be forthcoming in the near future.

Blaupunkt Frankfurt radio for VW Beetles

And what about a period correct sound system? To my rescue comes a great German classic car radios provider (who supplied the Becker radio for my Mercedes-Benz 250SE Coupé), the firm www.koenigs-klassik-radios.de. The proper radio model, the Blaupunkt Frankfurt special car radio for VW beetle and speaker plus antenna and iPod/iPhone/iPad cable have also been selected. What about the cost of all these parts? Way out of my initial budget calculations. But as I said, you either do it or you don’t! No regrets as the end result will be such a good one which will certainly make me feel proud! :-)

So here is a brief slide-show of the tasks at hand so far. We now have plenty of spare parts to go on with the Käfer restoration.

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June Update:

The rolling chassis has been treated and repainted.

The restoration works are progressing at a slower pace than I would have liked but as the proverbial saying “it takes some time to cook a good meal”, I have now complaints. The gear box has been entrusted to Labros Dimitriou in Melissia, the half axles and rear drums have been removed and now repainted while the sourcing of parts is underway to replace the faulty synchronizer rings before the box is reassembled and complete.

Similarly the floor pan has been scraped and repainted by my guys at A & B For Cars. More rusty spots have been treated and some hand-made metal parts have been skillfully fabricated. My new friend Tassos Baxevanakis has been most helpful in sourcing used but in excellent condition major body parts as front hood, rear deck lid and both doors. The hard to find correct 1926 rear engine lid was found and shipped from Sweden! Both front and rear aprons have been replaced by new parts and the front hood has been fitted.

The TMI Co. interior upholstery kit has arrived!

Just a week ago three parcels arrived from England, shipped by VW Heritage, containing all the important TMI Co. upholstery kits. Boy do their quality and perfection will make my “De Luxe” Beetle looking so good when finished. ;-)

This question jumps-up. WHEN? To be frank I have no idea. There is so much more ground to cover. With almost all the required parts now gathered, on that department we look good. But the summer months are already upon us. That translates to more delays as shops will close for summer vacations and so on. Mentally I will set a target for the Bug to be back in the streets of Athens in her reincarnated form by the middle of September. As it was similar in the case of my Mercedes-Benz 250SE Coupe project, I would like to have the car ready to participate in the PHILPA 41st International Rally 2012, a major Regularity event this year taking the streets of Pelion (see here: 41st In’t Rally 2102 English).

July-August Update:

The rear apron had to be aligned and made to fit properly…

During July and most of August the progress of the restoration was slow due to a number of problems which had to be resolved. First the LH door that was sourced proved to be of a slightly later model year and had to be modified around the hinge areas to make it fit. The engine lid which was sourced from Sweden also required some metal work to treat some rust and fit the handle cylinder lock to an oversized hole.The rear apron which was sourced as a new replacement part from CSP Germany was way out of spec in terms of size and form. Plenty of hours were spent to make it true. The RH side windshield post was damaged to the extent that a replacement was sought. This proved to be difficult, so my body shop guys had to also spend extra time to heat it up, reform it and bring it back to spec, ensuring a good fit for the windshield glass without water ingress from the rubber seal.

Having overcome these challenges successfully, the body became ready for its final treatment and preparations before entering the paint oven. As planned, the color had to be the same as per the original specs of the factory, as attested in the ‘Zertifikat”, i.e. the L 469 Anthracite.  In early August of 2012, the color recipe was cooked by Master Painter Costa Vitaliotis  and the Käfer shell was carefully and lovingly resprayed.

Milestone moment: the Bug has be repainted to its original factory Anthracite L469 color!

At the same time, two other tasks were taken care of. First the old, original gear box was rebuilt as the synchro mesh of the

The gear box is refitted to the rolling chassis and mated with the engine.

2nd gear had weakened. Upon inspection, the 1st gear mesh was also replaced as did all the seals and axle boots. Prior to reassembly, the half axles were repainted black as well as the drum assemblies. The completed g-box looked nice while the first test drive will prove if the ‘surgery’ was successful.

