Closing the year 2016

Visitors and followers of my personal Blog may wonder as to why I have not been posting more often during this year. A fair question which has a simple answer. Because I have been busy posting on my other purpose oriented presence. Namely the Friends of Kea Society-SFK [in Greek] to which I serve as President, the Classic Car Center of Greece-3cg to which I am a co-founder and the subject which consumed most of my time and effort during this year, about the organization of  a three day commemorative event in Kea Island, Cyclades, Greece during the weekend  of Friday 30th September to  Sunday 2nd October 2016, celebrating the 100 Years from the Sinking’s of S/S BURDIGALA & HMHS BRITANNIC”, for which I describe my role as Chief Inspiration Officer.

To boot, all of the above activities plus few more, were supported by heavy and almost daily promotional and content posting, primarily in Facebook as for example [SFK, 3cg , 100 Years Kea Shipwrecks, Faneromeni, Classic-Car, KEA, Car Friends Close Group, WOLO, etc.].

So it has been a very busy year and rewarding too. Instead of rambling on, I think is best to include few videos about some of these activities.

I. About the 100 Years Kea Shipwrecks

II. About the Friends of Kea Society

III. About the Classic Cars

Hence, My Best wishes for the New Year 2017 to all my friends, relatives, supporters and followers!

3cg-x-mas-2016

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An interesting acquisition: 1950 Simca 8 Sport Coupé

My Simca 8 Sport Coupé during her test drive outing

My Simca 8 Sport Coupé during her test drive outing, here in Vouliagmeni Marina-Moorings

Few close friends cum classic car aficionados, often meet at a very special Garage in Glyfada, a southern suburb of Athens, Greece. Among drinks and pizza slices we discuss matters pertaining to our hobby, review our host Alex V.’s new acquisitions and occasionally negotiate a friendly deal.

It was during such an evening in late September of 2015 that I became interested in the 1950 Simca 8 Sport Coupé, a fully restored example which Alex had imported from Holland few months ago, previously owned and lovingly restored by Gerard et Jeanethe Meckelenkamp. Here is a video documenting that era:

Excitement mounted when few days later I drove down in the GLK to Glyfada accompanied by my friend-mechanic Makis (who undertook the mechanical restoration project of our 1957 Lancia Aurelia GT B20S), to take delivery and assume the new ownership! I saw again the Simca (Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carrosserie Automobile) but this time from a different perspective. I was wondering if she was an easy starter or not. If she had any mechanical issues which would unexpectedly surface during my inaugural 20 plus kilometers drive from Alex’s home to my Garage. If she was a smoker, if she suffered from excessive brake fade, and other such concerns which accompany a new classic car acquisition of some 65 years of age…

Facel_Vega_Emblem

The Facel-Vega emblem appears on the front grille!

Alex started the little Coupé on the button (a good omen), drove out of the Garage and parked her on the street for further scrutiny.  The initiation procedure included an explanation of the switches, handing over of the thick Dossiers and paperwork which accompany this elegantly sculpted classic by Battista Pininfarina along the cues of his famous 1947 Cisitalia 202 with which the Museum of Modern Art in New York were so impressed that in 1951, they named the Cisitalia one of the ten great automotive designs of all time, putting the car on display. ☝️ Further fascinating fact, the little Simca 8 Sport was coach-built by Facel-Vega. An interesting trivia pertaining to Facel (Forges et Ateliers des Constructions d’Eure-et-Loir) is that its founder Jean Daninos was a Greek-French individual. My drive back to the north of Athens was uneventful aside from a refueling stop on the way.

Cisisitalia 202

The famous Cisitalia 202 of Battista Pinin Farina on display at the MOMA!

According to many collectors opinion, a significant historic vehicle must encompass these attributes: elegance, important design, sporting performance, rarity, interesting provenance/story line and finally to be nicely presented in as authentic condition as possible. In a nutshell to have Desirability. I do believe that  this example of a 1950 Simca 8 Sport Coupé, ticks all the boxes 🙂

The Simca arrives safely in my Garage (y)

The Simca arrives safely in my Garage (y)

Her nomenclature reads: Chassis No. 886587, Moteur No. 225402 and Carrosserie No. 890778

Her nomenclature reads: Chassis No. 886587, Moteur No. 225402 and Carrosserie No. 890778

Her FIVA Identity Card No. 061374 was re-issued on Oct. 20th 2015, at time of ownership change. The Historic Vehicle plate No. is 5066.

Her FIVA Identity Card No. 061374 was re-issued on Oct. 20th 2015, at time of ownership change. The Historic Vehicle plate No. is 5066.

SIMCA-5066-FIVA Id Card-2

Pages 2 & 3 of the Identity Card with Simca’s details, categorized as “A/3” according to FIVA’s Technical Code.

Here is the history of the Simca 8 Sport Coupé:

rally1First presented at the 1948 Auto Show, was a convertible which created a sensation. Henri Pigozzi wanted to offer its customers a sporty version of the Simca 8, valued for its performance, durability and economy. The convertible has its genesis in the Cisitalia 202 designed by Pinin Farina in 1947 and adapted by Giovanni Michelotti on the chassis of the Fiat 1100 S. In Paris, it charms the audience with the elegance of its bodywork.

The based in France  Simca was originally a subsidiary of Fiat, created on 2 November 1934 to build its models under license in France in order to avoid paying import taxes and customs duties.  Its founder was, Turin born Enrico Teodoro Pigozzi, who later changed his name to Henry Theodore. In 1926 he was given the task of organizing a sales network for SAFAF (Société Anonyme Française des Automobiles Fiat) that had come into being. The problem with this entity was protectionism which affected every nation, caused by the global economic crisis of 1929. This withdrawal resulted in tariffs increasingly greater that prevented the Fiat cars to be competitive with the French productions.

Simca_EmblemIn 1935 Simca settles after redemption in the modern Donnet factory in Nanterre. Production starts on July 1st and the very first Simca-Fiat (name to be given in 1938) came out of the chain. Very quickly Simca becomes the fourth French manufacturer and it’s vehicles feature a new crest with a swallow symbolizing the brand’s slogan: a bird’s appetite. This approach allowed to delete the affiliation of the brand to its Italian parent company while xenophobia was growing in France, especially towards the Fascist Italy.

Presented on the French market in 1938, the Simca 8 is derived from the Fiat 1100 “Nuova Balilla 508C” manufactured in the Simca-Fiat factories of Nanterre under license. As a middle class car, it competes with Peugeot 202 and Renault Juvaquatre. Like Fiat, it has a front face with an egg-shaped grille and round headlights salient and prominent. The body is much more aerodynamic than the old Simca-Fiat/CV SAFAF 6 it replaces. The engine is a 4-cylinder 1.089 cc developing 32 hp at 4200 RPM. Distribution, as on many Fiat engines with overhead valves. Suspensions are independent wheels at the front and the rear solid axle. Drum brakes on all 4 wheels with hydraulic circuit. With a 4-speed box, it reaches 110 km / h.

When the Second World War breaks out, the automobile business in France stops. Well, not quite for Simca. The Germans want all companies involved in the war effort, especially to produce vehicles for the Russian front. Each plant is assigned a director appointed by the occupier. But the Fiat company whose country, Italy, is an ally of Germany was awarded a Simca administrator or a director of Fiat-Germany. In fact, the plant would continue to produce in Nanterre autos for another three years, unlike the Citroën plants, Peugeot and Renault, constrained to produce military hardware for the German Army. In 1943, the setbacks of the German Army lead to the termination of the preferential treatment enjoyed by Simca. The plant was assigned for the maintenance of military vehicles and various fabrications for the occupying Germany, including mechanical elements for NSU Motorenwerke.

After World War II, Paul-Marie Pons was appointed Deputy Director of the Mechanical and Electrical Industries Division (DIME) of the Department of Industrial Production and launches the “Plan Pons” with the objective of streamlining automotive manufacturing. Simca is integrated within the G.F.A. (Générale Française de l’Automobile) with Panhard, Delahaye, Delage, Unic, Laffly and Bernard. The President of the Employers’ Federation of Automobile Manufacturers, Charles Petiet, presents Simca on track thanks to the support of the Minister of Industrial Production then but in exchange following the guidelines of the Plan Pons, the company is committed to make the AFG (French Aluminium Gregory) developed by the engineer Jean-Albert Grégoire, now technical director general of Simca since October 1944.

The particular French car market was then theoretically divided into three main sectors. Citroen, with the Traction Avant, must occupy the high-end, Renault and Peugeot the middle, Panhard and Simca the low end, with the industrialization of the AFG. A first prototype of the Simca Gregory was made in 1945, then a second in 1946. Unfortunately for Grégoire, Henri Pigozzi, who had been quietly following his contacts with the German occupiers, managed to derail this project and resumed  the management of the company. Simca escapes the nationalization and constraints of the government, leaving Panhard to fend for itself. For its part, Renault’s 4 CV imposes its Peugeot and maintains its presence on the average niche or middle sector.