Second, the old seat covers were removed from the seat frames and the frames were scrubbed and painted in light ivory as per their original color. Next, a friendly upholsterer was recommended by a friend who was doing up the interior of his newly acquired 1962 Jaguar Mk II and was quite happy with the quality of his workmanship. One hot afternoon I loaded up all the seat frames along with the TMI Inc. upholstery kits and ventured to west side Athens to meet my new collaborator, Christos Tsadilas.  After inspecting his work on my friend’s Jag, touching bases and helping him to file an application for a FIVA card on his Dodge Charger classic, a deal was struck ‘on the interior job’ and we agreed to bring the car to him prior to fitting the front and rear windshields so that he could also fit the new headliner.

The engine-trans-axle-gear box assembly has been refitted to the rolling chassis.

Finally back at the A & B For Cars body shop, the guys started to reassemble the trans-axle and engine onto the reconditioned chassis. All the engine tinware and fan doghouse were repainted flat black and the new screws were fitted from the appropriate kit provided by VW Heritage.

Next task: re-mating the body to the rolling chassis!

More updates will be forthcoming…

The Restoration Project of the Käfer has started

In my other post of mid December 2011 titled A 1962 VW Beetle joins the ‘family’, I had outlined the new acquisition and mentioned about the plan to proceed with a sympathetic restoration of this fun car to which I have become emotionally attached.

Not without some delays, the resto project has commenced as of Monday 5th March. I have entrusted the work to my competent body shop friends of A & B For Cars who had done such a good job couple of years ago on my other car, the Mercedes-Benz 250SE Coupé.

Since the VW Beetle is a much simpler and smaller vehicle compared to the Mercedes, but also having gone through the previous Mercedes project experience, I am now more knowledgeable, hence confident that we will proceed with a relatively quick pace. An important factor pertains to human relationships. Through the years, I have built trusting and friendly relationships with the owners Gregory and Costa, as well as with their staff and Manos, the shop’s foreman who is looking after my Käfer! The target is to have the car ready for Easter. Sort of like a little ‘half egg shaped’ present. In addition, I have done some preparatory research on parts availability; as expected for such a popular car which had endured a long life with 18+ million examples produced, the issue of sourcing spare parts is de facto solved. There are many specialists involved with the VW brand both in Europe, the USA, South America and Asia of course.

We are currently verifying the “parts needed list” in order to proceed with placing purchase orders. The guys at A & B suggest that we take off the body, have it sand blasted and thus allowing for working on the floor pan with much ease and thoroughness. Budgetary estimates are being prepared for this (and only) scenario. So far the verdict is that we have a rather sound body with very little rust spots and an even better looking floor pan. Not so many worries (or additional expenses). :-)

So here is what I saw yesterday after the initial stripping:

The restoration was started on 5 March 2012

Wheel arches show no rust

The rear LH valance from the inside: few issues here

The LH inner fender rust spot: not so difficult to fix

Inner door condition is good with some rust in the bottom area.

The view from the rear, prior to engine removal

Wed. 7th March 2012 update: ‘Houston we have Lift-Off’, the body was separated from the chassis

The body shell hovers over the chassis! Perhaps this temporary separation has occurred for the first time after a tight, faithful marriage of over 50 years!

Today as I visited the body shop, the Käfer was just being readied for lift-off! That is all the bolts holding the body shell firmly mated to the rolling chassis had been removed, ditto for the wiring. Manos, the shop’s Foreman was making sure that nothing was forgotten, the last item to be disconnected was the speedo cable. The body was manually cracked open and the lifter arms were adjusted so that by pressing the Up button it would be raised evenly and without much effort. Carefully coordinating the intermittent pressings of the button by an assistant, the body was lifted-off without any mishap.

Rear quarter panel is rusted nicely and will be replaced.

Upon closer examination of both body and floor-pan, the verdict revealed few more rust spots, mainly in the body undersides, in the area of the heater tubes which run alongside the door sills. A known source of pain for VW Beetles. In addition, few more rust spots became evident on the rear quarter panels onto which the bumper brackets are being mounted. Luckily such panels are readily available from a number of sources, among which the VWHERITAGE guys in the UK.

Other than these pains in the aforementioned areas, there were no further nasty surprises upon the separation of the body from the chassis, such having occurred for the first time after a tight and faithful German marriage, residing in sunny dry Greece, for over 50 years!

Watch the ‘separation’ video clip here below:

Here are few more impressive pictures from the operation:

I love this particular picture which captures almost an unreal sight ;-)

The rolling chassis

Attention Low Riders: you cannot go any lower than this! ;-)