Production starts with the Simca 5 and then the 8. While in Italy, Fiat had already replaced this model by Fiat 1100 B, and the Simca 8 gets a restyling with changes of the front bumper, grille, the hood and trunk. It receives on this occasion a larger engine of 1.221 c.c.’s developing 41 BHP.

Simca 8 Sport Cabriolet

Simca 8 Sport Cabriolet

At the 1948 Paris Motor Show it is presented alongside the sedan, plus a convertible that causes a sensation. Henri Pigozzi wanted to offer its customers a sporty version of the Simca 8, which was valued for its performance, durability and economy. The convertible had its genesis in the Cisitalia 202 designed by Pinin Farina in 1947. He built a few copies before delegating production to his elder brother Giovanni, founder of the Stabilimenti Farina, and Vignale as well. The Stabilimenti Farina, founded in 1906 by Giovanni Farina in Turin, had employed the very talented Mario Boano, Giovanni Michelotti and Battista “Pinin” Farina, the latter departing in 1930. Giovanni Michelotti was entrusted with the adaptation of lines of the Cisitalia to the proportions of the frame of the Fiat 1100 S. This car caught the attention of Henry Theodore Pigozzi during a visit to Turin. He immediately ordered a second copy so as to display it at the Paris Salon where the car charmed the audience with the elegance of its bodywork.

The Ferraric166-Inter Berlinetta by Stabilimenti Farina. See the similarities with the Simca * Sport Coupé?

The Ferrari 166 Inter Berlinetta by Stabilimenti Farina. See the similarities with the Simca 8 Sport? Photo by Luc106, car pictured at Concorso d’Eleganza”Villa d’Este” 2008.

The design of the Cisitalia marked history again when it was picked for the Ferrari 166 Inter, the first convertible model of the Prancing Horse, which would be presented at the 1949 Geneva Motor Show. The warm welcome of the Simca 8 Sport encouraged Henri Theodore Pigozzi to start making the car very quickly. However, the amount of production of Stabilimenti Farina was very limited and to export the convertible, it was necessary to overcome high taxes. Pigozzi also used Jean Daninos, founder Facel Metallon, with which it had good relations, which already had the opportunity to work with Pinin Farina for Bentley coach-building and had appropriate industrial facilities for the establishment of a production line dedicated to the Simca 8 Sport Cabriolet and its Coupe version in the study phase.

The actual production of the Simca 8 Sport began in March 1950, in both Coupé and Cabriolet. The body parts were produced in Amboise, the assembly line was installed in Colombes and the finish was ensured by the factory in Dreux, justifying the high price of the car, twice that of the sedan. More powerful, with 50 against 40 hp for the sedan, the Simca 8 Sport allowed a speed of 135 KPH, a respectable performance for a relatively small displacement engine but disappointing for a car for sporting purposes. But anyway, the customers were more sensitive to its elegance.

Simca 8 Sport: One of the most elegant Coupés

Simca 8 Sport: One of the most elegant Coupés

Considered the most beautiful French car at the time, the Simca 8 Sport would have a short career as its body was modified in 1951 to accommodate the platform of the new Aronde. The convertible that can accommodate only the cut remains, becomes the Simca 9 Sport with a windshield in one piece to the show in 1952 where it gave way to a new generation with fully drawn Simca model as the Aronde based Simca Sport Plein Ciel. A production run of 5.165 Simca 8 Sport, including all versions was made.

The Simca 8 Sport Coupé wins its Class during the 1950 Rallye Monte Carlo

The Simca 8 Sport Coupé wins its Class during the 1950 Rallye Monte Carlo

More interesting readings:

http://www.simcafacel.levillage.org/

http://www.simcafacel.levillage.org/spip.php?article404

http://simcafacel.levillage.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=15

http://bringatrailer.com/2015/03/26/restored-1950-simca-8-sport/?corder=asc#comments

Photo Album Presentation of the 1950 Simca 8 Sport Coupé

https://www.flickr.com/photos/128623295@N04/albums/72157652566683011/page1

Photo Album about the Restoration of the 1950 Simca 8 Sport Coupé

https://www.flickr.com/photos/128623

Photo Album about the car being detailed in Athens, GR.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154102435384897.1073742183.181783909896&type=3

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

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 of 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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